The R&A - Working for Golf

European greenkeepers agree strategic vision for sustainability

FEGGA pledge for responsible and sustainable golf course management.

FEGGA’s membership - 22 European national greenkeeping organisations - has agreed to promote and endorse a clear, detailed and ambitious strategic vision that embraces golf’s potential to produce multiple benefits for nature and man.

“This is the first time that the daily practitioners of golf’s grassroots movement agree on a strategy for such an important aspect of our industry‘s future,” said FEGGA Chairman Olafur Thor Agustsson.

Two years of brainstorming and collaboration, both within and outside of FEGGA, has resulted in the production of a roadmap that outlines a three-pronged sustainability strategy for the industry:

A focus on achieving positive results in resource consumption, biodiversity, waste, pollution and extent of managed turf

  1. A focus on research and education
  2. Improved transparency and community outreach.

FEGGA’s strategy encourages the use of tried and tested monitoring and reporting tools, including the OnCourse® framework, which has been developed by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO), with support from The R&A. 

Jonathan Smith, GEO’s director, said: “Golf course management is coming under increasing pressure across Europe. Pesticide and water regulation is starting to bite in many countries, costs of resources and materials are increasing, and golfers’ expectations continue to rise. This timely statement, backed by so many of the industry’s course management representatives expresses an important commitment and plan that will help the sport address these significant challenges, now and in the future. We were very pleased to play a part in its development.”

The document clearly specifies how progress will be monitored in terms of performance, knowledge, outreach and reporting, spreading the word by way of FEGGA Roadshows and publications along with the annual FEGGA European Conference, which will next take place in Lisbon in February 2017.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the greenkeeping profession in Europe, through FEGGA, promoting sustainability for golf course management,” said Steve Isaac, the R&A‘s director of sustainability. “The R&A has led this cause, but only the implementation of accepted best practice by the professionals who care for our golf courses, and transparent reporting through systems such as OnCourse®, will convince everyone that the sport can bring economic, environmental and social benefits. We commend FEGGA for producing this statement and hope they are able to achieve its adoption so we see greater sustainability on the ground.” Isaac concluded.