Sweden takes to GEO certification


Sean Dudley

The Swedish Golf Federation has taken to GEO Certification in a big way. Not simply content with boasting the first two GEO Certified golf clubs anywhere in the world – Ljunghusens GK and Forsgardens GK – the federation’s environment and agronomy teams have successfully concluded a series of workshops that introduced over seventy greenkeepers, environmental committee members and club managers to the all-new GEO Certification programme.

With 150 member facilities currently participating in the federation’s national environmental programme, it sees endorsing and promoting GEO Certification as the mechanism for long-term recognition as a natural progression. The federation also hopes the programme will inspire some of the further 300 Swedish clubs to start structuring their environmental efforts and communicating the outcomes. 

Maria Strandberg, the federation’s director of R&D said: ““Despite the essential simplicity of the system, there are certain key aspects of the mechanism that are new to golf course and club managers. The federation made an early decision to help our members hit the ground running with this series of workshops. The early signs are that they have been a great success. Since the opening event at Gothenburg’s Albatross Golf Klubb in early June, we’ve moved across the country via Stockholm to our concluding workshop at Skepparslövs Golf Klubb in Kristianstad. The transparency and objectivity of GEO certification is exactly what golf federations need to help drive and communicate credible environmental work.  

Bo Bäckman, president of Bohusllän-Dahls Golf District attended the opening workshop in Gothenburg. “It’s fantastic to see Swedish golf facilities leading the field in GEO Certification, and acting as environmental role models for golf clubs in Scandinavia and beyond,” he said. “We look forward to following the outcome of these workshops over the remainder of the year and hope to see many more Swedish golf facilities become registered and certified.”

Since the launch of the programme at the BMW PGA Championship in May 2009, GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith is pleased to see steady uptake around Europe and beyond. “While the concept behind GEO Certification is simple, many of the individuals expected to work with the system will be publishing information on the Internet for the first time. Taking this leap into public representation of environmental work is a big step for many,” he said.