Perth golf club plants thousands of natives: is it enough?


Volunteers planted native shrubs and trees at the Mosman Park Golf Club. Picture credit: Jonathan Kemper

A Western Suburbs private golf club has begun the first stage of its environmental management plan earlier this week, with 20 volunteers from the community planting over 1700 native plants across the course.

Proponents of the plan, Town of Mosman Park and the Mosman Park Golf Club, say it aims to rehabilitate degraded natural areas of the Mosman Park Golf Course and protect the existing native flora, fauna in an ecological, sustainable manner.

During the next 3 years a total of 12,000 native plants, including a mixture of native shrubs, ground covers, grass trees and creepers will be planted.

Despite these efforts to rehabilitate and restore the golf course, the construction and operation of golf courses remain under fire by environmental experts who warn that their practises can cause severe harm to the environment.

Researcher, ecologist and urban forest maker Dr Grey Copeland said a major environmental problem with golf courses is heavy water usage.

“The huge amount of water required to keep the course grass alive is a key environmental concern,” Dr Copeland said.

Studies by the Australian Golf Industry Council found there are currently 1000, 18-hole equivalent golf courses covering more than 58,000ha of land in Australia, and in total these use approximately 124,0000 megalitres of water per year.

Dr Copeland says the use of harmful fertilisers required for the maintenance of golf courses is a huge cause for concern.

“Unfortunately the amount of fertilisation required for golf courses is usually very heavy and contains a large amount of phosphorus, which then runs off and goes into our waterways creating algae blooms and other associated nasties,” she said.

Despite these concerns, Town of Mosman Park Mayor Paul Shaw is confident the plan is a vital mechanism for preserving and protecting the natural environment at the golf course.

”The plan is an important mechanism to guide the future management of trees and other vegetation, sustainable management of water resources, reduction of chemical usage and enhancement of biodiversity of flora and fauna,” He said.

The planting will resume next Tuesday with the Club scheduling on planting another 1700 native trees and shrubs.