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Truly green fairways

Golf courses look like they should be part of nature, but the owner of Sixth Avenue Golf and Country Club says he and his staff make sure it truly is a natural beauty, welcoming humans and animals alike.

Golf courses look like they should be part of nature, but the owner of Sixth Avenue Golf and Country Club says he and his staff make sure it truly is a natural beauty, welcoming humans and animals alike.

The nine-hole executive golf course in Lively is a peaceful haven just minutes from downtown Sudbury, featuring a cozy dining room, patio, gardens and challenging fairways.

On the surface it looks like a typical golf club, but co-owner Rod Jouppi says he and his wife strive to make it a model of an ecological business.

“My wife, Mary, and I bought this golf course approximately 20 years ago and at the time, I was very aware of the negative environmental effects that golf courses could have due to the use of pesticides, chemicals and excessive water use,” he stated in an e-mail. “I have always treated wildlife and so have a strong focus on the environment as well as animal welfare issues.”

A veterinarian for 40 years, he said he had a keen interest in making the course as environmentally-friendly as possible. The course is part of the Audubon Society. Jouppi explained Before revamping the golf course, they focused on how to do things better environmentally including natural pond surrounds with bull rushes to clean any residues going into pond systems to ensure clean water returning to the river system, proper drainage and irrigation along with the best choice of grasses in order to minimize water needs.

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses has been assisting golf courses in their efforts to blend environmentally responsible maintenance practices into day-to-day golf course operations. We minimized the use of chemicals and kept the width of fairways to proper design in order to provide natural areas for wildlife,” he stated. “We have very healthy turtle and frog populations (many of these species are species at risk in Canada ). Our golf course is designed after the traditional Scottish design and golf as it should be, an interaction between golf & nature.”

The club is a member of the Audubon Society. In order to adhere to the society's standards, they have to attest to having input to all these areas and as we get to the next level of membership, and are undergoing detailed surveys of plant species and wildlife species on the golf course property as well as detailed reports of all chemical and water use.

The course has also played host to the release of rehabilitated wildlife treated at Wild at Heart, a centre founded by Jouppi located on land he donated next to his veterinary practice in Lively.

“This organization has been developed because of my interest in the environment and the healthy animals that are part of it. Health of people is integrally and intricately related to the health of animals and a healthy environment. No one part of this triangle can be healthy without the other two parts being healthy,” he said.

After animals are treated at the centre, which is staffed by volunteers and international interns, they are usually re-released near where they were found.

Monica Jouppi, general manager for the club, says it's a great place to see and hear wildlife, as well as see the diverse natural plant life that flourished there.

“You see turtles, foxes, all kinds of birds, in the spring you can hear frogs, it's a very peaceful place to be,” she said. “We see deer wandering though on occasion.”

That peacefulness makes it a popular destination for golfers and people seeking a natural setting for events, conferences and weddings. She explained that the course is set up in such a way golfers can come play a round and be done in about two hours on average.

It also has played host to numerous weddings, which Monica says the club is equipped for with on-site catering and a large tent.

“More weddings are being held outside to enjoy the warmth of summer and natural surroundings,” she said. “We work with bridal parties to set up a perfect experience with them that blends their celebration into the natural surroundings of the club.”

Recently, the club has developed a small housing development on part of our golf course which will benefit from our focus on a healthy lifestyle. Sixteen homesites are located there and will always remain quite private; no other houses will ever be in their backyard and they will share a private professional golf green and a private creek and pond system that allows natural drainage of the acreage rather than into storm sewers.

“This concept will promote walking since all the town’s amenities are close by yet the homesites feel as though they are in the country,” he said “A healthy community within a healthy environment. The homes will feature one floor living and owners could have their home cared for while away and even have your yards maintained if desired ( using a healthy Audubon approach).”