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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Golf courses as a part of Urban Green Infrastructure: Social aspects of Golf Courses and Extensively Managed Turfgrass areas from Nordic Perspective.

Eriksson, Fredrik; Eriksson, Tuula; Ignatieva, Maria


Originated in Scotland in the 15th century the game of golf started to be very popular first in Europe and later in all English colonies and finally, by the end of the 20th century, around the world. In the Nordic countries turf grasses and golf facilities are increasing since the second part of the 20th century. The Nordic golf federations have 900 000 members, playing golf on more than 900 courses that cover a total area of more than 58 000 ha. The popularity of golf is directly connected to the growing of market economy. In the end of the 20th –beginning of the 21 century, in the era of globalisation, golf started to be one of the very important symbols of business success and a very popular pastime game. We research golf courses within the interdisciplinary project “Lawn as the cultural and ecological phenomenon” run by scientists from SLU, Sweden and funded by the Swedish Research Council. One of the goals of this project was to study the gradient of different managed lawns from the most intensively managed to the more meadow like lawns. Golf courses in this sense can be seen as a microcosm itself where all types of planted grass communities (lawns) are presented (fairway, rough and high rough). Six golf courses, two courses nearby three cities (Uppsala, Malmö and Gothenburg) have been investigated. In these courses six holes have been sampled for both environmental and ecological parameters. After contacts and discussions with managers responsible for six golf courses in three regions a total number of 180 interviews been conducted. This research was supported by STERF (Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environmental Research Foundation). Last decade in Sweden there is a growing movement of creating multifunctional golf courses which can provide a whole range of ecosystem services such as improving biodiversity and providing recreational areas which are accessible for the public. STERF is one of the main promoters of this movement. The social part of this study has been focused on golf courses and their significance from the golf players' perspective. The main research question was “What is valued by golfers in their golf course environment when it comes to the green environment and ecological, cultural and social values”. The interviews indicate that the golf course and time spent on the golf course include so much more than the sport itself. For many players the visits at the golf course also act as experience of nature and beautiful surroundings as well as in a social context, a way to stay in shape (fitness) as well as a way to relax (recreation). Natural values that are often mentioned by the interviewees is quiet, peaceful environment (silence), the chirping of birds, butterflies and other small animals as well as shrubs, trees and plantings. Although the existence of "natural environment" is perceived as a positive example, said one of the golfers: "it is so beautiful with birch trees and meadow flowers available as background for this golf course". Golf players also enjoy things like silence, nice smells and sounds from the nature as well as presence of water (lake, pond and river). Golf courses have great potential to support multiple values, for biodiversity and carbon sequestration and social wellbeing of people. Further work in this project will include analysis of trade-offs and synergies between the different research fields.


landscape architecture

Published in

Book title: Histroy of the future : 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects : congress proceedings, 10-12 June 2015, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
ISBN: 978-5-7422-4877-4
Publisher: Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnic University Publishing House


52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects

Authors' information

Eriksson, Fredrik
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)