The Clubs Course Superintendent, Clayton Howell has been employed at The Eastern Golf Club for over 22 years and has always been a firm believer that any course maintenance practices must be in the interests of the long term sustainability of the course, rather than a short term fix, or band aid approach. The Eastern Golf Club has adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system where instead of simply trying to eradicate a pest, the IPM approach considers all information and experience available, accounts for multiple objectives and considers all available preventative and curative options. Based on these foundations decisions are implemented to achieve
optimum results. In general terms the goal of the IPM is to provide safe, effective, economical, environmentally sound, and socially sensitive outcomes. The fundamentals that define the IPM program at The Eastern Golf Club include:
- Identify the pest(s) that are the source of the problem. This is not always as simple as it may seem. Correct pest identification is required to identify optimum solutions.
- Understand the biology and economics of the best and the system in which the pest exists.
- Monitor pests and natural controls. What are the signs? What are the symptoms? Where does the damage occur? When does the damage occur? What environmental conditions are present at the time of the damage?
- Establish economic or aesthetic injury thresholds. Pest management systems are to be based on potential damage from pest infestations, status of natural enemies, and the weather. Actions are taken only when the potential damage is sufficient to justify action. It is essential that threshold levels be determined for each pest identified as they are often site specific are directly impacted by other course management systems and users.
- Select an appropriate strategy of cultural, mechanical, biological, and/or chemical prevention or control techniques.
- Cultural practices include habitat modification and adapting operating procedures so that pest damage is reduced and natural control is enhanced. Choosing plant varieties that are resistant to pest injury is a cultural control. Cultural methods are essentially preventative measures that reduce the extent of the pest problem and include; Appropriate turf cultivators, good fertility management, aerating compacted soils, improving drainage, thatch control, raising mower heights, good irrigation management, minimising shade and improving air movement.
- Biological controls are predators, parasites, and diseases that attack pests. Measures can be taken to conserve naturally occurring populations. In some situations where naturally occurring biological controls are not effective, they can be introduced from outside sources.
- Chemical control involves selecting a pesticide with the lowest toxicity to humans and non-target organisms and using it in such a way to prevent or minimize undesirable environmental effects. The lowest effective amount of pesticide is applied from carefully calibrated spray equipment.
- Evaluate the pest management program and improvement when possible. This requires keeping, maintaining and reviewing records on a regular basis.
The Clubs Course Superintendent to ensure that our maintenance of our course is always with a view for long term improvement, this believe is an ingrained philosophy of our course staff and commitment to the long lasting improvement of our course. The flow on from having a long-term sustainability outlook on the course is that we use minimal pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) on our course. These chemicals are often short-term fixes to course related issues, which can cause severe damage of the Clubs most valuable asset, our golf course. However the long-term approach of sustainability has allowed our course to develop its own immunity to the local environment and its challenges throughout the seasons.
Long considered the “the most advanced EMS in the world for golf”, e-par® Group’s unique approach to integrated site compliance and best practice while integrating innovation, technology and iPhone and iPad Applications has been a revolution for the sports turf and recreation industries. In 2009, with the approaching nationalisation of work health and safety in Australia, the e-par Group identified an opportunity to further support its member community through the provision of practical, effective and compliant Safety Management Systems (SMS) and onsite training. The result? Membership platforms and deliverables that synchronise with other areas of systems compliance and training throughout the workplace, integrate efficient use of technology, reduce the paperwork and streamline risk management across the site. Formally recognized and awarded for environmental excellence by government agencies, The Eastern Golf Club is proud to be implementing the e-par systems at the Yering site, building upon our own research as a leader in environmental stewardship.
yering – tier two risk assessment
The Clubs investment into setting a new environmental benchmark has seen support from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne Water and the Commonwealth of Australia through our referral under the EPBC Act. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s central piece of environmental legislation. It provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places — defined in the EPBC Act as matters of national environmental significance.
The undertaking of a Tier 2 Risk Assessment, the first of it’s kind in Australia for a golf course development. A Tier 2 Risk Assessment analyses the proposed pesticide usage at the Eastern Golf Club and makes use of a customer designed hydrologically-based quantitative fate and transport pesticide models to predict likely concentrations of pesticide residues in stormwater runoff from the golf course. The report identifies appropriate water quality objectives for the protection of the identified beneficial uses which are the protection of aquatic life in the river and the protection of potable water supply. A comparison is made between predicted environmental concentrations and the target water quality objectives (concentrations) to determine the extent of compliance with the target hazard quotients.
The club employees a team of Horticulturalist at its Yering site to ensure that the natural vegetation is maintained, extended and enhance the natural beauty of the site in the Yarra Valley. The team have clear objectives to;
- Re-introduce rare species back into the local area ( yarra gum, buxton gum, lomandra filliforms) and many more.
- Enhance the existing natural landscape through non-uniform planting. The careful selection of species will allow the team to accomplish this.
- Revegetation of areas are to improve flora and fauna diversity and to replenish the bush with new life. The planting of indiginous stock is Important to us as we want to encourage the growth of these species in and around our course.
- As the site was previously used as farm land the need for pockets of natural bushland will very important in order to retain the natural feel and beauty of the site.
With the planting of native species and very large revegetation areas, this will create an animal corridor which is something we are looking for as this will represent not only the Australian bush but also our nature reserve on the hill, creating natural habitats for the fauna is what we are striving for. With the planting of local and indiginous species we are also able to create a seed bank which is important for the future when we want to start growing our own plants, taken from cuttings from around our course, cottage precinct and nature reserve. Not all areas will be heavily planted as the design of the course still needs to be enjoyed, but having that bush/rustic/farm look all tied in with the dynamics of golf, each one not affecting the other is what we are aiming to achieve. The end result will be as if the course was carved out of the natural bush and farmlands.