Course naturalization at Tangle Creek Golf and Country Club

Signs posted around the Tangle Creek Golf and Country Club about ongoing environmental initiatives represent the course operator’s commitment to environmental protection, while the appealing view from the clubhouse shows just how much of the course is naturalized.

In the fall of 2015, Tangle Creek received a grant from Trees Ontario to plant 4,000 saplings, along with advice about where to plant the trees to maximize planting success. Overall 65% of the trees survived.

Creek beds have been planted with native plants such as sumac and willow to provide shade and riparian habitat for fish and insects. Of the 200 acre property, less than half is maintained while the remainder is left in a natural state. Creek beds have been allowed to grow up to at least ten feet, and signs are posted to remind golfers not to disturb these areas. The preservation of large tracts of green space allow for natural filtration of groundwater in contrast to runoff from paved surfaces. Expanded naturalization also results in reduced need for fertilizers and chemicals.

The placement of golf greens on high ground (not in the floodplain) has allowed Tangle Creek to let streams evolve and meander naturally without having to worry about erosion.  Tangle Creek’s environmental practices provide a great deal of space for wildlife to flourish, therefore the course is home to geese, wild turkeys, deer, many bird species, mice, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, frogs, turtles and even beavers.

When it comes to water, course General Manager, Richard Edmonds describes it as the lifeblood of the property. Water is drawn from two on-site wells, and daily monitoring is conducted to determine whether or not water can be taken–if needed–from the creek, based on flow levels. Ground water and surface water quality is closely monitored in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Burnside Consulting.

Fertilizer and chemical applications are managed by university-educated, experienced staff who strive to minimize the use of these materials. This is done in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management approach, and the use of technology that allows for highly-targeted applications. For example, the sprayer used is very precise and delivers chemicals directly to the plant. Over 99% of what is applied is absorbed directly by the plant being targeted. Technology is constantly evolving to find more natural ways of controlling pests and disease, and Tangle Creek staff keep up to date on these changes.

Golf carts run on electricity and Tangle Creek is looking into the feasibility of propane for other machinery. All environmental initiatives are communicated through the monthly newsletter and at the annual open house during which golfers learn of news and changes.

In addition to operating in a highly-regulated industry (under which golf courses must follow strict requirements related to water use, fertilizer use, and chemical use), Tangle Creek has adopted additional practices that contribute to local preservation of green space.  So next time you are out, enjoy the view and see if you can catch a glimpse of wildlife.

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