The Sony Open in Hawaii (SOIH) features a sustainability initiative each year and has been certified as a Green Event by the State of Hawaii for the past 5 consecutive years. We recently connected with some of our amazing professional golfers to hear their thoughts on sustainability in the golf industry.
1. As a primarily outdoor event, golf and the environment are interconnected. The character that makes a course memorable often comes from its natural setting, as you are surrounded by greenery, trees, and often lakes/oceans. What type of connection with nature and the environment do you feel when you are out on the course?
Peter: I appreciate the scenery in nature. Different types of trees, different landscapes, different types of water (creek, river, pond, lake, ocean, for example), and different types of grasses and flowers are all cool. I also enjoy the variety of weather one gets to experience on the golf course. In short, I connect with simply being outdoors because I find the everchanging conditions to be interesting.
Martin: Golf is my main means of being outside and connected with nature. It’s the best part of golf in my opinion.
2. SOIH and some other tournament locations feature sustainability initiatives, such as recycling tournament waste, using renewable energy (such as solar panels), reducing food waste, and encouraging eco-friendly transport such as public transit and biking for spectators. Have you noticed/appreciated these types of “green” features on the courses and at the events you’ve played at? If so, what types of features have stood out to you? (both at SOIH or other tournament locations)
Martin: The one thing I have noticed is the ease and access to recycling on the course. Every trash can has recycling beside it.
Troy: All of these aspects have been noticed at other events, but you don’t always see all of them at one tournament. The Sony Open always does a fantastic job!
3. How do eco-friendly features affect your opinions about the course you’re playing?
Peter: I'm a big fan of any measures to protect our earth and its eco-systems. When/if I see eco-friendly features, I would think a lot of that!
Troy: When you play in an event where you recognize the steps taken to be eco-friendly, you know you’re playing in an event that’s being run by people who care about the players, spectators, the course and environment.
4. What do you feel is the value of including sustainability efforts at tournaments? (Sustainability efforts such as reducing waste sent to landfill, lowering water and energy use, maintaining the course in an environmentally friendly way, etc.)
Martin: I think it’s important to send these types of messages and lead by example at such a big event, since people might be more likely to incorporate those things in their lives if they see it done at an event they had a positive experience with.
Peter: I know how fortunate I am to get to play on some of the nicest golf courses in the world on the PGA Tour. I feel it is my responsibility as a human being to try to preserve the world for my kids, grandkids, and all the generations to following. I think sustainability efforts are very important.
5. Do you have any eco-friendly habits in your personal life? If so, can you share an example of what you do and why it matters to you?
Troy: We try to limit our vehicle use. We try not to make any short, unnecessary trips. We recycle as much as we can, and we make sure to use environmentally safe lawn care products.
Peter: I try to use a re-fillable water bottle rather than always getting a new plastic bottle every time I'm thirsty. I also try to make sure that when I do use plastic bottles, I am disposing of them in a way that will give them the best chance to be recycled. This matters to me because I want the earth to remain a beautiful and safe place for humans and animals for millennia.
6. Any other thoughts on what inspires you from an environmental perspective?
Peter: I enjoy to see the beauty of the earth and I'd like to see that beauty exist for ages after I'm gone.
Troy: It’s amazing how resilient, yet fragile, our environment can be, and it’s nice to play in events that take the environment into consideration.