The Ryder Cup and Green Drive
For more than 25 years, the Ryder Cup Green Drive has been working hard to be at the forefront of sustainability in golf, and in sport.
Initially launched with support from the European Commission at Valderrama in 1997, the Ryder Cup Green Drive has expanded in scope and reach at each European edition of the event with sustainability (and now climate action) central to delivering a ‘net positive impact’ – both directly and in the local community, and indirectly and more widely through its influence and reach.
1997 – The Ryder Cup at Valderrama was not only the first match on continental Europe but also the first major golf event in the the world to present a comprehensive environmental programme – “Committed to Green”. Driven by owner Jaime Ortiz-Patino, with support from the European Commission and European Golf Association Ecology Unit, the programme celebrated the flora and fauna of Valderrama, described at the time as a “nature reserve where people play golf”, as well as minimising the impact of a major event. It also acted as a launchpad for sustainability vision and programs that still endure today through the work of the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf.
2002 – Building on the ecological commitments set out in at Valderrama, Ryder Cup Europe expanded the scope at The Belfry. Particular focus areas were site protection, spectator engagement, efficient transportation and energy efficiency in the tented village.
2006 – Further expansion at The K Club was coordinated by the new Golf Environment Organisation, now the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf. A special reception was atttended by EU officials, NGO’s and representatives across golf. Waste management and recycling was a particular focus. GEO has been the sustainability partner of Ryder Cup Green Drive since its formation.
2010 - The 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor made significant progress and set a benchmark for the delivery of an increasingly sustainable tournament. Celtic Manor is steeped in history with cultural links back to the Romans and the 2010 Ryder Cup Green Drive was integrated with all aspects of event staging and aligned with the Welsh Assmebly Government One Wales, One Planet strategy. The introduction of biofuels and a significant programme of local, organic and sustainable food and drink were highlights – The Taste of Wales!
2014 - Ryder Cup Europe took the Green Drive to new levels, in direct partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish Golf, and other agencies including Event Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Zero Waste Scotland, John Muir Trust and Perth & Kinross Council. The programme drilled down into all aspects of procurement, leading to a zero-waste event, generating legacy funds and publicity for the John Muir Trust which facilitates young people gaining education and conservation work in Scotland’s wildest landscapes, and also with an outreach project supporting biodiversity actions on 19 other golf courses close to Gleneagles.
2018 – The Ryder Cup was one of the first major sporting events to sign up to the French Government Charter for eco-responsible events, with the Green Drive adapted to deliver on the government’s 15 criteria for ‘eco-durable’ events. Local food, products and services were prioritized; a significant biodiversity regeneration programme was planned for Le Golf National in collaboration with the French Natural History Museum, and a major communications initiative targeted spectator awareness while they were on site. The host venue of Le Golf National was also a GEO Certified® facility, highlighting the strength of the venue’s approach to fostering nature, conserving resources, strengthening community and taking climate action.
2023 – Looking ahead all stakeholders are seeking to achieve even more across venue; transportation; energy; water; circular use of materials; carbon reduction and mitigation; legacy projects; and fan engagement.