Arrowtown Golf Club is the recipient of this year's New Zealand Golf Course Superintendents Association (NZGCSA) Environment Award. The prestigious award, co-sponsored by PGG Wrightson Turf, recognises New Zealand's leading golf course in relation to their environmental management practices.
The award was presented at this year's North Island Fine Turf Seminar in Palmerston North.
The picturesque Arrowtown Golf Club is set in Central Otago, one of New Zealand's most historic and scenic regions. The course is located on an undulating 55 hectare property and managed by a team of three full-time staff.
The playing surfaces use species that provide high quality surfaces under a low input maintenance regime. The greens, tees, fairways and mown roughs are all browntop dominant and of superb quality. The judges found the setting, which has been maintained in an environmentally friendly way, to be truly inspiring.
The course has a sound renovation and maintenance programme and a conscious effort is being made to achieve great turf with minimal inputs. The team at Arrowtown Golf Club are striving to manage for the desirable perennial species and are doing so successfully. Reducing the area of mown fairway and rough has helped to reduce water and energy use, as has a variable speed drive pump. Extensive but careful use of spot spraying for weeds and diseases has reduced pesticide usage with boom spraying only done where necessary.
Even though the course is in a rural area, as much waste as possible is recycled, including chemical containers and waste oil while wasteful packaging is minimised by ordering in bulk.
The judges were impressed with the removal of wildling trees and broom, both on the golf course and adjoining DOC land. Replanting matagouri to re-establish it in new areas is a standout achievement. Where this work has been completed the natural beauty of the Central Otago schist rock outcrops and matagouri plants truly enhance the golf course.
The club is committed to monitoring their environmental performance. A few years ago the club undertook an Environmental Compliance Audit to assess compliance of the club's land management activities with all relevant laws.Since then Arrowtown Golf Club has implemented various changes and initiatives to achieve legal compliance. Rick Machray, Course Superintendent, says this has been instrumental in the club establishing and achieving its environmental goals.
The judges for the award were Bill Walmsley (PGG Wrightson Turf), Steve Marsden (Golf Course Manager at Cape Kidnappers and NZGCSA board member) and Alex Glasgow (Technical Director - Agronomy at NZSTI) who were impressed by the high calibre of the entries and the focus they are applying to their environmental management.
We also congratulate the 2012 runner-up, Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.
Award runners up are Kauri Cliffs Golf Course, with turf management standing up well to the challenge of the Northland climate. Their aim to be 98% Poa annua free by 2014 is commendable.
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course aims to provide an outstanding golfing experience surrounded by New Zealand native forest and their commitment to the environment enhances that experience.
PGG Wrightson Turf and the NZGCSA encourage all golf courses to enter next year. The award is judged on implementation within the budget and resources of the club, so clubs large and small are on the same footing. Simply entering the competition is an opportunity for all golf courses to look objectively at their environmental management programmes and to strengthen areas they may be weak in. Entries open in February of each year and application forms can be found on both the PGG Wrightson Turf and NZGCSA websites.
PGG Wrigtson Turf - www.pggwrightsonturf.com