Kew Golf Club in Melbourne is the 2020 recipient of the coveted ASTMA Claude Crockford Environment and Sustainability Award, presented in conjunction with Gold Partner Syngenta.
Environmental sustainability is one of the major issues facing the golf industry moving forward and its rise in prominence in recent years has seen many clubs taking proactive steps to improving this area of their operations. Led by superintendent Cameron Hall and vegetation manager Ben Burke, Kew Golf Club in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs has made major inroads to doing just that, establishing the club as a leader in environmental sustainability and at the same time enhancing the value of the club’s biggest and most precious asset – the golf course.
In recognition of its commitment to becoming an ecologically sustainable golf course, in July The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA) bestowed its coveted Claude Crockford Environment and Sustainability Award upon Hall and the club. Presented in conjunction with ASTMA Gold Partner Syngenta, the award acknowledges the significant work that has been undertaken in recent years at Kew, work that is still ongoing.
Over the past three years Kew has undertaken significant works to improve the course’s out of play areas, instituting a dedicated and thorough Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) which is helping to dramatically transform these areas. With the introduction of ‘no-mow’ and revegetation areas, the club has decreased the amount of cut rough by a third which has resulted in significant labour and fuel costs and enabled these resources to be channelled into other areas of course maintenance and ongoing improvement works.
Hall says the works achieved to date at Kew would not have been possible without the support of many people, in particular Burke and environmental consultant Kate Torgersen. In accepting the award, he also acknowledged his crew for their outstanding effort in bringing the project to life and the integral support of club captain Andrea Moore, the Kew board of directors and club chief executive Mathew Loughnane.
“Receiving notification that we had won the award was without doubt one of the most satisfying moments in my working career,” says Hall, who has been Kew superintendent since September 2015. “To be acknowledged with an award named after one of the doyens of turf management in this country is a great honour and something I am extremely proud of. Having been fortunate to work at Royal Melbourne, the reverence in which Claude Crockford was held was evident for everyone to see and having worked closely with one of Claude’s staff in Graeme Grant over the last few years gives this award an even more special feel.
“For the club to win with this award is a great vindication of the direction we took over three years ago to focus on our out of play areas and reintroducing local plant species that were on the site before a golf course was built. We have a wonderful piece of land so close to the Melbourne CBD with some amazing areas of vegetation, plus the Yarra River alongside one of our boundaries which gave us a great base to start with.
“To see the initial areas we worked on over two-and-a-half years ago and how they look today is the most pleasing aspect of what we have accomplished as a club so far, considering the scepticism and doubts from different people when we started. It has been a real team effort and I have always instilled into the crew the philosophy that we are custodians of the land while we are employed here and if we can leave it in a better way than we found it then we have done our job. This project is ensuring that this statement will be true in future years.”
This article originally appeared in Volume 22.4 of the ATM. CLICK HERE to read the full article.