More plastic avoidance on the golf course

Beaches full of PET bottles, ghost nets, other plastic waste. Animals that get caught in the nets or swallow too much plastic die. Anyone who has seen the film Blue Planet II by the well-known British journalist David Attenborough knows that the environment has a major problem with plastic. The sports industry is one of the causes.

Save thousands of plastic bottles

Examples are thousands and thousands of sports nets, whether for volleyball, tennis or badminton, which end up in the trash every year. But plastic waste also accumulates in golf in many areas: It starts with the packaging material on clubs, gloves and caps collected in the pro shop. It continues with plastic waste from the cleaning supplies area, packaging for fertilizers in greenkeeping and finally ends with the golfer himself, who starts his round on the golf course with PET bottles from the supermarket and eats one or two plastic-packed bars as a snack. At golf tournaments, catering in plastic packaging is just as standard as PET drinking bottles. In a sponsored tournament with 100 participants, between 300 and 400 bottles are distributed per day, depending on the temperature.

The reduction of rubbish is becoming an issue at more and more golf courses. For example, Arabella Golf on the Spanish island of Mallorca, certified according to the EU’s EMAS environmental seal since 2019, has installed water dispensers on all golf courses and in the clubhouses and sells refillable drinking bottles for five euros. A similar program is being carried out in Gut Apeldör in Schleswig-Holstein. The Ladies Business Cup, a B2B tournament series for women only in Germany, was also held completely without the use of food in plastic packaging.

So what options does the individual golf club have to avoid plastic?

  • Water dispensers will be set up throughout the golf course.
  • The tees given away at the reception are not made from single-use plastic – instead, tees made from recycled plastic or bamboo are given out.
  • At tournaments, bars in plastic packaging are replaced with food in environmentally friendly packaging or fruit. Sandwiches are packed in paper bags, not plastic.
  • Instead of soft drinks and water in PET bottles, drinks dispensers are used at tournaments, from which water or ice tea can be tapped, for example.
  • Refillable bottles are given as a starting gift, team player equipment or prizes.
  • There is no plastic packaging for tournament prizes and bouquets of flowers.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products in refillable bottles are used for cleaning in the clubhouse.
  • Refillable soap dispensers are also used in the changing rooms and toilets.
  • Greenkeeping is increasingly ordering products as a concentrate in order to save not only on plastic packaging but also on shipping costs.
  • New signage on the golf course is not made of plastic, but of wood or recycled materials.

Anyone who only implements some of the possible measures will be surprised by the positive effect even of small projects. The problem of big amounts of plastic waste is also known among golfers. Therefore, most players respond positively to avoidance approaches. Admittedly, the start requires new concepts and a little creativity from the gastronomy, pro shop and secretariat. However, this is not an insurmountable obstacle for any golf course.