Royal Sydney Golf Club - course upgrade and renovation (DA402/2019)

In This Section

Development Application (course upgrade and renovation)

Council has received a development application (DA) for the extensive renovations to the existing 18 hole golf course at Royal Sydney Golf Club (RSGC) including site works, service upgrades, tree removal and replacement planting. This DA is limited to the existing 18-hole golf course of the RSGC. The proposal does not include the existing 9-hole golf course or any other facility, building or Clubhouse within the subject site.

The proposed development was amended on 6 April 2021. The amendments as described in the submitted documentation, are as follows:

  • Refining the description of the proposed development to, ‘the proposed renovation and landscape rehabilitation of the existing 18-hole Championship Golf Course located at RSGC’. The introduction of the words ‘landscape rehabilitation’ reflects the refinements made to provide a more comprehensive and overt response to landscape, environmental and biodiversity issues.
  • Mapping and detailed technical assessment of all ‘prescribed’ trees on the site.
  • Refining the proposed course renovations to minimise tree removal and environmental impacts.
  • Reducing the number of trees proposed to be removed, as well as significantly increasing proposed new trees to be planted.
  • Reducing the number of ‘high value’ trees proposed to be removed.
  • Comprehensive mapping of existing tree canopy cover and modelling of future canopy.
  • Refining the quantum and nature of plantings proposed in various ecological areas across the site.
  • Adopting the new Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) 2020 for the assessment of Biodiversity impact.
  • Preparing new and updated plans, reports and documents detailing the proposal and associated impacts.

Description of the proposal

The amended Statement of Environmental Effects describes the proposed golf course renovation and landscape rehabilitation as follows:

“RSGC has formulated a comprehensive plan to both address identified shortcomings while creating a resilient, sustainable landscape fostering an enhanced golf environment while restoring the environment to benefit endemic flora and fauna. To plan and implement this vision, world renowned golf course architect, Gil Hanse, and celebrated Australian landscape architect, Harley Kruse, are working with RSGC to create a visually stunning and environmentally sustainable landscape for the renovated course. Key elements of the proposed plans for the renovated course include:

  • The proposed renovated landscape fosters a unique coastal heathland environment, providing ecological diversity and native habitats for plants and animals, which is not possible with the current vegetation.
  • Tree removal is minimised through a comprehensive and collaborative design process involving the golf course designer, landscape architect, arborist, and ecological advisers. Existing dense vegetation located on the perimeter of the golf course is retained, along with the majority of high-quality trees within the course. Retained trees are protected through appropriate management of designated TPZ’s and detailed vegetation management actions.
  • Trees proposed to be removed have been thoroughly assessed and justified through detailed analysis focussed on removing trees of non-endemic species, trees detrimental to the long-term sustainability of the course, or being at end of life or a safety risk to the community. The proposal seeks to remove 595 of the overall 2,696 trees on site and of which 11 are ‘high value (2%), 512 are ‘medium value’ (86%), and 72 are ‘low value’ (12%).
  • The application proposes to replace and supplement the removed trees through the planting of 1,888 new trees comprising sustainable local species, specifically selected to be consistent with vegetation endemic to this area. The proposal achieves an overall increase in the number of trees on the golf course to a total of 3,989 trees – a 47% increase in tree numbers.
  • Tree planting and site landscaping is supplemented by replacement of large areas of existing high-water demanding turf, with expansive heathland understory comprising 499,211 planted shrubs, sedges, and native grasses over a three-year period. Noxious weeds will be removed and replaced with naturally occurring species that better cohabitate with surrounding flora. The renovated golf course requires significantly less water and fertiliser and the landscape will be replenished by self-seeding trees and shrubs.
  • A new state-of-the-art irrigation system will be installed. This includes a new storage dam, pumps and pump shed. The system will allow better control of water, resulting in more efficient use and the precise delivery of water to each surface.
  • These improvements will ensure the ongoing quality of the course and enhance the environmental sustainability of the site for the long term.”

The DA does not involve any major building works and does not involve any change to membership numbers or current operation of RSGC and other facilities on the site.

Public exhibition

The DA will be re-advertised and re-notified in accordance with the Woollahra Community Participation Plan. The re-notification period is from 26 May 2021 to 25 June 2021.

Assessment of application

Council staff will review any submissions received and prepare an assessment report. The report will include a summary of any submissions and a recommendation to approve (with or without special conditions), or to refuse the development application.

The assessment report will be provided to the Woollahra Local Planning Panel as more than 10 unique letters of objection have been received.

The Woollahra Local Planning Panel is a public meeting, which provides an opportunity for the community and interested stakeholders to have their say before the Panel makes a decision.

When a public meeting date is set, those parties who have made a submission will be notified of the meeting and provided with information on the meeting process. This will include information on how to register to address the panel.

How do I view the DA plans and documents?

The DA plans and documents can be viewed using the DA tracking tool. Search for 402/2019.

What if I have other questions?

Please contact the Team Leader, Mr M Moratelli, on 9391 7000 between 8:30am and 11:00am Monday to Friday.