How does the golfer react to the topic of climate change?

Two weeks of mass media information on the subject of climate change ended with the end of the climate conference. The topic is present – the question that now arises is whether the topic will be accepted by the population? This also applies to golfers, who are particularly affected by many aspects of the discussion: the target group of golfers in the DA-CH region is considered to be affluent, happy to travel and quite affinity for air travel. The prejudice of SUV-crowded parking spaces in front of golf clubhouses still exists among non-golfers. The fact that the majority of golf courses in the world cannot be reached by public transport is difficult to dispute. In short – the discussion about a sustainable behavior of the golf scene can be conducted.

As part of a study by the company Kantar for the European Commission, the opinion of Europeans from 28 countries on the subject of climate change was surveyed. The interviews were conducted in 2019 and published during the Glasgow climate conference. According to this, 60 percent of those surveyed think that “climate change is one of the most important problems in the world,” 30 percent of Germans and 27 percent of Austrians consider it the most important problem of all.

Climate change causes behavior change

However, the survey also revealed that the vast majority of respondents assume that they are not personally responsible for combating climate change, but rather governments, the EU or industry. 62 percent of Germans were of the opinion that industry was responsible, and 48 percent of Austrians shared the same view. However, 71 and 66 percent, respectively, indicated that they had changed their behaviour with regard to climate change in the six months prior to the survey.

Detailed analysis of consumer data revealed that the vast majority of people focused on reducing and separating waste. The carbon footprint when planning a trip played a role for twelve percent of those surveyed. Equally large was the proportion of people across Europe who paid attention to fuel consumption when choosing a new car. However, the Germans achieved the top value here with 27 percent.

What influence do athletes have?

“Few are willing to make lifestyle changes to save the planet, study finds,” headlined Britain’s Guardian daily. And the “Sustainability Report”, a platform that deals with the role of sport in sustainability, asked on November 11: “Whether sport as one of the activities with the highest participation, the most fun on this planet can play a role in developing new habits?”

According to a study by World Athletics, also released ahead of the climate conference, 77 percent of all athletes surveyed said they had made lifestyle changes to reduce the damage their activities are having on the environment. 75 percent said they wanted to encourage others to do the same. Rory McIlroy then spoke to the golf professionals.

Climate change with negative consequences for sports facilities

This may also be due to the fact that more and more sports facilities and sporting events are directly endangered by the effects of climate change. According to data from the Climate Coalition, 62,500 amateur football matches in Great Britain have now been cancelled due to extreme weather. Clubs in particularly vulnerable areas struggle with flooding or other damage for an average of three months out of the season.

The golf scene is at the beginning of the discussion

The discussion about accepting climate change in the golf industry has only just begun. Of the 273 associations or clubs that have signed the United Nations’ “ Sports for Climate Action ” agreement to date, only four of the 273 participants are the International Golf Federation, the United States Golf Association, the Sentosa Golf Club and Saudi Golf . A total of twelve clubs and associations from Germany have signed. These are the Eisbären Berlin, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, DSV, VFL Wolfsburg, DFB, the Snowboarding Association, the German Ski Instructors Association, Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC Cologne, Kieler Yacht Club, Alba Berlin Basketball and the Offshore Team Germany.

They have all committed themselves to complying with the following five principles, which the UN treaty formulates as follows:

Principle 1: Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility

Principle 2: Reduce overall climate impact

Principle 3: Educate for climate action

Principle 4: Promote sustainable and responsible consumption

Principle 5: Advocate for climate action through communication