At the Sportive Connect conference on Thursday 23 January in Amsterdam, the Dutch sports sector made an important step in its contribution to the climate agreement by signing the Sustainable Sports Roadmap.
The conference also recognised a milestone in the field of sustainable sport – one hundred golf clubs in the Netherlands have achieved the GEO Certified® distinction. One of the signatories on this agreement is Netherlands Golf Federation Director, Jeroen Stevens.
Golfclub Meerssen in the spotlight
Gerard Dielessen, General Director of the Dutch Olympic Committee and Dutch Sport (NOC * NSF), pointed out that Dutch Golf placed sustainability high on its agenda a long time ago and the sport has already achieved a significant amount as a leader in the field.
Dutch golf’s achievement was celebrated at the congress with the presentation of the GEO Certification to the one hundredth club, Golfclub Meerssen.
Commenting on the announcement, Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, GEO Foundation said: “GEO Foundation is proud to support sustainable golf in the Netherlands in its strategy and delivery of credible, measurable results. The NGF’s vision in creating the future they wanted for the sport is an important example of voluntary leadership.”
In one of the information sessions at the congress, NGF director Jeroen Stevens elaborated on the sustainability of golf through OnCourse Netherlands, the program that golf clubs use on their way to become GEO Certified. Stevens highlighted the shift in golf from “sustainability because we have to” to “sustainability because we want to”. He pointed out that this is also expected by society: research shows that the need for sustainable thinking and doing increases with each generation.
Stevens also underlined the many benefits and opportunities that sustainable management offers. “In 2009, as a volunteer on the golf club’s course committee, I was faced with sustainability for the first time and I have since learned that sustainable management provides a better golf course at lower costs,” he said.
Don’t wait until everyone is ready
Stevens believes that all sports would benefit from the OnCourse Netherlands/GEO programme used by golf. “GEO is about awareness of sustainability and measurement. You have to measure to know what you are doing. GEO is also about community, because that is also sustainability. And I recommend that you just start making your sport more sustainable and not wait until everyone is ready,” he said.
The Netherlands now has more GEO Certified® golf facilities than any other country in the world and has plans for even more to achieve golf’s sustainability distinction in the coming years, benefitting the clubs individually and the sport collectively.