Yesterday at work we went through the audit for the gold certificate on the German Golf Association’s program “Golf and Nature“.
It is held by the industrie’s expert on grass maintenance, and co-founder of the program Dr. Gunther Hardt and an official expert of DQS, Germany’s leading audit company on managerial processes. They brought a friend on mine along, who is interested in the inner workings of such a certification. We were studying together years back on the senior golf manager program at Rhein-Ruhr Campus. This was nice (both the course taken together years back and seeing him again yesterday).
What can not be said of the rest of the day. It turned into an ordeal, really. Our head greenkeeper and I have spent weeks, comprising all the documentation on work routines, safety and health regulations, communicational strucures and so forth, we have met Gunther (whom I know since years and consider almost a friend) in spring to go through every single point of the program and discuss, what still needs further improvement. Four weeks ago, I had a lenghty conversation with Gunther on the phone, to make absolutely sure, we have everything covered.
Just to find out yesterday, that not even Gunther can predict, what the independent controller from DQS will say or do. After seven hours of going through everything we have done plus a thorough inspection on all relevant things in the company (workplaces, machinery, tools, chemicals etc.), they protocolled everything and withdrew to form their verdict. The DQS man came up with two points, he wanted improved and appropriate documentation forwarded to him at the latest in February next year. But – he did sign the document, granting us the gold certificate. On condition that we provide also a complete risk assessment on the restaurant and for the customers themselves (and not just on greenkeeping and office, as was asked for and provided) and a DGUV V3 certificate (this is a check-up on every moveable or stationary electrical equipment in use throughout the company).
What annoyed me, was not the fact, that these things have to be done but that the information, that they are included in the audit was’nt given in advance. So we had no chance to deal with the requirements.
However, we were assigned gold and come next spring, the CEO, the President and Head Greenkeeper will be officially and publicly awarded the certificate at the Golf Association’s annual assembly. For our own use, we already received a copy of the certificate yesterday evening. So as of today, we are one of the just 70 (of a total of 727) golf clubs in Germany, who hold the gold certificate on highest standards on sustainable, environmentally friendly and safe working standards, conforming with ISO 14001. The requirements of ISO 14001 are an integral part of the European Union‘s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). So I guess it was worth the effort.