British pay and play course earns accreditation from GEO


British pay and play course earns accreditation from GEO
Sean Dudley
By Adam Lawrence

Abbey Hill Golf Centre in Milton Keynes, has become only the third public pay-and-play course in the UK to earn certification for sustainability from the Golf Environment Organization.

GEO certification recognises golf businesses which demonstrate an operational commitment to the three core principles of sustainability – planet, people and profit. The ecolabel has also been recognised by ISEAL, the global leader in defining credibility in sustainability standards.

Colin Mayes, chief executive of BGL, the golf course operator that runs Abbey Hill, said: “As a forward thinking business, it is critical that we ensure the sustainability of our operations. We have targeted the GEO ecolabel across the group because it rewards a holistic view of sustainable business, and matches our own brand values.”

BGL operates ten golf facilities across the UK and following Hoebridge, Redbourn and Abbey Hill, the remaining seven, including five further public pay-and-play centres, are also on track to becoming certified by the end of 2015.

In the final stages of achieving certification, Abbey Hill submitted a report outlining how it fulfils the criteria in six key areas: nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control and community. Some of the achievements that counted towards the award are:

  • A thriving junior academy with initiatives offering free golf tuition to school children, as well as popular summer holiday golf camps 

  • Hosting the annual MK Golf Festival for nearby primary schools and a Secondary Schools Cup to drive participation and competition among youngsters from the region

  • Operating programmes in correspondence with the Milton Keynes Council for troubled youths and their community support officers to help build a rapport between them and reduce crime in the area

  • Becoming a member of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, allowing networking opportunities with local businesses and hosting the charitable organisation, Stony Stratford Lions Club, twice monthly

  • The launch of BGL’s Learn Golf initiative, which offers novices two free hour-long lessons with a PGA professional, to help grow participation of the game.