NSW Golf Club & The Environment

NSW Golf Club has been an industry leader in environmental management for several years. Working with the Department of Environment and Heritage along with National Parks and Wildlife Services, the Club has developed an Environmental Plan (EP) to preserve the flora and fauna found within the boundaries of our lease in the Botany Bay footprint.

NSW Golf Club's Environment Plan covers significant topics including native species such as Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, Planting program, Fire Regime, Weed Control, Water, Pesticide and Fertiliser use and Native Fauna.

NSW Golf Club has committed over $600,000 to environment preservation and enhancement over the last ten years and will continue to commit to this cause in the future.

Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub

Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub is a distinct ecological plant community consisting of over 100 different species. It is found growing on 1,000,000 year old sand deposits in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and the Northern and Western shores of Botany Bay.

Originally the Banksia scrub covered an area of 7,000 hectares from Port Jackson to Botany Bay. The natural bushland gave way to Sydney's ever expanding urban sprawl and now only 40 hectares or less than 1% of the original cover remains.

The remaining 40 hectares is fractured in 30 remnants, some less than 1 hectare in size. Most these remnants are in a state of decline because they are degraded and affected by weed invasion and urban runoff.

This vegetation community is an endangered ecological community, and is protected under state and commonwealth legislation.

Approximately 16 hectares of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub have been identified at NSW Golf Club, spreading throughout the course in around 21 fragments.

Our objective is to protect ESBS, and fulfil all legislative requirements of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

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Planting is a well-established, respected horticultural and rehabilitation practice.  

In an area that is cleared or weeded, it is traditional to plant in that area or rehabilitate it. In areas where there is a threatened ecological community such as ESBS, or where there is potential for natural regeneration, planting is not an acceptable practice.

Whilst a common practice, it is desirable to minimise the amount of planting on the course, relying instead on natural regeneration.

Planting should be limited to the list species described in the below table:

Table of Appropriate Species at NSW Golf Club
Botanic Name
Common Name
Acmena smithii
Lillip Pilly
Allocasuarina littoralis Black She-Oak
Casuarina glauca Swamp Oak
Eucalyptus piperita Sydney Peppermint
Eucalyptus robusta Swamp Mahogany
Melaleuca linariifolia Snow in Summer
Angophora hispida Dwarf Apple
Baeckea imbricate  
Callistemon citrinus Crimson Bottlebrush (Wet)
Correa alba White Correa
Hakea gibbosa Dagger Bush
Leptospermum polygalifolium Lemon scented tea tree
Melaeuca erubescens Pink Honeymyrtle
Micromyrtus ciliate  
Oxylobium cordifolium Heart leafed Shaggy Pea
Pultenaea daphnoides Pultenaea
Rulingia hermanniifolia Wrinkled Kerrawang
Westringia fruticosa
Coast Rosemary
Carpobrotus glaucescens Pigface
Dianella congesta Flax Lily
Isolepis nodosa Knobby Club Rush
Mirbelia rubiifolia Mirbelia
Viola hederacea Native Violet
Hibbertia scandens Guinea Flower
Pandorea pandorana Wonga Wonga Vine

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Fire Regime

Throughout South Eastern Australia, most vegetation types require periodic fires to stimulate the continuation of various ecological processes. The relationship between fire and healthy bushland is complex and not fully understood, but it is recognised that the season in which fires occur, the intensity of the fires and their frequency are important to the maintenance of vegetation communities. These three elements are generally referred to as the 'fire regime'. Different vegetation communities have different ideal fire regimes. 

Fire has recently played a significant role at NSW Golf Club. In 1998 fire burnt almost 12 hectares of bushland. Most of these areas had previously been dense monocultures of Tea-tree (Leptospermum laevigatum). The fire has stimulated massive germination and there is a great diversity of species now growing.

What are we doing about it?

Fire will be actively managed at NSW Golf Club under the following guidelines:

  • Using the guide for fire intervals (See below table)
  • Maintain clear records of all fires at NSW Golf Club and extent of all fires mapped.
  • The season of fire will be varied as much as possible within the acceptable 'safe' period for fires.
  • Only one or two pockets will be burnt each year, to allow appropriate levels of maintenance to control weeds after the fire.

New techniques have been trialled under the guidance of the National Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

A variable fire regime within the above thresholds is required to avoid species decline, and this requires varying fire frequency, intensity, season and pattern of burn. Approval to burn will be required from the Environment and Heritage. Burns limited to 1 April to 30 September.

(Adapted from National Parks and Wildlife Service 1999).

Broad Vegetation Grouping Decline in biodiversity predicted if:
Coastal Sandstone Heath
& Coastal Dune Heath
(Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub)
Shrubland - Heath Complex
Fire Regime A
  • More than two successive fires occur at less than 8 years apart

  • More than two successive fires occur at intervals of more than 15 years apart

  • There are no fires for more than 30 years
Coastal Dune Forest Dry Forest Complex
Fire regime B
  • More than two successive fires occur at less than 5 years apart

  • There are no fires for more than 30 years
Coastal Freshwater Swamp Wetlands
  • Any fire event occurs

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Weed Control

Invasive weeds are among the most serious threats to Australia's natural environment and primary production industries. They displace native species, contribute significantly to land degradation, and reduce farm and forest productivity. Australia spends considerable time and money each year in combating weed problems and protecting ecosystems and primary production on private and public land.

The major environmental weed on the NSW Golf Club is Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides Monilifera Subsp rotundata). NSW Golf Club has been involved in a number of strategies to control this weed over the last 16 years, including, aerial spraying, biological controls, and physical removal (both by bush regenerators and by machinery). This approach has been highly successful and there are currently no substantial infestations of Bitou Bush.

There are still substantial infestations of Bitou immediately surrounding NSW Golf Club, in Botany Bay National Park, at St Michael's GC, and at the Pistol Club. This is because birds and foxes spread Bitou Bush. While there are infestations nearby, Bitou will always be an issue at NSW Golf Club.

Other weeds that are problems include Turkey Rhubarb (Acetosa Sagittata), annual weeds, (such as Fleabane, Catsear and Dandelion) and other invasive Grasses.


The Club will continue the existing program of Bi-annual aerial spraying in winter of areas where there are substantial infestations of Bitou Bush. Founding by the club for annual bush regeneration will allow for all remnants to be hand-picked once a year to weed out Bitou seedlings and control other weeds on the course.

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Golf Courses tend to have high water usage requirements. This has two main environmental implications; the use of a scarce resource, and the potential impact that higher levels of runoff can have on bushland areas down slope from irrigated areas.

NSW Golf Club has excellent water minimisation strategies in place. In summary, these include:

  • Over the last 20 years, fairway grasses have been gradually replaced with drought tolerant species, which can survive with minimal water.
  • An efficient irrigation system has been installed on the course over the last 15 years. Some new water efficient sprinklers have been installed in 2006. However, a new system is being investigated for the Club's next strategic plan timeline (2011 - 2016). 

Effective practices currently in place include:

  • Minimal fertiliser application (fairways are only fertilised once a year, or twice if there is a major tournament).
  • Minimal use of pesticides.

The clubhouse and halfway house blackwater is recycled using a BioCylce system. This recycled water is currently discharged into the dam for irrigation use. The maintenance workshop has a similar arrangement but is reusing its recycled water for wash down purposes.

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Pesticide and Fertiliser Use

Use of pesticides is a major environmental issue for golf courses. Golf courses have extensive areas of monocultures in the fairways. The turf grasses used on tees and greens are cool season grasses, which while providing a perfect playing surface, are difficult to grow and require high levels of maintenance and pesticide use.

NSW Golf Club must continue to practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management), a well-respected management approach to minimise pesticide use. IPM includes the following:

  • Tolerate a certain level of damage i.e.: aim to control pests, not eradicate them.
  • Use a range of control techniques, including chemical, physical, biological and cultural practices.
  • Practice pesticide rotation

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Native Fauna

Most native fauna are predominantly within the bushland areas of the course. Protecting the bushland and keeping it as healthy as possible helps protect habitat for fauna species. A list of fauna of the Botany Bay National Park is attached in Appendix 1.

NSW Golf Club will continue to raise awareness to members and guests to protect fauna while adding another dimension to the golfing experience. Information and guides to wild birdlife will be made available to members (in the Clubhouse library) and through specialist commentary in the Club's magazine (Windy Wales).

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As a leader in Environmental Management for golf clubs, NSW Golf Club is proud of its proven track record and integration of the flora and fauna into the golfing experience, management and working program of staff.

The club will continue to make the financial commitment to environmental management and responsibility while ensuring there is mutual respect between the golf course and nature to provide the best outcome for all stakeholders.  

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Appendix 1

Common Eastern Froglet Crinia signifera
Wallum Froglet Crinia tinnula
Brown Toadlet Pseudophryne bibronii
Green and Golden Bell Frog Littoria aurea
Brown striped frog Limnodynastes peronii
Common Scalyfoot Pygopus lepidopus
Jacky lizard Amphibolurus nobbi
Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard Physignathus leseurii
Mountain Dragon Tympanocryptis dimensis
Red Throated Skink Pseudemia platunotum
Copper-tailed Skink Ctenotus taeniolatus
Eastern Water Skink Eulamprus murrayi
Grass Skink Lamproholis delicata
Garden Skink Lamproholis guichenoti
Striped Skink Ctenotus robustus
Red-bellied black snake Pseudechis porphyriacus
Eastern Brown Snake Pseudonaja textiles
Black bellied Swamp snake Hemiaspis
Common Brushtail Possum
Common Bentwing Bat
House Mouse
Black Rat
Little Penguin
Wandering Albatross
Brown Quail
Common Pheasant
Australian Gannet
Little Black Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Red necked Stint
Sooty Oystercatcher
Pied Cormorant
White Faced Heron
Eastern Reef Heron
Kelp Gull
Silver Gull
Southern Giant Petrel
Wedge Tailed Shearwater
Japanese Snipe
Eastern Curlew
Crested Tern
Eastern Common Tern
Australian Gannet
Lesser Golden Plover
Masked Lapwing
Ruddy Turnstone
Raptors, Bird of Prey
Black shouldered kite
White bellied Sea Eagle
Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Goshawk
Little Falcon
Pigeons, Doves
Bar shouldered Dove
Spotted Dove
Feral Pigeon
Pardalotes, White-Eyes, Finches
Spotted Pardalote
House Sparrow
Star Finch
Red browed Firetail
Spangled Drongo
Butcherbirds, Magpies
Grey Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Parrots And Cockatoos
Yellow tailed Black Cockatoo
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Crimson Rosella
Fantail Cuckoo
Kingfishers, Rollers
Laughing Kookaburra
Sacred Kingfisher
Dollar Bird
Swallows, Martins, Pipits, wagtails, Cuckoo Shrikes and Bulbuls
Welcome Swallow
Tree Martin
Australian Pipit
Tree Martin
Australian Pipit
Black faced Cuckoo shrike
Red Whiskered Bulbul
Old World Thrushes, Flycatchers and Allies
Eastern Yellow Robin
Southern Yellow Robin
Leaden Flycatcher
Golden Whistler
Rufus Whistler
Grey Fantail
Willy Wagtail
Warblers, Wrens, Thornbills
Golden-headed Cisticola
Superb Fairy Wren
White-browed Scrub Wren
Variegated Fairy-Wren
Yellow Thornbill
Introduced birds
(May also be listed under individual bird groups)
Ringnecked pheasant
European Starling
Common Mynah
House Sparrow
Red Whiskered Bulbul
Spotted Dove
Feral Pigeon
Eastern Spinebill
Little Wattlebird
White-plumed Honey eater
White napes Honey eater
Tawny crowned Honey eater
New Holland Honey eater

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