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  • Writer's pictureKevin Watson

Can Golf Events be Sustainable?

There are a vast number of golf events across the globe that look to provide platforms for the worlds best golfers to compete and showcase the game we know and love. These events take a lot of coordination, particularly the ones on the larger tours, with lots of temporary infrastructure designed to enhance the spectator experience. This article looks to shed light onto tournament hosts and sponsors that have focussed on the environmental impact their own events, from the reduction of their carbon footprint, to the protection of wildlife and handling of waste.


The Waste Management Phoenix Open - PGA Tour Event

16th 'Stadium Hole' at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management

We're sure that most people who watch golf on TV have become familiar with the PGA tour's Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale - or most notably the 16th hole, which typically dominates the headlines. Up to 20,000 fans enjoying the stadium hole experience and party like atmosphere is truly one of golf's unique events and shakes up traditions.

What perhaps goes unnoticed is Waste Management's approach to their environmental impact in hosting such a large scale event. No waste from the event is routed to landfill, with well established networks for recycling, composting, conversion of waste to energy and donation of unused products. The below infographic taken from the event website provides good insight into the impact from their 2020 event. We hope to see more recent data on their 2023 event that shows continuous improvement as their event continues to grow.

Waste Management may have the resources and financial prowess to run an event in such a manner; however, this does provide insight into how events can look to reduce environmental impact.


The 150th Open Championship - St. Andrews

With the 150th Open Championship being held at St Andrews Old Course, it was always envisaged that ticket demand would be at a premium and it did not disappoint. 290,000 spectators attended over the course of the week, which now holds the record for the most attended Open championship.

One of the water stations made available throughout Open championships

The 150th Open Championship was not the first Open Championship that was supported by a sustainability initiative; however, the most recent event did address a number of areas in its design. "The Open offers an opportunity to showcase golf's role in positively impacting people and nature, demonstrating responsible resource use and championing climate action" states Arlette Anderson, Director of Sustainable Golf at The R&A.

Listed below are some of the initiatives used at the 150th Open Championship:

  • Use of biofuel generators and solar panels to assist with power requirements.

  • 50 additional onsite water refill points, with no sale of plastic water bottles.

  • Reusable bottle sale proceeds donated to Priceless Planet Coalition, matched by Mastercard.

  • All emissions offset through gold standard accredited climate projects.

There may be doubt as to whether or not an event of this magnitude can really be deemed 'sustainable', but it is encouraging to see the R&A addressing a wide range of environmental concerns, which are improving after each Open Championship and no doubt will continue to improve over time.


What are your thoughts on companies and tournament sponsors having sustainable initiatives during events? Is this enough? Does there need to be more consistency and investment across all larger tour events? Let us know in the comments.

All the best

Team Tidal Links

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