When the golf course at Drax was built in 1989, an extensive tree planting operation took place. Due to the site's history, it was expected that two-thirds of the trees planted would eventually die. Fast forward to 2017, and you would find that the majority of trees planted were still in situ. Although, many were becoming diseased due to the lack of space caused by overplanting with trees battling for light.
In the winter of 2017/2018, the greens staff began the first stint of their Tree Regeneration Programme. This process was designed to remove the old, diseased trees, thus improving airflow across the golf course, before strategically planting new evergreens such as Scotch Pines.
Two seasons later, with many trees removed, Drax was lucky to be selected to be part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy and received five tree saplings. Since then, Drax has continued to plant over 250 trees on the golf course ranging from Hazel and Cherry Blossom to Norway spruce.
In October 2021, Head Greenkeeper Mark Sneap had an idea. What if we could replant Christmas Trees on the golf course and save them from going to landfills? After some quick research, we found that over 6 million Christmas trees are taken to landfill each year. With this, our 'Replant your Christmas Tree' initiative was born.
The Drax Golf Club social media team quickly sprang into action and called for people who were ordering real Christmas trees to ensure that they ordered them with the root ball still attached. This way, the trees could be re-planted on the golf course in the new year.
Come to the end of the festive break, Drax received 15 Christmas trees which have since been replanted.
Following the successful return, Drax Golf Club has now been shortlisted for the Sustainability Project of the Year award at this year's England Golf Awards. Full details of the awards can be found on the England Golf Website: https://www.englandgolfawards.org/finalists
Club Secretary Liam Ridgill went on to say:
"Whilst this [15 trees] may not sound like a lot, it is one small step in creating a more sustainable approach to disposing of real Christmas Trees. We have already started on plans for 2022 to ramp up the campaign and increase awareness.
Being shortlisted for an England Golf Award in itself is a fantastic achievement. Ever since Mark's appointment in 2017, sustainability has been at the core of every project he and his team have undertaken. We have already installed a borehole, built five 'bug hotel's and created two large wildflower areas to help enhance our diverse eco-system.
For us, being shortlisted for such a prestigious award is not just recognition of the replant your Christmas Tree campaign, but all of the work the Club has carried out over the last five years".
The England Golf Awards, sponsored by adidas, will again take place online and will be streamed live on the England Golf YouTube channel. The ceremony will take place on 20 April 2022. #EGAwards2022