The future’s greener at Whitley Bay Golf Club

Whitley Bay Golf Club has joined an elite group of clubs in the UK after becoming a Golf Environment Organisation Certified Golf Facility.

Currently held by fewer than 50 clubs in the UK, the worldwide accreditation recognises advanced sustainability in golf, having made important contributions in protecting nature, conserving resources and strengthening communities.

Whitley Bay’s course manager Simon Olver said: “The GEO accreditation is quickly becoming an essential benchmark for the golf industry and I’m delighted to have been part of the team that has worked hard to achieve it at Whitley Bay.”

As part of the nature element of the accreditation, the team has transformed areas of mown grassland into managed grassland habitats, including nurturing one of the highest orchid populations of any golf course in the UK.

Simon added: “Our goal has been to create a blend between highly managed fine turf and unmanaged habitats. We’ve added bird boxes and insect hotels, created dead wood areas and reduced managed rough to move to a far more diverse site which changes from intensively managed to unmanaged areas with various corridors for all kinds of wildlife, flora and fauna.”

The club has also reduced the carbon impact of its machinery and reduced fertiliser, chemical and water use on the course. Local sourcing of products has been increased across the business, as has the reduction of waste. The club has switched to LED lighting and installed solar panels on the roof of the greenkeeping building. Meanwhile, there are plans to increase the number of electric and hybrid vehicles in its fleet from one third to 100%.

In the club’s wider community, Whitley Bay has increased the involvement of volunteers at the club from within its membership and the wider community – including working with groups to identify orchids on the course and teaming up with The Wildlife Trust. The team also works with the Friends of Briar Dene group to improve the environmental corridors leading to and from the golf course.

The club works to attract new golfers across all ages, and welcomes the wider community to use all of its facilities while communicating regularly with the wider golfing and local population.

Simon added: “Whitley Bay Golf Club has a far wider, and more positive, impact on its wider community than ever before and we want to continue that work going forward. 

“The GEO accreditation is an important step on that pathway, and we’re striving to do more and continue improving all the time.”

Club chairman Stuart Lynn added: “Protecting the environment is something we take very seriously at Whitley Bay, and I am delighted that the great work across our club has resulted in this certification from the GEO foundation.“