Golf’s Need to “Speak Up” on Sustainability
Golf needs to “speak up” on sustainability and communicate positive case studies and stories.
That’s the conclusion of a new social listening study commissioned by Syngenta that reveals the full extent of golf’s negative reputation across social media.
Golf & Social Media: Sustainability is a snapshot report helping clubs and courses understand what is being said about golf on social media – and how best to respond.
The study found that golf is widely perceived to be wasteful with water and bad for the environment.
The industry is also facing increasing questions from detractors about its sustainability credentials, especially in times of drought, with some social media campaigns even calling for golf to be banned.
Mark Birchmore Syngenta Global Head of Marketing, Turf and Landscape, who commissioned the report, said: “This study highlights a major challenge for the industry: there is strong negative sentiment across social media in relation to golf and sustainability.
“However, there are a wealth of case studies that demonstrate golf courses’ sustainability credentials. These compelling examples serve as proof of the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. It is important that golf courses, and the industry, now communicate these stories to change perceptions.”
Data for the report was provided by Ipsos, with 16.1 million mentions of golf on social media in the United States and UK analyzed over a three-year period (2019-2022).
“This study highlights a major challenge for the industry: there is strong negative sentiment across social media in relation to golf and sustainability."
Claire Martin of Ipsos said: “The negative image of golf is a common theme throughout the study. During droughts, people are especially vocal in their opposition to golf courses using water for irrigation. It is seen as bad for the environment and communities.
“Detractors also accuse golf courses of privatizing large green areas. There are calls for the repurposing of golf courses from developing the land for housing to meet the needs of growing urban populations to making golf courses nature reserves.