April 2017’s 'Champions of the Green' are the team at Fife Golf Trust (FGT), Scotland. Highlighted due to their leadership in becoming the first county to have all golf courses hold the GEO Certified® ecolabel – the international mark of Sustainable Golf.
Fife, often known as The Kingdom of Fife, is a historic county on the east coast of Scotland, the ancestral home of Scottish monarchs. Fife is also world famous for its golf, hosting over 50 courses, including, of course, St Andrews Links. In 2011, FGT was set up to take on the management of all seven golf courses owned by Fife Council.
“The Trust is committed to protecting and enhancing nature, conserving our use of resources and providing real value to the local community” said Paul Murphy, FGT Course Manager. “By becoming GEO Certified®, across all our courses, we have gained credible recognition of this commitment and the positive social and environmental value of our clubs.”
The seven clubs managed by FGT include Auchterderran, Cowdenbeath, Dunnikier Park, Glenrothers, Kinghorn, Lochore Meadows and Scoonie. The courses cover a range of landscape types: from reclaimed mining sites to mature parkland to coastal links. Some of the initiatives in place, across the clubs, include partnership with Fife’s "Buzzing" projects, working with local school children to plant wildflower meadows for pollinators, pond creation and naturalisation of watercourse. This led to an increase in biodiversity across the seven courses. The quality of the courses and specifically their greens has been highly praised by STRI, the GEO Certified® Independent Verifier, and players.
“Working within a low budget we’ve been able to show that effective environmental management and excellent playing quality go hand in hand. Players experiences are also enhanced by the natural surroundings of our courses. Working with local schools and community projects is extremely rewarding and enjoyable.
Working towards becoming GEO Certified® gave us a collective goal, and the positive recognition has now galvanised further support and drive, both within and outside the Trust. The recognition is a key milestone in our journey and we will keep working to demonstrate continual improvement and gain even more benefits from increasingly sustainable operations.”