At the recent Danish Greenkeepers Association (DGA) annual Education Week in November 2011, the Danish Golf Union (DGU), in collaboration with the DGA, presented a newly developed Internet based reporting tool for recording the use of pesticides on Danish golf courses.
The move comes at an important turning point for the golf course management industry in Denmark; although a voluntary agreement covering the reduced use of pesticides has been in place between the DGU and the Minister of Environmental Affairs since 2005, February 2012 will see the regulations given formal recognition. In the long term, the impending legislation is designed to progressively phase out the use of pesticides, while ensuring that only the most environmentally sensitive and low-risk products remain available in the meantime. Even these such products will be restricted, however, with specific limits being placed on the total amount of pesticide that can be applied in any one year. The examination process will be on-going, with February 2012 marking the beginning of a three year test and investigation period looking at how management programmes can be amended to deliver acceptable playing conditions under the new regime.
The IT solution
Realising the scale of the issue for golf courses throughout Denmark, the DGU and the DGA have been proactive in developing an effective support tool to guide course managers through the transition period. The new internet based reporting tool, which has been named the ‘Green Accounts’, covers all aspects of pesticide use and handling. The objective of the programme is to improve transparency and accountability in pesticide use as part of a systematic process of on-going reduction. The reporting process, which is undertaken annually in February, is based on the criteria defined in the upcoming legislation. With the collected data, the authorities will be in a strong position to monitor the use of pesticides on golf courses, taking immediate action in the case of any infringements upon the new regulations.
Responsibility to ensure compliance with the Green Accounts programme rests with the Boards of the individual golf clubs, with a requirement that the final submissions of information must be signed off by a current serving Board Member. Although not yet part of the process, discussions are currently being held concerning an additional requirement for reporting submissions to be signed off by a chartered accountant. This would provide a second stage of validation, to ensure that all figures are true and accurate before they are passed to the Minister of Environmental Affairs.
The Board of the DGU has now made an executive decision to make the use of the Green Accounts programme mandatory for all Danish golf clubs as of 2012. Any clubs found to be in violation of the new controls imposed by the authorities may face expulsion from the DGU; the national governing body for the game in Denmark. The level of commitment that is being directed towards the programme is an important indicator of the growing action being taken for a reduction in pesticide use in the country. According to growing European legislation, the scenario is a situation that many other EC Member States are likely to face in coming years.
For further information concerning the Green Accounts programme, or how the golf industry in Denmark is tightening its control of pesticides, please contact Torben Kastrup Peterson, Head of Golf Course Management at the DGU; email@example.com
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The Green Accounts programme is designed to progressively phase out chemical use on golf courses in Denmark, while ensuring that where application does take place, it is done correctly.
Reducing and controlling chemical use is a priority issue for golf courses around the world, since many are situated in close proximity to sensitive natural environments.