The club has restored natural areas and wetlands and provided natural habitat and bird boxes along the creek, ponds and other areas of its property.
The Onion Creek Club in Austin, Texas has achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program.
“Onion Creek Club, its management and its members are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Joellen Lampman, Program Director for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs.
Onion Creek Club, which was founded in 1974, has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program by following guidelines that included restoring natural areas and wetlands to help receive the coveted designation.
“To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that it is maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas,” Lampman explained. These categories include: Environmental Planning; Wildlife and Habitat Management; Outreach and Education; Chemical Use Reduction and Safety; Water Conservation; and Water Quality Management.
Pete League, a member at Onion Creek Club, and Michael Moore, the club’s Golf Course Superintendent, led the effort for the course’s sanctuary status and have been recognized for environmental stewardship by Audubon International.
David K. Woods, Onion Creek Club’s General Manager, said his club and Audubon International was a match from the start. “Our course’s designer, Jimmy Demaret, always believed that nature was the real architect of Onion Creek’s golf courses, and that he simply followed the natural features of the land to route the holes,” Woods said. “Our Member Committee certainly stepped up in making this goal a reality, and the hard work of this committee and our golf course maintenance staff certainly deserves a ‘job well done’ for their efforts in achieving this prestigious certification.”
The club’s owners and members instituted a strong written environmental written policy that has been followed stringently, League added. “In addition, many of our members helped us develop inventories of birds (where they were able to identify more than 100 species) and wildlife, as well as trees, plants and shrubs,” he added. “We have provided natural habitat and bird boxes along Onion Creek, the golf course’s ponds and other areas to provide food and shelter for wildlife.”
Onion Creek Club, which is owned and operated by The Dominion Golf Group, was also able to improve soil and turf health while applying chemicals on a curative basis and minimizing chemical additives to water features.
The facility uses effluent water for golf course irrigation, has reduced irrigated turf areas by 22 acres, has implemented a comprehensive water testing program and has established vegetative buffers and no-spray zones throughout the course.
Onion Creek Club is known as the birthplace of the Senior (now Champions) Tour and hosted the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament from 1978-89. The club was founded by Texas amateur golf legend Jimmie Connolly in 1974 and its original 18 holes were designed by three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret. Nine additional holes fashioned by Austin native and two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw and his partner Bill Coore debuted in 1996. From 1999 to 2001, Onion Creek Club was host of the LPGA Tour’s Harvey Penick Invitational.