The International Golf Federation, which includes member organizations representing more than 150 countries, agreed to a policy that will make sustainability a core priority within the sport through a number of initiatives aimed at conserving water, reducing impact on land and increasing awareness.
The IGF outlined eight sustainability measures, including a commitment to expand awareness among golfers and golf facilities; help golf facilities to incorporate sustainable principles and practices into daily business decisions; conduct high profile golf events in an environmentally responsible manner; and embrace measurement, target setting, transparency and verification.
The IGF also said it would continue to work to raise the profile of the sport’s contribution to environmental issues and encourage golfers to embrace environmentally sound practice in course preparation.
Implementing sustainable best practices will enhance the sport’s profile and improve its financial performance; provide the golfer with quality playing surfaces; and offer the community employment, recreational green space and educational opportunities, the IGF said.
The United States Golf Association announced its official support of the IGF’s policy statement and renewed its commitment to a number of its own initiatives, including funding turf grass research and addressing water conservation issues.
The USGA will fund $2 million in grants in 2012 and 2013 to universities across the country to support turf grass research. The research seeks to develop and improve grasses and playing surfaces that are more resistant to disease and require less water.
The USGA also has committed staff and resources to provide as many as 3,000 Turf Advisory Service visits to golf courses nationwide in 2012 and 2013. One of 17 USGA agronomists provide recommendations during each site visit to help course officials and superintendents improve maintenance practices and manage costs more effectively.
The association is holding a water summit in November to identify and discuss the most challenging issues surrounding golf’s use of water, as well as promoting best management practices and policies that will advance the long-term sustainability of the game.
Some golf communities are using technology to reduce water use. Desert Mountain, a golf and residential community in Arizona, is using IBM analytics software to help reallocate and reduce water usage, save energy and cut operating costs. The 4,500-resident community is installing IBM Intelligent Operations Center software for Smarter Cities, with UgMO Technologies’ Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor Solution, to manage irrigation of all six of its championship-grade golf courses.