With more than 32 000 golf courses globally, and counting, it is imperative that we find ways to make golf courses more sustainable!
Love them or hate them, the fact of the matter is that golf courses are incredibly popular the world over. Unfortunately, golf courses come with a whole host of environmental and social issues. On the environmental front, water consumption and biodiversity are without doubt top of the list. Both of these are fast becoming issues on policy and business agendas, and so golf course managers and designers are necessarily needing to think about how they can change the face of golfing.
The critical issue of sustainable golfing is how to balance the desire for perfect conditioning of fairways and greens with the need to reduce inputs of chemicals and water. Reducing the excessive reliance on artificial chemicals and imported water is at the top of the list of concerns for greener greens.
Golf landscape/estate designers already have some solutions. They are fast retrofitting existing courses with ‘grey’ water recycling systems, thus reducing the reliance on potable water. Various organic fertilisers are now readily available options as well, so it need not be an entirely daunting task to make our golf greens greener!
The future of golf is set to change, one way or another. The GEO (Golf Environment Organisation) has recently released its draft Guidelines for Sustainable Golf Development. The GEO’s mandate is to connect golf, people & the planet by giving cutting-edge guidance on golf course management and development. Demonstrating a stringent commitment to sustainable golf solutions, the GEO grades courses according to water, energy and resource management and sustainability. The selection of golf courses that have managed to meet GEO certification criteria show that what will make for a world-class golfing experience is not only the greens you play on, but also what has been put into those greens. Although there are no South African GEO certified courses as yet, both the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club AND Leopard Creek have committed to become certified by 2013. For more info visit: www.golfenvironment.org
A summary from Simply Green Vol 4 # 1
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Water conservation and renewable energy such as solar energy are two issues that affect the global community; make a difference and start conserving water and switch to renewable energy today. Another way of reducing your carbon footprint is to switch to green insurance, now available in South Africa.