Rewilding the Woodend Golf Club

Superintendent Grant Davies and Annabel Sides have been hard at work future-proofing the Woodend Golf Club. (Damjan Janevski)

By Oliver Lees

As the founder of Australia’s first environmental consultancy firm for sporting clubs, Annabel Sides’ dream is to drive a greener future for clubs across the country.

Her enterprise Green Planet Sport provides assistance to sporting organisations that are open to curbing their environmental impact.

In 2020 she saw an opportunity to do exactly that in her own backyard, as applications opened for Macedon Ranges council’s Woodend Region Climate Action Plan.

After reaching out to golf clubs across the shire, the Woodend Golf Club expressed interest in improving the sustainability of its course.

“My approach was, any club can do this, you just need to start looking at opportunities outside of the usual funding remit,” she said.

“There’s a huge scope for biodiversity and water saving at golf clubs, and so we’ve been looking for ways to improve these things through activities such as planting and having ongoing seed banks in certain areas.”

With the funding contribution, Ms Sides said works are well underway to “future-proof” the club for its members and visitors, with nesting boxes for birds and an array of native planting sections.

“It’s a win-win, because the club can focus on creating a playing surface that is second to none, while at the same time creating surroundings that are contributing back to the environment,” she said.

“The club is really into its golf, but they’re also really happy for people to use the course to walk the dog, it’s such a community feel.”

Ms Sides said she is working with the club to have QR Codes set up around the course so that visitors can learn about the biodiversity works that have been carried out.