Austin's Onion Creek Club Garners Audubon Certification

Austin's Onion Creek Club has achieved designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Onion Creek Club is the 23rd course in Texas and just the 910th in the world to receive the honor.

"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, 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 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, and Michael Moore, the club's superintendent, led the effort for the course's sanctuary status and have been recognized for environmental stewardship by Audubon International.

David K. Woods, Onion Cree'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."

League said the club's owners and members instituted a strong environmental written policy which was adopted wholeheartedly and followed stringently. "In addition, many of our members - and especially Martha Boswell - 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," League said.

"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 managed 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 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 legend Jimmie Connolly in 1974 and its original 18 holes were designed by three-time Masters' champion Jimmy Demaret. Nine more holes designed by Austin native and two-time Masters' winner Ben Crenshaw and his partner Bill Coore, debuted in 1996. From 1999-2001, Onion Creek Club was host of the LPGA Tour's Harvey Penick Invitational.

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