First Swiss course wins GEO award


First Swiss course wins GEO award
Sean Dudley

Golfpark Nuloen has become the first Swiss course to be certified by the Golf Environment Organisation.

Build in an active gravel pit, Nuolen began its transformation into golf course eleven years ago. Architect Peter Harradine is currently working on an extension of the course to 27 holes; this project should be completed by 2018, with the second nine slated for a 2012 start.  Set in a popular recreation area for the people of Zurich and the Schywz Kanton, the course averages over 40,000 rounds in its nine month season.

Golf course superintendent Steven Tierney has been involved in the project since ground was broken in 1997. He said: “It’s important for modern greenkeepers to seek recognition for their management practices and publicly represent their social and environmental responsibility. There are many awards and accolades available in the industry, but GEO Certification is the most rigorous."

Director of golf Artur Baselgia reckons golf is an excellent way to transform degraded landscapes into valued community resources. “One of the advantages of developing industrial sites is that they are often well connected to existing communities,” he said. “As well as sustaining local jobs, golf can provide improved access to greenspace whilst improving environmental quality. As the Golfpark continues its transformation into an ecologically valuable resource, so our management practices will continue to improve. It’s a priority for our parent company to ensure the legacy of industry in Nuolen gives something back to people and the planet.”

GEO verifier David Bily was impressed by the playing quality delivered byTierney’s team considering the exceptionally low chemical and fertiliser use. “Golfpark Nuolen minimise inputs through an optimised use of mechanical practices,” he said. “Tolerance for disease-control on greens is 10 per cent and fairways 20 per cent. Although some years have seen extensive snow mould damage in spring and the problem is treated exclusively with dew removal, verticutting and topdressing. Fertiliser inputs are kept to a minimum and in the last three years the club has recorded continual decrease in application rates.”