New support for European sustainable golf research

The R&A
14 Apr 23
3 mins

The R&A has awarded £470,000 in Golf Course 2030 (GC2030) grant funding to golf organisations in Europe which are undertaking sustainability research projects between now and 2025. 

Since the introduction of GC2030, £1 million has been awarded to research projects by The R&A. This latest funding commitment significantly broadens the organisation’s research agenda to include projects also based in Europe.  National and regional federations were invited to submit proposals for projects aligned with one or more GC2030 priority themes, which are sustainable agronomy, resources, biodiversity and climate. Nine projects have been selected for funding and will deliver practical outputs in the form of publications, events  and other information resources. Their focus is on issues relevant to the golf industry globally including disease and pest control, management of resources, and supporting biodiversity and climate impact of golf courses. Arlette Anderson, Director of Sustainable Golf at The R&A, said, “Golf Course 2030 is helping to develop new approaches to golf’s most difficult sustainability challenges and we are focused on the need for practical outputs delivered in an engaging way for the industry to use. “Our affiliated national federations in Europe expressed real desire to be part of this initiative and we are supporting them  in achieving the sustainability aims set out in their national and regional action plans. The projects we are funding demonstrated longevity, wide geographical reach, strong stakeholder collaboration and positive promotion of golf. We received a high calibre of proposals for research that fulfilled these criteria and look forward to working with the successful recipients.” The awarded projects and national federations are:

Biodiversity and Climate

Biodiversity and multifunctionality of golf courses (STERF, representing the Nordic nations)
  • The aim of this project is to define measurement standards and KPIs for calculating the biodiversity value of golf courses.
Studies in biodiversity of golf courses (France)
  • This project seeks to establish standards and promote golf course biodiversity to audiences beyond golf. 
Climate action and supporting biodiversity in golf courses (Finland)
  • This project will investigate the carbon impact and sequestration potential of golf courses and produce a model for reducing emissions and increasing carbon storage.


WAWE – water, materials, waste, energy (Denmark) 
  • This research aims to establish practical guidelines for courses to maximise efficiency of key resources.

Sustainable Agronomy 

Turfgrass disease biological control in southern Europe (Spain)
  • This project aims to develop alternatives to pesticides and establish clear integrated pest management (IPM) practices for their use.
Golf course maintenance without pesticides: challenges, opportunities, approaches, and research (Switzerland)
  • The output of this research will be a digital compendium of pesticide-free course management practices. 
Practical IPM on dollar spot and microdocium nivale (Netherlands)
  • This project seeks to identify and trial integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to combat the two most common turf diseases in Europe.
Sustainable agronomy: alternative methods for dollar spot management on sand-based putting greens (Belgium)
  • This research aims to develop natural alternatives to pesticides to facilitate pesticide-free maintenance.
The effect of bio stimulants and microorganisms against most common turfgrass diseases in Italy (Italy)
  • This project will test the effectiveness of biological solutions to turf disease and collect evidence to support their use.
The outcomes of the awarded projects will be made available to the golf industry in a variety of formats as research progresses.  Golf Course 2030 (GC2030) is a long-term research initiative funded by the R&A to build and share knowledge of sustainability best practice in the golf industry. The initiative was established in 2018 to help those working in golf course management address the complex challenges presented by climate change, resource constraints and changing environmental regulations. For more information please click here.