Social responsibility: Golfpark München Aschheim sets standards

“Think of your social responsibility and get involved in your community”. With these words, the R&A describes one of the demands on golf courses when it comes to their integration into their community or region . Only those who constantly deal with the needs of the city or community will actually be recognized as a golf club in the long term. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the world’s largest promoter of sustainability in golf, believes that non-golfers have reservations about golf. “are often a consequence of a lack of understanding of how the club is managed or run.”

Jochen Hornig, Managing Director of Golfpark München Aschheim, can only confirm that. “For us, the cooperation between the surrounding communities and the golf course is very vital and has been since it was founded,” he explains, a form of cooperation on many levels that is not common in German golf. As a result, the Golfpark Aschheim does not have any image or acceptance problems – no wonder when you take a look at the various activities of the golfers.

The most recent example is the fundraising campaign “Solidarity in times of Corona”, in which a total of 11.700 euros was collected for the Kirchheim-Heimstetten food bank and the Aschheim/Dornach neighbourhood aid. Both aid organizations help the socially disadvantaged and needy, some of whom are in need at short notice due to the Corona crisis.

The golf course is also exemplary when it comes to Integration of young people without a golf background is possible: “The municipality holds 19 limited partnership shares with us, 18 of which go to children and young people whose parents do not play golf. You get free playing rights here,” Hornig explains about the system, which is also used annually in this form for seniors. In addition, two school golf projects are running with a primary school and a junior high school. The club is also primarily involved in the areas of health and inclusion . A separate inclusion officer deals with the implementation of play options for people with disabilities. The positive results of the work are impressive. In any case, Paul Kögler from Golfpark Aschheim competed in golf at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

The result of all the various efforts is a lively exchange between those responsible for the club and those in the surrounding communities, who are also kept up to date on the various actions in the field of “golf and nature” . Here, too, the club has long had the gold award.

In terms of sustainability, the Golfpark Aschheim is considered a model facility in many respects, especially when it comes to integrating the club into its social environment. A factor that, according to the R&A, will become increasingly important for the future of golf courses. Ultimately, especially in urban areas, the limitation of areas is increasingly leading to the general expectation that the available land will be used consciously and sustainably. Only those who communicate in good time how a golf course uses land and resources can expect understanding for their approach. This includes, for example, explaining machine noise, golf balls in neighbouring properties or information about water consumption or the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

“Trying to offer people from the area a job” can also ensure more mutual understanding, as can involving volunteers in environmental or nature conservation projects. And: The golf course should also be easily accessible and experienceable for non-golfers. Be it via jogging routes or walking paths, with the help of nature tours or children’s camps. When non-golfers experience golf courses more often, they become more familiar with the subject, which in turn leads to more understanding. In any case, at the Aschheim Golf Park, people have come to appreciate the constant togetherness. And the community was pro-golf right from the start – when the club was founded in 1990, a garbage dump on the golf course was considered an alternative in the area extremely close to the city. Even then, golf appeared to the surrounding population as a really sensible alternative.

The check was handed over after the “Solidarity in times of Corona” campaign, which raised 11.700 euros for a food bank and neighborhood help. (Photos: Herbert Wirtz)