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European National Golf Associations Driving New Sustainable Golf Research

National Golf Association in Europe are leading new research projects into sustainable golf. Nine research projects, set to be undertaken between now and 2025, were recently approved for funding by The R&A’s Golf Course 2030 (GC2030) initiative.

National and regional federations in Europe were invited to submit proposals for projects aligned with one or more GC2030 priority themes, which are sustainable agronomy, resources, biodiversity and climate.

The awarded projects and national federations are:

- Biodiversity and multifunctionality of golf courses (STERF, representing the Nordic nations)

The aim of this project is to define measurement standards and KPIs for calculating the biodiversity value of golf courses.

- Studies in biodiversity of golf courses (France)

This project seeks to establish standards and promote golf course biodiversity to audiences beyond golf. 

- Climate action and supporting biodiversity in golf courses (Finland)

This project will investigate the carbon impact and sequestration potential of golf courses and produce a model for reducing emissions and increasing carbon storage.

- WAWE – water, materials, waste, energy (Denmark) 

This research aims to establish practical guidelines for courses to maximise efficiency of key resources.

- Turfgrass disease biological control in southern Europe (Spain)

This project aims to develop alternatives to pesticides and establish clear integrated pest management (IPM) practices for their use.

- Golf course maintenance without pesticides: challenges, opportunities, approaches, and research (Switzerland)

The output of this research will be a digital compendium of pesticide-free course management practices. 

- Practical IPM on dollar spot and microdocium nivale (Netherlands)

This project seeks to identify and trial integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to combat the two most common turf diseases in Europe.

- Sustainable agronomy: alternative methods for dollar spot management on sand-based putting greens (Belgium)

This research aims to develop natural alternatives to pesticides to facilitate pesticide-free maintenance.

- The effect of bio stimulants and microorganisms against most common turfgrass diseases in Italy (Italy)

This project will test the effectiveness of biological solutions to turf disease and collect evidence to support their use.

The outcomes of the awarded projects will be made available to the golf industry in a variety of formats as research progresses. 

Arlette Anderson, Director of Sustainable Golf at The R&A, said, “Golf Course 2030 is helping to develop new approaches to golf’s most difficult sustainability challenges and we are focused on the need for practical outputs delivered in an engaging way for the industry to use.”

“Our affiliated national federations in Europe expressed real desire to be part of this initiative and we are supporting them  in achieving the sustainability aims set out in their national and regional action plans.”

Golf Course 2030 is a long-term research initiative funded by the R&A to build and share knowledge of sustainability best practice in the golf industry. Since its introduction, £1 million has been awarded to research projects by The R&A. Nearly 50% of this money has been granted to organisations within Europe.

The initiative was established in 2018 to help those working in golf course management address the complex challenges presented by climate change, resource constraints and changing environmental regulations.

For more information on GC2030 please click here.