As we look for ways to come back well from these challenging times, GEO Foundation are inviting a new conversation to explore and share examples of how sustainability can help golf build back better.
Many will have heard of GEO Certified, the international mark for sustainable golf, which is the most credible and widely respected certification in sport. GEO Foundation is the international not-for-profit organisation behind the mark, and also a range of other programmes and communications to support sustainable golf. We talked to GEO’s Engagement Manager, John Kemp, to find out more about the benefits of sustainability, and the upcoming conversations you can take part in.
What is GEO Foundation?
The organisation was founded with the sole purpose of inspiring, guiding and recognising sustainability in golf – clubs, developments, tournaments and also the people who are leading the good work. We partner with a wide range of golf associations and people on the ground who have helped shape the programmes over the last ten years, programmes which are currently in use in 76 countries.
The principles of sustainability in golf are the same globally, many of which are already part of golf, but often under-recognised. Programmes like OnCourse are there to help clubs quickly evaluate their practices, find new ideas, and track and communicate their progress and value to nature and communities.
What are the benefits of clubs becoming more sustainable?
There are many ways in which clubs can share the ways in which they are already sustainable, alongside benefiting from a journey to do even more. The most obvious benefit at the current time is that clubs can significantly reduce costs by implementing more sustainable measures in all areas of their business.
Some clubs have reserved areas of the course for nature, this not only reduces staff and machinery costs but can also provide the golfer with a more visually attractive playing environment.
Most clubs are conscious of their operating overheads, especially now, and a significant portion of this is made up of resource use such as water, energy and materials. By taking an increased focus on reducing need for resources (such as switching off lights or computers when not needed), more efficient use (such as changing to energy-efficient appliances) and sourcing sustainably (such as regularly reviewing your suppliers) clubs can make meaningful savings on their bottom line.
Connecting with your local community is another route to financial savings – and revenue generation opportunities. Think about where you source your food and beverage produce. Buying from local suppliers can create a unique selling point for your club and shows you are engaging your community while reducing your carbon footprint along the way. This can also attract local customers, both golfers and non-golfers, to your facility for either golf, food or both and gives you a chance to grow your positive reputation.
Becoming more sustainable can also have many marketing and PR benefits. Local newspapers and radio stations love to share good news stories and this can result in free marketing for your club. It can also create a greater sense of pride amongst your club and your community. And more and more people are interested in knowing that the places they spend their time or money have a good environmental and social value.
How can a club get involved?
To begin with, pitch in your perspective. Click here to take part in a short opinion poll.
As the sport’s recovery gets underway across the world, we want to collect and share experiences and views on the future significance of sustainability for golf. The survey is for people who want to have their voice heard and play a part in informing the international strategy for sustainable golf in 2020 and beyond and we hope that many course superintendents will take part.
You can also join a free series of online webinars and events which will explore and share views and ideas on challenges and opportunities as we move toward recovery and beyond. Click here to register for the webinar on 23rd September.
The first webinar will be relevant to anyone with an interest in sustainable golf, we will:
- Explore many of the sustainability challenges and opportunities that will significantly influence golf’s recovers and its long-term future.
- Share insights from the recent international opinion survey.
- Hear examples and views from some club and course managers and industry leaders about how they are already unlocking benefits from their sustainability commitment.
- Explore new collective ideas explored around how environmental, community and climate action can help strengthen and better position golf.
- Invite perspectives and examples via chat and polls.
- Describe ways for you to get involved and access ongoing ideas, support and recognition.
- Ask for your vote on the types of industry activities and conversations you’d like to see in the future. whW
Where can a club get more information?
For more information, visit our website. You can also follow sustainable golf on our social media channels, and learn more about the support and recognition programmes.
Disclaimer: All information on this post is for informational purposes only and are not an endorsement of the product(s) and/ or service(s).