Environmental Stewardship at Baker Hill

 

Baker Hill Golf Club (BHGC) is committed to the implementation of a wide range of proactive measures to help protect and sustain the local environment.  Situated in a stunning New England upland setting above Lake Sunapee, the club is home to a wide diversity of plants and wildlife. The course was designed by Rees Jones to incorporate the natural contours of the land with special attention to protecting the environment.  We seek to provide members with a distinctive golfing experience and to responsibly care for the land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources upon which the course is sustained.
                                               
  Audubon International has designated BHGC as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.  BHGC achieved certification in all categories  of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program in 2012 and uses this program to remain up to date with best management practices and guide ongoing course management procedures.

 

Baker Hill’s Environmental Stewardship is organized around four key areas:

WILDLIFE AND HABITAT MANAGEMENT
The 266-acre course is situated on a mixture of habitats which include stands of northern hardwoods, conifers, hemlock, and pine, natural wetlands and former meadow and pastureland that once belonged to a colonial era farm. These diverse habitats attract a large variety of plants and wildlife which combined with the commanding views of the surrounding region provides a unique golf course setting.

The natural wetlands have been preserved and incorporated into the course design and these define a number of the holes.  Several features from the former farm are kept, including an historic barn which was renovated in 2002 to serve as the pro shop.  Stone walls from the farm are maintained and incorporated as features into the course.
Past projects have included:

  • Planting over 500 shrubs to re-vegetate wetlands and provide wildlife corridors
  • Planting wetland grass mixtures to encourage wildlife feeding
  • Stocking golf course ponds with fish
  • Installing over 90 nest boxes and 8 Wood Duck nests
  • Installing bat houses
  • Installing 2 fox dens
  • Returning approximately 5.5 acres of mowed and irrigated grass to natural fescue
Currently we are implementing a project to create two pollinator areas to support insect and butterfly populations as part of the National Monarchs in the Rough program.
 
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Baker Hill implements an Integrated Pest Management program to scout and monitor pest populations and plan sustainable interventions biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools. This approach enables pests to be effectively managed while minimizing health and environmental risks.
We adopt a multipronged approach utilizing non-chemical means to eradicate pests when possible. These include:
  • Using the latest pathogen resistant grass varieties available
  • Aerification to ensure water, nutrient, and root system maximization
  • Thatch control—mechanical removal and biological decomposition (molasses)
  • Fertilization via “spoon feeding”
  • Selective tree removal to improve air movement and shade reduction. This not only improves playability but promotes healthier turf that requires less chemical input 
Baker Hill has a state-of-the-art maintenance facility with pesticide storage and wash water and green waste recycling system.

WATER CONSERVATION AND QUALITY MANAGEMENT
A particular emphasis has been placed on water management since the inception of the course.

Water is conserved by returning storm water run-of to the irrigation storage pond via an underground catch basin system. Irrigation is optimized based upon evapotranspiration and soil moisture monitoring and use of computer controls for site specific water placement and and cycle/soak adjustments. Additionally, wetting agents are used to achieve maximum water percolation.  Secondary roughs are planted to fescues and need no supplemental water.

Water quality is managed through a combination of storm water recycling and retention to limit run-off to other areas, use of turf buffer zones adjacent to sensitive wetlands, and judicious fertilizer and pesticide use. A water recycling system is used for cleaning equipment.

The club liaises with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association and provides the Association with regular water samples from 8 locations across the course.


OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
A key enabler of the club’s environmental stewardship performance is the ongoing education, awareness building, and outreach to primary stakeholders, namely Members, Guests, Maintenance Staff, Neighbors, and the Local Community.

This includes:
  • Member, Guest and general public outreach via this website
  • Member updates and reminders via email
  • Enrolling Members, Guests and staff in reporting wildlife sightings
  • On course signage
  • Regular education of seasonal staff about the Audubon Program, Course management practices, IPM, invasive plants, etc.
  • Ongoing liaison with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association and NH Audubon (who own and manage the Stoney Brook Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to the course)

  Baker Hill is an active member of the New Hampshire Golf Course Superintendents Association and providing input to the statewide Best Management Practices program. 
 
 A Stewardship Committee formed of several members and the course superintendent meet regularly to monitor performance, maintain an environmental plan, and initiate new projects. Baker Hill is proud of its proactive stance towards protecting and sustaining the local environment. If any members or guests have suggestions or would like to contribute to this work, please contact the General Manager or Course Superintendent.