The Troon International managed property highlights its environmental credentials
PGA National Czech Republic at Oaks Prague continues to make a stamp on the industry with the release of its inspiring and extensive sustainability practices. The Troon-managed venue opened to impressive feedback in the summer of 2020 when it was awarded Europe’s Best Golf Course at the 2020 World Golf Awards.
Having opened less than a year ago, the PGA National Czech Republic has had sustainability at the forefront of their strategy from the start with impressive initiatives in place, as part of GEO’s Oncourse program for sustainability, aimed to increase biodiversity, promote sustainable turfgrass, prevent pollution, reduce energy consumption and recycle all materials.
As land managers of 104 hectares, the team has embraced their responsibility when it comes to environmental care, by playing their part in helping address issues that are important to the local community and industry stakeholders. The team have added 23.15 hectares of natural habitat in the last year to have 76% of their land as undisturbed to promote biodiversity.
The preference of a natural habitat, reducing the amount of maintained turf on the land immensely benefits their sustainable practices across the board. Firstly, it means a reduction in the use of fertilizers, chemicals and irrigation due to a reduced turf area.
With the turfgrass there is, it is a priority to manage grasses that are best adapted to the local climate and soils, in turn, reducing artificial substances needed to ensure the grass is strong and healthy. Naturalising out-of-play areas on the course has also helped to reduce energy consumption through less irrigation pumping and machinery fuel costs.
Another major goal is to avoid sending waste to landfill, which means finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle all materials. Through avoiding single-use plastic products such as bottled water, straws and cups, the team are able to successfully recycle 100% of plastic, 90% metal, 90% of paper/cardboard and 100% of grass clippings are sent to compost.
Other impressive figures to have come out of the last year includes a commitment to 100% of irrigation water being captured from the on-course drainage system filtering rainwater.
Finally, community outreach is an essential practice within their strategy, recognising the importance of having a wider positive impact in the local area. The core purpose is to serve the community by providing active recreation and skilled employment to the benefit of people’s physical and mental health.
The team look for innovative ways to make the property accessible to non-golfers; work in partnership with local organisations, promote life-long volunteering; and to support local charities. Community and health initiatives have led to 16 hours of volunteering by staff, 50% use of local suppliers, two charity initiatives, 99% of all golf rounds walked, and almost 51,000 hours spent in nature by golfers last year.
Jordan Fairweather, Golf Course Superintendent & Head of Estate Management at PGA National Czech Republic, commented on the sustainability practices: “In typical Troon fashion, we hold ourselves to the highest standards at the PGA National Czech Republic, recognising our responsibility in implementing sustainability practices for the local community, the longevity of the golf industry and all stakeholders. We are proud of our professional staff who carry this work through a wide range of carefully planned and implemented operations, supported by many special projects and events, often involving expert advisors and partners.”
Simon Doyle, Director of Agronomy in Europe for Troon International, added: “At Troon, finding ways to reduce our inputs whilst producing great golf course conditions is at the forefront of our minds, and it is great to see our team at PGA National Czech Republic, Oaks Prague, doing this and so much more!”
The next goal for PGA National Czech Republic is to attain GEO certification, the most credible and respected mark of sustainability in golf worldwide. They will be able to apply for this upon the completion of the clubhouse which is the final stage of the clubs opening.