Golf has a lot to be proud of socially and economically. Currently global golf business generates an estimated $250-300billion annually, employing hundreds of thousands of people around the world, while the sport embraces people of all ages, races and beliefs. With a wealth of direct and indirect contributions to players and wider society, golf should aim to continue to be a force for good in parallel to promoting the game.
Golf is not an island. The industry has a collective responsibility to everyone whose lives it affects. With a huge economic and social value generated through the operation of thousands of businesses in facility management, development, event staging, media, product manufacturing, merchandising and tourism. As well as those directly involved in the business of golf, the sector also provides important social and economic benefits to communities.
The ripple effect
With attention to the needs of local people, golf clubs and developments can provide important inward investment that brings real quality of life improvements.
- Provide education and training opportunities.
- Contribute to community infrastructure, marketing and environmental projects.
- Aid community campaigns.
- Offer premises for seminars, meetings and other community events.
- Generate charitable revenues through philanthropic activity.
- Bring transport, energy, water and sanitation via golf projects in economically challenged regions.
- Create jobs.
- Boost local tourism.
It’s worth remembering too, just how much of a social force for good golf is. Club friendships, generations socialising together, and all those values of respect, sportsmanship and integrity being passed on.
Done well, golf development offers substantial social returns that go far beyond the financial bottom line. Done poorly it can incur social costs that will challenge the sustainability of any operation. The essence of a sustainable golf development is to bring the benefits people need and want and in parallel conserving the cultural heritage, traditions, landscape and access rights that local people value.