Golfers are ‘unaware’ of eco work golf clubs do

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 26, 2022 09:39

A new survey on golf sustainability has found that while many golf clubs carry out environmental best-practice measures, they could do better at communicating this to golfers.

The multi-market study by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) concludes that golf clubs have an opportunity to educate golfers about the sustainable practices they are baking into their day-to-day operations.

The research in the UK shows that over half of golfers are unsure whether their home course uses natural pest controls and fertilisers instead of chemical solutions.

A third of golfers in the UK are also ‘uncertain’ about what irrigation practices their clubs carry out.

There is also a lack of (at least perceived) solar energy usage at golf courses, according to the research.

“Now is the moment for golf clubs to shout from the rooftops about what they are doing to secure the future of the game and the planet,” said Richard Payne, director at SMS.

“We know many clubs are doing a lot of good work on their environmental footprints behind the scenes, and, with UK golfers expecting sustainability to become a more and more important focus in the next decade, this is the time for courses to make sure they are ahead of the curve in making their point.

“Visible changes like these cultivate a sense that we are all in this together and can be a spur to encourage golfers to boost sustainability efforts in their everyday lives.”

According to The R&A, golf course sustainability means: “Optimising the playing quality of the golf course in harmony with the conservation of its natural environment under economically sound and socially responsible management.” As courses move towards that ideal, golf may begin to see a move away from perfectly manicured and extensively watered properties and towards wilder looking but still high quality playing surfaces. Though the level of change achievable will vary course by course, factors including water management, fertilisation, aeration, top-dressing and mowing are all rife with opportunities for improvements in sustainability. According to The R&A, selecting the right grass can reduce resource inputs by 50 percent or more.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 26, 2022 09:39
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1 Comment

  1. PaulC March 26, 18:38

    For many years this has been the case, greenkeepers & course managers instigating & practicing environmentaly friendly strategies in complete ignorance of their memberships or customers.The real shame is that this can also cause conflict & friction between those in the club or on the committee with the staff or employed management with members thinking their golf course should be kept neat & tidy like a luxury back garden akin to a vision of the course to look like Augusta. I just wonder how many of the club’s golfers really want to know even when excellent communication is in place. Their main driver seems to be “finding their ball in the rough” on any part of the course, having striped turf everywhere & never missing a 6 foot putt. It doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe an economic squeeze will make some club think again about how being the custodians of an important piece of land & potentially mixed habitat can be more financially sound & deliver a quality golf course.

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