Last year we reported on the growth of sustainability in golf, making specific reference to the introduction of a new sustainability award being issued by the Global Golf Tourism Organisation (IAGTO).
At the time over 120 IAGTO members had enrolled in the Golf Environment Organisation’s (GEO) OnCourse Sustainability programme, with many pursuing full certification.
This year, the interest in sustainability continues with The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA) recently coming together to pledge their support for a united vision on responsible and sustainable golf course management. In an unprecedented move all 24 national green-keeping associations in Europe have agreed on a detailed and ambitious strategic vision for golf course management that embraces both nature and man.
We say unprecedented as this is the first time that all 24 national associations have a agreed on a strategy for their industry, according to FEGGA Chairman Olafur Thor Agustsson.
The strategy is the culmination of two years work consulting practitioners from within the associations and from the wider sustainability community. It consists of three core dimensions. The first deals explicitly with issues of resource consumption, waste, pollution, biodiversity and managed turf. The second dimension is targeted at education and research to improve best practice in golf course green-keeping and management. And the third dimension looks at how the industry can improve transparency through community outreach.
The strategy incorporates GEO’s OnCourse framework for monitoring and reporting, and has ambitious progress targets that will drive environmental, economic and social benefits for the industry and in the game.
And it’s not just in Europe that sustainable golf course management is taking off. San Francisco’s Olympic Club, one of the finest golf courses in North America, has recently published the first Corporate Social Responsibility report for a golf club. The report details exactly what Olympic are doing to address their environmental and social impacts, and pays particularly attention to water management.
According to the report, which was prepared in partnership with sustainability consultancy Impact360, 97% of water used on Olympic golf course is recycled. This compares to a US country club average of 25%.
The Olympic CSR report demonstrates that there is clearly huge gains to be had for the industry in reducing resource consumption, conserving water and energy and investing in sustainable golf course management practices that drive environmental and economic benefits.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for sustainability in golf. If you are a veteran to the game or just a beginner golfer, know that the sport is in the midst of redefining itself greener, and better!