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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE "COMMITTED TO GREEN"?

 

European Commission President, Jacques Santer, speaking at the launch of Committed to Green at Valderrama Golf Club, Spain on 28 September 1997, the final morning of the Ryder Cup matches:

"To be committed to green is to demonstrate environmental awareness and responsibility. The aim is to increase awareness of the environmental attributes of golf courses, and to demonstrate how well-managed golf courses are of benefit to the environment and the community.The game still faces many environmental challenges we have to be good convervationists; we need to address water resources and pest management issues; we want to ensure that greenkeepers receive appropriate training in ecological management; and we must communciate these points through the golf industry and to the golfing public. "Committed to Green" will be a major step forward in that direction."

Environmental considerations are part of the operational management of golf courses. A well-maintained course requires an integrated approach to management. This is ecologically important and the link between golf and the environment, with a duty to conserve natural resources is central to the environmental stewardship ideology of COmmitted to Green.

Committed to Green is voluntary and the benefits need to be clear, golf clubs need to be able to see the advantages:

  • Cost savings through improved efficiency; reduced water, chemical and fuel consumption, fertiliser applications and mowing regimes; energy saving through waste reduction, recycling.
  • Cost avoidance through compliance of environmental (protected species, pollution controls) and health and safety regulations (fewer accidents, lower insurance).
  • Protection of property asset value though landscape management.
  • Environmental improvement grants (tree planting, hedgerow restoration).
  • Employee motivation.
  • Membership / visitor satisfaction.
  • Improved local community relations.
  • Public image.

If the programme is to be effective, the membership needs to be supportive and involved alongside of management. One way of doing this is for clubs to have a simple policy statement or charter.