Sustainability in Golf: How golf is embracing Eco-Friendly Practices to save the environment and enhance overall player experiences


Golf, like many other globally popular sports, is facing a challenge to be more environmentally friendly. With a multitude of professional tours hosting tournaments and events all over the world, the carbon footprint of the game is large, and that can have a ripple effect all the way down to the amateur game.

With an environmental focus needed across all levels of the game, there are several steps that have already been taken to minimize the impact of golf’s role in global warming, without diminishing the game that we love.

In this guide we will take a look at several steps that professional organizations have already started to take and you may even start to notice some of these the next time you hit your favorite course.

Focus on preserving nature


Across the world there are approximately 39,000 golf courses, if you laid them all out together, golf courses would cover the entirety of Belgium. Almost half of that space is set within natural habitats where wildlife and nature is abundant. 

In an age where golf courses are constantly looking at development opportunities due to the distance that players now hit the ball, golf courses are looking at ways that they can make changes without having a negative impact on the environment. 

Golf courses should act as a sanctuary for wildlife, and where possible, course designers should work with their surroundings, and any artificial changes should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Cut down on the amount of pesticides used around courses

With golf courses often commanding expensive fees, it is only right that members encounter a course that is of a high quality. Greenkeepers often have a tough task on their hands in trying to ensure that fairways and greens are kept pristine, and dependent on conditions and the changing of the seasons, pesticides and other chemicals are often used to keep the course in top shape.

As pesticides can have a harmful impact on the environment surrounding the course, golf courses need to ensure that a strict turf replacement policy is in place. With divots recovered and any dents on the green fixed, this can cut down the need for reseeding and help keep the need for pesticides on courses down.

For those clubs with expansive budgets, they have looked at replacing grass with a specialist drought-resistant variety. This new specialist grass is immune to hot weather and should enable far less watering and less need for ongoing repairs.

Look at the machinery used to help keep a golf course in tip-top condition


If you are an early riser and like to book an early tee time, there will be two distinct noises that you will often be able to hear, one will be the sounds of the birds performing their morning song, and the other will be the gentle hum of machines as the course is being prepared for the days play.

Golf courses will be littered with mowers, rollers and other maintenance machines, and traditionally, the majority of these machines would be powered by fuel. Nowadays, there are machines that operate purely on electric power, and these vehicles not only make less noise but they are better for the surrounding wildlife while still keeping a course pristine.

As well as going electric, golf clubs located in sunnier parts of the world have started to install solar panels. Solar energy can help reduce the light pollution that a golf club emits and is becoming more common in clubs all over the world.

Recycled water can be used to help maintain water hazards

Water and golf go hand in hand, and some of the very best courses in the world are defined by the water features surrounding them.

In some instances golf clubs can use gallons of water and this simply isn’t sustainable. In order to be more environmentally friendly, clubs have started to use recycled water. Better irrigation around the course can lead to increased volumes of water being able to be recycled and this water can then be used back on the course.

Other techniques, like reducing the amount of sprinklers or the amount a course is watered, are methods that can help reduce the overall volume of water waste.

What are some of the professional tours trying to do regarding sustainability?


As is often the case with sports trying to improve their sustainability, it is often the job of the professional sports organizations to lead the way. In the case of golf, it is the PGA Tour that is trying to implement change.

In an effort to make the Tour more sustainable, it has identified four key pledges:

  1. Leadership & Influence – develop solutions that will inspire PGA partners to take better green action
  2. Climate Action – create strategies that center around greener initiatives
  3. Purpose-Driven Partnerships – the PGA Tour has a variety of partners, but as it moves forward, the Tour will look for specialist green partners that will help the Tour achieve its green goals
  4. Promotion of Nature – the Tour will always strive to promote nature above anything else. When the PGA Tour rolls into town, the impact on nature and the surrounding wildlife must be kept to a minimum.

The DP World Tour travels all across the world in its bid to grow the professional game. While the carbon footprint of all that air travel isn’t the greatest, the Tour is trying to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

In order to achieve this, it is adopting the following policies:

  • Locally sourced suppliers
  • Cleaner energy to power events – renewable grid power, solar, HVO and hydrogen
  • Zero waste to landfill
  • Free drinking water for all
  • Tournament collateral to be repurposed
  • Paperless ticketing

The LIV Golf Tour has also made similar pledges. Aiming to be Carbon positive by 2030, LIV has devised a new scheme called ‘LIV Labs.’ 

LIV Labs will be dedicated to finding and testing sustainable solutions that it hopes can be adopted globally to create a better, greener game.


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