Is Golf in good hands?
19th Hole

Is Golf in good hands?

by Adam Calvert on Oct 04, 2022

As part of Sustainable Golf Week, we have spoken to a number of people within the golf community about their opinions on sustainability in golf. 

Golf gets some bad press at times, it's great to hear what people are saying.

Mark Bonsor is an advocate of sustainable golf and has been involved in the sport for some time. Check out our interview with Mark below and drop him a follow on Instagram @sustainablegolfer to check out his updates.  


Is golf in good hands? Future generations are joining the sport; where do you see the game going?

In my view, golf is going in a positive direction. 

I wouldn't say golf is in the right hands at the top. I feel they are disconnected from the normal every day/week player and are too focused on making money rather than creating a better experience. 

Clubs are doing great things to help get people involved in the game such as Woolley Park Golf Club which is inspiring more people to get involved. They're encouraging golfers to play off different tees to suit their abilities and are hosting special competitions for all abilities.


Greenwashing is happening a lot at the moment, can anything be done about it? 

Greenwashing has been happening for quite some time with big multinational companies and in golf, it can easily be adopted. 

I hope that golf clubs look at their practices, monitor them and not make things up to show what they have done; their actions can make a real difference. Greenwashing is similar to sports washing with the whole Liv saga; doing things rather than just throwing money at something is even more powerful and creates a sense of community. 

There's money in golf and it's with the people and how they choose to spend it. If these people spend their money in places they want, clubs will take notice and make changes.

To get Clubs on board, make them aware of teaching young green keepers about more sustainable practices and challenging the norm with new ideas. Golf clubs can make members aware of the activities done on the course and off it to reduce their carbon footprint. Even if some golf clubs inspire visitors to change their views on reducing plastic, they may go back to their own club and tell their committee. The word will spread.

I recently read an article that a golf club has members monitoring local bird species and numbers on the course which created a community within the golf club not solely focused on golf. This could be a great idea to get more members to bring their other hobbies to the club and inspire others. 

It has got to be put in people's hands so they know what to do and how it should be done to help out and do their own bit. If we all do our own bit, it will reduce the problem.

Maybe even a green-friendly golf event at a golf course which ticks the boxes to showcase the positive things they are doing.


Are there any future trends that you can see coming? I've heard about something called super 6, where you play 6 holes in one hour but play as a team of four, could this help get more people into the game?

I think 6 or 12-hole golf courses are great! 2 hours or 2.5 hours rounds will mean more time for people to just get out and enjoy the walk. Sometimes 4 hour rounds or longer just take the fun away, and it can be beyond the optimal time of enjoying it. The shorter rounds may mean more time to socialise after the round with friends or make new friends. Also, if you are struggling with time you can squeeze in a few holes. 

Also, fewer maintenance costs for clubs with a shorter course and also with the cost of land prices not as many new courses are being built, but a shorter 6-hole course could be viable for price.


Anything else you'd like to add?

I'd like to share some tips for everyone to think about.

  •  I would say to everyone preparing for your round with your own reusable water bottle. 
  • Share lifts to and from the course is possible.
  • Dispose of litter on the course properly.
  • Respect the environment so everyone else can enjoy it as well.


Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Mark, I'm really looking forward to getting back on the course with you at some point - St. Annes again?

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