New research demonstrates a potential increase in members' loyalty if courses use recycled products
By Catherine Graham
The research, which was conducted by independent research company NOP, demonstrates that golfers take environmental issues such as recycling very seriously, with 95% of respondents stating that they would want their golf course to use recycled products, assuming no negative performance or cost implications. Of the 200 respondents, 93% agreed that golf courses need to minimise any negative impact on environment and 66% would feel more loyal to their club if they knew it was operating in an environmentally friendly way.
One of the most interesting findings revealed by the research is the influence of clubs' environmental practices on golfers' loyalty to clubs. Almost one third of respondents (30%) would consider switching golf clubs, if another club had better environmental policies in place. Those clubs already adopting environmental practices could benefit from increased membership, as 41% of respondents stated that they would be more likely to recommend their club if it used recycled materials and had 'green practices'.
Bronnie Allen, Materials Development Manager (Glass) at WRAP comments: "The research findings are extremely interesting. Although a number of golf courses have been using recycled products and adopting positive environmental practices for some time, the industry as a whole still has real potential to grasp the opportunities that this approach can offer. This research has focused on the views of the people who can really influence how a golf course operates - the members. It has shown that adopting a more environmentally friendly approach enhances a club's reputation and may give it a competitive edge."
The findings also demonstrate that golfers have a good understanding of the variety of recycling activities golf courses can undertake. The most widely recognised recycling activity was using recycled woodchips for pathways with over three quarters of respondents (78%) aware of this practice. Other recycling activities of which respondents were aware included:
- recycling grass cuttings into compost (70%);
- managing courses to encourage wildlife (70%);
- minimising the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides (62%);
- using compost in course maintenance, for example in beds and top dressings (61%);
- and, having an environmental policy in place (61%)
Bronnie Allen continues: "The golfing sector is a key target market for WRAP and by commissioning this research and launching the results at the BTME exhibition, we hope to highlight to decision makers the increasing importance of environmental issues in this sector. We would encourage golf courses to look into the vast range of recycled materials and products that are available and, if they haven't already done so, consider running trials."
* Research Information
- The research was undertaken by an independent research company from 6 - 9 January 2005.
- A total of 200 responses were obtained
- 135 respondents (68%) are members of a club
- 71% of respondents play at least once per week
- 86% of respondents were male with two thirds over the age of 55
- Geographical breakdown of respondents: South 29%, Midlands 30%, North 41%
For a more detailed summary of the research findings or if you are interested in case studies of UK golf courses who are already using recycled products, please contact Rebecca Whiter on 07834 480033 or Catherine Graham on 07739 680041.
Some WRAP case studies can be viewed as pdf's by clicking on the links below-some of these files are up to 1 Mb in size, so may take a few minutes to download.
WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) is a major UK programme established to promote resource efficiency. Its particular focus is on creating stable and efficient markets for recycled materials and products and removing the barriers to waste minimisation, re-use and recycling.
A not-for-profit company in the private sector, WRAP is backed by substantial Government funding from Defra, DTI and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
WRAP has laid down targets across twelve programmes. Nine are focused on market development, and comprise six material streams (Paper, Plastics, Glass, Wood, Organics and Aggregates) and three generic areas (Business & Finance, Procurement, and Regional Market Development). Three new programmes relate to the wider resource efficiency remit - Collections, Communications and Awareness, and Waste Minimisation.
More information on WRAP can be found at www.wrap.org.uk