In their own words: Jonathan Smith

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 20, 2020 05:01

The founder and executive director of GEO Foundation explains the benefits to a golf club from going green.

To use a golfing term, you could say we are at a ‘point of impact’ when it comes to sustainability. The state of our environment, in particular, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution and climate change are rarely out of the headlines.

Similarly, ‘pace of play’ is key – in terms of how quickly individuals, businesses, sectors and society respond to growing risks and opportunities. The great news for golf clubs is that sustainability is also just good business. It’s a win-win across both golf facility operations and marketing, with very few, if any, significant trade-offs.

Let’s take the most basic equation. A golf club which emphasises water and energy efficiency, focuses on turf health, reduces area of maintained turf where possible, and actively promotes its ‘social purpose’ in the community will result in lower expenditure, a better golfing experience and greater popularity. Furthermore, with the right approach, it will future-proof itself against drought, flooding, cost rises, regulation and reputation risks.

This ‘sustainable’ approach can be a game changer for golf clubs that are struggling to make ends meet. It can save money immediately, reinvigorate the core product, provide new points of value for local government support and change perception amongst local people. It can bring staff together to help solve problems and strengthen the business.

© Tristan Jones

One of the things GEO is dedicated to, and passionate about, is helping people who run golf and golf clubs to understand what they’re currently doing well, where they can most effectively and efficiently improve, and how they can communicate for maximum impact. That’s why, with the support of bodies such as The R&A, we provide strategic services, OnCourse® support programme and GEO Certified® eco-label to the sport.

This is also why we work so hard to help connect and share the commitments, actions and results of associations, clubs, tournaments and others across the sport – so that each example of individual leadership guides and inspires others, building the collective evidence that can truly elevate the image of the game.

Sustainability issues will increasingly impact the success of golf facilities – and golf – in a wide range of direct and indirect ways. It’s a good time to capitalise on the movement, step forward as leaders and show the true social and environmental value of our land and community-based enterprise.

To find out more about GEO Foundation, programmes for support and recognition, and ways to join golf’s sustainability movement, visit and @sustainablegolf 


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 20, 2020 05:01
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