12 Oct 2023
How golf can promote the value of nature across society
Nature is all around us and part of us, providing stunning landscapes, wondrous flora and fauna and countless opportunities for recreation and relaxation. As the world faces the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, it is crucial to promote an appreciation for nature and its intrinsic value. And golf, a sport so deeply rooted in the great outdoors, has a major role in demonstrating this value across society.
Thousands of golf courses around the world serve as sanctuaries for biodiversity, with an average of 50% of courses out of play and natural or semi-natural. From native grasses and wetlands to trees and wildlife, golf courses are teeming with natural elements that contribute to the well-being of biodiversity.
And when people play golf, it is the golfing landscape and nature all around that sticks in the memory long after the final putt has dropped.
Celebrating, educating and promoting the role of golf in providing crucial habitats for local wildlife and tackling the issue of biodiversity loss can take many forms, among players and club members, through staff working at the club, across the wider community and beyond through society. Sport has enormous reach and influence and can be a positive force for good.
Sport has the power to change the worldNelson Mandela
Tournaments have perhaps the greatest reach through the millions of TV viewers as well as the tens of thousands of fans on side. Stunning pictures of rich golfing landscapes are beamed around the world every week, each unique in its own way with a story to tell and champion nature, helping to accelerate and inspire more action for nature. Golf’s major Tours like the PGA Tour, DP World Tour with ‘Green Drive’, LPGA and LET with ‘Celebrating the Green supported by Dow’ initiatives provide the framework and platform to promote highlights from their events all around the world.
At clubs and facilities, there are many opportunities to promote and inpsire, some very much at grassroots level with simple signage around the course highlighting the flora and fauna and steps to protect and retore nature. Dundonald Links and Walton Heath are two such examples. Educating staff, committees, members and visitors on the practices further promotes how the game is playing its part in caring for nature and enhances the experience all the more.
Where golf courses implement conservation programs, rewilding initiatives, and native plantings to support local biodiversity, celebrate and promote these actions. A huge array of birds find refuge in golf course environments, sometimes as a stopover on a migratory route and other times as a permanent home and sharing rare and regular sightings is a simple step to promoting the nature on any course.
As educational tools, golf clubs have a golden opportunity as clubs, professionals, and organizations can leverage these spaces to educate the public on ecological preservation and sustainability. In many cases they are prime locations for schools and community groups to host field trips, teaching young minds about the importance of conservation and the impact of responsible land management. These experiences can spark a lifelong passion for nature, instilling a sense of stewardship and environmental responsibility.
By bringing people together in a shared appreciation for nature, golf can facilitate connections across cultures and generations. It provides a platform for discussions about environmental preservation and sustainability, creating a common ground for action.
As we confront the challenges of a rapidly changing world, golf #betterwithnature can be a leading light in taking action for nature, making a real difference both locally and globally by inspiring its community to act.