On the fareway - how the golfing green fares poorly on eco-credentials
24th July, 2008
Eifion Rees finds out that the golfing world’s eco credentials are simply full of holes.
It’s early morning on the first tee. Two players stroll leisurely across the perfectly mowed turf to line up the first shot of the day. Before them stretch acres of lovingly tended fairway, carefully manicured rough, trees and water features. The sprinklers are on in the distance; rainbows are forming in the fine mist. Everywhere is green and lush. Welcome to Egypt. Welcome to Saudi Arabia. Welcome to Afghanistan.
There are golf courses in 140 countries worldwide – 600 under construction at this very moment – and not all are as suited to the sport as inclement Scotland, where the game originated. Mature markets like the UK, US, Ireland and Australia may not be expanding, but the sport is still growing in the rest of the world. It has been exported to jungle nations, its courses carved from tropical rainforests, and to some of the driest places on Earth.
Golf is the thirstiest sport in the world. Some 9.5 billion litres of water are used daily to keep greens green – enough to meet the needs of four-fifths of the Earth’s population for a day. US courses are conservatively estimated to use an average of 300,000 gallons daily – Las Vegas’s 60 courses each uses a million....
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