A French language version of The R&A's website offering best practice guidelines for golf course management is launched on 1 January 2005. It is the first translation of the highly successful site and will be followed by Italian and German versions.
The cost of translation has been met by The R&A, together with a number of affiliates from French speaking nations, led by the French Golf Federation, supported by the Royal Belgian Golf Federation, the Swiss Golf Association, the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation and the Tunisian Golf Federation.
The website offers guidelines on all aspects of golf course management and development from the clubhouse and management structure to construction and maintenance. This professional advice and information is provided free of charge to anyone accessing the site, and is supported by extensive links to expert organisations that can provide further assistance to those in search of help.
All clubs in the Federations and Unions affiliated to The R&A have the opportunity of drawing on the resources of the Golf Course Committee and its database of expert advice. More than 880 golf clubs in 72 countries have registered with the site at no charge, and 114 of these are in the process of completing the interactive checklists which enable them to compare their management programmes against best practice.
The site was planned in conjunction with the European Golf Association and produced by The R&A Golf Course Committee. R&A Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, commented: "The challenge for golf is to maintain course quality and playability while respecting and positively contributing to the social and natural environment. We are in no doubt that the site will be an invaluable tool for clubs that are seeking to develop and operate to currently accepted best practice standards."
The website was inspired by a meeting of European Golf Association leaders in Portugal who called on The R&A to give a lead in teaching and encouraging best management practices on golf courses; promoting environmental and ecological care; co-ordinating research into reducing chemical use; adapting to the consequences of climate change; conserving water, and placing the game of golf in the forefront of exemplary community planning. The meeting also called on The R&A to support and influence EC legislation.
The site can be seen by logging on to www.bestcourseforgolf.org.