Golfball mit Ameisen

The Open: GreenLink’s program expanded

Low CO2 emissions, an emphasis on the circular economy, social appreciation and the promotion of nature – these are the four key points that GreenLinks, the R&A’s sustainability program at The Open, should focus on, as it did in 2022.

For visitors themselves, the initiative could be experienced live in some areas of the tournament: as in 2022, the so-called “waterwall” on the Royal Liverpool GC course, where fans could fill their own drinking bottles with water free of charge, was probably the most visible expression of the attempt to avoid plastic at as many levels of the tournament as possible. The so-called Open Water Initiative, which they are running in conjunction with Bluewater and Mastercard, has already prevented the consumption of more than 500,000 plastic bottles since 2018, according to Libi Newell, Head of Corporate Sustainability at the R&A.

Drei Beispielbilder für Nachhaltigkeitsprojekte bei The Open

Another new installation in Liverpool was the Sustainable Golf Hub, an information centre that provided information on various R&A initiatives in the areas of biodiversity and water management, for example, while also encouraging children to write their wishes on a wall on the subject of climate change and sustainability. The only disadvantage was that the Sustainable Golf Hub was not located on the classic tournament site, but next to the driving range and was therefore not noticed at all by very many visitors.

But at least a few fans might have asked themselves whether sausage and chips should really be the appropriate snack for lunch. For the first time, the carbon footprint of individual dishes was shown on the menu boards. With a value of 1.0 kg CO2e, sausages with chips were a top product in the negative sense, while the harissa salad with a value of 0.2 kg CO2e was the first choice for fans looking for a low carbon footprint. After all, 65 percent of all dishes offered were a so-called low-carbon variant.

While the attempt to divert spectators’ travel largely to climate-friendly alternatives had largely failed in 2022 due to the rail strike, in Hoylake many visitors took advantage of the opportunity to disembark right next to the golf course, thus bypassing the cumbersome bus shuttle from the car parking areas, even if this was operated by hybrid buses. The player shuttles this year were done with all-electric cars, however, as with every other tournament, you usually only saw one pro in one car at a time at Hoylake. The topic of car sharing has apparently not yet caught on among professionals.

Solar energy and biodiesel

Many of the Greenlinks initiatives take place in the background and do not really involve the professionals: Superstructures and materials are largely reused, donated for community purposes or, for example, used again next year in the form of backpacks or bags. Power for the transmission carts on the TV Compound came almost entirely from solar panels, and the mowers used in greenkeeping are electrified. If diesel was used, it was in the form of biodiesel. The concept of “Sustainable Championship Agronomy”, for example, involves using as little water as possible, so that the fairways of Royal Liverpool 2023 presented themselves much greener after various rainfalls than, for example, in 2006 when Tiger Woods won on a largely brown golf course.

Arlette Anderson, Sustainability Director at the R&A, who, together with Newell, formulated one message above all: with many different projects, The Open is to become a bit more sustainable every year.