The Springs Golf Club in Oxfordshire has become the 70th golf course in the UK to receive Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Certification.
GEO Certification is golf’s most comprehensive and widely regarded sustainability distinction and has been awarded to only 2% of golf courses in the UK. This figure includes The Springs’ sister club, Dundonald Links, which is one of only 20 clubs globally to have achieved accreditation three times.
GEO Certification recognises advanced sustainability in golf, with courses having to demonstrate a credible standard in the areas of Nature, Resources and Community, as well as their commitment to continual improvement. The team at The Springs has been working towards achieving GEO certification since the club joined the Darwin Escapes portfolio of courses and lodge resorts in 2017.
During this time, Darwin has invested more than £1.4m to improve the course and its facilities, with sustainability at the heart of all the enhancements. Improvements have been made to ensure that the course offers a well-rounded golfing experience for all members and guests with the length of the course improved to attract golfers of all categories.
Bunkers have been reconstructed using improved construction methods which have seen bunker faces become more raised and visible. A number of holes have been redesigned and improvements have also been made to the lake features to make them a more integral part of the course. New changing facilities have also been introduced in the clubhouse, together with the bar and dining facilities being updated.
Darwin is continuing to invest in The Springs and has ambitious plans to transform it into Oxfordshire’s leading golf resort. Work is already underway to add luxury lodge and hotel-style accommodation, make further improvements to the clubhouse, introduce a spa and gym and add a halfway house to the course.
Nineteen lodges will be incorporated into the site, which will offer self-contained accommodation featuring fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas and two bedrooms. In addition, the new resort will feature 28 hotel suite lodge rooms. The clubhouse will be upgraded and extended, with an expanded food and beverage provision catering to both golfers and resort guests and two custom fit simulator rooms will be introduced.
In line with the GEO certification, a significant focus of the development work will be on enhancing the natural landscape and environment of the golf course. Tree, hedge, shrub and grassland planting will use native species that will enhance the wider landscape character of the golf course to be more in line with the natural Chilterns landscape.
Lindsey Esse, managing director of Darwin Escapes, said: “Achieving GEO Certification is a wonderful achievement for all the team at The Springs. Over the last two-and-a-half years, they have worked tirelessly to help us transform The Springs into a club that offers golfers the best possible playing experience whilst also ensuring that we safeguard and nurture the natural environment of our course. We are all excited for what’s still to come at The Springs and are looking forward to welcoming guests to our lodges in 2021.”