“Our will is to accelerate the ecological transition” –

What deep reasons have brought you to make the ecological transition of golf to a major axis of this mandate?

Pascal Grizot: First of all, this is nothing new to the Federation. The first environmental commission dates back to 1986. Today, ecological transition is one of the priorities of all citizens. This implies constraints, but I consider them as opportunities, such as the drastic decline in the use of phytosanitary products by 2025. This requires us to consider alternative solutions. It means “ecological transition”, or “transition”. The Labbé law will come into full force in 2025, so there are still three years left, which is much but also very little. The changes in the changes and the cadre of transition, and c’est ce que je souhaitais dans mon mandat.

Sylvianne Villaudière: Our will is to accelerate the ecological transition that already exists. This acceleration is in March, with three priorities: the continuation of our approach to biodiversity, the rational management of water, and a third very urgent on the sustainable maintenance of the courses, and the necessary research for hold the issues of the Labbe law.

Sylvianne Villaudière, vice-president of ffgolf in charge of the ecological transition.

What developments have accompanied these changes at the level of averages and partnerships?

PG: Historically, ffgolf has had a partnership with the National Museum of Natural History for all the problems linked to biodiversity. It is with him that we have created the labels of the Golf program for biodiversity. We have also signed an agreement with the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB), another with the Water Agencies, which financially accompanies the golfers who put in place measures to limit the use of water. We will soon also have an agreement with the National Office for Forests (ONF), because a lot of work is done in wooded areas, and the law also requires us to have reasonable management in this regard.

SV: The means by which one is given are very important, in connection with the public authorities, whether in France or internationally, for example with the R&A at its Golf Course 2030 program. Our federation has the ambition to pursue his leadership on these topics of ecological transition. We also work with other federations on common issues, in particular on researching new varieties of gramines and new techniques for land management. We have also, within the Federation, developed important internal resources. This subject concerns absolutely everyone, whether one is a professional in the sector or one who is a player. We can all act, one way or another. In fact, we have focused on communication and training, to act with reliability and robustness.

How do these means and partners translate concretely for golfers and golfers on a daily basis?

PG: The Golf program for biodiversity and its different labels allows clubs to invent their biodiversity and better protect it. The Water Agencies, for their part, have been called upon to support all private investments that allow the use of the resource to be reduced. For example, when a club decides to do € 700,000 to work on its irrigation system, it is quite easy to show that the new system consumes less. From then on, agents subsidize only 20 or 30 % of the total investment, which is considered for a club.

SV: For example, in 2021, ffgolf, with the experts pouring the dossiers, obtained almost a million euros in subsidies for all investments, which is extremely important for system renovation and reduction of the impact on the water resource.

On the question of water, should there also be a communication effort directed towards the players, who will have to fulfill their expectations and keep up with the new challenges?

Pascal Grizot, president of la ffgolf.

PG: Sure, ffgolf has a powerful platform with its website and social networks, but clubs must also communicate with their members, as it is a much more direct access. We have the chance to practice our sport in full nature, and we have a responsibility to her. It must be allowed to evolve through the seasons. The British, for example, understand this perfectly, when one sees the course of the British Open some years ago. This is something that needs to change, but by explaining the reasons.

SV: Especially sometimes, it is also virtuous compared to our other subjects. When a field is less irrigated, it returns to its soil and stronger plants to resist diseases and fungi. At saka, it does economies and it gains in financial performance. So everyone is getting better.

The maintenance of the proceedings is undergoing change, especially as a result of the Labbé law. Where are we, and what will be the solutions in the near future?

PG: For us, the Labbe Law is really an opportunity. I am absolutely convinced that we can keep our golfs better, in a much better way. It is certain to use less phytosanitary products involved in changing methods, especially at the level of mechanical operations, which allows to favor irrigation. Over the years, these operations have been performed at least, because they are expensive, they consume working hours, and the phytosanitary products have solved problems. The reality is that it is necessary to return to a reasonable examination of the proceedings, what is involved in performing these operations. Thanks to the collaboration we have with Senator Labbé, if we are able to show that despite all our efforts, there are diseases that we can only treat with phyto products, we will certainly have the right (even if it is not is not guaranteed) to continue to use. But of course, the use will be even stricter, and our goal is not to ask for any derogation.

SV: We have a great chance in our golf field, we are among the best experts in the maintenance of sports vegetables. And this expertise is recognized in other fields. We saw it again recently, when we were partners of the 48 Hours of Pro sports grass. These experts work on four major types of levers: course construction, selection of gram varieties, soil fertilization and biostimulation, and finally the aids and predictive tools, especially at the weather level. At the Federation, we intend to accelerate this research, to provide our experts with the best tools.

On the question of biodiversity protection, to what stage has the labeling program gone?

SV: This labeling was launched in 2019, and we have maintained 72 golfs labeled in less than three years, which is formidable. It represents more than 10 % of our clubs, with bronze and silver labels. We also had a lot of requests, about forty. This is the goal of any club, which must participate in this labeling work. Of course, there is, within this objective, communication to allow members to collaborate. There are very concrete ways to do it: gardening support actions, biodiversity discovery days, in the company of associations that carry out inventories… There is a lot of imagination in the clubs, so that everyone can discover its a way to discover and help the biodiversity to be lost on our golf courses.

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