Nick Lawson from Sleaford Golf Club awarded UK Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year award 2023

At the 29th GEA Annual Awards ceremony last week at Harrogate, Nick Lawson from Sleaford Golf Club was crowned the UK Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year award for 2023.

The Conservation Greenkeeper Award is rewarded to outstanding individuals who make significant contributions to the success of the club’s environmental and ecological management and making a fundamental positive impact on the surrounding landscape and biodiversity.

Nick, along with the team of greenkeepers and volunteers, have been recognised at the national awards for the conservation, wildlife and environmental projects undertaken on the golf course at Sleaford.They include:- The re-construction of internal dry-stone walling on the course.- Planting of over 1,500 native trees and 300 metres of new hedgerows- Wildlife work in the management of bird nesting boxes, hedgehog boxes and the construction of a brick-built barn owl tower. Feeding and providing watering holes for them. The building of log piles, bug hotels and a pond for mammals and insects.- Providing protection for bees and bats.- Re-wilding areas that were previously mown, thus saving labour and energy costs and well as providing more wildlife habitat.- Rainwater harvesting from buildings which is then used for water use on the course.- Solar panels on the machinery shed roof providing electricity to run the Clubhouse.- Recycling of materials where possible, eg wood chips from fallen trees used for pathways on the course.

Golf is enjoyed by millions across the globe, and there are now more than 30,000 golf courses worldwide, each having an increasingly important part to play within their local environment.

Sleaford Golf Club. Photo: GoogleSleaford Golf Club. Photo: Google
Sleaford Golf Club. Photo: Google

Golf courses are seeing tangible results from introducing environmentally sustainable management projects across their golf courses. These projects are achieving an increase in habitat varieties, improving playing experiences for golfers and providing a positive contribution to wildlife.

With the ever-increasing spotlight on environmental matters, it is fundamentally important for golf courses worldwide to assess what they can do to achieve environmental sustainability while continuing to maximise the enjoyment of golf.

Since 1995 the aim of the Golf Environment Awards (GEA) is to recognise, reward and promote outstanding individuals and golf courses, no matter how big or small, for the time and effort they have put into protecting and preserving their unique surroundings. The Conservation Greenkeeper Award is one of six categories to choose from to enter, others aimed at the conservation and environmental work of golf courses.

A winner for each of the six categories is announced at an awards evening each January during BTME, the premier turf management exhibition in Europe, held in Harrogate.

The Golf Environment Awards are managed and administered by the Sports Turf Research Institute Group, a consultancy for the development of sports surfaces, based in West Yorkshire, providing advice on the research, design, construction and management of both natural and artificial sports fields of play around the world. Each entry is independently judged, not on the scale of project nor their financial investment, but on what the golf course has achieved and how its achievements have benefited the surrounding environment and local ecology.

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