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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

A step towards a greener green? Investigating golfers' relationships with nature and attitudes about biodiversity conservation in golf courses

Fouillouze, Alice; Lacoeuilhe, Aurelie; Truong, Minh-Xuan A.

Abstract

In the context of the biodiversity crisis and in spite of known negative impacts on natural environment, golf courses can play a role in the conservation of biodiversity both for the surface of natural spaces they offer when managed ecologically and for the number of golfers who frequent them. Finding ways to get this large com-munity interested and involved in biodiversity conservation is needed. Research shows that experiencing nature, such as green exercise, fosters a strong connection to nature. It highlights the health and psychological benefits to people but also the positive implications for conservation. However, there is a lack of studies on regular golfers and their relationship with nature. In this national-scale study in France, we used a mixed quantitative/quali-tative methodology applied to an online survey (N = 913) to assess golfers' relationship with nature, their perception of biodiversity, their attitudes towards conservation issues, and their intention to get involved in pro-biodiversity activities on golf courses. Not surprisingly, golfers' main motivation for visiting a golf course was to play golf. Golfers had a strong connection to nature and were aware of conservation issues, but few were willing to actively participate in pro-biodiversity activities on their regular golf course. Golfers' intention to get involved in pro-biodiversity activities was determined by a strong connection to nature, a positive attitude towards eco-friendly management of golf courses, and a sense of personal satisfaction in working for biodiversity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to address issues of biodiversity conservation and the relationship with nature in the specific context of golf, highlighting the untapped potential of golf courses to make a significant and large-scale contribution to nature conservation. Management implications: This article investigates golfers' relationships with nature and their perceptions of biodiversity on golf courses. Those courses can play a role in nature conservation but there is a need to support the golf industry in its ecological transition, particularly towards eco-responsible course management, and by educating and involving golfers in pro-biodiversity activities. The study highlights 4 profiles of golfers (Opposed, Neutral, Supportive and Engaged) for which different strategies could be implemented:-"Feeling" strategy: promoting links between golfers and nature by increasing experiences in off -course areas on golf courses, especially for the "opposed" profile-"Thinking" strategy: raising awareness of the ecological management of golf courses by providing golfers with knowledge of eco-management issues and human-nature interactions, especially for the "neutral" profile-"Acting" strategy: proposing meaningful activities by emphasizing the personal actions benefits to motivate golfers to get involved in conservation, especially for the "supportive" profile.

Keywords

Human -nature relationships; Biodiversity; Connection to nature; Golf; Eco-friendly management; Outdoor experiences

Published in

Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
2023, Volume: 43, article number: 100659
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Associated SLU-program

    Nature experiences and health

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
    Ecology

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jort.2023.100659

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/123454