Hesse signs cooperation on “Habitat Golf Course”
An alliance for the promotion of biodiversity is the new cooperation between the Hessian Golf Association and the Hessian Ministry of the Environment, which was signed on Saturday in the GC Neuhof near Frankfurt. “Let’s promote together that golf courses are also nature reserves and retreats,” State Secretary Oliver Conz pleaded for a good start to the new cooperation, with which he introduced the President of the Hessian Golf Association, Christofer Hattemer. “Biodiversity is part of our sustainability strategy. This also includes issues such as water and energy,” he said. “But the issue of biodiversity makes a strong start.”
DGV program Golf & Nature as a basis
The cooperation in Hessen is part of a Germany-wide movement in golf, which is based on the quality management program Golf & Nature. After the golf associations in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg already cooperate with the respective environment ministries, according to Marc Biber, head of the environment and course maintenance department at the DGV , Hesse now forms a third pillar. “We want to create added value in terms of communication, get into conversation with other sports clubs and promote nature,” he explained of his expectations of the cooperation. In the end, according to DGV board member Marcus Neumann , the GC Neuhof location shows how perfectly the areas of sport and nature conservation can be interlinked. “Neuhof is one of our sportiest courses in the German Golf Association . And yet, with every lap, you will find that you come into direct contact with nature here,” he summed up.
Positive environmental balance is essential for golf courses
The interlocking of politics and golf, according to Dr Andreus Seum, President of the GC Neuhof, is now essential for golf courses and the performance of the golf courses in the area of environmental protection is very important: “Changes on a golf course without a positive environmental balance and the golf & nature element are actually hardly possible,” he describes his experiences. For a club like Neuhof, which has already been recertified five times with the gold rating, it is much easier to talk to the authorities when it comes to approval procedures.
The Hessian Golf Association had already started a large number of projects before signing the cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment in order to immediately fill the cooperation with life, explained the former President of the HGV, Dr. Gutmann Habig who initiated the “Habitat Golf Course” project. An environmental committee was installed, which anchors nature and environmental protection in the statutes. Golf clubs that register for the living space project are visited by expert advisors and develop suitable projects with them. “It’s surprising how large the number is that our clubs have already registered here,” Habig summed up, pointing out that 25 courses are already participating in “Habitat Golf Course”.
Large compensation areas make golf unique
The variety of possible activities was also demonstrated to State Secretary Conz on site: the best practice examples demonstrated on the golf course of GC Neuhof ranged from the optimal care of orchards in Neuhof to the creation of perennial flowering meadows and piles of dead wood and cooperation with beekeepers .
In the case of State Secretary Conz, in any case, they fell on a positively tuned listener. “When I was young, I was quite critical of golf,” he recalled at the beginning of his speech in Neuhof. His assessment is now clear: “The golf courses and their relatively large extensive areas play a very important role in the development of nature reserves. The vast majority of our nature reserves in Hesse are less than 15 hectares in size.” For this reason alone, he concludes, from now on one will try to fill the cooperation with the Hessian Golf Association with life.