Charting a course for sustainable golf

08 Oct 2022

Charting a course for sustainable golf 


First, thanks to everyone who contributed to this first Sustainable Golf Week, following along, or sharing your stories, perspectives, support, challenging questions and new ambitions. It has been inspiring to see and hear from so many of the people committed to creating a future of sustainable golf. We're also hopeful the week has helped to launch renewed determination and enthusiasm.

Sustainability is not a simple task, and progress is not a straightforward path. It can be a messy and sometimes contradictory journey full of attitudinal, logistical and technological challenges, limiting factors, blind alleys, misconceptions and sometimes, misinformation and confusion.

However, given the scale and urgency of the environmental and related social concerns facing us today, it's essential to dive in anyway. To adopt the most evident and quick wins; to look for and learn from other proven actions and solutions; to make plans for longer-term adaptations and innovations.

To join the journey, making sustainability a lens through which golf courses and clubs, tournaments and associations are developed and managed. To add more value for nature and people, conserve resources, improve the carbon footprint, and help raise awareness and inspire action. From turf management to biodiversity, energy and water reduction and responsible sourcing, to community and employee value, talk openly about where you are today and where you might be able to go. 

If golf can do this, individually and together, the sport can absolutely adapt and innovate away from risks and into new opportunities—to be resilient, well-regarded and valuable as part of the solutions, not the problems. 

That said, while there are a lot of positive impacts already in play and more within close reach, some challenges will require particular focus and attention immediately and for years ahead.

How can golf courses adapt in areas with water scarcity? How can Scope 3 carbon emissions from travel and transport be reduced? Can we find and promote more ways to maintain healthy playing surfaces without synthetic chemicals? What role can golf courses take in helping restore watersheds and replenish aquifers? How can golf contribute even more to biodiversity conservation or carbon sequestration? Can golf landscapes and facilities integrate with cities and communities in new ways? 

The course for golf to become a valued leader in sustainability and climate action will combine short-term gains and longer-term aims. Seeing more and more people in and around the sport doing what they can now—while also considering the more significant challenges and opportunities.

For golf clubs and courses, add sustainability to the vision for your course and the purpose of your club. For tournaments, integrate sustainability into staging your event and the positive legacies it can provide, including awareness-raising in front of large audiences. For associations, make sustainability one of your strategic pillars, investing in ways to support your members and to represent golf's social and environmental value more strongly. For everyone, dive into the practical actions you can take today—and don't be afraid to communicate your vision and progress all along the journey. 

In this way, golf can quickly become the sport doing the most when it is needed the most, standing up for our planet and its people—for all of its biodiversity—making a difference where we can.

Are you sustainable golf?


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