Going Green On The Greens Could Help The Game

Latest estimates suggest that one golf course in the United States will use, in one day, roughly the same amount of water as the total amount used by 15000 American citizens in the same 24 hour period.

At the same time Donald Trump is discovering that the doughty residents of the North East of Scotland are less willing to pander to his whims than the apprentices who queue up to feel his ire and suffer the shame of ridicule on national television.

Watch out golf – the environmentalists are coming.

From trampling on sites of special scientific interest to pouring chemicals into great swathes of land throughout the known world to Tiger, Phil et al arriving at tournaments in separate fuel guzzling jets, golf is under scrutiny as never before.

These attacks on the greens from the greens would have mattered less twenty years ago. Then the environmentalist lobby could be all but written off as the kind of university drop out who ranked Marxism and hating golf as their main passions.

Not so now. Al Gore and others have changed all that. Gore could, in fact, probably make the tournament committee of a more liberal club if he wasn’t traversing the very globe he is trying to save to spread his message. Environmentalism has gone mainstream.

Golf’s reaction has not been as knee jerk as you might imagine. Since 1994 the European Tour and the R&A have been active partners in a golf ecology programme, now spearheaded by a UK based not for profit organisation called Committed to Green.

Indeed as long ago as 1999 European Golf stood shoulder to shoulder with the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Wide Fund for Nature and endorsed the Valderamma Declaration on Golf, Environment and Sustainability.

In the US efforts are also being made to try to encourage a more responsible attitude to the environment from “chip in for recycling” trash cans on courses to supporting the work of the Environmental Institute for Golf.

But is it enough? Clearly a lot of talking and some action won’t satisfy the most ardent eco warrior but golf’s powers that be are to be applauded for taking steps in the right direction. But golf, with common sense, can do more.

Firstly take some personal responsibility. Do the top players really need to fly in separate private jets each and every week?

Secondly take some decisions on how courses are managed. You can carry on pouring water and chemicals onto courses all you want but please accept that it’s bad for the planet. More than that though it’s bad for golf.

Let courses be courses. When the wind blows my game will have to adapt. Why should my game not have to adapt when there’s not much rain. I don’t want a course in China to look exactly the same as a course in Aberdeen. I don’t want a course in Texas to look and play the same as a course in Sweden.

That’s not golf.

So here’s a radical proposal. Cut down on the irrigation and artificial fertilisers that are helping to create a uniform game from a sport that should revel in its diversity. Then in one fell swoop you would appease many of the environmentalists and, hopefully, curb the need for ever longer courses and technological advances. Players would have to play again and a little bit of magic might be restored.

As for Donald Trump? Well, the main stumbling block might be his vision of building 1000 luxury homes as part of the course development. I’d guess he’s big enough to fight that on his own.

3 Responses to “Going Green On The Greens Could Help The Game”

  1. Tony Savage says:

    The main driving force for human attainment is ‘progress’ and that generally means a potential enrichment in all things that contribute to the welfare to the average person. Do you really think that the average man is about to forego all that he has strived for in order to go backward? The answer is obvious but I’ll spell it out. NO!

  2. Patrick Cox says:

    Fully agree with the go green sentiments. If wherever we play plays the same we may as well just play our own course. Thanks for the Emails Andy and keep um coming

  3. Harold Zink says:

    It seems to me that we should build courses with water impoundments that can be replenished by wells when rain is not enough, and the course could be watered from the aerated water pumped from the impoundments.

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