The popularity of golf is rising. World-wide, there are more than 60 million organized golfers and in Austria more than 100,000 people are enthusiastic about fairways, greens and handicaps. Interest in this sport is further boosted by its inclusion in the official programme of the Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Most golf courses cover an area of more than 10 hectares. Even though less than 10 percent of that area is actually used for golfing proper, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is required for new courses and the modification of existing ones.
ÖNORM L 1130 lays down rules for planning that are in line with the provisions of the Austrian EIA Act as well as strict sustainability criteria and requirements for the integration of existing landscape features and structures. The technical requirements applying to the construction and modification of golf courses with natural turf are described by ÖNORM L 1132 published in January 2015.
"In Austria, there are less and less potential sites for establishing new golf courses," says Dipl.-Ing. Josef Winkler. Hence, future projects will rather focus on the modification of existing courses. "For the first time, ÖNORM L 1132 gives planners and builders a set of rules describing the technical requirements and providing guidance on how to comply with the legal framework," explains Winkler who manages the competent standardization committee at Austrian Standards.
Know-how from Austria
The standard developed in Austria is ground-breaking internationally: While golf is played around the globe, Austria, in particular, has a wealth of expertise on how to plan and build top golf courses. Renowned golf course architects active world-wide contributed to the development of the two basic normative documents - ÖNORM L 1130 and ÖNORM L 1132 - and also apply them in practice beyond the Austrian borders.
Integration in training
As the new ÖNORM L 1132 contains all the essential technical foundations for the construction of golf courses based on the plans drawn up according to ÖNORM L 1130, there is the idea to integrate the content of the standard also into the training of greenskeepers who are responsible for the maintenance of golf courses.