Simon’s support for Stoke by Nayland sustainability principles

Simon’s support for Stoke by Nayland sustainability principles

15/05/2024

Sustainability is something that most people speak about in positive terms – but Stoke by Nayland Resort is doing far more than just talk the talk.

PGA professional Simon Dainty is the Golf and Business Development Manager at the Essex location and part of a team that is really making a difference.

The 36-hole hotel and spa’s banner headline is that it powers its own facility via an Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant located at neighbouring sister company, Boxford Farms. Not only that, but any surplus electricity produced is sold on to the grid.

Everything from grass trimmings, to maize, apple pomace and waste fruit are fed into the AD plant. “What comes out at the end is soil-association approved organic fertiliser, which we use on the golf course and also sell,” says Dainty.

Stoke by Nayland, which in the past played host to European Senior Tour events, also has its own water source. A cascading four-lake system harvests rainwater and means that there is no requirement for mains-supply irrigation on the Gainsborough and Constable courses.

Dainty, whose journey in the sport started at Stoke by Nayland in the early 1990s when he was a junior, is using the golf assets, especially the pro shop, to help awareness of the resort’s sustainability principles.

“I like the idea of us creating less waste,” says the 42-year-old, who recalls that in bygone days the sight of plastic cups strewn all over the golf course used to annoy him. “Why not make a little change to paper cups?” suggests Simon.

In fact, Dainty has taken best-hydration practice a step further by offering a free water refill service for stainless steel flasks purchased from the pro shop. The aim, of course, is to significantly reduce sales of plastic bottles.

He has other quick-fix green solutions that more PGA Professionals might like to consider. “The little wins would be along the lines of what you can tweak easily,’ says Simon, whose employment at Stoke by Nayland began in 2018.

"We don’t stock any plastic tees anymore – they’re all wooden or bamboo. There’s a tiny little increase in cost to the consumer, but we don’t offer any other option.

“Leather gloves instead of the plastic all-weather gloves. I don’t want to say we don’t have any of the non-leather gloves, but trying to move in that direction is what we’re starting and want to continue with.

“Even some of the displays we use are wooden now, not plastic. It just depends on what you want to spend your money and invest in.

“The goal would be to implement things slowly but surely and any little improvement is beneficial.”

In terms of golf wear, Dainty has firm ideas of the direction of travel that he would like consumers to take.

“We’re now taking on sustainable clothing, all organic cotton. Even the packaging – the little glue strips holding the packages together – has non-vinyl glue and the ink paint in printing is non vinyl. We’re trying to get away from the acrylic and the plastic and that side of it.”

Also worth flagging is that Stoke by Nayland has major expansion plans. ‘We are extending our hotel, spa and building another one and a half golf courses,’ Simon explains. “We will be a 63-hole venue at some point.”

It appears that the resort has a bright future – and a green one, certainly.

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