GB&I Golf Forum establish priorities of sustainability, workforce and ED&I

Industry-wide priorities have been agreed by leaders of several leading golf organisations.

This article is part of GCMA Insights – topical content for golf industry professionals, discussing the things that matter to those who work in golf clubs.

The GB&I Golf Forum, a collaboration of leading golf organisations, have agreed to prioritise three industry-wide topics following a meeting in St Andrews. 

Addressing sustainability 

    Daniel Lightfoot, The R&A’s new Director of Sustainability, presented to the forum on key sustainability issues facing the industry. Attendees discussed and considered how GB&I would tackle challenges such as water usage and the use of pesticides and fertilisers. It was agreed that data would need to be collected on water usage and pesticide usage to allow for an effective action plan in GB&I to be formed.  

    “The meeting of the GB&I Golf Forum represented a great opportunity to have an honest discussion about the challenges and opportunities of sustainability in golf for the home unions,” said Lightfoot. 

    “I was honoured and privileged to speak and it was a brilliant discussion with people in the room who can really make a difference. 

    “Water usage and the use of pesticides and fertilisers are important topics with huge impacts on all the people and organisations represented in the room, as well as the wider golf industry, and we had some strong outcomes from the event. 

    “There was lots of debate and questions and it’s really important to make sure we are having those discussions and for people to have their view.” 

    Sharing best practices in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) 

      The forum engaged in a discussion around each organisation’s commitments in relation to ED&I and shared best practice. Home unions shared that they are currently collaborating on policies and procedures for golf clubs in relation to trans golfers in conjunction with a consultant. 

      “The GB&I Golf Forum provides a great opportunity to share insight and understanding on key topic areas – with equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) being a key driver for the collective aim of making our great sport more inclusive,” said Richard Flint, Chief Operating Officer at England Golf. 

      “At England Golf, inclusivity is at the heart of our Course Planner (strategic direction 2021-2025) and is underpinned by our ED&I Framework: Equality-diversity-and-inclusion – England Golf

      “Aligned to the framework and launched last August by England Golf, our Respect in Golf movement aims to inspire, promote and create a greater understanding of ED&I within golf – our mission states that ‘golf belongs to everyone, all who play and all who aspire to play, must have an equal opportunity to do so’. 

      “All of England’s 1,765 golf clubs must work towards Respect in Golf accreditation (reviewed annually) as a mandatory term of affiliation, which includes having a safeguarding policy, ED&I policy, disciplinary policy and anti-doping policy.  

      “England Golf’s role is to lead by example, and through relevant support and guidance, ensure that strong policies and practices are cascading through its county and club network.” 

      Growing the industry workforce 

        The forum have embarked on an important project to grow the industry workforce in the face of challenges within the industry, particularly in relation to hospitality and greenkeeping workforce shortages. The Careers in Golf project looks to showcase the vast array of career opportunities available within the golfing sector and introduce the sector to new audiences. Jack Cole has been appointed as Programme Manager and has already engaged a number of activities. 

        “The Careers in Golf project is a new initiative funded by the GB&I Golf Forum,” he said.  

        “The idea behind this project is to unify the way the industry recruits and attracts people into the many varied roles we have available.  

        “As the Programme Manager my role is focussed on engaging with a wide range of people in the UK and Ireland who maybe hadn’t previously considered a role in golf. “This is done through school workshops, university engagement, veteran group outreach and engaging the general public at a range of careers events.  

        “The project is also looking to build a new website which will feature information and advice on all the careers in the sector so that people can get a clear picture on what a career in golf looks like and this will span from events, hospitality, greenkeeping, through to roles at your local golf club. 

        “This is a great initiative from the Golf Forum and will help golf clubs and associated golf companies recruit in the years to come in what is a very competitive employment market.  

        “The industry has so many great career opportunities and it is my job to make sure everyone knows about them and where to find them.” 


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