A new golf research programme will shine a light on sustainability in the golf industry. The research will help brands tailor environmental efforts and market these more effectively to golfers around the world.
It will do that in two ways. First, it audits current sustainability efforts at respondents’ courses and in their day-to-day lives. It then identifies the considerations that are most important when golfers choose what golf products to purchase. The insights will therefore also appeal to facility operators looking to benchmark their own solutions against other golf courses and centres in their country.
The survey has attracted a strong early response rate from Sports Marketing Surveys’ core golfer panels in the UK, USA, France, Germany and Sweden.
Questions on brand preferences are also present. This is an area that SMS regularly tests, but it is important to analyse again in the context of sustainability. Because of this, the results will allow golf manufacturers to map the sustainability profile of their current customers and those they might wish to target in the future.
Golf’s environmental footprint is significant, although there is increasing evidence of benefits too. Beyond this, there are multiple avenues already under exploration for enhancing the environmental credentials of golf. In the UK for example, BIGGA, the R&A and the RSPB are partnering to ‘explore collaborative opportunities to increase awareness and support for biodiversity conservation on golf courses’.
Sarah Goward, who is leading the programme following her recent return to SMS, observed:
“There’s been lots of talk about sustainability in golf, in every area from distance impact to course management. We know that at a rules and course management level golf is making strides in mitigating its environmental impact. It’s vital that it continues to do so. At the same time, we have identified a lack of robust data about how more ethical environmental practices affect golfers’ everyday buying experiences. This programme fills that gap, hopefully giving facilities and brands the confidence and the independent data they need to make further advances in ethical and sustainable practices.”
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We have identified a lack of robust data about how more ethical environmental practices affect golfers’ everyday buying experiences.