English clubs scoop accolades at Golf Environment Awards

Two English clubs have scooped top prizes at the latest Golf Environment Awards.

Effingham Golf Club in Surrey, former hosts of the Brabazon Trophy, won the Operation Pollinator award, while Cumberwell Park’s Jon Keepen was named Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year.

Effingham course manager Jon Budd and his team (pictured above)  have transformed areas across the 21-hectare site, developing a wildflower area adjacent to the car park.

They have also added two beehives onto the course and introduced chalk grassland wildflowers to areas in the wispy rough.

And Budd insists the support and education of the club’s members has been a key element to the success of its environmental agenda.

“Winning Operation Pollinator 2021 has been a major achievement for Effingham Golf Club, not only for the green staff, but also for the club and every member,” said Budd.

“A major attribute to winning this award has been the educating of the members on the importance of ecology and why we should be doing all we can to improve the course for the flora and fauna here at Effingham Golf Club.

“We are blessed with having a large site, but this is not the reason we enter the Golf Environment Awards. You can establish a wildflower area with as little as 1 sqm of land!

“Do not be put off trying to produce an ecology area on your golf course, sports pitch, or garden. This can be done in most cases with nothing more than elbow grease and a packet of seed.”

Having been a finalist three years ago, Keepen’s continued efforts to embrace biodiversity at Cumberwell Park Golf Club saw him climb to the top spot.

Keepen has developed green corridors throughout the site in Wiltshire, providing an important habitat for a variety of birds and mammals, as well as creating more definition to the holes in between. With an increased availability of prey, Cumberwell Park has seen an increase in the number of birds of prey on site.

As with Budd, Keepen has focused efforts to bring the club membership along with the club on their environmental journey, increasing signage around the course to educate passers-by about the range of habitats and their importance.

“We have been looking to develop more signage around the course,” said Keepen.

“We want to highlight the environmental projects and areas of interest to the members as they play.

“Our flagship project has been our raptor breeding programme, so I would like to develop this further.”

Find out more about improving your club’s environmental impact with our Greener Golf resources.