A MERSEYSIDE golf club is celebrating a new award for its ‘go green’ policies while saluting its longest-serving member of staff.
Lee Park has been awarded the prestigious Northern Regional Environment prize – from more than 90 clubs who submitted an entry.
The success of the club – based in Childwall Valley Road – recognises its continued use of sustainable golf policies and eco-friendly actions.
The award comes as head greenkeeper Trevor Clark reaches the milestone of 40 years service at Lee Park.
The club made a special presentation to the 60 years-old in recognition of his loyalty since joining in 1973.
A former apprentice carpenter, the dad of five still lives close to the course in Gateacre, where has spent so many hours and has seen it develop to an award-winning standard.
Trevor took over as head greenkeeper seven years ago but admits the challenge of the last 12 months has been among the biggest.
“I’ve never known the weather be as bad as it was last year,” he said. “It’s far and away the worst summer we’ve had in the 40 years.
“We have had to spend a lot of time cleaning out the drainage system and getting it back to working at full capacity.
“I remember in 1976 it was so hot that some of the locals would sneak onto the course and go skinny dipping in the pond between the fourth and sixth fairways!”
The club first launched its eco drive in 2006 when it successfully applied for a grant from English Nature to provide advice on what was needed to gain the coveted EGU Environmental Award.
A visit by Lee Penrose, a leading golf course ecologist from STRI, resulted in a special report that highlighted several ecological and environmental opportunities which would provide an enhanced oasis for wildlife in the heart of a built-up Liverpool suburb.
Based on his recommendations, club officials formulated a special development plan, which was put into operation over a two year period. In 2008, the course was again reviewed and awarded the EGU Environment Award – the first golf club to do so on Merseyside.
In 2011 the club received a ‘Highly Commended’ citation for its continuing environmental approach. And now it has gone one step further.
Lee Park occupies a 90 acre site. Greenkeeping staff have been able to blend the demands for an attractive and varied setting for a golf course with the needs to sustain a valuable area of habitat for wildlife.
Officials report that wildlife on the course has increased significantly while another benefit to the club has been the energy saving actions in the clubhouse which are helping to reduce bills.
The award judges noted: “The club recognises the savings that can be made by managing in a more educated and streamlined manner. Lee Park operates on normal budgets and by looking critically at each hole to see which areas could receive less intensive maintenance.”
The club also achieved GolfMark status from the EGU six years ago – the first on Merseyside – in recognition of its beginner-friendly and junior approach and child welfare policies.