Every golf course will have an impact on local communities of people. Antagonism towards golf is often a consequence of a lack of understanding of how the course is managed or the club operated. It is important to be aware of how your course interacts with the community and to highlight the beneﬁts which your course can provide. Working to enhance your relationship with your local community can be achieved by:
- avoiding unnecessary conﬂicts by ensuring that the community is well informed about your management aims and activities
- communicating how you are striving to be a responsible and sustainable land user
- demonstrating an awareness of the issues surrounding pesticides, fertiliser, water, energy and waste and the measures being taken to address any concerns
- reacting quickly and positively to issues such as ball being hit into neighbouring properties or annoying noise from machinery operation at inappropriate hours of the day
- promoting the less appreciated beneﬁts of living close to a golf course, such as increasing property prices, and any contribution to ﬂood defences, prevention of soil erosion, cleaner air, carbon sequestration, ambient temperature control and enhancement of wildlife
- involving the local community wherever possible. Consulting them during the planning phase of new developments and any other programme of works that might prove contentious
- seeking to offer employment opportunities to local people
- encouraging volunteers from the local community to help with habitat restoration work and other activities
- providing an education role. Golf facilities incorporate a massive range of disciplines, such as business management, nature conservation, land management, machinery upkeep, and many seeking learning (of all ages) can beneﬁt from your experience. Forge relations will local education providers to reduce the logistical burden of such a roleusing local businesses where possible to source services and materials
- providing recreational green space for a range of public activities that can attract the non-golﬁng community, for example walking, jogging, cycling and horse riding
- ensuring that all your staff are fully aware of your commitment to sustainability for them to be good ambassadors for your business.
There may be a cost in time and resources associated with building good relations with the local community but this will be repaid many times over if you can gain their conﬁdence and support for your future endeavours.