Irish Golfer announces going green in Dubai

new giza golf club cairo, pyramids

New Giza golf club Cairo

Rory McIlroy is an Irishman who loves being green –– and not just the color. While playing in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates this fall, he pledged he would become more green ecologically speaking by slashing his environmental footprint. Golfers who play professionally are jetsetters by nature, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do more to cut down on carbon emissions from private travel, the greens they play on and through the hotels they choose to stay, he tells Golf Digest when he was in Dubai. 

He told the magazine, “Two years ago, after I won in China – at the WGC-HSBC Champions – I flew back home privately. It was just me on the plane and a massive sense of guilt came over me. This can’t be good, I thought.” 

But the golf odds weren’t against him: “When the R&A and the USGA brought out their distance insights report, the best thing they spoke about was the sustainability aspect of golf and how to make the footprint of courses smaller. So that is certainly something we can all do.”

The GEO Foundation is involved in making golf more sustainable and for McIlroy’s part he is offsetting his travel by buying carbon credits, which cost him about $200,000 extra every year.

“It’s something I have a conscience about and I take it seriously,” he told the golf lifestyle magazine. “Especially when you see some of the weather events that are happening. This isn’t something I’ve talked to many of the players about. But for my own peace of mind, I know that when I do travel I’m not doing it to the detriment of the world that we live in.”

We’ve covered golf going green on Green Prophet in the past and while golfing isn’t the most famous Middle Eastern or Levantine sport it is something that tourists typically like to do when they visit Egypt, Jordan or the United Arab Emirates. 

Some newer housing developments in Cairo, for instance, have mirrored suburban or gated communities in the United States, and the Cairo development New Giza most likely would not have impressed the Pharaoh with its luxurious views to the pyramids from the golf green.

Greens in the Middle East should be brown 

mena house golf course

Golfing started as a favorite pastime in the British Isles where climate ensures steady growth of thick grasses, and then over the years with colonization and now globalization the sport had migrated to the Middle East where it was originally played on sand flats and putting surfaces called “browns”. Today, hotel developers and real estate investors want to recreate the greens of the British Isles which are largely unsustainable in a very dry Middle East, with countries such as Jordan and Yemen being among the most water insecure in the world. 

It’s hard to imagine lush greens in these locals and luckily some creative golfers have opted to grow browns and not greens as we see today at Jordan’s only golf course, still in operation even after Covid hit so many businesses poorly. 


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