First French course certified by GEO


Sean Dudley

Golf du Rhin in the French region of Alsace has become the first course in the country to earn the GEO Certified ecolabel.

Located in the centre of a nature reserve on an island between the River Rhine and the Grand Canal d’Alsace, Golf du Rhin has completed a number of projects aimed at improving the ecology, environmental quality, community relations and resource efficiency of the club.

Highlights include a 12 per cent reduction in irrigation water consumption in the last three years; a 15 per cent reduction in electricity consumption; new partnerships with local environmental groups; and installation of new water treatment and chemical storage facilities.

The club has responded to France’s ban on chemical insecticide by employing a biological approach to pest control, with the introduction of microscopic roundworms on the greens. Another example is the introduction of more drought and disease tolerant grasses on putting greens, due to new approaches to mechanical management, overseeding, increased air circulation and reduced shade.

Club manager Michel Zimmerlin said: “There is no doubt that in the last year we have quickened and scaled up our efforts, and that’s to the great credit of all my colleagues here in the club, in particular our course manager Daniel Le Goudives, but also other staff and volunteer committee members.

“We are very grateful for the cooperation of many local organisations and look forward to working with them over the months and years ahead for more good outcomes, in particular, how we enrich biodiversity; link with the surrounding nature reserve; drive down further our water and energy use; strive for zero waste and a greener supply chain; and advocate more strongly in the community.”

GEO chief executive Jonathan Smith added: “Golf du Rhin is a fine example of a dynamic community club, run by well qualified professionals, that has got more and more heavily involved in sustainability. New partnerships and practical projects have led to a significant improvement in performance in a relatively short time, delivering against a framework of international and national criteria for resource efficiency, pollution control and ecological enhancement.”