martes, 5 de abril de 2022

The world’s most eco-friendly golf courses

  https://www.divert.co.uk/

Restoring golf’s reputation as a green sport has been a long road, but major courses are now getting their act together to enhance its eco-friendly credentials.

That’s the opinion of a UK-based waste and recycling consultancy, who have compiled a list of the world’s best green golf clubs.

Divert.co.uk, a UK-based eco waste collection company, says that for far too long, golf has had to defend itself against criticisms that it wasted water, excluded biodiversity and encouraged players to travel long distances for a round.

“But that’s all changing with better, more thoughtful management of major courses, from the greenkeepers up to the very top,” says Divert.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall.

“And imaginative solutions to CO2 emissions are also game changers,” he says.

The List

Divert.co.uk took its knowledge of the game (our press officer claims to have played many of the major courses of Ireland and is “not too bad, all things considered”), and spoke to environmental and sporting experts to pull together this list of the most eco-friendly golf courses in the world.

Los Robles Greens Golf Course (Thousand Oaks, California, USA): Recognised around the world for its green credentials. Recognising that climate change was bringing drought to the West Coast, the club acted on the request from city authorities to do something about its footprint. That meant switching to plants which resist drought and pests, resulting in huge reductions in pesticide use and precious water resources. “It’s the gold standard of golf courses in a changing world,” says Divert.co.uk

Sentosa Golf Club (Singapore): This tiny nation is light on both space and resources, but Sentosa has won recognition for its ethos of sustainability. They’ve banned single-use plastics, and they’ve recently announced their aim to become the world’s first carbon neutral golf club – contributions from players’ green fees will purchasing carbon offsets which will support forestry projects elsewhere. “It’s an imaginative way of dealing with the problem of players traveling long distances,” says Divert.co.uk.

Arabella Golf (Mallorca, Spain): Arabella is a complex of four courses on the Spanish island, and was the first in Europe to achieve key environmental certifications. Their most recent environmental policy aligns itself to UN sustainable development goals, and pledges stronger water management on an island where fresh water is at a premium. “I’ve actually played their pitch and putt,” says our press officer, “It’s a great fun little course!”  

Berkhamsted Golf Club (near Hemel Hempstead, England): The first thing you notice about the UK’s greenest golf course is that it is completely green – there aren’t any bunkers! That’s a conscious decision by its manager to be “golf as nature intended”. It’s paid off, being recognised with Golf Environment Organisation Certified status. Even in the clubhouse they’re eco-friendly, and encouraging staff to cycle to work. “This represents the future of British golf,” says Divert.co.uk, “and despite the lack of bunkers, it’s still one of the most challenging 18 holes you’ll ever play”.

Royal Birkdale (Southport, UK): Birkdale has hosted the Open ten times since 1954, and is located amid estuaries, mud flats, sand flats and sand dunes in what is a sensitive natural environment. So despite the huge footfall is experiences, the course has become renowned for its environmental excellence. In fact, it publishes its own 20 page booklet, with a hole-by-hole guide of animals and plants players can see. Working with many nature and conservation organisations, the course works to remain at the forefront of sensitive land and water management. “Green fees are expensive, but it is a club that retains standards both on the course and in the clubhouse,” says Divert.co.uk.

The challenge facing golf

Golfers want lush greens and wide grassy fairways to enjoy their sport.

In the past, that meant thousands of gallons of water, pesticides, animal management and a merciless distain for anything that shouldn’t be there.

In places like the Gulf States, this bad reputation was – and still is - amplified by the fact that golfers still expect these facilities turned up to eleven, with even greener greens and a clubhouse air conditioned like a refrigerator.

While in China, a surge in interest in golf among a new middle class has seen swathes of forest cleared to make way for courses. No amount of single-use plastic bans can greenwash some courses’ credentials.

And quite rightly, the sport faced a barrage of criticism from campaigners over the damage that it was causing to the environment. Not only for the courses themselves, but for the air travel that players take to enjoy the world’s best courses.

It was – to be fair – a PR nightmare.

But now, says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall, the pendulum has swung back. Greenkeepers are experts at water management and organic growing skills.

There’s a definite rewilding of roughs and surrounding landscapes, not to mention eco-friendly clubhouses.

And courses are likely to follow Sentosa’s solution to long-distance travel by expecting players to pay for carbon offsets to mitigate their CO2 emissions.

“But it would be far better for players to adjust their behaviour and stay local,” says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall.

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