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Royal Birkdale Becomes GEO Certified

Royal Birkdale Golf Club has become the latest Open venue to achieve golf’s international eco-label

The world famous Open venue, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, has demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing nature, efficient use of resources and community value by achieving golf’s coveted global eco-label, GEO Certified®.

Previously voted the No 1. Course in Britain Royal Birkdale has hosted nine Opens, with the championship due to return in 2017, along with other major and amateur events, including the Ryder Cup.

Adding to its list of honors Royal Birkdale has now become GEO Certified®, golf’s global eco-label. GEO Certified® recognises clubs which show environmental stewardship, resource efficiency and community value. The certification is administered and assured by GEO (the Golf Environment Organization), the not-for-profit group dedicated to sustainability in the golf industry. The standard is independently verified and publicly reported, making it a credible and significant distinction.

During the club’s on-site, third party verification a particularly strong emphasis on environmental management was noted. Approximately 80% of the site is given to wildlife habitat, providing for a wide variety of rare plant and animal species. The course sits adjacent to a designated SSSI, Special Area of Conservation, and Local Nature Reserve. These features are of great pride to the club and management of the course is dedicated to the stewardship of these areas.

Some of the many other highlights noted by the verifier include:

  • Two successful year’s breeding by a Barn Owl pair in a purpose installed nest box;
  • 1500 metres of natural drainage ditches providing habitat for breeding colonies of protected Natterjack Toad;
  • Investment plan for an irrigation system to install more efficient, modern directional sprinkler heads;
  • Close relationships with local government, environmental and community organisations
  • Regularly hosting visits for Myerscough College greenkeeping and land management students, as well as other golf architect and industry bodies;
  • Specific conservation education for employees and encouragement to attend local environmental meetings; and
  • 2015 STRI ‘Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year’ awarded to the club’s John Kelly.

Peter Griffiths, Captain of Royal Birkdale said: “We are delighted to have achieved the GEO Certified® standard and honoured by the recognition it gives to our work across all areas of sustainability. We will continue to work hard to protect our environment and enhance the benefits the club can bring to our surrounding nature and community“

Dino Minoli, independent verifier for GEO Certified® said: “The Royal Birkdale Golf Club is not only a highly prestigious golf course, but also a very strong and fully functional nature reserve with especially significant conservation value. The Club evidently recognises its important role and responsibility in ecological stewardship and clearly demonstrates exemplary practices on the management and maintenance. I look forward to seeing them continue to build upon their already impressive work in the future.“

Royal Birkdale is the latest Open venue to become GEO Certified® with all host venues on course to become certified by the end of 2015. The clubs certification and verification report can be found at www.golfenvironment.org

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Further Information:

For Media Enquires Please Contact:

Libi Newell, Communications and Community Engagement, Golf Environment Organization Tel: +44 162 0895 100 Email: libi@golfenvironment.org

About GEO Certified®

GEO Certified® is golf’s internationally accredited and widely supported eco-label and is a member of ISEAL Alliance, the global assurance body for standards in sustainability. GEO is a stakeholder-funded, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to helping the global golf community establish leadership in environmental enhancement, resource efficiency and community integration and value. For more information, please visit www.golfenvironment.org

About OnCourse®

OnCourse® is a free web-based tool available to golf facilities worldwide, guiding them around the priorities and resources for sustainability in golf, helping them easily and credibly share their efforts and value, and leading to GEO Certified®. For more information, please visit www.golfenvironment.org/oncourse

About Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Formed in 1889 Royal Birkdale Golf Club is regarded is one of Britain’s finest golf clubs, it has previously been voted the No 1 course in Britain and is among the best in the world. The stunning costal resort of Southport is home to Royal Birkdale which in 2015 will host the Boys Championship and The Open will return to the club in 2017. For further information please visit www.royalbirkdale.com

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