Golf is a major and expanding sport, leisure and tourism activity with significant environmental impacts. The impacts of golf and other sports facilities are increasingly addressed through Voluntary Environmental Programmes (VEPs). Since the late-1980s, VEPs have gained popularity because they theoretically overcome the weaknesses of environmental legislation, improve environmental performance beyond minimum legal compliance and confer competitive advantage. Yet their effectiveness is contested and they are only partially accepted. There is very limited research on the growing participation of golf and other sports in VEPs. Our international review paper outlines the environmental impacts of golf, analyses the strategic ‘green’ pressures affecting the sport, reviews the theory and practice of VEPs, and draws conclusions on this under-researched field.