Sustainability Takes Centre Stage in Tuscany and Rio

Tuesday 4 September 2012

It was billed as the keynote session of the 2012 KPMG Golf Business Forum, and it did not disappoint. Gil Hanse, the successful bidder for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games golf course design work, wasted no time in revealing that his pitch – perhaps the game changer for his practice against many high profile designers – had three facets: design, legacy and sustainability.

“Sustainability was an important part of 
the presentation,” Hanse told the Forum, explaining, “We are creating something
 that may not be the norm in terms of a championship course – it is a par-71 course you can walk – but which will serve as a model for golf courses in emerging markets.” He continued, “Until then, we have to make the delivery of water more efficient."

“Sustainable golf happens by design, and from the very beginning of 
a project”

“It’s all about water,” said the American, explaining, “It may force the hand of green golf, and I mean the colour of our courses and, in the future, the availability of water and constant restrictions will eventually tip our hand.”

“In the court of public opinion, golf is an easy target and doesn’t produce anything, yet, as an industry, we know we produce millions of jobs globally, billions of dollars 
of economic development, often tourism related, but we don’t do a good job 
of letting the public know that.” Hanse concluded, “We need to prove that the golf industry is an important part of the economy, otherwise water restrictions will be much more easily placed on us.”

J. Rhett Evans, CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, who was Moderator for the sustainability session said, “The KPMG forum provides a platform to bring together thought leaders from around the world, where new ideas
are forged and knowledge gained,” adding, “That the environment was centre stage, not only during the formal debate but also throughout the informal debates, confirms just how essential it is that the game and its environment proceed ‘hand in glove’.”

KPMG Golf Business Forum -

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