Fun Activities

On The Job

Environments - GREENKEEPER


Water and Golf Courses

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle

Australian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

SustainabilityAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities:Sustainability Priority



1. "Environmental concerns over the use of land for golf courses have grown over the past fifty years. Specific issues include the amount of water required for irrigation and the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in maintenance, as well as the destruction of wetlands and other environmentally important areas during construction. The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, golf courses consume about 2.5 billion gallons/9.5 billion litres of water per day. Many golf courses are now irrigated with non-potable water and rainwater." (Source: Wikipedia)

2. Australia has the third highest number of golf courses per capita in the world (behind Scotland and New Zealand). We have 1530 clubs (2015) nationally according to the Australian Golf Industry Council.

3. Calculate the number of litres of water per day consumed by the total of Australian golf courses.

4. Discussion

As a class, discuss:

Is this ethical to use so much water in the driest continent on Earth? Why? Why not?




Water and The Royal Adelaide Golf Club

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

SustainabilityAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities:Sustainability Priority




1. Read the following article: Reading

The RAGC Stormwater Project brings significant benefit to the community and great benefit to the golf club.

Royal Adelaide

The Problem.

Achieving a sustainable supply of irrigation water for the golf course.

South Australia is known as the driest State in the driest continent on earth and golf courses need a large supply of irrigation water to survive.

Royal Adelaide Golf Club has traditionally had access to unlimited free underground water for its irrigation needs. The course currently uses in excess of 200 megalitres of bore water from the aquifer (200 metres below the surface) each year, most of it over the four or five dry months of summer. [Editor - highlight]

The Government of South Australia is in the process of regulating and restricting access to this water and will inevitably charge users for its consumption.

The club wished to secure its future supply of water if at all possible.

The Solution.

With the close cooperation of the Government of South Australia, the club has developed within its boundaries a wetland to harvest stormwater runoff from the surrounding suburbs. The stormwater is cleaned by the reedbeds in the wetland sufficiently to be injected back into the underground aquifer.

The club should be able to put as much water back into the wetlands over winter as it takes out over summer, becoming a net zero user of aquifer water.


The total cost of this project was some $A2.7 m, which was shared equally between the club, the Australian, and South Australian Governments. The total project of some $A8.0 m. included similar wetlands and aquifer recharge systems at The Grange and Glenelg Golf Clubs nearby.

Benefits to the community.

Adelaide has a problem with the discharge of turbid stormwater into the ocean which restricts sunlight to the native sea grasses and kills them. The wetland schemes significantly reduce the flow of stormwater into the ocean.

A further benefit is that a large user of underground water can reduce its usage to zero and in fact could become a net provider of water. This is significant as aquifer water levels are dropping and salt levels are rising over time.

Benefits to the Club.

The aquifer water contains salt at 950 parts per million. Use of this water causes a salt build up in the bent greens, which can cause bare patches by the end of summer. The cleaned stormwater contains salt at approximately 100 parts per million, which is lower than AdelaideĀ“s potable water supply. Use of this water will eliminate the salt build up problem.

The wetland has greatly enhanced the appearance of an area of the course that grew only scrubby vegetation in salty soil.

The Result.

The Royal Adelaide Golf Club has just begun to inject cleaned stormwater down into the aquifer. The project brings significant benefit to the community and great benefit to the golf club."

2. Using the following diagram, summarise each step:

Problem Solving Loop

3. If the cost of water is $0.0872 per kilolitre (source: City West Water charges), and the club uses 200 megalitres/year, how long will it take for this Project to start saving the club money (after the recovery of the $A2.7M)? 1 megalitre=1000 kilolitres. How much money would the golf club save per year?

4. Discussion

Is this a solution you would promote to other Australian Golf Clubs as an Sustainable Solution? Why? Why not?




Best Practice

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

SustainabilityAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities:Sustainability Priority



1. You are to create an informative online pamphlet to be given out at a Greenkeepers' conference, informing Greenkeepers on the lastest information to improve their golf-courses and other areas by ...

a. Get in touch with a local golf club or using online resources (provided) - describe the optimum grass lengths of the main areas on a golf course.

b. What equipment is needed to maintain golf courses? Why are they needed?
c. What seed/ grass runner is most commonly used and why?
d. What are the most reputable fertilisers?
e. What other places require greenkeepers and how do their requirements, equipment and resources differ from golf courses?

2. Using the following article as inspiration:


a. How would you improve the irrigation and maintenance of your local golf course to make it more eco-friendly? What costs could you save each year for the club? Which initiatives would you use: Worm farm? Reduction in chemical fertilisers? An orchard?

b. Write an article describing your proposal and success at your current (imaginary) golf course and the possible implications for other golf courses.

c. Publish your work with password protection using Jimdo


3. Gather the information that you have found and collate it in an online poster using


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