As sporting drama unfolded against the stunning backdrop of Loch Lomond Golf Club, an influential group of organisations came together to celebrate the pioneering efforts of the Barclays Scottish Open and look towards a future in which all golf events will showcase sustainable lifestyles.
In an initiative spearheaded by the combined efforts of The European Tour, Loch Lomond Golf Club, Barclays and the Golf Environment Organisation, a new three year action plan is starting to ensure that as the environmental footprint of the Scottish Open becomes smaller, its role in raising awareness and promoting environmental action will grow ever larger.
Putting the initiative into context, George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour stated: “The European Tour is aiming to connect the drive of our corporate partners with the aspirations of government and the expectations of local communities. Our unique position enables us to consistently showcase great economic, social and environmental outcomes – as highlighted this week through our joint efforts with Barclays, the National Park Authority and Loch Lomond Golf Club.”
This important work has also received the ongoing endorsement of Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie: “The players just love the Barclay’s Scottish Open. Loch Lomond provides a superb setting for championship golf. To know that the venue and the organisers are taking steps to protect and enhance landscape, biodiversity and water quality enriches the event further still. Our aim should be for golf events to deliver outstanding entertainment with the minimum environmental impact, and to help promote wider awareness and action in the regions where they are staged.
“I am extremely keen to promote the relationship between golf and the environment, as a player, as a golf course designer and of course as Ryder Cup Captain."
At the heart of the programme lies Loch Lomond Golf Club’s Environmental Management Programme. Honed through a decade of careful planning and consistent action, the club is doing everything within its power to protect and enhance the site’s unique natural and cultural heritage.
As Course and Estate Manager David Cole explained at the official Environmental Reception: “Working at Loch Lomond is about so much more than just maintaining turf. We have to know our history, hydrology, forestry and ecology. We have been gradually extending our programme into waste and energy, acting on the recommendations of government-supported audits.
“The staff, owners and management at Loch Lomond recognise their responsibility to look after all aspects of the estate. In fact, the management of our facility is undertaken by a partnership between the Club, the National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Forestry Commission and Historic Scotland. We are delighted to have very positive working relations with them all.”
Peter Adams, Championship Director of the Barclays Scottish Open, is coordinating all efforts to ensure that the Championship one of the most environmentally friendly events on The European Tour schedule.
Adams said: “It’s the combination of this outstanding national park setting, rich in Scottish history and allied with one of the world’s premier golf courses, that makes Loch Lomond such a special place for championship golf. But, with these very attributes comes added responsibility to protect and enhance the local environment. We’ve been asking ourselves some challenging questions about transport, catering, waste, energy and many other aspects of staging, and are now beginning the process of integrating new ideas and solutions into the practical delivery of the event.”
Putting the initiatives at Loch Lomond into context, Jonathan Smith, CEO of the Golf Environment Organisation referenced golf’s wider sustainability drive: “Environmental issues are a common denominator. Each part of the sector has an important role to play and bodies like The European Tour and The R&A are taking a proactive lead.
“Social and environmental responsibility adds value to golf events by improving spectator experience, creating new communications opportunities, building new partnerships, and in finding more efficient ways to do things.
Mike Cantlay, Convenor of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority reflected on the value of golf to the region: “We are delighted to see this proactive initiative from the organisers of the Barclay’s Scottish Open. We aspire for all large events that come to Scotland’s first national park to look at their sustainability – and it’s highly appropriate that one of the largest and highest profile events on the tour calendar should take a lead. We very much look forward to supporting these efforts over coming years, and helping to ensure the golf tournament leaves an even greater positive legacy for the people and the environment of this iconic and protected area.”
Golf Environment Organisation www.golfenvironment.org