How to create a greener golf course is a good thing to know, as millions of people in England and beyond play golf, yet it is a sport with many issues for both the planet and wildlife. In Scotland, an area of incredible beauty near sand dunes (and home to many species) was destroyed, to build a golf course for Donald Trump.
Golf courses often use pesticides to keep the greens ‘green’. And in the US alone, over 300 million golf balls are lost each year (each taking up to 1000 years to decompose, many are putted off cruise ships into the oceans). Then you have plastic golf tees, and leather golf bags and shoes.
- England Golf states that ‘going green’ is not just better for the planet, but could save your golf club up to £30K a year.
- Going Zero Waste has an interesting post on golf. This US blogger grew up golfing with her dad (she was a state-level golfer) so she has insider knowledge to offer zero waste golfing tips.
- Golf courses use a lot of water. So use giant water butts (rainwater harvesting systems can capture rain that runs off your golf club’s roof).
- See how to wean your lawn off junk food for tips on how to create an organic golf course, which is better for wildlife (and also for the health of golfers).
- Give your golf club an eco-makeover. Serve local sustainable food on real plates, with real mugs. Serve local organic beer and wine in the clubhouse, and use biodegradable cleaning products.
- Many companies sell vegan golf shoes. Just search online.
- Most golf clubs are made from metal, it’s the golf balls and tees that cause issues. You can buy biodegradable golf balls that break down better if they fall somewhere inaccessible or into the sea. Most golf balls are covered in heavy metals that wear off in the water, harming wildlife.
- Biodegradable golf tees are also sold (avoid ones with gelatine; animal bones). And recycled plastic tees won’t biodegrade, if they get lost. Instead, choose OceanTee bamboo golf tees (sold in plastic-free packaging with 25% of profits to ocean conservation charities).
- Grazers (Yorkshire) makes a calcium product that makes grass unpalatable to wildlife (and sells a version to deter slugs and snails). Obviously not suitable for pet rabbits, but for public parks and golf courses, this claims to be harmless to wildlife. See the FAQ page for info on use with golf greens: they say it’s effective with regular mowing, though more applications may be required (it’s also used on bowling greens, where reports found that rabbits moved on after 4 weeks, along with regular mowing).