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Golfers support ‘green’ clubs

Grass roots push for sustainable practices

26th January 2015
What golfers’ want,Generating income,Managing waste
Golfers recognise the need to recycle and are likely to support their club in this and other sustainable practices  

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched the findings of research into golfers’ attitudes towards the use of recycled products and materials on golf courses.  The research, which was conducted by independent research company NOP, demonstrates that golfers take environmental issues such as recycling very seriously, with 95% of the 200 respondents stating that they would want their golf course to use recycled products, assuming no negative performance or cost implications.

The research looked at wider sustainability issues, with 93% agreeing that golf courses need to minimise any negative impact on the environment and 66% would feel more loyal to their club if they knew it was operating in an environmentally friendly way.  In times of concerns over diminishing club membership, this could be one way that golf can draw in new customers and keep hold of existing members.

Bronnie Allen, Materials Development Manager (Glass) at WRAP, said, “The golfing sector is a key target market for WRAP and by commissioning this research and launching the results at the BTME exhibition, we hope to highlight to decision makers the increasing importance of environmental issues in this sector. We would encourage golf courses to look into the vast range of recycled materials and products that are available and, if they haven‘t already done so, consider running trials.”

one third of respondents would consider switching clubs if another had better environmental policies in place

One of the most interesting findings revealed by the research is the influence of environmental practices on golfers’ loyalty to clubs.  Almost one third of respondents (30%) would consider switching clubs if another had better environmental policies in place.  Clubs already adopting environmental practices could benefit from marketing by their own members, as 41% of respondents stated they would be more likely to recommend their club if it used recycled materials and had ‘green practices’.

Bronnie Allen continued, “Although a number of golf courses have been using recycled products and adopting positive environmental practices for some time, the industry as a whole still has real potential to grasp the opportunities that this approach can offer. This research has focused on the views of the people who can really influence how a golf course operates – the members. It has shown that adopting a more environmentally friendly approach enhances a club’s reputation and may give it a competitive edge.”

This research suggests that clubs need to better understand their members when it comes to environmental practices and that commitment to continual improvement in sustainability could contribute towards healthier membership and participation.  Uptake of the GEO OnCourse® programme will help clubs uncover the many benefits to operations that come from such a policy decision.

A not-for-profit company in the private sector, WRAP is backed by substantial Government funding from Defra, DTI and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.