Playing a sustainable role

Published on 24th July 2020 in members and guests

Australian golfers have always known the courses they play on offer more than just a round of golf. They know that playing the game can not only benefit the wellbeing and social connectivity of its participants, but also the significant role that Australian golf courses play in the protection of our environment.


Golf: Benefits to the Environment – a document released recently by the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC), solidifies that knowledge, highlighting the range of unique ways that Australia’s golf courses contribute to the conservation and management of our natural resources.

Did you know:

In a biodiversity study undertaken by Melbourne University in 2015, golf courses stood head and shoulders above other green spaces for their contribution to habitats to flora and fauna.

When compared to residential areas and nearby nature reserves, golf courses on average supported a greater number of different bee species, and consistently supported a greater diversity of bird species than nearby residential areas or urban parks. In fact, the study found that golf courses supported almost twice the bird breeding activity of any residential and small park areas.

2015 Bio-diversity Study, Dr Caragh Threlfall, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne.

AGIC chair Gavin Kirkman said the document was designed to highlight the environmental benefits of well-designed golf courses and promotes golf as a leader in sustainable sport and business.

“Golf has a significant role to play in the important endeavour of conservation and land management, offering a range of benefits to the environment and the overall wellbeing of its participants,” he said.

“Australian golfers and the people employed at Australia’s golf courses already know the vital role that courses play in conservation. It’s now time for the rest of the community to discover the significant contribution our golf courses make in preserving open space and protecting and enhancing flora and fauna within both rural and urban environments.”


The Barwon Heads Golf Club uses an innovative combination of both reclaimed water and storm water harvesting to irrigate its fairway, rough and tee areas. Subject to rainfall levels each year, up to 10 mega-litres of storm water per year is available for re-use on the golf course and aids in the protection of the adjacent wetland system.

The document outlines eight benefits – with case studies – that golf courses in Australia provide to the community, including:

  • Preserving open space and remnant vegetation in rural and urban environments

  • Promoting indigenous flora and fauna and the Australian landscape experience

  • Protecting and acting as wildlife sanctuaries

  • Utilising, treating and enhancing water resources

  • Rehabilitating degraded landscapes

  • Improving air quality and moderate heat

  • Protecting topsoil from degradation

  • Beautifying the environment and enhancing community education

“The purpose of this document is to inform the community of the broad range of benefits that golf courses offer to land usage, environmental management, vegetation and acting as a haven for native flora and fauna,” Kirkman said.

“We want to build community awareness around the land used by golf. Golf courses are more than just an asset for community sport and recreation; they are an integral component of effective town planning and design, offering significant environmental benefits, especially in urban areas. They provide an opportunity to enrich the environment by housing a diverse and rich ecology and serve as a valuable resource for education in schools, community interest groups, and the community as a whole.”

A copy of the document can be found at:
Golf: Benefits to the Environment, 2020, Australian Golf Industry Council

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