England Golf Awards reward sustainability initiatives
The England Golf Awards 2022 has recognised two hugely significant sustainability initiatives for the industry’s future.
The governing body for amateur golf in England has nominated Syngenta’s pioneering love.golf initiative in the category for Women and Girl’s Trailblazer, whilst the exceptional Operation Pollinator environmental enhancement at Farleigh Golf Club in Surrey has seen it nominated for Sustainability Project of the Year.
Highlighting the Awards’ focus on golf businesses future through sustainability, Syngenta Professional Solutions’ Caroline Carroll said: “We have seen that love.golf can help golf clubs with business sustainability, through encouraging participation of more women and girls, along with the social responsibility associated with improved mental health from playing golf.
“Also, with Operation Pollinator that enhances environmental sustainability through habitat creation, it’s crucially all the three pillars of golf industry sustainability that are all being supported.”
Since joining Operation Pollinator during the second lockdown last year, Farleigh Course Manager, Kenny MacPhail (below), has committed to creating wildflower areas across the course to help increase the number of pollinating insects and bees. The initiative enhances both the environment and the experience of playing the 27-hole championship-standard courses, situated close to the Surrey/Sussex border.
“With the downland nature of the course, we have large areas of long rough around the course which frame every hole. We try not to touch the ‘out of play’ areas, so as to create large expanses of natural habitat for the local wildlife,” reported Kenny.
“As well as the ecological advantages, there were a few areas around the course I felt that could be improved visually by having a bit more colour, to bring them more in line with the rest of the course.”
The first phase of the project was carried out on an area behind the par-three seventh hole on the Club’s Red course loop. This area had become overgrown with gorse, broom, ash and bramble, which the team removed, stripped off the top with an excavator, compacted and levelled.
“In this area, we selected plants for the bees and butterflies, with an 80/20 fescue/wildflower mix from Barenbrug. The cultivars of fescue, kidney vetch, wild marjoram, cowslip, wild carrot, yellow rattle and oxeye daisy were not only in keeping with what we already have in other areas on site, but are also on the RHS list of ‘perfect for pollinators’,” advised Kenny.
The second phase was carried out on the par-three third hole on the Blue course. “This is one of our signature holes on the course and the introduction of the colour from the wildflower is going to further improve the visual appeal of the hole,” he added.
At the rear of the green, a number of the large ash trees were removed, and all the bramble and shrubbery cleared, to create a bank of bare earth. Along the left-hand side of the hole, the top 50mm was cleared with the excavator and compacted / levelled. The area on the left was overseeded with the Barenbrug 80/20 mix, but behind the green, under the woodland canopy, was seeded with a hedgerow and woodland 80/20 mix, incorporating cultivars perfectly suited for the shady conditions.
“Both of these areas have been a great success with members and guests,” enthused Kenny.
“Walkers using the bridleway next to the seventh Red can regularly be seen stopping to take photos of the wildflowers.”
In the spring this year, he plans to create a further 0.5 hectare of wildflower areas along the mile-long drive that meanders its way through the course up to the clubhouse, which will really help to instil this growing colour from the first moment visitors drive through the gates.
Caroline Carroll added: “Kenny’s work at Farleigh exemplifies the benefits of Operation Pollinator to have a positive impact on the environment and biodiversity, without impinging on the quality of golf provided.
“In fact, it positively enhances the whole playing experience for the 200+ clubs involved with the initiative.”
The nomination for Syngenta’s love.golf in the new Women and Girls’ Trailblazer category of the England Golf Awards follows a landmark year for the initiative, where it has pushed new boundaries to attract over 500 women to the game.
The Award category recognises those who have tackled under-representation in the game by providing opportunities for women and girls to take up or continue to enjoy the sport.
Backed by ground-breaking research, love.golf is a proven approach to women’s coaching, delivered by a community of coaches who engage, inspire and progress women in the sport. Syngenta works closely with organisations and businesses throughout the golf industry with a shared goal to deliver sustainable business growth and a vibrant, viable game for the future.
Alastair Spink, love.golf Head Coach and Founder, said: “To be nominated is a fantastic acknowledgment of the work of golf clubs and all our coaches to bring the love.golf experience to women up and down the country.
“As a program, we challenge ourselves to think differently and experiment, to appeal to women who genuinely think golf may not be for them. We have made encouraging progress this last year in our work with the Muslim Golf Association and influencer days in particular, and plan to build on this in 2022.”
For more information and find out how your club could get involved, visit www.love.golf
The winners of the England Golf Awards 2022 will be announced at a virtual prize-giving ceremony – hosted by BBC presenter Naga Munchetty on Wednesday 20th April from 6.30PM – and broadcast live on England Golf’s YouTube Channel.