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A means of measuring performance is vital for an environmental measurement programme to succeed. To achieve this the concept of Environmental Performance Evaluation was applied to existing European golf clubs. The steps involved in the development of Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs) were:

  • Identification of common activities within golf clubs - this was based on site visits and questionnaires
  • Identification of activities potentially interacting with the environment
  • Definition of potential environmental impact categories
  • Development of EPIs within the environmental impact categories

In order to compare performance, reference parameters were defined:

Environmental Impact Category
Proposed EPIs
Reference Parameter
Water resource consumptionTotal water consumer / year
  • Area of greens, tees and fairways

  • Member
  • m3/ha

  • m3/member
Water pollution / eutrophication
  • Fertiliser applied / year

  • Pesticides applied / year
Area of green, tees and fairwayskg/ha
Soil ContaminationLubricants and hydraulic oils consumed / yearArea of greens, tees and fairwaysl/ha
Solid and hazardous waster
  • Solid waste generated / year

  • Hazardous waste generated / year
Energy resource consumptionEnergy consumed / yearMemberkWh/member
Noise pollutionMowed area / week18 holesha/18-holes
Air pollutionFossil fuel consumed / yearGreens, tees and fairwaysl/ha
Ecosystem disturbance / biodiversityOut-of-play areas managed with the aim of conservationTotal area of clubha/ha

The next step was to link the EPIs to their potential utilisation at different levels - local clubs, national bodies and European "Committed to Green" programme. It was found that different types of expression - absolute, relative and indexed - are useful to evaluate and compare performance at each level.

Possible utilisation of proposed EPIs within each level:

EPI Expression Form
Possible Utilisation
Golf Club


(total water consumption)

  • Environmental review
  • Prioritising environmental aspects
  • Setting goals and targets
  • Internal audit
  • Environmental statement and reporting
National Level
(Golf Federations)


(water consumption / member)

  • National comparison of environmental performance
  • Competitions and awards
  • Environmental database
European Level
("Committed to Green")


(water consumption in current year expressed as percentage of the average annual water consumption)

  • European comparison of environmental performance
  • Fair certification criteria for the "Committed to Green" programme
  • Environmental reporting regarding European achievements.

In developing the framework, no prioritisation was given to different environmental aspects as it was felt that each level would adapt the framework to their specific environment, legal and cultural context.