Every year, our grounds crew, led by Bob Nielsen, spearheads projects and practices intended to create exceptional playing conditions on the Golf Course while also holding the highest levels of care in reducing our impact on the environment. Demonstrating his commitment to eco-friendly practices, Bob currently serves as a director on the New York State Turf Grass Association board and is also a co-chair for the organization's government relations committee. He is treasurer of the New York Golf Course Environmental Foundation and a past president of the Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association. Bob has received awards from the New York State Turf Grass Association and the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America commending him for his environmental stewardship.
Included below is information on practices we currently employ at BGTC.
In early 2020 we partnered with Global Organics - a company that provides biological nutrients for sustainable and healthy soil, plant, animal, and human bioactivity and development. Global Organics comprises turfgrass scientists from throughout the country who consult on turfgrass conditions to reduce the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ). The EIQ is a formula created to provide growers with data regarding the environmental and health impacts of their pesticide options to make better-informed decisions regarding pesticide selections.
BGTC has reduced our EIQ by more than 50% in the first year. We are committed to continuing this next year, and further reductions are anticipated. This is truly a remarkable achievement, and we are grateful to Bob and his team for executing this initiative.
We report annually to the Bedford Wetlands Control Commission and regularly test the stream water where it enters our property and where it leaves. Registered testing facilities do these tests, and I am happy to report that BGTC complies with all required levels as the water traverses the property. In fact, in many cases, the water leaves our property cleaner than when it entered!
The Club has installed boxes for Eastern Bluebirds in several locations on the property to provide habitats and nesting sites to help with conservation efforts of a once declining species. Members Charles and Bonnie Tisi can be seen throughout the year checking and recording the activity in the boxes.
We have engaged a certified golf course architect to develop a master plan for the property. We believe that it is of the highest priority to have a plan! Over the past two years, we've developed a plan that incorporates playability and turf health and gives an awareness of what our property was like in the early 1900s before it was a golf course. We have also taken into account how the course was originally designed. As you may be aware, the Club was founded in 1891 but it was not until 1896 that golf was introduced. Originally there were just nine holes, mostly our current back nine, and the course was redesigned and added to in the early 1920s by famed golf course architect Devereux Emmet.
Over the years, many non-native trees have been planted and more “volunteer” trees have grown. Our goal for the underway tree work includes ensuring that damaged trees are safe, conducting annual pruning, removing dead or declining trees, and establishing a plan in conjunction with our arborist and golf course architect to replant trees. As part of our process a couple of years ago, you may have noticed that we removed some trees behind the 17th green. In doing so, we replanted two trees for each one we removed in the area around the pond adjacent to the 10th green. This practice will continue as we institute the new plan.
In keeping with our philosophy on the grounds, our food and beverage team follows a similar path. The Food and Beverage Department is committed to using biodegradable products when available. We purchase from responsible vendors that serve their communities and the environment. We are proud to be working with the best farmers and merchants in the Hudson Valley and Westchester to provide our members with the finest products New York State has to offer.
Chef Frankie is a member of Slow Food Metro North - a network of individuals dedicated to celebrating and preserving the amazing bounty of local and seasonal foods and traditions. You can read more about Slow Food Metro North here. Our team continues to work hard to source ingredients, products, produce, and vendors that minimize our impact on the environment and our community.
A few of our local partners include:
Cabbage Hill Farm
Mount Kisco, NY
Norwich Meadows Farm
Ronnybrook Farm Dairy
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
New York, NY
Red Hook, NY
Last year during the early part of the pandemic, we imagined a few new programs to help members source fresh produce and to avoid going to the grocery store. We brought in farm boxes with fresh seasonal produce and provided a grocery store experience utilizing many of our suppliers who themselves were struggling to stay in business. The program that we are most proud of introducing, which will continue in our new normal, is the BGTC Farmers Market that we held twice a month. This truly was an exceptional idea by Chef Frankie and was extremely well received by the membership!