It has been ten years since we first set out to work with the industry on strategy and tools to help golf navigate the challenges and opportunities around sustainability in a changing world - a good milestone for looking back, and for looking ahead.
Looking back, a lot of important work has been completed. With input from hundreds of people worldwide, an innovative and widely respected sustainability platform has been created for golf, finding its way into use in one-hundred countries. In tandem, golf has supported the development of a trusted not-for-profit group entirely dedicated to golf and sustainability, known for credibility, collaboration and developing scalable and effective solutions. Research has continued by golf bodies and universities. Innovative solutions have been developed by practitioners, suppliers and manufacturers. And more and more people are taking action - seeing the connection between sustainability and golf’s image and future vitality.
Looking ahead, this is where the real impact will be made. For golf, sustainability carries direct benefits from cost-effective facility operations and tournament staging, to more compelling and successful golf development, and ultimately helping to future-proof an industry which is increasingly under pressure from land and water scarcity, climate change, regulation and reputation.
For society at large, meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is a tall order – but sport can play a significant role, with the ability to inspire extraordinary levels of attention from its followers. Most sports are starting initiatives to make their operations more sustainable, and then become advocates in front of fans and spectators, and evidence shows this is very well received.
As one of the sports with the most integral connections to the environment, golf has clear reasons and a strong platform to step out ahead, visibly and confidently. With more golf facilities, tournaments and new developments around the world becoming involved, golf will soon be able to report widespread tangible outcomes on the ground as well as attitudinal changes – with a growing bank of real-time recording of practices, data and highlights. This could be a game changer for the way the sport is perceived, supported and enjoyed in the future.
On behalf of the team working for you at GEO and our many partners, supporters and friends, you are invited to join the growing community of people helping to drive sustainability in and through the sport of golf.