The campaign by The R&A to promote sustainable golf courses worldwide received a major boost from the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake – with television’s multi-million audiences a key factor.
For several years, the televising of major tournaments such as The Masters has led many club golfers to ask for “greener greens and fairways”, requiring the application of huge quantities of water and chemicals. At this year’s Open, however, spectators watched one of the most successful championships ever, played out on dry, brown fairways which had not been watered at all during the long weeks of drought and record temperatures running up to The Open.
The excellence of Hoylake’s sustainable course led to many tributes:
- “I think it’s a fantastic test. With the golf course being this fast, it lent itself to just amazing creativity. This is the way – how it all started and how I think that it should be played,” Tiger Woods.
- “I wish our fairways in the States were like this. It’s nice, it’s golf, instead of trying to grip it and rip it,” Chris DiMarco.
Agronomists and greenkeepers confirmed that Hoylake was a shining example of The R&A’s definition of the sustainable course: “Optimising the playing quality of the golf course in harmony with the conservation of its natural environment under economically sound and socially responsible management”.
Robert Webb, chairman of The R&A Golf Course Committee, which spearheads the drive for sustainable courses, said, “We have had to work hard to get the message of best practice course management across to many amateur golfers and their club administrators, so The Open has helped our cause significantly. People watching television coverage around the world – or on the course itself – must have heeded the message that best practice course management, with conservation of water, minimum use of pesticides and enhancement of the natural environment makes for more pleasurable golf and, at the same time, demonstrates greater social responsibility.
“We’re thrilled with this boost to our work and like to think it will lead even more golfers to turn to our website, www.bestcourseforgolf.org which has already attracted registration from nearly 2,000 clubs worldwide”.