Luffenham Heath stages successful Greener Golf Network workshop

The Greener Golf Network’s mission to highlight sustainability projects in the game took another step forward recently with a successful workshop staged at Luffenham Heath Golf Club.

The event at the GEO Certified facility in Leicestershire and Rutland was the first course visit hosted by the volunteer-led organisation following on from a conference held in January at Lingdale Golf Club.

Bob Roberts, chairman of the Greener Golf Network, initiated the meeting with Tom Sharpe, general manager of Luffenham Heath, to bring together local golf clubs and share best practice ideas around sustainability.

The event was well attended with 20 guests representing 16 different organisations, ranging from local golf clubs to the Wildlife Trust, enjoying a varied itinerary and sharing ideas from across the golfing and environmental sectors.

Appropriately, the day teed off with delegates gathering inside the biomass-boiler heated clubhouse, before a full site visit and tour of the course.

Luffenham’s course manager Jonny Peacock demonstrated the benefits of tree removal on heathland, the implementation of wild rough and details on the club’s irrigation reservoir.

Conversations on the design and build of a new green complex on the 4th hole also stoked great interest.

The turf from the approaches was kept, stored wet, and reused on the newly shaped complex, and the green was built to USGA standards to prevent waterlogging.

The impressive bunkers were relined and topped up with their new type of sand to provide members with a challenging hole whilst aligning with the sustainable vision of golf course development.

“One aim of our group is to encourage and enable clubs to work together on environmental issues – the challenge that faces us all. This visit was a brilliant example of how that can happen.”

In addition to regular course maintenance and enhancements, 30 bird boxes, sponsored by members, have encouraged birdlife to the course, and the wild rough has allowed orchids to thrive.

Tree removal is carried out through the winter and the course is irrigated as little as possible:

“We water to keep the plant alive, not lush and green,’ admitted Peacock.

Sustainability is not limited to projects on the course. Even the pro shop is on board, selling reusable water bottles, which can be filled up by the first tee, and removing single use plastic water bottles from the shop.

Local beer is sold on the bar, and local food is available too.

The Leicestershire and Rutland Greener Golf Network is launching its own website in July to highlight issues around sustainability in golf.

Future course visits are also in the pipeline in conjunction with the counties

Speaking after the event, Sharpe said: “It was a pleasure to host the event at Luffenham Heath and to be able to share the initiatives and approach that we are taking to ensure we are more sustainable as a club, both on and off the course.

“Working with Bob and his colleagues from the Greener Golf Group has been most enjoyable and we are fully behind their drive for golf clubs to adopt a more sustainable approach.”

Organiser Roberts also hailed the day a great success. He added: “We are extremely grateful to Tom, Jonny and Luffenham Heath for hosting our first site visit.

“They were very knowledgeable, welcoming, and inspiring.

“Golf clubs tend to be insular and to view each other as rivals. One aim of our group is to encourage and enable clubs to work together on environmental issues – the challenge that faces us all. This visit was a brilliant example of how that can happen.”

The Greener Golf Network is a volunteer-established group operating in the Leicestershire and Rutland County, whose mission is to drive sustainability through sharing best-practice ideas at golf courses throughout the county. Their brand new website has just launched providing information about sustainable practices at golf courses across the region: