DGV develops principles for climate-friendly golf facilities
The German Golf Association is pushing to support golf courses in becoming climate-friendly. The new Climate-friendly golf working group of the German Golf Association has drawn a positive balance of its first workshop: “The start could not have been better, our first workshop was characterized by motivated participants, ambitious goals, but above all an impressive will to cooperate, ” stated the chairwoman Dr. Sabine Köhler after the meeting at Haxterpark Paderborn .
External and internal communication
The working group, which was founded in spring 2023 and deals with the most important sustainability issues surrounding a future-oriented golf operation, used the meeting to define essential core elements of its work. “On the one hand, it is important for us to address the various target groups within the golf scene, but on the other hand, it is also important for the general public to perceive golf,” Köhler made clear. In view of the increasing effects of climate change, topics such as resource conservation or extreme weather would have to be discussed in the same way as support for golf courses to enable a climate-resilient installation of the facilities and thus make a positive contribution to climate protection in the respective region. In addition, the topic of communication both in the direction of golfers and to non-golfers plays an important role for the working group.
Search for solution-oriented approaches
“In addition to the three existing working groups, the Working Group Climate-friendly Golf Operation is absolutely necessary for the German Golf Association in view of the consequences of climate change, but also the challenge of CO₂ reporting or the conversion to renewable energies,” explained Alexander Klose, Member of the Presiding Committee and Board Member Legal & Services at the DGV. The discussion on the methodology for developing a long-term sustainability strategy is one of the points that is particularly important for the DGV, he said. In addition, he said, the DGV is also primarily concerned with “solution-oriented approaches that individual golf clubs can work well with.”
Members of the working group are Horst Schubert, ex-managing director of G&CC Seddiner See, Helmut Böhmer, managing director of Haxterpark Paderborn, Sven Christiansen, president of GC Lohersand, André Kette, managing director of the Baden-Württemberg Golf Association, and Petra Himmel, founder of Golf Sustainable.
“We are all united by a decided interest in measures to cope with climate impacts in general and with regard to golf and golfing,” said Dr. Sabine Köhler, herself a climate researcher with a doctorate, pleased with the constructive discussions and project proposals at the kick-off. “Basically, I believe that our golf courses in Germany are already climate-friendly,” commented Marc Biber, Department Head of Environment & Course Maintenance, on the activities of the new on-site working group.
Haxterpark Paderborn was not chosen at random as the venue for the first workshop. The golf course, which is located close to the city, is considered a prime example in Germany for the implementation of the topic “inclusion” and is also convincing in the topic of resource conservation and new energies. “I always envision this golf facility becoming completely self-sufficient,” said Managing Director Helmut Böhmer.
Transparency in the work is an important goal for Dr. Sabine Köhler. “Greenwashing is a no-go for the working group. We want to show that climate-friendly golf brings added value for golfers and non-golfers alike, and we don’t shy away from critical discussions. Golf certainly faces ecological, economic and socio-political challenges that we are working to overcome.”