Monday, March 20, 2023

Golf: is it possible to make the game sustainable?

Although its origin is very old, but The first recorded mention of the game of golf in Scotland dates from 1457.When King James II of Scotland banned the game because it distracted his subjects from archery practice, which was more important for military training.

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Despite this ban, the game continued to be played, and by the 18th century golf had become a popular pastime in Scotland, and golf clubs began to appear. first golf clubs and courses,

Currently, golf is considered one of the most popular sports on the planet. However, in Scotland, its place of origin, there are between 175 and 250 rainy days a year.

comparatively, in Almeria, the only desert in the European regionWith fewer than 25 rainy days a year, you can find eight golf courses. In the province of Málaga, there are 50 farms, with 70 days of rain.

The effect of the golf course is not negligible. there are Around 40,000 golf courses in the world, They take up 26 times more space per player than a football field and add little value to the community.

A golf course with at least 20 hectares can consume 20,000 cubic meters in the north of Spain and 270,000 cubic meters in the south, enough to supply a population of 7,000 people.

Golf courses shouldn’t even be considered natural spaces. they are rather huge gardens reduced ecological diversity And where most species that could have inhabited the area, from rats and moles to insects, have been wiped out.

These are affected by the pesticides and insecticides heavily used in these facilities. fertilizer use It also contributes to the phenomenon of eutrophication, which is responsible for the destruction of Mar Menor.

half solution

The golf industry’s response to criticism from environmental organizations is to name a few. ecological modernizationAn effort to use science and technology to make golf course appearances more sustainable.

However, researchers at the University of Bath believe that these practices are insufficient, and that they are in fact a political maneuver to make real improvements, such as green golf (organic golf) which requires much more radical (and more expensive) measures.

one of these practices irrigation with reused or treated waterThat is, wastewater that has passed through a treatment plant but is not fit for human consumption.

In 2010, an analysis of water reuse in Gran Canaria found that nearly double the amount of water needed was used, and that this use could contaminate water sources because of nitrate residues.

The source of the water is another important factor. Irrigated agriculture consumes 80% of the country’s water resources. A good portion comes from millions of illegal wells that are exploited with little control.

118 million people can be supplied with this water, and over-exploitation of aquifers inevitably leads to their contamination and unusability, causing enormous damage to the environment. According to WWF, in the Mar Menor region alone, it is estimated that 25% of irrigation water comes from illegal wells.

Although less visible, there have been reports of illegal well use by golf courses in recent years. In 2013, the Valderrama Golf Club in Cadiz with a fine of 155,000 Euros for illegal use of two water wells for irrigation.

ten in 2018 Illegal drinking water wells tapped by six golf courseswho received a fine of 250,000 euros.

When the Ebro transfer was canceled in 2004, the farmers and golf courses of southeastern Spain looked out to sea. The desolation, by then testimonial, came to supply 10% of Spain’s water consumption, and 22% of that amount was devoted to agriculture, and many golf courses began to use it for irrigation.

According to WWF report, desalination of sea water is also not sustainable. It is a process that consumes enormous amounts of energy (which currently comes mostly from fossil fuels) and which increases the greenhouse effect.

The high cost of these waters is subsidized by the governments of the communities, so the actual cost is not covered. Recently, the government of Illes Balearic Islands ban the use of desalinated water for golf courses,

Sustainable Golf?

Golf is a very profitable field of activity for investors and one that creates jobs, and perhaps this makes its regulation more complex. The situation has improved in Spain in recent years, with efforts by the public administration and companies in the sector to increase the sustainability of these facilities which attract 1.2 million tourists a year.

However, organic golf, like organic vegetables, is much more expensive. Here are some essential exercises:

  • Use organic fertilizers instead of artificial fertilizers.
  • Apply Integrated Pest Management instead of pesticides and insecticides.
  • Plant native plants to reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Create wetlands and other habitats that serve as homes for wildlife.
  • Use natural materials like sand and peat for lawn maintenance instead of synthetic materials.
  • Encourage the use of electric golf carts and bicycles instead of gasoline golf carts.

It is worth mentioning that There Are Certifications For Ecological Golf Like GEO Certified, which is a certification for the sustainable management of golf courses, but only a quarter of the world’s golf courses have it. In Spain, this seal has been awarded to 16 courses out of a total of over 300.

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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