GC Altötting wants to break the 1000 species limit

“For us, the GEO day was winning the lottery with an additional number” – these are the words used by Franz Mayer , coordinator of the biodiversity team at GC Altötting-Burghausen , to describe the effects of the field research campaign. In June 2020, the Altötting district group of BUND Naturschutz held a GEO day in a golf club for the first time in Germany. Experts from a wide variety of disciplines examine a previously defined area for fauna and flora 24 hours a day.

In the case of the Piesing golf course, 24 experts identified 648 species, with a particularly large number of specimens being found among mushrooms, dragonflies and wild bees. “That’s an extremely high number for such an area,” summed up Eveline Merches from BUND Altötting, who admitted with a smile that she, like many other experts, had been very skeptical about the golf course beforehand.

The campaign made waves in the Bavarian area, so that the golf club received a lot of praise from politicians when the results were presented in July 2021: “A lot of people are talking about climate protection. But you are actually active nature and climate protectors,” said Stephan Mayer, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior .

Holding the GEO Day gave those responsible for the 27-hole facility a further boost in many respects: Regardless of the clear image gain in public, according to Franz Mayer, one now also benefits from contact with the international experts, some of whom are high-ranking, were on the plant. “Based on their input, we have further improved our biotopes,” explains Mayer, who is also currently planning a biotope for yellow-bellied toads and tree frogs. In addition, an egg storage area for lizards and snakes was developed this year with the help of the Lower Nature Conservation Authority, which delivered 18 tons of flying nail stones. “We are confident that we will break the 1000 species limit in the next few years,” Mayer is optimistic.

Accordingly, those responsible for the club are already planning Gold certification for the Golf & Nature program. A new washing area has just been decided upon and is intended to optimize the working conditions of the greenkeeping team.

For Arno Malte Uhlig, President of the Bavarian Golf Association, the facility is perfect proof that the Golf & Nature program still has great potential as a “practical guide” for golf facilities. The improvement of biodiversity is combined here with the optimization of playing conditions and internal processes, he noted. Golf courses that successfully participate in the program, like the GC Altötting-Burghausen, “prove that golfers have to treat their terrain carefully and sustainably.”