Behind the Green at BMW PGA Championship
Last week saw golf’s greats battle it out at the 2016 BMW PGA Championship at the famous Wentworth Club, and while the trophy has been won and the spectators have gone home, for some the event is still going. Although the competition lasts only four days after months of planning and preparing to hosting one of the UK’s biggest annual golf events there’s the careful take down of the site afterwards to think about. Staff and contractors work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running and closing of a tournament that is not only the perfect platform for spectacular sport but is also a strong example of sustainable golf.
“We are very aware of the responsibility we have to host a tournament that respects and protects the environment and supports local groups and causes” explained Fredrik Lindgren, European Tour’s Head of Corporate Responsibility. “European Tour’s GreenDrive programme is committed to enhancing the environmental value of tournaments like the BMW PGA Championship.”
Having first started at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, European Tour’s GreenDrive programme has continued to build momentum since, mentored by GEO (Golf Environment Organization), it delivered the first zero waste to landfill Ryder Cup in 2014.
“We’ve been working with GEO to continue grow the GreenDrive programme” continued Mr Lindgren, “this year we’re aiming to calculate the carbon footprint of five of our biggest events, including the BMW PGA Championship and we’re excited about how that information can help us to progress further along our sustainability journey.”
Some of the initiatives in place at this years BMW PGA Championship include electric cars and buggies, staff bikes, recycling bins, energy efficient generators, site protection measures. In addition we also do charity fundraising and work with local schools through the Golf Foundation. GreenDrive aims to not only gather information for next year but to also take real action this year to protect nature and use resources efficiently.
“Nature protection is the priority at Wentworth” said Paul Dunstan, Assistant Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship. “The club borders Wentworth Nature Reserve and is itself an important habitat for wildlife. The Greenkeeping team at The Wentworth Club make a tremendous effort to ensure the protection of these sensitive areas throughout the year. From the siting of grandstands and marquees to the movement of equipment and the flow of spectators around the course we work with the club to ensure our operations don’t harm that habitat and that the site is returned as we received it.
“We are always looking to learn and to innovate, sustainability is a journey and we are committed improving year on year. Calculating our carbon footprint this year will give us a great opportunity to further analyse our impacts and to monitor and review our performance each year. We’re at an exciting time in the development the GreenDrive programme, there is a real enthusiasm and drive within our team and our contractors, and a lot of great initiatives are already taking place at the event.”
Over the weekend GEO carried out a series of Behind the Scenes Interviews with contractors and staff at BMW PGA Championship. Talking to those who work on the ground at the event from providing energy to dealing with waste the interviews give an insight into the work that goes on beyond the fairways to minimise its impact, and the opportunities and challenges for the future of sustainable events.