German Golf Federation places further emphasis on sustainability

The topic of “sustainability” is being given more weight in the German Golf Association. The umbrella organization, which unites around 683,000 golfers in Germany and is thus the second-largest association in Europe, has hired a sustainability manager in Felicitas Bartsch as of March 1 to deal exclusively with the issue in the future. “In general, there is a growing awareness of the challenges in the area of sustainability. Our task as an umbrella organization is to make this topic manageable. This will also be part of our sustainability strategy,” explains Alexander Klose, Director of Legal & Services at the German Golf Federation.

In his view, the development of this sustainability concept in particular is not an uncomplicated step: “We need an overall concept that is supported by the entire membership and that involves everyone. That’s why the process for this sustainability strategy is also very important to us, because we don’t want to act in a top-down manner and then leave the members alone to tackle the tasks.”

Increasing urgency of projects

According to Klose, the past few years have shown just how big the tasks have become. The issues are piling up and becoming more and more urgent: “One of the most burning issues at the moment is the EU Plant Health Regulation. The question of how the planned new regulation will deal with the issue of sports turf is forward-looking for us.” In addition, there is an increasing need for action, particularly in the area of water management. “When it comes to the topic of golf course irrigation, we are of course dealing with very different levels of regional concern,” explains the DGV board member. “In general, though, we’re going to have to deal with the fact that the water hierarchy issue is becoming more prevalent.” Finally, decarbonization is a relatively new topic. This will be anchored at the German Golf Federation in the short term in a new working group on climate-friendly golf course operations, of which the new sustainability manager will also be a member.

Felicitas Bartsch, who holds a Master of Science in Agriculture and Environment from TH Bingen University of Applied Sciences, will also be one of the contacts for the GolfBiodivers project. This 2.6 million research project is taking place on 64 golf courses in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich and the Universities of Freiburg, Münster and Kiel, making it currently the largest coherent biodiversity project in golf at European level.