BY ISAAC HOWSON
When it comes to the way people in the United States think about golf, something needs to change.
With temperatures sitting around the high 60’s, St. Bonaventure University students are back to ‘hitting the links.’ However, I’m not sure most golfers realize the environmental impact golfing has on the planet.
According to data gathered by the Pew Research center, 63% of Americans believe that global warming is currently affecting their local community. Traditional methods like combating fossil fuels and carbon-based emissions have always been in the public eye when it comes to climate change.
For many, golf could soon share that spotlight — and rightfully so.
Consider how golf courses are made.
To create the space needed for a 9 or 18-hole course, land needs to be cleared. Cutting down trees and destroying natural habitats are just some of the ways creating a course can hurt the environment.
And better uses of that land exist, like affordable housing, parks, communal farms or just leaving the natural habitats that exist.
The next issue is water consumption. According to a website which displays the current drought issues among the entirety of the United States, places like Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah and Oregon are just some states that have water-supply issues. This isn’t even talking about the issues that California has had.
Now consider an article published by Deseret News in March of 2022. It found that in Utah, golf courses used 38 million gallons of water per day. That’s just Utah. With other states experiencing these drought issues, why not take a look at cutting back courses that use an excess of water?
That’s just to make sure golf courses are able to run — the next issue lies with upkeep.
These courses need to be maintained. The use of pesticides, weed killer and fertilizer can be seen in many golf courses around the world. That not only affects animal life on and around the course, but can also find its way into the water supply.
While modern golf courses are becoming more eco-friendly, is there ever a limit that we can possibly reach to make the cost worth it?
Sports, at the end of the day, are a luxury. Some could argue that it’s important for a society to have entertainment, and while I agree with that, the health of the planet should take precedent. Most people in the U.S agree with that, so why not start doing what we can now to save the planet? I know every sport has its effects on the environment, but for a sport with such an impact as golf, that luxury needs to go.
There’s also, I think, a misconception on what golf is. Some people think it exists for people to play a sport in nature, and I disagree. Abbie Richards, an environmental activist, said in a Euro News op-ed, “There is a common misconception that to play golf is to be in nature. That is false. Golf courses are not natural — they are nature-themed amusement parks.”
I recommend reading the entirety of her article. She puts the argument against golf very well.
It’s time we cut done on this luxury. Besides, who’s going ot care about golf matches when climate change has taken its hold?