As the home of golf, Scotland provides some of the most unique and varied golfing experiences in the world. Despite this, the vast range of surfaces and landscapes to enjoy come with the challenge and responsibility of preserving their natural landscape for future generations.
Sustainability at the forefront
The matter of sustainability is significant for all golf clubs across Scotland to tackle. Which is why the area forms a key part of Scottish Golf’s upcoming corporate strategy. Andrew Baptie, Head of Club Services & Governance for Scottish Golf, said: “The strategy will highlight our approach over four key areas – how we support our clubs, how we profile the importance of sustainability, how we collaborate with others, and how we can lead through best practice within our own organisation.”
Working in partnership
Scottish Golf is also working in partnership with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, an international not-for-profit aiming to help inspire, support, and reward credible sustainability action, and strengthen and promote golf’s social and environmental value.
Andrew added: “Working with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf, we are taking a comprehensive yet focused and practical approach to sustainability, addressing the issues where we can have the most impact and those that are most relevant to the sport of golf.
“Through GEO, we have already been able to offer support to over 30 clubs, all of whom will have the opportunity to self-assess their club against key sustainability indicators, through the use of GEO’s ‘On Course’ toolkit.”
Finding sustainable opportunities
There are numerous opportunities sustainability can present for clubs across Scotland, Andrew explained: “Clubs are often extremely busy with day-to-day operational issues and we think that’s where governing bodies can step in and provide channels for clubs to easily access information, tools and guidance.”
“Within golf, many clubs already have their own environmental sustainability plan and are delivering innovative projects; moving to renewable energy, utilising water storage projects and even biodiversity projects in and around the golf course.”
“Through our support to our clubs and sharing examples of good practice, we hope to help connect clubs with local partners and communities who have similar ambitions.
Golf can benefit all
“From a wellbeing perspective, the benefits of golf are very clear: the ability to access nature within walking distance from the home is well-evidenced to have significant health benefits. And we are fortunate that Scotland has many golf clubs, geographically well spread, who can provide that opportunity.
“In addition, many golf clubs are part of the fabric of their local communities and can demonstrate strong social impact. Over the coming years we are aiming to increase golf’s ‘net positive’ contribution to people and the environment across Scotland.
“Recently we have seen several clubs in Scotland create additional wetland and wildflower areas adjacent to courses, thereby having a positive impact on local biodiversity. The scale of the golf estate across Scotland means the opportunities for positive impact are huge.”