One of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by The R&A got underway this morning with the launch of the website www.bestcourseforgolf.org, the benefits of which will be felt throughout the world of golf.
Now, for the first time, while clubs can access free information, the worldwide development of golf at club level can be monitored by The R&A from its headquarters in St Andrews. This has resulted from the introduction of www.bestcourseforgolf.org, a website that gives all clubs in the 127 affiliated Federations and Unions, the opportunity of drawing on the resources of the Golf Course Committee and its database of expert advice.
The site was planned in conjunction with the European Golf Association and provides best practice guidelines for course management, fulfilling the vision of chief executive Peter Dawson who said, “The challenge for golf is to maintain course quality and playability while respecting and positively contributing to the social and natural environment. We are in no doubt that the site will be an invaluable tool for clubs that are seeking to develop and operate to currently accepted best practice standards.”
The website was inspired by a meeting of European Golf Association leaders in Portugal who called on The R&A to give a lead in teaching and encouraging best management practices on golf courses; promoting environmental and ecological care; co-ordinating research into reducing chemical use; adapting to the consequences of climate change; conserving water, and placing the game of golf in the forefront of exemplary community planning. The meeting also called on The R&A to support and influence EC legislation.
The first step was the formation of The R&A Golf Course Committee, which immediately set about producing the website. It can be viewed by anyone anywhere, free, by accessing www.bestcourseforgolf.org but there is a secure construction which will allow golf clubs to put the guidelines into practice through a series of checklists which can be monitored by their golf federations and by The R&A itself.
Clubs will be able to allocate responsibility for the main sections – Environment, Greenkeeping, Administration, Planning and Development – to nominated employees or members.
It is hoped that the project will eventually lead to a universal accreditation scheme recognising the achievements of clubs that are seen to fulfil the requirements of course management excellence.
The site is being introduced to Continental Europe tomorrow at the Sofitel airport hotel in Brussels.