Ryder Cup Going Greener Than Ever
With Gleneagles very much OnCourse with the Golf Environment Organization, and working to become GEO Certified in time for the 40th staging of the Ryder Cup, the scene is set to ensure that, be it European blue or USA red at the top of the leaderboard, Green will also be a winner.
The Ryder Cup’s Green Drive got underway with the K Club, Ireland, in 2006 and formed a major plank of the event’s delivery plan four years later at Celtic Manor in Wales.
The 2010 Green Drive set out clear objectives, supported by best practice recommendations for Energy, Water, Waste, Pollution Prevention and Ecological Conservation. These issues cut across a number of areas of event delivery; from venue management, to transportation, infrastructure, catering, and installation of fixtures and fittings.
Richard Hills, the Ryder Cup Europe Director who has overseen the last nine European based events reflected, “A great deal of effort was put into the environmental sustainability of this event.”
“We wanted to build on previous efforts and take the initiative to a new level - with a more comprehensive breadth and depth of delivery. We are indebted to all our partners in Wales, who united behind the initiative and helped us realise a tremendous number of practical achievements, whilst maintaining an incredibly high quality.”
“Now we are working hard with partners in Scotland to achieve even more”
The Ryder Cup’s voluntary commitment has been welcomed by the Scottish government, just as it was by the Welsh government in 2010. Sports Minister Shona Robison anticipates that “2014 will be a huge year for sport in Scotland and the Scottish Government is delighted to support the 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive.” Robison recognises that, “This is an opportunity to connect our policies on sustainable development, green energy, biodiversity and waste with a global sporting event that can raise awareness domestically and internationally.”
Scotland 2014 will be the third Ryder Cup outing for Jonathan Smith, GEO’s Founder and Chief Executive. With a little under two years to go, he’s relishing the opportunity to extend the reach and visibility of the Green Drive.
“Environmental and social performance are becoming part of the Ryder Cup’s DNA. Policies and expectations are set out early on; partners and stakeholders are engaged; venues are working hard; best practice is being integrated as far as is possible into staging; mitigation measures are carefully designed; and communications are becoming more creative – so that spectators and viewers can sense sustainability as an added value to the celebration and drama of the sport.”
Gleneagles is already on the environmental case. 31-year veteran at Gleneagles is Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles’ Golf Courses and Estate Manager, who leads a 50-strong team (which will almost double come 2014) covering the magnificent 850 acre Perthshire estate.
“The Green Drive initiative fits very well with our track record of environmental management and community engagement. Having employed professional sustainability and environmental managers for over a decade, we feel well placed to contribute and look forward to identifying new opportunities across the Resort’s operations, as well as raising our own performance still further towards September 2014.”
If the 40th Ryder Cup does indeed pull in the expected 40,000 spectators a day at Gleneagles, as well as the hundreds of millions watching around the world on television, then the Ryder Cup’s Green Drive will be broadcast to the size of audience it needs to be and is intended for. It will also champion how golf can contribute to local, national and global legacies at the same time as respecting the environment and supporting the local communities.
Above: The 2014 Ryder Cup Green Drive Steering Group