The topic of sustainability at the PGA Show 2024
At the PGA Show in Orlando at the end of 2024, the topic of sustainability was only occasionally given high priority. With around 200 international exhibitors from 25 countries and more than 1,000 participating golf brands, the 71st edition of the latest PGA Show from January 21 to 24 offered a broad portfolio of international product presentations, lectures and discussion panels. The topic of sustainability was presented to more than 31,000 visitors in very different ways. In the area of communication, the topic was less obvious to the first observer. On the homepage of the renowned golf trade fair, you will search in vain for the umbrella term “sustainability” in the individual categories for products, events or workshops. In the daily Media Notebook and in the news, the topic is only found in isolated passages.
For most exhibitors, the topic of sustainability played a subordinate role. The exceptions were a few products on sustainable golf equipment that could be found on site. There was also exhibitor information on companies from the sustainable textile industry, natural and environmentally friendly personal care products and initiatives in the field of social sustainability, such as the“Watson Links” initiative for youth golf in the USA for the general public by eight-time major champion Tom Watson.
From the point of view of PGA Show participant Klaus Nadizar, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of SimplyGOLF, the topic of sustainability was rather underrepresented at the event in the US state of Florida. “Sustainability was largely absent from the PGA Show. There were certainly products that revolved around this, but the show per se did without it across the board.”
Other visitors, on the other hand, found interesting events on the subject of sustainability. For example, Kariem Baraka, 1st Chairman and President of the PGA of Germany, reported. “Internationally, the topic of sustainability was just as important as in Europe. I was pleasantly surprised,” said the managing director of GC München-Riedhof. The head of the Professional Association of German Golf Professionals attended a series of lectures as part of the Golf Leadership Summit. Here, representatives of the PGA of America exchanged views with other experts, for example from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) or from internationally renowned companies such as large food corporations, in the various discussion blocks on sustainability in golf. “It shows that those responsible are getting input from other sectors,” says Baraka.
According to Baraka, traditional US topics on water management on golf courses were addressed during the discussions, as was the topic of land use around golf courses. “The only area where we haven’t got that far yet is plant protection,” says Baraka on this rather neglected topic. The German PGA boss noticed some unnecessary packaging waste on site, for example plastic drinks bottles for participants instead of water filling stations, as can now be found on many golf courses. Overall, Baraka’s conclusion was positive: “The topic of sustainability was taken seriously.”
For Baraka, in addition to the ecological and economic aspects, social sustainability in particular is well tailored as the third pillar for the professional association of golf teachers, trainers and coaches, tour players and experts in the golf market. “Pros are always a mouthpiece in the golf clubs,” says Baraka. “They must have a great interest in ensuring that sustainability is a top priority.”
The PGA of Germany will also be addressing the topic of sustainability at the PGA Conference on 2. and March 3, 2024 at the Kongress Palais in Kassel. Golf Sustainable founder Petra Himmel will speak on March 3 at 9 a.m. on the topic of“The PGA Professional as an opinion leader in sustainability“.