There is a concerted drive by Golf’s Governing Bodies and Golfing Associations toward pro-sustainable management and maintenance of golf courses. The ultimate aim was for each course to achieve an ISO 14001 compliant Environmental Management System (EMS).
More recently golf specific organisations such as The Golf Environment Organisation (www.golfenvironment.org) and Audubon International (www.golfandenvironment.com) and others have illustrated tremendous leadership by refining sustainability fundamentals to be more applicable for our sport. Now, through these organisations, golf clubs worldwide can obtain more compatible advice, aim for more meaningful targets and achieve more relevant certification.
Indeed, some of the games most prominent names support our sports drive toward sustainable co-existence with our environment.
The environmental cost of divots has flown beneath the radar but research has revealed that our divots equate not to molehills but to mountains.
I only take a few dozen divots a month so how can that be an environmental concern?
“An average golfer will take 30 divots a round. If you multiply that by 200 rounds a day on a busy course, that adds up to a frightening amount of divots which are hard to keep on top of.”
Course Director Turnberry Golf Club, Host of the Open Championship 1977, 1986, 1994 & 2009.
To put this into greater perspective we might illustrate the data at a country level. Scotland boasts 550 golf courses with an average daily round count of 93. In 2007 KPMG Golf Sector reports there were 357 playable days in Scotland that year. With an average player taking 30 divots per round the annual count equates to a staggering 550 million divots in Scottish turf each and every year. Fortunately many courses mandate ‘preferred lie’ or ‘winter rules’ to stop irreparable damage after wet weather, during droughts or over the winter. Our aim is to halve the damage and affect ouir wonderful game as little as contempary engineering permits.