Golf is a sport enjoyed by millions of people, yet has many issues for the planet and wildlife. A beautiful sand dune has already been destroyed in the Scottish Highlands, to build a golf course resort owned by Donald Trump. Many golf courses use pesticides to keep the greens ‘ green’ and in the US alone, over 300 million golf balls are lost each year (if not biodegradable, each one takes up to 1000 years to decompose – many are putted accidentally off cruise ships, into the ocean).
Then you have plastic golf tees, and golf bags and shoes made from leather (often in countries with poor animal welfare and human rights conditions). Yet England Golf estimates that by ‘going green’, you could not just help the planet – but save your golf club up to £30,000 a year. Going Zero Waste has an interesting post on golf, as this US blogger grew up golfing with her dad (she was state-level). She has insider knowledge to offer fellow zero-waste golfers.
- Look online for vegan golf shoes and bags, when replacing. Many of these are also biodegradable.
- Although most golf clubs are made from metal (no issue there), most golf balls are covered in heavy metals that wear off in water (harming marine wildlife). You can buy biodegradable golf balls that cause less harm if they fall somewhere inaccessible (like in the sea).
- Many golf tees are made from plastic and some even contain gelatine (animal bones). Recycled plastic tees are not much better, as they still won’t biodegrade, if lost. Instead, choose OceanTee bamboo golf tees (in plastic-free packaging with 25% of profits to ocean conservation).
Greener Golf Clubs
- Golf courses use lots of water, so use giant water butts (rainwater harvesting systems can capture rain that runs off your golf club’s roof). This is better for the planet, and saves you money too.
- Wean your lawn off junk food to create an organic golf course, which is not just better for the planet and wildlife, but also for the health of golfers. Costs less too, once the start-up costs have been covered.
- Look at ways your golf club can be more sustainable. Serve local sustainable food on real plates with organic wine and beer in teh clubhouse. And use biodegradable cleaning and laundry brands.
- Grazers is a company that makes calcium-liquid that makes grass unpalatable to wildlife (including slugs and snails). Although not suitable for pet rabbits and the like (as they could not eat grass treated with it), for public parks and golf courses, it may suit as it is nontoxic to wildlife. See FAQ page for info on use with golf greens. They say it’s effective with regular mowing, though more applications may be required (it’s also used on bowling greens, where reports found rabbits moved on after 4 weeks, with regular mowing).