World-first carbon plan for Settlers Run

In what is believed to be a world-first pilot project, the Settlers Run Golf and Country Club in Melbourne’s south-east is to become an environmentally sustainable golf course offering carbon offsets.

Global golf course manager Troon Golf is reversing common perceptions golf courses have a negative impact on the environment.

World-first carbon plan for Melbourne's Settlers Run World-first carbon plan for Melbourne’s Settlers Run

The course has also been earmarked as a possible ‘carbon sink’, which would allow the course’s operators to earn and on-sell carbon credits under the federal emissions trading scheme set to be introduced in 2015.

David Lunardelli, Troon Golf’s Director of Agronomy, said the Settlers Run course would act as a global pilot for golf course sustainability.

“For far too long golf courses have been seen as environmental vandals. At Troon we want to change that perception by designing courses that exist in harmony with their natural surroundings,” Mr Lunardelli said.

“Many of the sustainability measures currently being tested at Settlers Run will be rolled out across more than 190 Troon courses in 25 countries around the globe.

“Our ultimate goal is sustainability at all our courses. We want to change the perception of golf courses as merely a place for sport and recreation to a place of ecological progress and environmental conservation: A nature reserve with 18 holes.”

The Settlers Run Golf and Country Club, located within Medallist Developments’ Settlers Run housing estate in Cranbourne South, is a Greg Norman creation.

The ‘Shark’ has incorporated the best elements of Melbourne’s renowned sandbelt courses into a single dramatic world-class golf course.

Mr Lunardelli said Troon Golf was also exploring the possibility of utilising the course as a carbon sink, through the natural sequestration of carbon by the trees and turf on the course.

“This would enable the club to earn carbon credits and use them to offset the course’s emissions, the emissions of surrounding homes even or on-sell them to other companies,” he said.

“In what is fast becoming a new age of ‘green golf’, the possibilities are endless.”

Some of the sustainability measures currently employed or under consideration at the Settlers Run course include soil auditing, reduction of chemical and pesticide use, use of effluent water and carbon offsetting for travel to the course.

The course has been designed to work with the existing land plan where possible, taking into consideration the undulating landscape, established trees and surrounding natural wetlands.

Troon’s march toward sustainability also reflects the green approach Medallist Developments has taken to the entire Settler’s Run housing estate, which is located directly next door to the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.

These measures include water sensitive urban design, the use of recycled water, minimum five-star rated home designs, solar energy and extensive landscaping.

Medallist’s approach to the development has always involved a primary focus on ecological renewal, with the company undertaking a biodiversity study on what was formerly degraded farmland before moving forward with the project.

More than 700,000 trees have been planted across Settlers Run to date.