Audubon Sanctuary Program

A cooperative effort between the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Audubon International, this program promotes ecologically sound land management and the conservation of natural resources. Its positive impact extends beyond the boundaries of the golf course and helps benefit the community beyond.

Golf courses work toward certificates of recognition in six categories. Audubon International provides each golf course with one-on-one assistance in devising an appropriate environmental plan.

Audubon International

Environmental Planning

Each club generates a written plan outlining their goals and proposed projects. It provides a useful tool for clubs to monitor their progress in meeting their goals.

Wildlife and Habitat Management

Management of non-play areas is crucial to providing habitat for wildlife on the golf course. Emphasis is given toward maintaining the best possible habitat for the course considering its location, size, layout, and type of property.

Outreach and Education

Gaining the support of golfers for an environmental program is an invaluable asset. Focus is placed upon generating public awareness through education. Recognition of tasks well done continually reinforces the worth of the program.

Chemical Use Reduction and Safety

A comprehensive and responsible program to control pests will ensure a healthy environment for both people and wildlife. Managing turf areas with environmental sensitivity requires educating workers and members about plant management, pesticide application, and use of fertilizers.

Water Conservation

Consumption of previous water resources remains an issue at most golf courses. Attention is directed toward irrigation systems, recapturing and reuse of water sources, maintenance practices, and turfgrass selection.

Water Quality Management

Questions about the impact of golf course chemical use on the water quality of lakes, streams, and groundwater sources abound. Strategies are devised to monitor water quality, protect wetlands, reduce erosion, filter runoff, and, if warranted, improve conditions.


No restrictions are placed on the property as a condition of participation in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. All decisions concerning the implementation of program suggestions remain with the golf course superintendent and course officials.

Each course pays a $200 (U.S.)/$250 (International) annual registration fee to participate in the program. Among the benefits that clubs receive are a Guide to Environmental Stewardship on the Golf Course, 2nd edition, a Certification Handbook that helps to plan, organize, and document environmental efforts, and a subscription to Stewardship News, Audubon International's newsletter.

Audubon International is one of more than 500 Audubon Societies in the United States. It is not affiliated with the National Audubon Society. Like state Audubon Societies in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Illinois, Audubon International is completely independent, separately incorporated, and is guided by its own Board of Directors. In addition to golf courses, Audubon International also provides programs for businesses, schools, communities, and new developments.

More than 2,200 golf courses from around the world have joined this program and more than 500 facilities in the US, 65 in Canada and 20 in Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico, and Southeast Asia have been designated as Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries by fulfilling requirements in all six categories.