Who will help to achieve sustainable golf tournaments?

By: October 27, 2016

A public consultation period has opened on a new voluntary sustainability standard for golf tournaments, with industry leaders calling for input into the creation of sustainable best practices for golf tournaments around the world.

Golf Environment Organization (GEO) is behind of this initiative. They will lead the industry collaboration behind this new standard. Eric Duea, Tournament Programme Manager at GEO told me that various experts (e.g. Mervyn Jones, Director at SGR Ltd) and industry leaders will participate in the development of a practical industry standard.

The aim of this sustainable golf tournament standard is to define meaningful and practical criteria to assist golf tournaments, large and small, to maximize their positive social and environmental value.

VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - MAY 29: General View as Chris Wood of England celebrates victory on the 18th green during day four of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 29, 2016 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Wood

How should we define the criteria for the sustainable golf tournament standard?

Within the social category, I would analyze the political and cultural and legacy aspects of a golf tournament as well. The legacy is a little bit tricky since it is measured in long time scale, while some of you might want to measure direct impacts.

However, legacy can leave a lasting benefit. Thracian Cliffs Golf & Spa Resort (Bulgaria) was in 2014 the host of the Volvo World Match Play Championship. I think it was one of the reasons why people know about this Bulgarian golf course outside Bulgaria. So, I can imagine it helps to grow the golf tourism in Bulgaria as well.

The social benefits of a golf tournament can be reinforced collective identities, improved self-esteem, united people or increased civic pride. This will be felt mainly on golf club level among golf club members and employees or maybe in the nearest geographical area.

All this comes after the recognition that golf tournaments also can have across social, economic and environmental factors the golf industry is making proactive efforts to minimize impacts and maximize the positive value of the tournaments.

The European Tour’s Green Drive and The Open’s GreenLinks programs gaining impact and momentum each year. Both of them are delivered in partnership with the Golf Environment Organization.

According to the plans, the sustainable golf tournament standard together with other standards of GEO are developed to the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice. It is interesting to read that the Golf Environment Organization is the only sporting body to be a member of this highly respected body along with other standard setting bodies as Fairtrade, FSC and MSC.