Is Golf Unethical?

A recent New York Times article by acclaimed writer Andy Cohen, previously from Late Night with David Letterman, asks the question "Is Golf Unethical"? This unfortunately is not a comedic sketch, Cohen claims the IOC should evaluate golf's "questionable environmental ethics" when considering the sport for the 2016 games. I can't help to think this question is becoming out dated. Okay, I agree with getting rid of the golf courses in Venezuela so people have a place to live. Restricting water use in countries that are in severe drought should be an obvious conclusion that golf's governing bodies should be pushing harder than some international tournaments, but of course that goes for all industries who rely on non-renewable resources.

Canada's golf industry is showing many benefits, NAGA recently released the first ever Canadian Golf Economic Impact Study which claims golf generates $11.3 Billion in economic benefits. Within this report is a small factoid claiming Canada's golf courses provide over 200,000 hectares of green space, bigger than the Island of Maui! If this were all maintained turfgrass it would sequester approximately 395,368,610 Tons of Carbon per year, nearly the equivalent of all of Australia's native Bush vegetation! But it's not all maintained, the study showed that 41,000 Hectares of the land is actually managed as wildlife habitat, the equivalent to over 120 Central Parks! These meadows, wetlands and woodlands help sequester more carbon per acre than maintained turfgrass. I fail to see what is unethical about a land use stratgey that does all this, while making billions. I will say yes, we can improve the use of our natural resources, everybody can and everybody has to in order to accommodate a growing population, but i think it's time golf gets the credit it deserves.

From the New York Times article:
Although not explicitly mentioned by Chávez or the I.O.C., golf entails questionable environmental ethics. Unesco warns of the lamentable consequences of building golf courses to attract international tourists: “An average golf course in a tropical country such as Thailand needs 1500 kg. of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides per year and uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers.” Some courses have become more frugal with water, and a team of British scientists argues in “The Biologist” that “many golf courses actively promote nature conservation and harbour some of our rarest plant and animal species.” But it is hard to believe that the best-designed nature preserve includes 18 putting greens, or that even the most sophisticated golf course is better for the environment than no golf course at all. These considerations are putatively important to the Olympic Movement, which declares its intent “to encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport.”

Find the whole article here.

1 Comments so far

LOL that is a clever way of using that sign swampy. Everytime I drive by I shake my head and think of all the times the sign is wrong LOL.