22 Mar 2022 | Clubs & Facilities |
Cypress Lakes honoured for environmental initiatives
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
It was instigated out of necessity yet the water management plan implemented in 2017 has earned Oaks Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club one of the major gongs at the Sports Environment Alliance #SEAChanger Awards at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Sports Environment Alliance – of which Golf Australia is a member – is established to be a charity with a purpose of protecting and enhancing the natural environment of Australasia by promoting sustainability, sustainable development, regeneration and use of resources.
As the Australian Grand Prix Corporation took out the #SEAMember category, Cypress Lakes was the recipient in the non-SEA member category for the innovative and sustainable solutions for golf course maintenance systems.
Under the guidance of Course Superintendent Craig Molloy, Cypress Lakes harnesses 200,000 litres of effluent water from the resort on-site each night – enough to water all 18 greens – have cut their consumption of potable water by 18 per cent across the property and the Elysia Wellness Retreat educates guests on organic and sustainable gardening.
Molloy received the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association Excellence in Golf Course Management award in 2021 and took great pride in Cypress Lakes being recognised amongst a wide range of sporting organisations and facilities.
“It was nice to be recognised by an industry outside of golf for the work that we are doing,” Molloy said following the success of the recent TPS Hunter Valley tournament at Cypress Lakes.
“We’re enhancing and improving the environment. The award is a great recognition of that.”
A member of the turf industry for 26 years, when Molloy arrived at Cypress Lakes in 2013 he was immediately faced by a crisis of water, the only solution to purchase 120 million litres at a cost of $76,000.
In 2016 the bunkers on the golf course were redone so that up to 5mm of rainfall would generate 12 million litres of water to feed into the irrigation storage that boasts a total capacity of 180 million litres.
But it was the ability to use treated effluent water from the resort and transfer it to the golf course that provided a water source that would otherwise simply be flushed down the drain.
“It was the first site I had worked on with effluent water and in 2013 when I started here water was an issue,” Molloy explains.
“We just had to come up with something. In 2013 it was so dry here. It wasn’t drought conditions but it was really hot and we just didn’t have enough water to be able to produce decent surfaces.
“Without water we didn’t have a golf course and we weren’t able to succeed.
“To improve the property we had to be able to manage our water better.
“The last two years we haven’t had to use any of the water that we buy in. Not one drop. We’ve been self-reliant in our own practices.”
The resort is now beginning to see the financial rewards that come from a sustainable management plan and have set their sights on positively impacting the environment that they nurture even further.
“Now we’re starting to see some financial benefits of what we’re doing and it’s about trying to be as carbon neutral as possible,” Molloy said.
“That will be the next step, to reduce our carbon footprint even further.”
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