The R&A - Working for Golf

Preventing Pollution

Golf courses have a social responsibility to ensure they do not pollute the environment.

Care must be taken to ensure that all forms of pollution or potential pollution are minimised or managed.  This is not only good for the environment and your social responsibility but also for business.

If your club is considered by outsiders to be polluting the environment, whether this is true or not, this reputation will have a negative effect on your customer base, your revenue and you are also likely to incur greater costs to employ contractors to deal with waste.

Pollution comes in a range of different forms of which chemical pollution of water bodies and noise pollution from machinery are of most concern to communities surrounding golf courses.

Even the most sustainable courses cannot eliminate completely the potential pollution risks which come from chemicals, waste water, soil erosion, grass clippings and machinery operation. It is, therefore, essential that you are aware of these and that you have plans in place to minimise potential incidents.

Key elements in devising a pollution prevention strategy include:

  • managing to promote healthy turf and healthy soil to aid filtering and microbial breakdown of potential pollutants
  • undertaking risk assessments of all operations to identify threats
  • drawing up policies to eliminate or minimise these threats
  • providing training to all staff on the need to follow agreed policies
  • keeping accurate and up-to-date records of all materials which pose a pollution risk
  • working with close neighbours to reduce noise pollution through use of quieter machinery and reasonable timing of operations
  • being aware of legislation regarding the safe management and disposal of potential sources of pollution
  • being transparent with your strategy to reassure regulators and the community.

Taking these actions can bring direct benefits to the business, including the use of more efficient machinery, sourcing more sustainable fuel sources and reducing the amount of hazardous waste that you have to pay to be uplifted.

Consulting with specialists is advisable at all stages of this process.

Polluting local ecosystems can lead to severe penalties under a growing body of environmental legislation, which often carry significant monetary fines. Proactive planning, in conjunction with specialists, will ensure that you minimise the risk of polluting and that the impact of any unfortunate incident can be effectively managed.