Sustainable Championships

The R&A runs sustainable championships at amateur and professional level, including implementing legacy actions and actions with its commercial partners.  Before hosting any championship, a golf facility is also subject to a thorough ecological review to fully understand the biodiversity condition and species identification.  Our sustainable work at championships involves various activity, including GreenLinks, The Open Water Initiative and The Open Legacy Fund.


GreenLinks is a sustainability framework designed to make The Open one of the world’s most sustainable major sporting events. Using the Greenlinks sustainable event framework, plans are underway for The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022, including specific projects on waste management, electric vehicle fleet and charging stations and sustainable food sourcing.
We need to recognise the habitats and species if we are to conserve them. This is especially important for The Open. Annual survey and monitoring provides a baseline informing The R&A well in advance of likely impacts. Work starts early by cutting out infrastructure areas, before birds settle to nest.
At the Old Course, provision has been created for sand martin to ensure habitat remains available for their nesting following their return from Africa to breed. 
"The Open has a close relationship with nature and the coastal system of the world’s finest links courses and it is important that we safeguard them for future generations.”

Martin Slumbers

CEO of The R&A

The Open Water Initiative

The Open was one of the first major global sporting events to remove single-use plastic water bottles – starting at Royal Portrush in 2019 where over 100,000 plastic bottles were saved.
The Open Water Initiative was developed with Bluewater to provide fans, players and staff on-site with access to fresh drinking water using water stations and refillable bottles. 
The project is supported by UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign and aims to raise awareness of the issue of global marine plastic pollution.
In 2021 at Royal St George’s, we joined forces with Mastercard at both The Open and AIG Women’s Open to drive further awareness of plastic pollution, as well as deforestation. 
A donation from each water bottle sold onsite enabled funding for tree planting via the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC). Offsite fans were also able to contribute to PPC via the ‘Donate Widget’ on The Mastercard matched all donations from all channels.

The Open Legacy Fund

The Open Legacy Fund is an initiative run by The R&A to leave a positive and long-lasting impact on the local environment and communities in which The Open is staged.
In 2022, The R&A is funding £150,000 to work with Fife Council on sustainable legacy change for the local community. This investment for community groups and organisations supports projects and initiatives that benefit people living locally and leave a positive, lasting impact on the immediate and surrounding area.
We are working with Fife Council on: low-carbon energy/power infrastructure; travel and transport; health and wellbeing; waste and resources; food; biodiversity; and green spaces (eg tree planting, mitigating coastal erosion, green infrastructure); and education and learning.
We are also seeking to identify what and how a Net Zero ambition could be achieved for staging The Open and defining the pathway to achieve such a target by 2030.
We believe that it is important for the towns and communities in which The Open is played to receive a positive and lasting benefit from the staging of the Championship.”

Johnnie Cole Hamilton

Executive Director- Championships at The R&A