My uncle has always been interested in golf. Family dinners were often spent listening to his golf trips around the world. Which, to me, sounded quite bizarre. I never understood why people were traveling the world to do the same thing over and over again: hit a white ball down a hole.
“What`s wrong with the five different golf courses in your local area? Are you sure that the one on Tenerife is THAT much different?”
Regardless of my impression of the diversity within the golf sport, I educated myself on the environmental impact of golf. I found out that there`s quite a lot of action you can take as a golfer to reduce your carbon footprint. Therefore, I put together a list of actions that you can consider.
#1: Golf balls do not belong in the sea!
This tip was fueled by an article I read a couple of months ago. A teenage diver in California found thousands of golf balls underneath the surface. According to this article by npr.org, the balls create a specific type of ocean plastic waste as once the balls degrade, they “emit toxic chemicals.”
What`s more frightening is that the diver tells the newspaper that “you couldn’t see the sand because it was all white”. Now, that`s when we are talking about A LOT of golf balls.
Video from Loch Ness
No, I am not going to show you a video of the infamous sea monster in Loch Ness. I am going to show you something even crazier. When a mini-submarine was sent down to analyze the bottom of the sea, they found more than 10,000 golf balls. The video below provides a unique insight into how it looks like when golfers don`t care about nature:
What can you do to prevent this from happening?
Just try to not shoot your golf balls into the sea. You should come home with the same number of golf balls as you had when you left your home.
#2: Use eco-friendly golf balls
Not everyone has the accuracy of Tiger Woods. In other words: there might be incidents where some golf balls end up in nature. If they do, we need to make sure that these golf balls do not make any harm to the environment.
Eco-friendly golf balls have the following features:
– Biodegradable and made out of ecological materials.
– Safe for all marine flora and fauna.
– It gives you the chance to play golf near the sea.
What I do NOT like about these golf balls is that they are a single-use product. Shipping these from one side of the world to another would possibly create a larger environmental impact compared to some plastic items in the ocean. However, I am not going to rant about “eco-friendly single-use products”. Eco-friendly golf balls ARE a great thing despite having to order them online and the fact that you can only use them once.
Example: eco-friendly golf balls sold on Amazon
These are currently the only ones that I could find right now. However, they are quite affordable and got some good reviews. If I was you, I would give it a shot:
I`m gonna buy some for my uncle next Christmas. I do not trust his golf skills.
#3: Reduce your golf travel frequency and distance
Long-distance flights is one of the most harmful things we do to our planet. I would strongly advise you to plan your golf trips to make sure that you get the most out of it.
– Try to reduce the number of golf trips. In other words: stay in one place for many days/weeks.
– If you live in Texas, you do not have to go to Portugal to play golf. There are loads of good golf courses in Mexico (and even in the United States).
– Support golf courses that take biodiversity seriously. There`s a book called “Guidelines for Maximizing Biodiversity on Golf Courses“, which functions as a super helpful guide to show how golf courses can work as a place where wildlife and golfers can go hand-in-hand.
Identifying these eco-friendly golf courses should not be too hard. They are often very proud of their achievements, which means that they will post it on their website/flyers/through other online channels, etc.
As of most hobbies, golfing might lead to a lot of environmental problems. In the article, I have mainly highlighted the most efficient things that YOU as a consumer can do to reduce your environmental impact. However, there are still loads of things that golf courts can do to take better care of the planet:
– Reduce water usage.
– Stop using one-time cutlery in their restaurants.
– Put solar panels on their golf cars (or simply buy fully electronic golf cars).
– Many other things.
If you have any brilliant ideas on how golfers can reduce their environmental impact, feel free to comment below.