At BTME in Harrogate last week The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) launched the findings of research into golfers‘ attitudes towards the use of recycled products and materials on golf courses.
The research, which was conducted by independent research company NOP, demonstrates that golfers take environmental issues such as recycling very seriously, with 95% of respondents stating that they would want their golf course to use recycled products, assuming no negative performance or cost implications.
Of the 200 respondents, 93% agreed that golf courses need to minimise any negative impact on environment and 66% would feel more loyal to their club if they knew it was operating in an environmentally friendly way.
One of the most interesting findings revealed by the research is the influence of clubs‘ environmental practices on golfers‘ loyalty to clubs. Almost one third of respondents (30%) would consider switching golf clubs, if another club had better environmental policies in place. Those clubs already adopting environmental practices could benefit from increased membership, as 41% of respondents stated that they would be more likely to recommend their club if it used recycled materials and had ‘green practices‘.
Bronnie Allen, Materials Development Manager (Glass) at WRAP, said, “The research findings are extremely interesting. Although a number of golf courses have been using recycled products and adopting positive environmental practices for some time, the industry as a whole still has real potential to grasp the opportunities that this approach can offer. This research has focused on the views of the people who can really influence how a golf course operates – the members. It has shown that adopting a more environmentally friendly approach enhances a club’s reputation and may give it a competitive edge.”
The findings also demonstrate that golfers have a good understanding of the variety of recycling activities golf courses can undertake. The most widely recognised recycling activity was using recycled woodchips for pathways, with over three quarters of respondents (78%) aware of this practice. Other recycling activities of which respondents were aware included:
recycling grass cuttings into compost (70%);
managing courses to encourage wildlife (70%);
minimising the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides (62%);
using compost in course maintenance, for example in beds and top dressings (61%);
and, having an environmental policy in place (61%)
Bronnie Allen continued, “The golfing sector is a key target market for WRAP and by commissioning this research and launching the results at the BTME exhibition, we hope to highlight to decision makers the increasing importance of environmental issues in this sector. We would encourage golf courses to look into the vast range of recycled materials and products that are available and, if they haven‘t already done so, consider running trials.”
A not-for-profit company in the private sector, WRAP is backed by substantial Government funding from Defra, DTI and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland