Zwei jugendliche Golfspieler steigen in einen Zug ein

Tyrolean golf club implements international green kids event

Anna Kogler is in the best of moods. She spent almost a year hatching her idea of a green golf tournament for children and young people. Now that the Tyrolean Pupils and Youth Championships are over, in retrospect the effort was worth it. The classic tournament for students and youth with 156 participants has become the first Green Event in the Austrian Golf Association. A showcase project.

It’s the small projects that are often the hardest to implement. Because they lack the big public, they lack grant money, PR, support with manpower. Press releases about attempts to make golf events in the Rolex Series or other professional tournaments more sustainable are now a weekly occurrence. But in youth tournaments, of which there are thousands upon thousands held on golf courses around the world, it’s all about self-doing, maximum motivation and, ultimately, determination to see an idea through.

Ein Schild mit der Aufschrift Green Event Tirol

International youth tournaments, which attract the ambitious young golfers, are running in quantities all over the world. There are so many junior golf tours. The procedure is similar: Whether in Chicago, southern Germany, Austria or England – usually at least one parent drives to the tournament with a car and a child. On site there are soft drinks and water from plastic bottles and masses of granola bars in plastic packaging as lap food. After golf, you eat a burger or pasta, and then you head back home. With or without a cup or medal. The issue of sustainability plays no role in the field of youth sports, even though it is today’s youth who will have to deal with the effects of climate change far more than those individuals who now make decisions about tournaments as officials.

Jugendliche am Verpflegungsstand

The organizers at GC Kitzbüheler Alpen Westendorf, with their Executive President Jakob Haselsberger at the top, proved that youth golf can also function differently. The young participants from Germany, Austria or even the Czech Republic were motivated to travel to the event of the Austrian Juniors Golf Tour by train to the Westendorf train station, where an e-shuttle was ready. However, only one family took up this offer. Instead of drinks from plastic bottles, four drinking water fountains on the golf course were used and powder for sports drinks with refillable bottles was dispensed.

Supply chains switched to regional producers

“The most difficult transition was in the restaurant business,” Kogler notes. “That’s where we immediately ran into concerns that changing supply chains is too difficult.” With a lot of persuasion, the investment in a new coffee machine and ultimately a lot of research, the difficult topic of gastronomy was mastered. “We did manage to get the apples from the region, for example. We bought the coffee at 20 cents more and the switch to a vegetarian diet worked,” says Kogler enthusiastically.

The performance sport representative in the Tyrolean regional association didn’t find many supporters in the beginning. The Austrian Golf Association did not support the idea financially. Klimabündnis Tirol, which is otherwise often heavily involved in the organization of sustainable events, was also not particularly convinced by the golfers’ sustainable approach. “Golf doesn’t really have a clean image,” Kogler recognized.

She herself had developed an idea of how green events could work at reggae festivals. She thinks it is great that the Tyrolean Youth and Pupils Championship now bears the label Green Event basic of the Climate Alliance Tyrol. She rightly says: You also have to tell this success story, because only then will it find promoters, supporters and, above all, imitators.