Golf - ACTIVE IN SUSTAINABILITY

In Switzerland, golf courses and facilities cover a surface area of 42 km2. 

Division of playing zones on golf courses

Areas of rough cover between 25 and 30 per cent of a golf course. There, upkeep is limited to mainly simple, and more or less frequent mowing, depending on the season. The fairways take up a slightly smaller surface area than the roughs, i.e. between 25 and 30 per cent of the golf course.

However, the upkeep of the fairways is more intensive. during the fertilising period, and they can be mowed anything from 0 to 4 times a week. When necessary, the clubs also have recourse to phytosanitary methods of treatment or irrigate only the fairways, as required, sparingly and in a targeted way.

The tees (2% of the total surface area of a golf course) are maintained in a similar way to the fairways. Although the greens make up only 2% of the surface area of a golf course, greenkeepers dedicate most of their working hours to cutting and watering the greens, daily where possible, during the high season. On top of that come mechanical interventions and, as required, the use of plant protection products. An interesting fact is that 80% of phytosanitary treatments are concentrated on 4% of the surface area of a golf course (greens and tees).

The three-thirds rule

It is also interesting to note that the larger the total surface area of a golf course, the more the natural areas increase. Indeed, it doesn’t make much sense to endlessly expand greens, fairways or tees.

In Switzerland, the tendency is for distribution according to the three-thirds rule:

  • a maximum of 1/3 of the total surface area for intensive short-grassed areas (greens, tees and fairways) and structures (buildings, paths and bunkers),
  • a maximum of 1/3 of the total surface area for roughs, i.e. extensive meadows and/or shrubs and bushes, but no semi-intensive short grass,
  • at least 1/3 of the total surface area for nature reserve areas and biotopes (surface areas with high ecological value).

A golf course consists of 40% nature reserve areas and 30% roughs, i.e. 70% of the surface area is fairly untouched by humans.