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Australian Golf Industry Council releases report highlighting golf courses’ role in environmental sustainability

Australian Golf Industry Council releases report highlighting golf courses’ role in environmental sustainability
July 22, 2020

The Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) has today released a report Golf: Benefits to the Environment which highlights the range of unique ways that Australia’s golf courses contribute to the conservation and management of our natural resources.

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.

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.The study found that golf courses supported almost twice the bird breeding activity of any residential and small park areas!

Australia boasts some 1,500 golf courses of which a large number occur within urban environments, occupying approximately 100,000 hectares of land. This is an area similar to that of greater Melbourne, (or more than 60,000 SCG’s!) and a substantial area preserved as open space at a time when parks and gardens are constantly under pressure from development.

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.

Kirkman notes “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.

“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 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

Kirkman adds “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.

“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.”

Click here to view the Australian Golf Industry Council's Golf: Benefits to the Environment - 2020 document.

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