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The Open Leads The Way in Removing Single-use Plastic Bottles

The Open Leads The Way in Removing Single-use Plastic Bottles

Photo supplied by the R&A – L-R) Anders Jacobson, co-founder and CEO of Blue, Tom Watson, Global Ambassador for The Open, and Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, launch The Open Water initiative at Portrush.

The Open will become one of the first major global sporting events to remove single-use plastic water bottles in a move supported by the UN.

The Open Water initiative has been developed with Bluewater – the leading global innovator in drinking water solutions – to deliver a pioneering new approach to supplying drinking water at a major event by using water refilling stations and reusable stainless steel bottles to deliver pure fresh water directly to fans, players, staff and officials at The Open.

The project is supported by UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign and aims to raise awareness of the issue of global marine plastic pollution and the need to protect the world’s oceans and coastlines, including the marine life that inhabits them.

Daniel Cooney, Communication Deputy Director from UN Environment said, “Sport offers a unique opportunity to engage with a global audience on environmental issues. We commend this initiative to tackle marine plastic pollution. The Open offers a powerful platform to influence how people think about drinking water and its associated impact on the natural environment.”

More than 5,000 special edition reusable BPA-free stainless steel Bluewater water bottles will be given to fans free of charge at The Open and they will also be on sale throughout the venue for a special promotional price of less than five pounds. Fans will be welcome to bring their own refillable water bottles to use at the Championship.

All golfers playing in The Open will be given a personalised Players’ Edition stainless steel Bluewater water bottle with their name laser-engraved on it. A limited number of the Players’ Edition bottles will be made available for sale in The Open Shop and at The Open Camping Village for fans wishing to purchase a special souvenir gift.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The Open has a close relationship with nature and the coastal system of the world’s finest links courses and it is important that we safeguard them for future generations.
“We have all learned so much of the destructive impact of plastic in the world’s oceans and we believe we have to take steps to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from The Open in order to encourage fans and players to use alternative and more sustainable materials.”

Anders Jacobson, co-founder and CEO of Blue, the impact-led investment company which owns Stockholm-based Bluewater, said, “We are honoured and delighted to be collaborating with The R&A on The Open Water project, which blazes a purposeful message of the key role world class sporting organisations can play when it comes to leaving a cleaner planet for future generations.

“Bluewater technology offers solutions enabling water to be purified and dispensed locally at point of consumption – with minimal waste – thereby eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles and their polluting transportation.”
Life Water aluminium cans will also be used as ready-sealed containers to provide water in some areas of the venue. The Life Water zero plastic cans are filled with natural British spring water, are made from 70% recycled aluminium, are 100% recyclable and BPA-free. Every can also helps to fund clean water projects across the globe.

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Wentworth Club and John Deere announce New Partnership

Wentworth Club and John Deere announce New Partnership

Wentworth Club and John Deere Limited have announced a new, exclusive partnership for the supply of golf course maintenance equipment to the world famous West, East and Edinburgh Championship Courses at Virginia Water in Surrey, from spring 2019.

Wentworth Club has been the host venue since 1984 for the PGA Championship tournament, which is regarded as the flagship event on the European Tour. The 2019 BMW PGA Championship is being held on the West Course from September 19 to 22, with John Deere and its supplying dealer Farol Ltd providing additional technical and equipment support.

The new course maintenance fleet consists of over 140 machines including mowers for tees, surrounds and approaches, fairways, greens and rough, as well as compact and utility tractors, Gator utility vehicles and the latest state of the art GPS Precision Sprayers.

“We are delighted to welcome the John Deere company to Wentworth as our exclusive partner in the supply of greenkeeping and grounds machinery through its regional dealer Farol,” said Wentworth Director of Golf & Greenkeeping Kenny Mackay. “This agreement represents a significant investment to ensure our fleet is always at the leading edge of technology and innovation.”

John Deere has been a leader in GPS technology in the agricultural industry for many years and is now developing systems specifically for golf course maintenance use, with Wentworth Club being an early adopter. The new advanced technology sprayer delivers great environmental benefits by applying inputs far more accurately and only to predetermined target areas. This significantly reduces overall chemical usage and can potentially cut spray costs by up to 15 per cent.

Using AutoTrac, the sprayer steers itself automatically to an accuracy of 2.5cm using RTK (real-time kinetic) satellite guidance. It also features individual nozzle control and Wireless Data Transfer, which enables spray records and application maps to be sent from the machine to the John Deere Operations Centre website or mobile app, where they can be remotely accessed at any time.

The new machinery fleet has been purchased on a planned replacement cycle in line with Wentworth Club policy, using a John Deere Financial operating lease specifically tailored to reduce the lifelong cost of ownership.

“The world of course management and greenkeeping is changing fast and John Deere is at the forefront of these developments,” said Carlos Aragones, John Deere’s Turf & Golf Sales & Marketing Manager for Europe, CIS, North Africa and the Near & Middle East.

“John Deere equipment helps to maintain many of the world’s greatest golf courses, and we are honoured to now include Wentworth Club in that prestigious company. We look forward to building a long and productive partnership with the Wentworth team, and to the Club becoming one of our leading strategic partners in the golf industry across Europe and beyond.”

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SISIS Flexibrush keeps Worm Casts at Bay

SISIS Flexibrush keeps Worm Casts at Bay

Gary Barnfield, head greenkeeper at Oswestry Golf Club in Shropshire, claims the SISIS Flexibrush has proved to be an ideal solution for controlling worm casts.

Oswestry Golf Club is a mature parkland 18 hole course set in the glorious Shropshire countryside and Gary has been working at the club for an impressive 31 years after joining as an apprentice. Over the years he has worked his way up through the ranks and six years ago he was promoted to the position of head greenkeeper.

Since taking over as head greenkeeper Gary has implemented a number of changes to the maintenance regimes which has no doubt reinforced the club’s reputation for being in an excellent condition all year round.

However, over recent years Gary claims that he has faced arguably his biggest challenge after a number of chemicals were removed from the turfcare market.

“With the ban of certain chemicals we have not been able to use what was once in our armoury,” he said. “This proved to be problematic, as it no doubt did for every other greenkeeper, but the biggest loss was Carbendazim. Unfortunately the worms came out and more and more casts were appearing so we had to come up with a solution.

“An STRI advisor came to visit us and recommended that we apply some sand to top dress to the areas and also to brush the worm casts and level them off before we cut. We needed to find ourselves a reliable machine that would give the worm casts a rigorous brush and we trialled four brushes from four different brands. The SISIS Flexibrush was the stand out machine.”

The SISIS Flexibrush is a tractor mounted brush which is equally effective to disperse top dressing and remove excess material on natural turf and on synthetic surfaces. The versatile Flexibrush can also be used for dew dispersal and striping for improved presentation. It has a 5.35 metre working width, its brush sections float to follow ground contours and the outer sections fold for transport and storage.

“It’s not only great for brushing the worm casts but it also stands the grass up before we cut – which improves the quality of the cut and gives us better presentation,” said Gary.

“In fact, the Flexibrush has got multiple uses because we use it for knocking dew off in the mornings and also in the winter months when the turf is not growing so much we will brush instead of cutting to keep the presentation to a high standard.
“Ultimately, we had to do something about the worm casts and the Flexibrush has done a brilliant job. I think it is a great alternative to spraying the worms and I think more greenkeepers will go down this route.

“It has been a cost saving exercise for us too because we used to have contractors come in and spray the worms but the SISIS Flexibrush was a one off payment and we get to keep it for us long as we like.

“It’s such a well-built machine and nothing can really go wrong with it – I think it will probably even outlast me!”

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Wassenaarse Golf Groenndael Choose Jacobsen Mowers to Deliver Perfect Greens and Fairways

Wassenaarse Golf Groenndael Choose Jacobsen Mowers to Deliver Perfect Greens and Fairways

Perfection is the minimum requirement at Wassenaarse Golf Groendael in The Netherlands, and a new fleet of Jacobsen mowers will be contributing towards impeccable greens and immaculate fairways.

The exclusive nine-hole course is located between Wassenaar and The Hague and is known throughout The Netherlands for its fast greens and particular attention to detail, which have become prominent traits of the club.

This new fleet of machines continues the association between head greenkeeper, Marco Wouters, Jacobsen and local dealer Pols Zuidland, and Marco considers his relationship with both to be a contributing factor behind his decision.

“Besides the reliability of the machines and the quality of cut, I would like to express that the continuous support of Pols Zuidland is equally important because without the right service we cannot do our job.

“The feeling of belonging to the Jacobsen family is also something to consider. I regularly visit the GCSAA Golf Show, and I meet a lot of Jacobsen staff who are always happy to talk through my questions. So, the support from both Jacobsen and Pols Zuidland was a reason to make another seven-year commitment and hopefully another seven after that.”

To meet the standards expected by the 350 members, Marco turned to Jacobsen’s renowned quality of cut and after-cut presentation. To achieve a daily stimp between 11 and 12 on the bent grass greens during the season, and around 10 during the off-season, he purchased two Eclipse 122 pedestrian mowers fitted with bi-directional groomer systems and one Eclipse 322 triplex with 15 blades.

For Marco, this combination of greens mowers met all of his requirements while offering that bit extra, as he explains. “One of the main reasons we chose the 122 is that we could install lithium batteries, which allows us to mow quietly in the mornings without disturbing the houses that surround the course. For presentation and practicality, the decision to choose the groomers was obvious because Jacobsen’s are known around the world for their ability to do a great job, for me, there is no other name/brand that’s doing it better.

“We aim to hand mow the greens seven days a week, but there are occasions when we can’t, and that’s why we got the Eclipse 322. Quality of cut was the main reason along with durability, but other features also helped us make the decision. Our course is situated in a drinking water reservoir and is environmentally prone to contamination, so being able to eliminate the use of hydraulic fluids and oil without having to sacrifice on cut quality is excellent for us.

“Another feature myself and my team love is the swing out centre reel. It makes the daily height of cut and bedknife adjustments much easier and saves a lot of time.”

A super light-weight SLF530 reel mower was selected for use on the fescue fairways for its exceptional after-cut presentation. At Wassenaarse, all fairways are cross-mowed and boxed off, with a clear definition between the fairways and rough at all times. Being able to adjust the units at the touch of a button has made achieving this definition easier along with the groomer system that is preventing the build-up of wet clippings and leaves falling into the grass sward.

Marco’s attention to detail doesn’t stop with the course and is applied to every machine that’s used on it. It is a common site to see golf buggies dressed in club colours and logos, but at Wassenaarse the machines get the same treatment because they are regularly seen on the course by members. All of the new mowers, three Cushman Hauler Pro’s, Smithco sprayer, bunker rake and XL roller have been sprayed black and had Groendael’s logo applied, and received a very positive reaction from members who have praised the uniform appearance.

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Innovative Leadership in Sustainability reporting by golf

Innovative Leadership in Sustainability reporting by golf

L-R, Robert Ewing – Credibility Manager, GEO Foundation, Patrick Mallet – Director of Innovations, ISEAL Alliance,  Kelli Jerome – Executive Director, GEO Foundation

GEO Foundation, supported by multiple partners and stakeholders, has today announced the development of a new and ground-breaking framework for golf’s social and environmental reporting – this news was shared in front of an audience of global sustainability systems, government agencies, non-government organisations, corporations and other institutions.

The announcement represents a significant watershed in how the sport can quantifiably and consistently track and demonstrate its progress and value.

The Independent Chair of the project’s Strategic Advisory Group is Paul Druckman, former CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Druckman said: “Golf is a large and influential sport, comprising over 34,000 grassroots facilities in over 200 countries, hundreds of professional tournaments and with a significant supply chain. It also has powerful media and reach, and can inspire hundreds of thousands of fans.

“Golf is not unique amongst business to increasingly recognise the need to consistently measure and communicate with credibility its environmental and social impact. Through this work, golf is also gearing up to show how the sport delivers against global priorities, principally the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’’.

Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of GEO Foundation, the international not-for-profit dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf, added: “The goal is to enable golf to accurately monitor, measure and communicate real impacts, and to connect that locally, nationally and internationally. It has been a complex but enjoyable challenge – studying, collaborating, developing a deep understanding of the priority metrics, mapping audiences and building user-centric software to simplify data gathering at scale.

The project began a year ago after discussion hosted by the Vidauban Foundation and the response from golf associations, as well as externally, has been tremendous. We’d particularly like to thank strategic partners: The R&A, Vidauban Foundation, Toro Foundation, and the ISEAL Innovations Fund, plus over 150 scientists, association leaders and grassroots golf course and club managers – who contributed to the various consultations.”

The framework is designed to help golf more consistently quantify and communicate its ‘net impact’ across golf’s ‘Sustainability Agenda’. As such it covers the material environmental and social issues across three main themes: fostering nature, conserving resources and supporting communities.

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FEGGA Run workshops introducing the new translated version of OnCourse Portugal

FEGGA Run workshops introducing the new translated version of OnCourse Portugal

Following the launch of OnCourse Portugal, FEGGA took to the road to run workshops introducing the new translated version of OnCourse Portugal. FEGGA ran four Workshops covering the whole Country and connected with half the golf courses in Portugal. The Workshops covered an introduction of the concept of OnCourse, we took all the respective attendees through the sign-up process, and the many tools that make up what is now a very good resource for golf clubs to use.

First stop was Oporto GC & great to spend time with the local greenkeepers supporting “Responsible Golf Course Management”  The second day saw us move south from Porto to Cascais for the second OnCourse Portugal Workshop, We received excellent response at Quinta Da Marinha, with a very motivated group of people sharing their knowledge & experiences.

Day three saw us visiting Palmares Golf Club in Lagos, home club to the FEGGA Vice Chairman Joel Nunes. Again we were meet with a great gathering of greenkeepers, sharing their thoughts & helping make our Responsible efforts in Turf Management stronger. The last venue was Quinta do Lago. Again the discussion was very positive and engaging and in how you approach Responsible Golf Course Management.

There was a very strong message that came from all the participates during all the Workshops, and a real commitment to work together, sharing their experiences for the better development of the greenkeeping profession, and ultimately the game of golf. A short Presentation was made at the recent FEGGA Conference, and already other Associations are planning to run their own OnCourse Development Workshops.

Thanks must go to the R&A for supporting this initiative. We would also like to thank GEO, the Portuguesse Greenkeepers Association, and the Portuguesse Golf Federation for their support in delivering the Workshops.

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Sterf Release New Research and Development Yearbook 2018

Sterf Release New Research and Development Yearbook 2018

In 2018 STERF had 15 ongoing projects related to integrated pest management, sustainable water management, winter stress management, and multifunctional golf facilities and ecosystem services, all of them presented in the yearbook, which can be downloaded here:

Other important STERF activities were:

• During spring 2018, STERF presented two new videos, From dense sward to biodiverse roughs and The golf course as an outdoor classroom. The videos can be found at: and at:
• This extreme weather situation during the growing season 2018 highlighted a need for more knowledge about saving water and about efficient irrigation practices on golf courses. By coincidence 2018 was also the final year of the STERF project ‘Engineering better irrigation in turf ’, in which an irrigation workshop had been scheduled well before the 2018 growing season. The workshop took place at Fureso GC, Copenhagen, on 20 June.
• During 2018, the very important handbook ‘The Golf Course Managers’ Handbook on Turfgrass Winter Stress Management’, with practical advice and recommendations, was translated into Swedish and Norwegian and launched at several seminars.
• 2018 saw the release of a new step-by-step workbook, tailor-made for golf clubs, for mapping values, functions and activities on and beyond golf facilities, and also for finding key partners and engaging them in multifunctional projects that contribute to sustainable development (Agenda 2030).
• Effective dialogue between researchers and practitioners is necessary to identify research priorities in new fields and to ensure that newfound knowledge is transferred into practice. During 2018, a number of national seminars were arranged in the Nordic countries. In total, more than 400 practitioners from the golf industry participated in the seminars.
• In October 2018, Maria Strandberg, STERF, and Trygve Aamlid, NIBIO, were invited to Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, and to China Agricultural University, Beijing. The purpose of this visit was ‘Communication, visiting and learning’. It was also a great honour that Trygve Aamlid was appointed Honorary Professor at Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin.

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Earth Day commitment from the 2019 Solheim Cup

Earth Day commitment from the 2019 Solheim Cup

Pinnacle of women’s golf launches sustainability plan to address climate and conserve biodiversity

The organisers of the 2019 Solheim Cup have today launched the event’s sustainability initiative which sees a wave of additional efforts to minimise the climate and environmental footprint of the event, while at the same time maximising the conservation of wildlife. Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population.

The comprehensive plan, which also integrates key elements of social inclusion, diversity and equality, is being led by EventScotland in close partnership with the event’s Sustainability Partner, GEO Foundation – the Scotland based non-profit that specialises in promoting sustainability in and through golf around the world.

The plan is also supported by all event partners and stakeholders, including The Gleneagles Hotel, IMG, the Ladies European Tour, LPGA, Scottish Golf and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I am delighted to see and support the 2019 Solheim Cup’s leadership in reducing its impact on our environment and climate by promoting public transport, avoiding single-use plastics and promoting sustainability to the tens of thousands who will descend on Gleneagles. I commend the organisers for taking this important step and look forward to seeing their plan in action later this year.”

Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, which is leading the staging and delivery of the event on behalf of The Scottish Government, said: “Great golf and nature-rich landscapes go hand in hand, so we are taking this opportunity to reinforce the importance of biodiversity – both to golf and to society at large. It is important major events such as the 2019 Solheim Cup recognise and minimise the impact on the environment and we hope our direct actions and indirect influences will encourage greater nature conservation across golf in Scotland and further afield.”

Matching with the central theme of Earth Day 2019, the 2019 Solheim Cup is seeking to actively “Protect Our Species”. With 19 ecologically protected areas on and around the golf courses, there is plenty of iconic Scottish wildlife at Gleneagles.

Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation added: “The world is facing a rate of biodiversity loss that humanity has never seen before, and with our clear dependencies on the natural world, time is of the essence. That makes it all the more important for major influencers, such as the 2019 Solheim Cup and greenspaces, such as golf courses, to take action – and when that happens, it can be hugely beneficial and inspiring to many others.”

Some of the key environmental sustainability action areas for the 2019 Solheim Cup include:

• Reducing the carbon footprint
– Public transport, car sharing, using the efficient park and ride service, clean fuels and by engaging with local suppliers and contractors
• Achieving ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’
– Avoiding single-use materials, making sure all materials are separated for re-use and recycling
• Conserving nationally and internationally important habitats
– Protect the 19 designated areas on Gleneagles Estate and the rare and iconic Scottish wildlife
• Promoting sustainability to more people
– Engaging in, and promoting, green activities.

These are complemented by a wide range of social responsibility actions that centre on diversity and inclusion, including the Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Diversity Summit, affordable ticketing and volunteering rewards scheme. Other areas of focus include access and provisions for people with disabilities, junior golf development experiences and promotion of the health and wellbeing value of golf for families.

With a host of accessible and family-friendly activities on offer, the Scottish Government aims for this to be the most family-focussed golf event ever held in Scotland with tickets for adults priced from just £10 and children under-16 admitted free of charge.

Find out more at

For more examples of how golf is helping conserve biodiversity, as well as conserve resources and strengthen communities, take a look at the Sustainability Highlights here:

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FEGGA Bring Together People and Associations in Rome

FEGGA Bring Together People and Associations in Rome

22 Associations made the trip to Rome to engage in what was a very inspiring Conference, focusing on further development, Association stories of challenges and engagement.

The venue for the first day was the 2022 venue for the Ryder Cup, Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. We were welcomed by the staff lead by Riccardo Tirotti, Golf and Business Manager, on a day of clear skies and sunshine. The terrace was the perfect place to view the first stage of construction, this followed what was an interesting introduction presented by Riccardo and also Dave Sampson the leading Architect of the 2022 Ryder Cup Golf Course.

The first day was to focus on challenges around the globe, and also a Session on Pioneering European Turf Grass Research to Enhance Responsible Golf Course Management. This was done to build up to an afternoon Session Golf Course 2030, an R&A initiative focusing on the challenges that golf faces during the next decade and more. The speakers did a great job in preparing our members and patrons for the group work later that day, which provided results which will go a long way in producing a roadmap for the next stages of Golf Course 2030 for Europe.

Day two took on a very different journey for the day, focusing on modern technology, FEGGA Education Experiences, along with some very inspiring Association Presentations. These really went a very long way with the mission of FEGGA in sharing to benefit all. I particular Damian McLaverty did a fantastic job in sharing the recent journey of GCSAI. Many people made comments reflecting on what Damian had shared, and how it will help their own association in dealing and managing through their own current challenges.

This second day concluded that despite the current challenges, there is much to be positive with. We have great people working within our industry, and we know collectively have some great tools to work with in managing our associations and delivering great opportunities to our respected memberships.

FEGGA Chairman, Paul Worster commented “Italy was a great venue for this event. The weather was kind and the delegates received a very warm welcome from the Italian Golf Federation and Greenkeepers Association, which was mirrored by the Marco Simone Golf Club, and in particular Ricardo Tirotti, Business Development Manager.” In opening the Conference, Paul said “it doesn’t matter if you are here representing ten thousand greenkeepers, or just ten greenkeepers; your voice will be heard, and you are encouraged to take a full part”.

The formal proceedings of our AGM saw the election of Koert Donkers, of the Netherlands onto the board of FEGGA. Koert is a past FEGGA Scholarship Student of Gleneagles and has been a long-time supporter of FEGGA and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our existing board.

FEGGA want to thank our Patron Members, and Partners, their contribution to the Conference was outstanding and the engagement they showed at the Golf Course 2030 group work enabled FEGGA to have a really balanced discussion, enabling the good messages to come out of this important group work. It’s vital that the Patrons engage in Golf Course 2030, they are vital to its future success, and have already shown this through their engagement in the pilot project that has focused on United Kingdom and Rep of Ireland this past twelve months.

Finally, I want to thank our Conference Sponsors, their support is considerable in us bringing together all these organisations. A very big thank you to John Deere, The R&A, and Toro.

In looking ahead to 2020, FEGGA will be bringing its Conference to Rep of Ireland, and also hosting the International Summit. We all are very excited by the prospect of our visit and what we can build on during 2019 to ensure we continue to the work of supporting our industry and the game of golf.


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The Evian Championship July 2019

The Evian Championship July 2019

Members of FEGGA have been invited to become part of the Championship support team for the Evian Championship 2019.

This is an incredible opportunity to gain experience preparing the course for one of golf’s major championships. Successful candidates will receive return airfares, accommodation, subsistence and logoed uniform.
The Evian Championship is one of only five majors on the L.P.G.A. Tour and is second only to the U.S. Open in terms of the prize fund. This year the Championship is reverting back to its original date slot in July.
Greenkeepers in the support team will ideally be available between Saturday 13th July and the 28th July. Transport between Geneva airport and the Evian Resort will be supplied as part of the package.
The Evian course is situated in Evian les Bains overlooking Lake Geneva on one side and the French Alps on the other. These views are stunning.

If you wish to be considered for the team please contact Peter Wisbey at

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