Stanford University Golf Course Home of Champions

Stanford Golf Course and the Environment

Wildlife Photos on Golf Course Bird Species & Wildlife Reports

As a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses, ongoing efforts are underway to be sensitive to environmental issues that concern the Stanford golf course. These efforts include working to conserve water, preserve habitats, keep land in native conditions and reduce use of pesticidies and fertizilizers. There are approximately 110 acres of irrigated turf on the course and driving range and 175 acres overall.

A team of volunteers reports of additional species that have been sighted at the golf course. It is believed there are numerous others that have yet to be reported; particularly in the areas of migratory songbirds such as warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and sparrows. A total of 87 species as of 2002 were identified at the golf course and anyone is invited to contribute to our list.

Pest Management

Pests are treated on an individual basis (spot treatment) and only when damage reaches critical levels. Natural predators are encouraged in the native habitat surrounding the course. Pesticides are used as a last resort.


Green waste from tree trimmings and turf are composted, with the final product used in divot mix and mulches. Compost helps with disease and weed management. Composting on site also saves in both transportation and valuable landfill space.

Water Quality

Equipment washing - All large mowers are washed on the turf grass where any clippings are incorporated back into the turf. The healthy turf with its dense, fibrous root system is an excellent filter of organic materials.

Potential Runoff - Due to the proximity of San Francisquito Creek, the golf course is extremely diligent in the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Numerous precautions are taken when making applications. Fertilizers that contain very soluble nitrates are avoided. Granular fertilizers are not applied during the rainy season when rainfall could wash fertilizers from the soil. A buffer zone is maintained between the turf and the creek so that any fertilizer or pesticides traveling toward the creek would be absorbed by the plant material before reaching the creek.

Water Conservation

The course is irrigated with non-potable water from the University Lake System. Domestic water is only used for the drinking fountains on the course. The course has a modern irrigation system with many individually controlled sprinkler heads. The course is inspected twice daily for irrigation needs. When rainfall is absent, the main portions of the golf course are irrigated four days a week.

Irrigation schedules are fine tuned using ET, so only water lost to Evapotranspiration is replaced through irrigation. Hand watering is practiced whenever possible. Irrigation maintenance includes a full-time employee to monitor and maintain the system at peak efficiency. The golf course and practice facilities are operated in as dry a condition as possible for maximum turf health and the best playability.

Wildlife Habitat Management

Habitat Creation - The golf course currently has 21 nest boxes for swallows, bluebirds, and nuthatches. There is also an owl box behind #1 green, which is inhabited by barn owls. Dead trees are also left standing where possible for bird colonization. Native grasses are left standing on the perimeter of the course to provide habitat for the numerous animals that frequent the course. One example is the presence of a Great Blue Heron, which uses the naturalized grass roughs to hunt rodents.

San Francisquito Creek -The creek is a natural stream from the Coastal Range to the Bay. It acts as a wildlife corridor connecting the mountain community to the bay. Its natural and heavily vegetated state provides excellent habitat for numerous species. It is home to the threatened Red-legged Frog, Western Pond Turtle, and Steelhead Trout. The stream provides water and cover for animals venturing out to feed on the golf course. There have been numerous sightings of birds, fox, deer, bobcats, raccoons, and coyotes in the area.