R&A expands Sustainable Agronomy Service
The R&A is expanding its range of services in the field of agronomy. Under the title Sustainable Agronomy Service, the association intends to advise golf facilities in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe on sustainable agronomy with immediate effect. It is not only about classic greenkeeping, but also about sustainable management, project planning or drainage issues. The goal is to actively support and guide “clubs to become more resilient and sustainable in the face of changing legislation on pesticides, climate change and access to resources”.
Revenues go to research and training
In principle, numerous companies and experts in the field of agronomy now already advertise this service offer, which also involves, for example, the correct selection of new seeds. However, the R&A points out that the income from the new service within the organization will go to research in the agronomy sector as well as the training of greenkeepers in sustainable course management, and thus no purely economic interest is linked to the new department.
The program is already up and running in the Asia Pacific region and is also being applied to the first plants in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe. “We’re here to provide expertise and support to golf facilities, highlighting the most efficient and accessible methods surrounding sustainable golf course management,” explains Alistair Beggs as Head of Agronomy at the R&A.
How is the quality changing?
This is likely to include discussion of how golf courses will present themselves to players in the future if pesticides are completely eliminated. The question of whether golfers will have to live with a discernible decline in quality in the medium and long term, or whether more knowledge, better use of resources and investment in research and development will mean that quality can be maintained or, in the case of numerous facilities, even improved, has been discussed within the golf industry for months.
The Sustainable Agronomy Service European team, led by Paul Woodham as Head of Agronomy Europe at the R&A, brings extensive experience in golf course maintenance. Woodham is optimistic that in the long run, this expertise will help many facilities achieve much more sustainable care management. “We have already seen facilities in the Asia-Pacific region benefit greatly from the support and collaboration that have been provided for the sustainable management of facilities.”