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Golf must do its bit in water crisis, clubs warned

Golf must do its bit in water crisis, clubs warned

Two of golf’s governing bodies have come together to urge the industry to play its part with many parts of the UK suffering from a drought
 

Golf needs to do its bit to “limit water usage as much as is reasonably practical at the current time”.

So said the heads of two of the sport’s governing bodies as much of the UK finds itself in drought conditions following another spell of extreme hot weather.

Tom Brooke, chief executive of the Golf Club Managers’ Association, and Jim Croxton, CEO of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association, added that players also needed to be “considerate” and understand that green playing surfaces were “quite simply not possible” as the home nations swelter under 30 degree heat.

Eight areas of England have been declared as in drought and a series of water companies, including Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and, in Wales, Welsh Water, have either implemented hosepipe bans or signalled their intentions to do so.

While golf courses have exemptions for irrigating sports turf, albeit with some restrictions on times of watering depending on the water company, Brooke and Croxton are urging the industry to consider its “social responsibility”.

In southern France, climate activists poured cement into holes at courses near Toulouse in protest at the water exemptions given to clubs.

And in a joint statement issued by the GCMA, Brooke and Croxton said: “The golf course is the central element to any golf facility and well managed and maintained surfaces are essential to the playing of the game.

“In order for this to continue in warm or hot weather irrigation is critical to ensure the grass plant survives. 

“With the above in mind, we must very carefully consider the ongoing and sustainable management of our golf courses, whilst at the same time focusing on priority playing areas and ensuring that we are not exceeding licenced water usage or infringing on any legally enforced restrictions.

“Management of golfer expectations is, of course, going to be a challenge. Golf club members and visitors are used to seeing green playing surfaces and it is important that we develop an understanding that under the current circumstances, this is quite simply not possible, and we need to ask our members and visiting golfers to be considerate of this.

“As a sport and as an industry, we also have a social responsibility to consider and therefore we must all work together to ensure that golf clubs as a whole are working within the current restrictions and that we as a sport are doing our bit to limit water usage as much as is reasonably practical at the current time.”

Is your club having to cope with a drought or extreme weather conditions? Why not tweet me and let me know what’s going on?

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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