A new golf sustainability survey has found that while many golf clubs have good environmental practice measures in place, they could communicate this better to golfers.
The multi-market study by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) concludes that golf clubs have an opportunity to educate golfers on sustainable practices that they incorporate into their daily activities.
Research in the UK shows that more than half of golfers don’t know if their golf course uses natural pest control products and fertilizers instead of chemical solutions.
A third of golfers in the UK are also ‘unsure’ of their club irrigation practices.
There’s also a (at least perceived) lack of solar power use on golf courses, according to the research.
“Now is the time for golf clubs to shout from the rooftops about what they are doing to secure the future of the game and the planet,” said SMS Director Richard Payne.
“We know that many clubs are doing a lot of good work on their environmental footprint behind the scenes, and, with UK golfers expecting sustainability to become an increasingly high priority over the next decade, this is the time for courses to make sure they are ahead of the curve to make their case.
“Visible changes like these cultivate a sense that we’re all in this together and can be a boost to encourage golfers to strengthen sustainability efforts in their daily lives.”
According to The R&A, the sustainability of a golf course means: “Optimizing the quality of play of the golf course in harmony with the conservation of its natural environment within the framework of economically sound and socially responsible management”. As courses move closer to this ideal, golf can begin to move away from perfectly manicured and heavily watered properties towards wilder yet still high quality playing surfaces. Although the level of change achievable will vary from course to course, factors such as water management, fertilization, aeration, spreading and mowing are rife with opportunities to improve the durability. According to The R&A, choosing the right weed can reduce resource inputs by 50% or more.