The Environment and Resources

Golf as a game, which takes place in and with nature, is increasingly influenced by issues such as resource conservation, climate change or ecological maintenance. Modern golf course design includes the integration of environmental and nature conservation matters and the precise analysis of trends in the area of sustainability. This is the only way to ensure high quality on a long-term basis. As a member of the Environmental Committee of the German Golf Association, Thomas Himmel volunteers his time to promote environmental issues in German golf.

Sustainable golf course design not only concerns the conservation of resources and the increase of biodiversity on the site, but also the positive integration of a golf course into its social environment. The approval in accordance with concepts of local authorities and professional associations facilitates acceptance in the long term. Our many years of experience of collaborating with nature conservation authorities facilitate a smoother coordination of projects in sensitive regions.

The following topics should be pursued in the long term by every sustainably organised golf course.

The Securing water as a resource by means of sufficient storage ponds, a well planned irrigation system and the right choice of grasses are becoming increasingly important in the wake of climate change. As access to drinking water and groundwater will be increasingly restricted in the future, it is crucial to analyse water requirements precisely and plan accordingly to ensure the long-term high quality of a system.

The collecting of water during heavy rainfall events is a very useful way of increasing your own water capacities. Particularly in periods when little water is used, when little water evaporates and high levels of precipitation fall - e.g. in the autumn/winter months - a lot of positive results can be achieved. By optimising the design of the course and creating additional reservoirs, excess water can be optimally "channelled" through the golf course and additional areas relevant to the game can be protected. Water from paved areas (e.g. car parks, roofs, paths, etc.) can also make a contribution.

The golf course as "Sponge", which optimises water absorption in the soil by deliberately creating flood zones can counteract damage caused by extreme weather.

The optimisation and adaptation of the golf course design through a reduction of play and turf areas - which can also directly reduce the irrigation area - thus bringing many advantages.

The use of new grass species also changes the optimal usage and distribution of water on the course.

An ecological design and integration of new storage ponds into the golf course must be professionally planned and monitored in order to have a lasting positive impact.

Attractive integration of storage ponds into the golf course and the landscape with a positive influence on the game of golf

Near-natural bank designs can also make new storage ponds biodiverse

A suitable sprinkler system design can save water - coupled with a gain in quality

Targeted manual watering also leads to reduced water consumption and an increase in quality

As fertiliser and pesticide regulations are becoming more an more restrictive a design of golf courses to meet these new greenkeeping challenges is required. Natural appearances on golf courses are increasingly becoming the order of the day and encouraging more robust grass varieties is important. The selection of shrubs, trees and grasses must also be geared towards increasingly frequent periods of drought and heat. At the same time, drainage systems must be planned in such a way that heavy rain and storms do not lead to prolonged downtime of parts of the golf course.

The removal of so-called "no-play areas", which are provided with natural vegetation or left to their own devices, creates areas with zero consumption of fertilisers and pesticides.

The following examples show how areas that are not involved in golf can be used to reduce maintenance, labour costs and fertilisers while at the same time increasing biodiversity and natural appearance.

The modern day professional golf course is subject to strong change, which has to do with the development of e-mobility and digitalization in the field of green-keeping and administration. We ensure that a golf course is planned in line with future needs and equipped with modern technology for the long term, regardless whether it is a matter of sprinkling, aeration or the maintenance of size- intensive areas. This all creates more leeway for the green-keeping staff who can then focus on improving the quality of the facility.

Modern and autonomous mowing of the large play areas as an option

The promotion of  biodiversity has established itself as an important component on many golf courses around the world. The opportunities to develop habitats on golf courses are particularly high, which has a positive impact on the external image of the golf course, among other things.

A golf course has hectares of land that are not affected by the game of golf and on which - depending on the location - different measures can be planned. These include:

  • species-rich flower meadows on so-called "no-play areas"
  • lean/dry grassland sites - where local conditions allow and support it
  • raw soil sites as a habitat for special flora and fauna
  • heathland - where local conditions allow and support it
  • ecologically designed water surfaces
  • alternating wetlands and extensive wetlands as a diverse habitat
  • stream renaturalisation
  • peatland development and restoration - where it makes sense from a site-specific point of view
  • hedge structures and copses as important habitats for birdlife
  • rock piles as a habitat for small animals and reptiles
  • deadwood piles
  • nesting boxes and insect hotels

Species-rich flower meadows on so-called "no-play areas"

Attractive interplay between biodiversity and golf areas

Near-natural and attractive shoreline design of water areas as an important habitat

Artificially constructed wetland next to a fairway

Stream renaturalisation

Rock pile for reptiles and small animals


Insect hotel

Positive external impact by joining programmes (Lebensraum Golfplatz und Golf & Natur)

The topic Carbon Footprint das innerhalb der EU auch mit regulatorischen Vorgaben belegt ist und  künftig alle Golfanlagen begleiten wird, wird ein weiterer wichtiger Bestandteil von Golfanlagen. Neben Reduktionen und Optimierungen bei den Gebäuden, Lieferungen, dem Personenverkehr der Golfer, etc., liegt das Optimierungspotenzial beim Golfplatz in:

  • the promotion of solar or electrically powered machinery
  • utilisation of regional materials and sources wherever possible -> reduction of transport routes and thus lower emissions
  • Design optimisations that may favour manual work over fossil fuel-powered machines in small areas
  • the reduction of playing and mowing areas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • the reduction of playing and mowing areas in order to reduce the consumption of fertilisers, which cause carbon emissions through production and transport
  • the use of less demanding and slow-growing grass varieties on the large golf course areas in order to reduce mowing frequency and thus fuel consumption
  • the reduction of irrigation areas and optimisation of the irrigation regime in order to reduce electricity consumption and thus carbon emissions
  • the reduction of paved surfaces that contain a high proportion of bound carbon (production, transport, etc.)
  • the introduction of biological soil conditioners, such as biochar, for some of the golf course areas

The Golf Course as Habitat

The fundamental understanding of the golfing experience encompasses the facilitation of nature. Numerous scientific studies on the development of biodiversity on golf courses have proven that they greatly facilitate the diversity of species. At the same time, this enhances the golfer’s experience of nature on the course, increasing the recreational effect .

We have a full understanding of the golf course as a high-quality sporting facility, which allows an ideal habitat for fauna and flora beyond tees, fairways and greens. The planning of the golf course therefore includes a precise analysis of the areas and locations, the local water conditions, where ultimately the end result is a harmonious combination of golf and nature.

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