England Golf has published a new sustainability plan and pledged to lead and inspire the golfing community in vital efforts to protect and preserve the environment.
In line with the 2021-2025 ‘Course Planner’ strategy, building for a sustainable future lies at the very heart of England Golf’s operations and has been laid out in what it calls “this clear, bold vision for the future.”
The plan states: “Every sector of society, including the golf industry, is feeling the harmful effects of climate change, resource scarcity and tighter regulations.
“As the national governing body for the club and amateur game in this country, England Golf will take a leading role in engaging and educating golfers, clubs, counties and stakeholders on the benefits of embracing sustainable methods.”
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Golf England says that with 8.4 million golfers in England – 2.4 million of whom consider themselves to be regular participants – there is real value in delivering a strong message on sustainability directly to a large and growing audience of players.
Through communications with the 1,760 golf clubs presently affiliated to England Golf, the governing body will now look to inspire all facilities, as well as county unions and associations, in matters of sustainable growth.
English golf courses take up approximately 12,000 square kilometres of land meaning that clubs and golfers can play a crucial role in nurturing and developing the natural world that surrounds them.
Golf in England is booming and the governing body says that the game has an opportunity to be at the vanguard of delivering the ‘sustainability through sport’ message.
“England Golf champions the view that by taking a collective, industry-wide approach to sustainability, making forward-thinking decisions and fully committing to change for the better, golf can make a real difference and ensure longevity for the sport”, says the announcement.
Emma Huggins, sustainability manager at England Golf, said: “Golf, like all industries, faces a range of challenges but fortunately there are lots of ways to mitigate and protect against them.
“We’re already seeing many clubs, counties and individuals thinking and acting sustainably and we want to extend this to the whole golf community across England.
“Through our inaugural sustainability plan, we will lead by example to ensure that resources, best practice and recommended action items are available and encouraged.
“We’ve outlined 12 different focus areas for sustainability, with steps that golfers, clubs and counties can take to become more sustainable.
“We’re looking forward to working with the English golf community to ensure that we are making golf a leader in terms of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic resilience.”
England Golf’s sustainability plan has gathered broad support from bodies such as The R&A, British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA), the Golf Club Managers’ Association, the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf and the British Association for Sustainable Sport.
Arlette Anderson, director of sustainable golf at The R&A, said: “The R&A is delighted to support and endorse the England Golf sustainability plan.
“The R&As purpose is to make golf more accessible, appealing and inclusive and to ensure it is thriving 50 years from now.
“Using our global governing body position, we work proactively with our affiliates to promote the positive role that golf plays in sustainability to golfers, potential golfers and public decision-making bodies.
“We take the opportunity to lead awareness and action in golf sustainability globally and with so much at stake, no sport is more active in working to meet the challenge of climate change.”
Dr Russell Seymour, BASIS chief executive, added: “BASIS is the sustainability hub for the sports sector in the UK.
“BASIS welcomes this comprehensive sustainability plan from England Golf and looks forward to working with them to help confront the challenges and realise the opportunities included in this plan to make the golf sector more sustainable in the future.”
Jim Croxton, chief executive officer at BIGGA, said: “BIGGA is pleased to support England Golf in their sustainability agenda and continues to actively support its members via sustainability and ecology services.”
Jonathon Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, said: “We are delighted to support England Golf in the delivery of this important sustainability plan.
“In particular through: ongoing promotion and support of the FREE OnCourse® England programme that helps clubs to review, track and communicate their work; sharing of Sustainable Golf Highlights so that more and more clubs can find tried and tested examples; providing the GEO Certified® distinction for sustainable golf; and, helping represent and promote clubs through the Sustainable Golf Directory.”
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