The definition of Balance in metaphysics is a desirable point between two or more opposite forces. This concept is sought after in almost every aspect of life and business. Balance creates a structured yet enjoyable foundation to achieve greatness on any level by allowing room for growth and flexibility to change. This is precisely what the game of golf needs- Balance. It is clear that golf and the environment are the opposite forces, yet a desirable point has yet to be found. Sustainability is beginning to be at the forefront of conversations regarding golf, yet there is much more to be accomplished.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In golf, enduring the changes in the environment while flourishing economically and ecologically is going to be crucial to the success of the game. It is no longer a topic of discussion on what side is right or wrong. The golf industry and environmental organizations have been attempting to bridge this gap for years. For example, in 1995 Pebble Beach GC hosted the first ever golf- environmental summit. This event, along with many others is a great concept and would have substantial impact if continued each year at a different venue to highlight the chosen course and location.
In order for golf to become more sustainable, golf industry professionals and environmental professionals need to find common ground. For example, there are certifications that golf courses can achieve through environmental organizations that allow them to use less harmful chemicals for turf management, water reduction plans, and wildlife management processes to name a few. There is yet to be a certification that golf course professionals can become certified through, but this is the type of initiative that could educate future environmental leaders in the golf industry.
The possibilities are vast and corporations and non- profit organizations can truly reap the financial benefits. For example, The Waste Management Open, a PGA Tour event held in Arizona hosts a fundraising program called, “Green Out.” The concept is simple, for every person that wears green to the event, Waste Management and the Thunderbirds donate money to keeping Phoenix sustainable. Not everyone wore green, but 34 percent of the crowd did which raised around $50,000 and benefited three environmental non-profit organizations that help keep the city beautiful. This is a perfect example of the two industries coming together and building a foundation for a more balanced partnership for positive financial gain.
Andrew Carnegie once said, “Pioneering doesn’t pay” and he was right. As soon as sustainability is at the forefront of the golf industry, there will be something much larger than a pioneer. There will be a sustainable future for the game and the environment in which it’s played. The earth is a vital part of every person’s life and everyone must play a role. It is no longer a matter of who is right or wrong, it’s a matter of what is the best scenario to drive change and create a lasting positive impact. The golf industry can become a game changer for the environment, if pioneering doesn’t pay- partnering certainly will.