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Industry shared goal

For years, the golf industry has been dedicated to environmental responsibility in the design, construction and management of golf courses. Some of the game’s leading organizations have invested considerable resources in this effort and are now leading golf’s drive toward sustainability.

We Are Golf Cabot Cliffs


Preparing for the future

Golf makes a positive social and environmental impact, adding value across the land it manages, resources it uses, and people and communities it touches. Additionally, golf can be a catalyst to driving sustainability awareness in front of millions of individuals, communities and businesses. The golf industry is dedicated to continually improving the construction and management of responsible and economically-viable golf courses, which provide significant value to the environment.

Golf's Environmental Agenda

Working together

The shared goal of the industry is to offer a sustainable asset to the community that is managed with a focus on water conservation, water quality protection, energy conservation and pollution prevention.


Conserving and enriching biodiversity; contributing to ecosystems as healthy semi-natural landscapes for people and wildlife.


Protected green space within watersheds; innovating highly efficient irrigation technology and practices; investing in infrastructure.


Minimizing energy consumption and harnessing renewable resources.


Providing healthy recreation; youth programs; jobs and training; meeting place for families and businesses; and charitable fundraising.


Driving a greener economy through sustainable purchasing and moving toward zero-waste businesses.


Enhancing air, water and soil quality through responsible professional land and resource management.

Organizations within the ‘WE ARE GOLF’ coalition have developed a statement on sustainability and environmental principles. This indicates a commitment to continual improvement in the design, construction and management of golf facilities so they may provide long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to communities.

The undersigned U.S. allied golf associations and their professional members are committed to managing and conserving resources and inputs, and reducing waste, while providing quality playing conditions for golfers of today and tomorrow.

To this end, the U.S. golf industry pledges its support for the International Golf Federation’s Statement on Sustainability, issued at the IGF’s October 2012 biennial meeting in Antalya, Turkey. The undersigned governing bodies, golf associations and professional organizations together with the official governing bodies of more than 150 nations worldwide, recognize this important effort to clarify and support the essential principles and practices of sustainability, so that together the golf community can continue to advance the game.

In so doing, we reaffirm our responsibility to embrace a sustainable business philosophy for the game by integrating environmental stewardship, community benefits and economic viability as critical and ongoing goals.

In 2006, GCSAA and the EIFG began a series of surveys on the physical features and maintenance practices of golf courses in the U.S. Known as the Golf Course Environmental Profile, the results were released from 2007-2012 and provided a baseline of information for use in the management of golf facilities but also offered an opportunity to communicate golf’s environmental efforts to the public.

In fall 2014, the second phase of the Golf Course Environmental Profile will begin, with a second series of surveys being conducted and reported from 2014-2017, mirroring the previous series. The USGA will sponsor the profile in conjunction with the EIFG and support GCSAA in its efforts in the second phase. The first survey to be released in the second phase will focus on water use and conservation practices.

With communities continually working to provide sufficient quantities of safe drinking water, it is understandable that water use for recreational purposes is heavily scrutinized. While golf courses contribute to communities by providing green space, positive economic impact and recreation for those who play the game, it is also true that golf course irrigation is a necessary component of their management. It is the responsibility of golf’s leadership to ensure that our most valuable natural resource is used in the most forward-thinking, responsible manner.

Information is the key to meeting the challenge of golf’s use of water. With this in mind, the USGA has created a web site focused entirely on the issue. Highlights of the site include case studies that offer “real-world” solutions, water conservation plans and the opportunity to share how your course has been impacted by drought restrictions, the cost of water, etc.

We urge everyone to take the time to visit the site and contribute to the efforts to meet the challenge of golf’s use of water.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has devoted considerable resources to research and guidance regarding golf and water. The USGA’s web-based “Water Resource Center” states, “It is essential for everyone involved in the game to strive to conserve and protect the world’s most vital resource.”

The golf industry is on board with this statement, and those involved in the design of golf courses apply this philosophy to their craft. The approaches and solutions developed for golf facilities-both new and remodeled-are creative, effective and often deliver real benefit to the communities that surround them.

But the stories of these innovations are sometimes not shared outside of the golf industry. The “Golf & Water – Case Studies in Water Stewardship” book was conceived to help those who develop land–who make decisions about how or whether golf can fit into a community-see that golf is committed to being a good steward of “the world’s most vital resource.” And the book is meant as a resource for those who already know about golf’s benefits to a
community to be inspired to look for more innovative paths to responsible water stewardship.

Audubon International is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization dedicated to providing people with the education and assistance they need to practice responsible management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf, endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect natural resources, and earn recognition.

Water Responsbility

Among the most important issues facing the future of golf is water use. In some parts of the country, courses require large amounts of water to irrigate the landscape. For several decades, the golf industry has recognized its responsibility to reduce water use and become less reliant on potable irrigation sources. This multi-faceted approach.

USGA Water Resource

Making The Commitment

Nearly 15,000 golf courses across the U.S.

Many serve as shining examples of environmental stewardship by providing ecological and economic benefits to local communities and continuously improving water conservation, water quality protection, energy savings and pollution reduction. Here are a few of their stories.