Golf was once thought to be a sport for snobs, but not anymore! It is a popular recreational and professional sport in many parts of the world, even in developing countries.
What price do we pay for golf courses though?
Golf courses are known for their aesthetic appeal, the span of land that remains green year round is breathtaking and simply wonderful to the eye.
Golf courses however have a negative effect on the environment from when they are constructed. Before a course can be set up, a lot of clearing is required, thereby destroying habitats and causing erosion.
A prominent example is the recently opened Trump International Golf Links course in Scotland. The Scottish Wildlife Trust led opposition to Donald Trump’s golf course, citing environmental concerns as the source of their objection. The objections were stated as follows:
“Part of the golf resort was to be located within the spectacular sand dune system at Menie Links including one third of Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest. This highly sensitive and dynamic dune ecosystem is recognised as one of the top five dune habitats in the whole of the UK. The very high nature conservation value of this coastline is recognised at both a European (five priority European habitats are present) and national level…
Indeed, the whole stretch of coastline hosts a rich assemblage of specially adapted higher and lower plants and other wildlife, including a diverse breeding bird community and otters. Of even greater concern, the location of one of the golf courses would result in the destruction of over a third of Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is important nationally for both its biological and geological features. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is strongly opposed to the Trump development and objected primarily on the grounds that there would be severe and irreversible damage to the Foveran Links SSSI, and surrounding wildlife.”
Unfortunately the course was officially opened by Trump in mid 2012, despite all the objections raised by the Trust and the community within which the course was constructed.
Further, the secret behind these manicured turfs is a great amount of water, fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Golf courses simply need too much water and fertilisers to sustain their appearance. At times you find that the freshwater used on just one golf course per day could be enough to service 20 000 people. The fertilisers in and of themselves pose a real threat to freshwater sources which may be contaminated by such fertilisers.
It is important that both golfers and fans of the game be aware of the negative effect that the game has on the environment. Change must be effected to ensure a more sustainable method of constructing and maintaining golf courses.
The government, though it seeks investments, should know that sometimes the best investments are the ones we do not make. Ironically, this is a quote from Mr Donald Trump.
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