Why Golf Might Not Survive the 21st Century

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

The sport of golf today evokes images of lavish country clubs and pristine greens which often alter and dominate environments that can’t sustain them. But the game’s history predates land-moving bulldozers, industrialized irrigation, even sprinklers and lawn mowers. Golf can trace its origins back to the late Middle Ages, when it was a stick-and-ball game played in the rolling hills of Scotland. Birds and insects flew nearby and ate native plants, which grew freely on the greens.

“Golf, traditionally, is a very environmentally friendly game,” Jason Straka, principal at Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, told The Daily Beast. Early courses were found environments, as golfers would discover clear, flat land and find ways to play around obstacles without moving or altering the earth. “The environmental impact was essentially negative,” he said.

Nowadays, golf is a favorite boogeyman of the environmental movement, seen as a symbol of water-wasting opulence enjoyed primarily by the wealthy. Golf courses in drought-parched areas in the American Southwest and southern Europe have been targeted with municipal water cuts—and, at times, accused of evading them. In August, Extinction Rebellion climate activists descended upon the Vieille-Toulouse golf club and the Garonne des Sept Deniers golf course in southern France, filling their holes with cement and tearing up greens to protest their water use as the region suffered a historic drought. While dozens of villages faced water shortages, golfers enjoyed a privilege “worthy of another world,” they said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: Why Golf Might Not Survive the 21st Century

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