EnvironmentCertified for sustainability
In balance with nature. At the Andermatt Golf Course, sport is in harmony with nature. We designed the 18-hole, par-72 championship course with ecological aspects in mind and operate it in an environmentally friendly manner.
Golfing.Sustainable and environmentally
With the initiative Andermatt Responsible, we are endorsing sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism operations. We have set ambitious goals, and we are doing everything we can to achieve them.
The Andermatt Golf Course meets or exceeds all criteria of the World Golf Environmental Organization (GEO) in the areas of nature conservation, resources management and social integration.
Swisstainable.Engaged in the long term
Andermatt Swiss Alps is participating in the Swisstainable programme by Switzerland Tourism. Thereby we are committing ourselves to sustainable corporate governance and continual enhancement in terms of sustainability. All of our Group’s companies achieved Level II (engaged), and the Andermatt Golf Course even Level III (leading).
Independent monitoring actions are carried out on a regular basis, and they have confirmed that the golf course provides ecological added value for the Urseren Valley. Many animals have found a new home here, including endangered species. In all, only 26 percent of the 1.3 million square metres of land is used for the golf course. Nearly three-quarters of the area is split between agriculture use and environmental offset area, which includes the cantonal conservation area Bäz. The golf course was designed with nature in mind, and this has led to an increase in the region's biodiversity.
Birds thrive on the Andermatt Golf Course. The environmental areas created along the ponds are especially popular. Monitoring conducted by the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach concluded that the golf course has had a positive impact on the populations of breeding birds in the region. The first bird count was performed in 2006. Further monitoring actions took place in 2012 and 2019. Of the 149 species of birds that have been identified in the Urseren Valley, 118 have been spotted on the golf course, a clear indication that the habitat situation has improved for birds.
A total of 56 species have been identified – 10 of them classified as endangered in Switzerland – meaning that butterfly diversity is encouragingly high. Armed with binoculars, a net, specimen containers and a magnifying glass, Heinz Bolzern set off from the Office for Nature Conservation Ecology to spend time in the field on four different days. He studied an area of about 34 hectares featuring four topographically distinct sections – three in the primarily arid slope zone and one on the damp/wet level. In the area he studied, Bolzern identified more than one-quarter of the 200 or so species native to Switzerland.
The dragonfly count revealed that the golf course is home to an astonishingly large number of dragonfly species. Twelve species were identified, meaning considerable species diversity for this altitude. The numerous bodies of water, which vary in size and depth and are home to diverse types of water plants in various succession stages, constitute the foundation for the diversity that one encounters. Notably, the new water elements on the golf course are home to a larger variety of dragonfly species and have higher population numbers than is the case with existing ponds.
An unusual sight at the edge of the Andermatt Golf Course: an entire herd of goats are at work for nature conservation. The golf course, with its impressive location amidst mountains, streams and rock formations, strives to operate in the most environmentally friendly manner, and this also includes dry grasslands with a wealth of species. Since they are not used for farming, these grasslands are at risk of becoming forested; in particular, alder spread very quickly. The goats eat the alder, which keeps the species diversity intact, and the fairways and greens continue to border on wild meadows with numerous rare plants, butterflies, and grasshoppers. Goatherds tend to the goats, which spend about one month on the golf course grounds.
Alpine long-eared bats primarily live in the mountainous regions of Europe and western Asia. Popular roosting spots can hold as many as 50 bats – often in church towers, under stone roofs or in screes. The two old outbuildings on the golf course have now been repurposed to serve as roosts for Alpine long-eared bats. Both buildings have the potential to house large colonies.
The impressive wood formations[CC1] are from a time long past. The trees were preserved in the moor 3,000 years ago. They came to light when the golf course was being built. Today, they have been carefully layered to form so-called “deadwood piles” and offer valuable habitats for beetles, ants and wild bees. One of these piles of deadwood can be seen on the 11th hole.
Mountain streams are striking landscape elements. One of the denizens of these streams is the Alpine salamander. Owing to a generous amount of scree, it encounters just the right mix that it prefers. It is mostly found under rocks or deadwood. But it also likes damp Alpine meadows and dwarf shrubs. The Alpine salamander’s greatest nemesis are humans and the destruction of its habitat, which exists only in the Alps and a few other European high mountains, making it unique.
Alpine groundhogs are a relic of the Ice Age. Their habitat is limited to high mountain regions, where conditions are optimal for them. Because they hibernate for six months, they are also able to survive in inhospitable areas. During their long hibernation, hedgehogs live off their fat reserves. Here, in the Alpine meadows around Andermatt, they find a suitable habitat and sufficient food. They live in extensive burrows in the soil.
Dry stone walls, like the ones along the 4th hole, are of great importance as a landscape element. But they also serve as a home for reptiles. This traditional form of wall construction uses no cement or mortar. The stones are carefully stacked, making them very stable. If you look closely, you’ll find slow worms and viviparous lizards, who enjoy sunning themselves at warm spots on the dry stone walls.
The flora of the Andermatt golf course is exceptionally diverse, rare and beautiful - this is the conclusion reached by the Ecology Expert Commission following the 2023 inventory. The occurrence of the endangered heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) is of outstanding importance. In addition, nine other Red List species and a large number of different orchids were described.
Environment protection measures. Thinking for the long term
The golf course in Andermatt was designed from the ground up to be environmentally friendly. For instance, the tees and greens are drained through a layer of filter gravel and built-in drainage pipes, and ponds serve to regulate the water supply on the course. Pesticides are used very sparingly, and leachate from greens and tees is filtered through an absorbing well in the ground before being released into the water elements. That keeps the discharge of fertilisers and pesticides to a minimum. Energy is completely climate-neutral.
Nutrient supply is calculated annually based on soil analyses and supplemented with special micro-organisms that help the grass to ward off turf diseases. That enables us to keep the use of pesticides to a minimum. Protective buffers near the water element zones are strictly enforced. The share of organic fertiliser is being increased each year and currently stands at about 30 percent. In addition, the Andermatt Golf Course does not use growth regulators.
When possible, the Andermatt Golf Course uses local suppliers and puts special emphasis on sustainable materials. The Andermatt Golf Course obtains consumables, such as sand, from local plants, where possible. All golf course signage was produced in the canton of Uri. Unpainted wood tees and pencils are available.
The Andermatt Golf Course does not use PET bottles. Drinking stations provide golfers with fresh mountain water, both sparkling and still, at no charge. Golfers can bring their own water bottle or borrow a reusable one at the reception desk in exchange for a deposit.
The golf course has a state-of-the-art irrigation system with individually controlled sprinklers, which enables irrigation to be deployed where it is needed in a thrifty manner. Areas irrelevant to golfing are not irrigated. On average, about three decilitres of water are used per square metre per day for irrigation. A total of 18 cubic metres of water is used per year for cleaning golf balls at the driving range, equivalent to the amount used for a 10-minute shower.