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From Purpose to Action: Building a Sustainable Future Together
Teeing Up a Transformation:
How Golf Is Driving Inclusivity, Sustainability

Dow is partnering to elevate both gender and sustainability in golf to show how the sport can be an inspiring source of progress for people and planet alike.

Can you name three professional female golfers? Given golf has long been a male-dominated sport — as a means for doing both business and recreation — likely not.

As recently as 2021, only 25 percent of all US golfers were women. However, according to the National Golf Foundation, more than 820,000 women took up the sport between 2020 and 2022 — while only 465,000 men did the same. What’s more, 38 percent of golfers under the age of 18 are women.

Improving gender representation is just one big opportunity for the sport of golf. Dow is taking action now through partnerships to elevate both gender and sustainability in golf to show how the sport can be an inspiring source of progress for people and planet alike.

Inclusivity and sustainability go hand in hand

Since its inception almost 75 years ago, the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has advocated for women golfers. Today, it stands as one of the world’s largest women’s professional-sports organizations — with a clear focus on philanthropy, diversity and opportunity.

Now, with Dow as its Official Sustainability Resource, the LPGA is bringing together social and environmental progress. The partnership, specifically designed to combine women’s passion for golf with a passion for the environment, comes to life in programs such as Girls Golf.

Girls Golf is a community of more than 90,000 girls around the world who play golf; and the group aims to make every girl golfer feel important, appreciated, respected and supported. Dow’s “Play, Love, Think Green” curriculum for the program aims to educate girls ages 6-17 on the many ways they can make a difference for the planet — empowering the next generation of women and creating mentorship opportunities that can benefit them throughout their lives.

With sustainability tied into their golf experiences, young girls can hone their golf skills and become informed and responsible environmental stewards. The Girls Golf initiative is fostering a dynamic community where young girls can build life-long friendships, gain leadership skills and develop a strong sense of self-confidence — all while contributing to a more sustainable future. In addition to teaching environmental stewardship, Dow has made more than 100,000 recycled golf tees and donated 35,000 of them to Girls Golf this year.

Cori Matheson, Director of LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix; and Lauren Fesler, Assistant Director at Southern California Golf Association Junior Golf Foundation, see firsthand the impact this programming is having. For Fesler, bringing more girls into the sport helps provide greater access.

“Our program is focused on holistically developing juniors and creating golf communities in low-income areas. Through Girls Golf programming, our kids meet other girls who have the same interests and goals as them. This helps foster their confidence and encourages them to feel comfortable on the course.”

For Matheson, who works with 1,000 girl golfers annually in the Phoenix area, it “empowers girls to dream big and develop confidence.” There is also a unique opportunity to drive environmental impact. “Living in the Arizona desert, water consumption by golf courses is a constant discussion in our community. It is important for the girls to understand how a course can use water responsibly to enjoy golf for years to come,” she says.

LPGA: Women — and sustainability — at the forefront of golf

The LPGA’s annual tour is another prime example of how it delivers on its mission of enabling female professionals to pursue their dreams in the game of golf. And part of the annual tour — the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (GLBI) tournament, held for the fourth time in July 2023 — is showing how sustainability and inclusivity can be front and center at major sporting events.

In addition to helping shift gender and environmental trends, the tournament has an eye toward future leaders — and, as part of its goals, is investing in local organizations promoting the advancement of women and girls. Since its establishment, GLBI has donated more than $1 million to local charities including Women of Colors (a youth robotics academy), Bay Area Women’s Center and Girls on the Run Great Lakes Bay.

As part of the GLBI, Dow has also partnered with organizations and companies such as Core Technology Molding Corporation, KW Plastics, Evolve Golf and more to reuse and recycle the previous year’s high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic mesh fencing into new items including ball markers, divot tools and tees.

This mesh recycling was key to the course receiving the first GEO certification on the LPGA tour. To be certified, the course must have a five-year sustainability plan and commitment in partnership with the GEO Foundation; and it must focus on low water use, low waste output and low carbon emissions. Each year, nearly 78 percent of waste generated from GLBI is recycled into something new.

And it’s not just the LPGA at large that’s taking action on sustainability — the players are, too. Some of the biggest names in women’s golf, including Maria Fassi and Katherine Kirk, are teaming up with Dow as sustainable golf ambassadors. These professional golfers, among others, are committing to minimizing and offsetting their personal travel, calculating their carbon footprints, and compensating for unavoidable carbon emissions through mitigation. At every level, women golfers are leading the transformation to a sustainable future.

In 1950, golf looked quite different than it does today. The creation of the LPGA has played a large part in the transformation. And the partnership with Dow is helping set higher standards for the future — where the names of both women golfers and the sustainable tournaments they bring to life are a commonplace and inspiring part of the sport.

Everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable world: Dow is taking action to address the full scale of challenges, collaborating with partners to improve the industry’s processes and through innovation to help communities become more sustainable.

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