Auckland Golf collaborates with Auckland Council to support Community Engagement

Auckland Golf collaborates with Auckland Council to support Community Engagement

*News showcased by Auckland Council

Imagine a world where golf courses are not just places for sport and recreation, but vibrant hubs for community conservation and well-being.

This vision is becoming a reality thanks to Auckland Council's new initiative, Golf is Green.

The collaborative project has brought together 22 golf courses and their neighbouring communities, to connect these green spaces with collective care for the environment.

“Our ultimate goal is to see all of Auckland's 36 golf courses join this initiative. We hope to see more collaboration with the communities surrounding those green oases,” says Izabela Joshi, Golf is Green project manager.

Pupuke golf club on Auckland’s North Shore is an example of a golf course transformation. This forward-thinking club embraced the initiative, and is actively working towards the prestigious Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) accreditation - a global recognition for golf courses demonstrating exceptional environmental and social responsibility.

Pupuke golf club general manager Matthew Owen says it’s a continuous process.

“We are 84 per cent of the way there but we’re always looking at what we can do to improve,” said Matthew Owen. “We have been working with the Bush Society and the council to select the best plants and their position in the park. As a result, we have been able to reduce the erosion on the course caused by extreme events.”

Pupuke golf club’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond conservation efforts. The club has changed its name to simply ‘Pupuke’ - reflecting its vision for the future as a welcoming community space. The club pictures people walking the greens and pathways, enjoying a cup of coffee at the cafe, and simply connecting with the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The results are a flourishing community of nature and well-being:
•    2,000 native trees and shrubs planted by hundreds of volunteers
•    A significant increase in native birdlife
•    A shift from chemical to natural greenkeeping practices.

The initiative is building a new era where golf courses are being reimagined as more than just manicured greens - they are valuable contributors to a more biodiverse and inclusive Tamaki Makaurau. The future is a continuous evolution of inclusivity and sustainability.

The dedication of Pupuke to inclusivity extends beyond physical boundaries. The club is committed to working with its community and stakeholders to maximise every aspect of its operations - from the course itself to the club facilities, membership, and community engagement. In the immediate future, the club is partnering with Watercare to reuse greywater on the course, diverting it from the sea – a win-win-win for Pupuke, the environment, and the public.

In a collaborative approach, Te Kaunihera o Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland Council isn't just providing funding or guidance, it’s also actively partnering with participating golf clubs across the region.

Auckland Council has designed an Ecological Enhancement Plan for golf clubs. This roadmap outlines resource-efficient pest reduction strategies and practical habitat restoration programmes - with local communities, schools and community groups being involved.

The approach fosters a shared responsibility with Auckland Council leading the way, showcasing what's possible through the Golf is Green initiative, while the clubs finance the necessary tools and trees. The real heroes of the project are the volunteers who roll up their sleeves on planting days and conservation projects. This collaborative spirit ensures everyone wins - the environment, communities, and the golf clubs themselves.

This summer, why not check out what's happening at your local golf course? You might be surprised at the positive changes taking place and the opportunities to get involved in environmental initiatives. Together, through Golf is Green, we can create a more sustainable and vibrant Auckland for everyone.

The district golfing associations Auckland Golf and North Golf within Tamaki Makaurau are continuing to work in collaboration as lead partners with Auckland Council on the Golf is Green programme, acting as conduits between the city’s 36 environmentally conscious golf clubs.

Posted: Thursday 7 March 2024