More Than a Game.

Protecting Animals: Safari Golf Club works alongside the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to strengthen the bond between us and the wildlife we share this planet with. Revenue from Safari Golf Club supports conservation efforts at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds, throughout Ohio, and around the world. Safari Golf Club celebrates these partnerships by naming all 18 holes after one of the species that benefits from these projects. When you golf at Safari Golf Club, you are supporting a mission that goes beyond maintaining the lowest score; you are raising awareness and making a difference to our land and sea-dwelling teammates.

Protecting Birds: Safari Golf Club is home to a system of artificial nests that support species such as bluebirds and purple martins. Club managers have worked closely with individuals such as Darlene Sillick, Ambassador for Delaware Parks and Nest Watch to monitor birds that have resided on the course for the past 25 years! Because of this work, we were awarded the Ohio Bluebird Conservation Award.

Protecting Butterflies: Safari Golf Club provides housing for monarch butterflies to utilize during their annual migration.  In fact, we are Monarch Waystation #10909, certified and known as "Gunner's Run".

Protecting Ecology: Safari Golf Club is committed to showing the public we are deserving of our title by providing a suitable environment for plants and animals alike. Since 2013, six acres have been labeled as “native areas” where native plants are able to thrive by removing invasive, non-native vegetation and minimizing the use of chemicals such as pesticides. Safari Golf Club also prides itself on the usage of electric golf carts for a minimized carbon footprint.

Protecting Nature: Safari Golf Club's luscious green fairway is actually "green". In 2018, Safari Golf Club was designated as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. This title has only been bestowed upon less than 2% of the 910 golf courses in Ohio and 2.7% of courses worldwide! Former Golf Course Superintendent Ted Hunker led the campaign for Safari Golf Club to achieve this incredible honor and is recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International for his dedication to the wildlife that surrounds us.

Support Our Conservation Efforts Here

Learn More About the Animals Your Golf Game Supports

Hole 1 - The Cheetah

Your golf safari begins with a hole dedicated to the fastest land mammal in the world: The Cheetah.

With the capability to run quietly up to 60 mph, this great cat is one of the world’s most dangerous beauties. Statistics show that only approximately 6,700 cheetahs remain in the wild in Africa as they fall victim to poachers and the rapid shrinking of their savanna habitat.

The Columbus Zoo and The Wilds seek to maintain the conservation of cheetahs by participating in an international breeding program, incorporating cheetahs as ambassador animals in different outreach programs and supporting various conservation organizations, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia and Cheetah Outreach in South Africa. 

Hole 2 - The Giraffe

Your second stop at Safari Golf holds the record for the longest distance from the tee to the hole, which earns its namesake of the tallest mammal in the world: The Giraffe.

With populations in the wild having dropped 40% in just 15 years, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds offer homes to reticulated giraffes. Giraffes in the wild face threats of habitat loss, civil unrest, poaching and ecological catastrophes like climate change. Both the Zoo and The Wilds have also partnered with an international breeding program and supported the actions of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in Africa to aid in the survival of the species.

Hole 3 - The Turtle

The third hole at Safari Golf earns its namesake due to a noticeable crowned middle that is reminiscent of a turtle’s shell; not to mention, you may also be able to spot one enjoying the freshwater pond.

Eighteen percent of the world’s freshwater and terrestrial turtles can be found in the United States, with 12 species existing in Ohio. The water-loving reptiles are being threatened worldwide because of habitat loss and illegal harvesting for the turtle meat trade.

The Zoo provides a home for many species of turtles including the snake-necked turtle, Malaysian giant turtle, leaf turtle and Fly River or pig-nose turtle. They have also partnered with the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) to support research, education on how to handle threats, and to rescue illegally-collected turtles. 

Hole 4 - The Ray

Smooth-surfaced rays can be found along tropical and subtropical coasts all around the world, with an approximate 220 different species residing in those waters.

These bottom-dwelling sea creatures are a distant relative to sharks, with gills placed on either side of their head similar to their cousins. Rather than possessing sharp teeth, stingrays rely on their barbed tails as a form of self-defense.

With so many sharks and rays disappearing due to overfishing, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium provides a loving home for many of these creatures, including the cownose rays and southern stingrays. The Zoo also works alongside the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Shark Specialist Group and provides assistance in the research of scalloped hammerhead sharks in Costa Rica. 

Hole 5 - The Burying Beetle

Once tunneling their way through central and eastern parts of the United States and Canada, this burrowing insect can only traverse 10% of their habitat home.

The Wilds proudly stands as one of the few facilities to breed the burying beetle and reintroduce the beautiful creatures back into Ohio, where over 7,000 are now estimated to live. 

Hole 6 - The Gibbon

A white-handed gibbon will make its presence known to all by sounding off at its post in the Zoo’s Australia and The Islands area. While classified as creatures of the land, these Asian rainforest apes utilize their long arms to swing across the treetops, rarely reaching the forest floor.

The gibbons’ habitats endure numerous threats including loss for agriculture, road construction and oil palm plantations. You can do your part to save the gibbons and other Asian apes by investing in brands endorsed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Hole 7 - The Rattlesnake

Snakes are an important part of nature, even here in Ohio. 

The eastern massasauga rattlesnake, an endangered species in Ohio and eight other states, is forced to defend against habitat loss and fragmentation, human persecution and illegal collecting.  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium teams are currently observing these timid, yet venomous, reptiles at facilities in Michigan. While they may not appear the friendliest, all a snake desires is to be left alone.  You can also visit a variety of snake species in the historic reptile building at the Zoo

Hole 8 - The Takin

The Sichuan takin hails from the mountains, forests and valleys of western China.

This species of wooly ox-goat faces off against overhunting and the loss of forests in its native range. The Wilds hosts the largest breeding herd in North America!  Researchers at The Wilds are currently working with this massive herd to develop anesthesia, VHF and satellite tracking methods to study takin behavior at the Tangjiahe Reserve in China.

Hole 9 - The Great Blue Heron

This hole is appropriately named for the likelihood of players spotting a great blue heron as they reach their outing’s halfway mark. This graceful avian stands tall in the water as it utilizes its sharp beak to snag fish, snakes, frogs and other small animals for sustenance.

Although the heron is common in Ohio now, in the late 1800s, they were threatened by hunters for the millinery trade. While they are thriving now, you can still contribute to the protection of herons and other water birds by maintaining ponds and wetlands.

Hole 10 - The Painted Dog

This five-toed African predator claims the south of the Sahara Desert as its domain. The colorful species; however, has become endangered due to habitat loss, hunting, poisoning and diseases from domestic animals.

The Wilds leads the conservation charge for the painted dogs by providing a safe home for them. The Columbus Zoo Fund for Conservation also does its part by supporting the protection and monitoring of these animals and the education of others on the painted pups in Zambia, Tanzania and other African countries.

Hole 11 - The Bluebird

The eleventh hole is where you will be able to spot a bluebird nestbox attached to a nearby tree. With the combined efforts of volunteer builders and monitors, Safari Golf Club, the Columbus Zoo Freshwater Mussel Facility and The Wilds have assisted in a comeback for the eastern bluebird.

Records show that there may be 400,000 of these birds in Ohio alone! You can contribute to the cause by building your own bluebird nestbox!  The Ohio Bluebird Society provides instructions on how to build one.

Hole 12 - The Rhino

The rhino may personify strength and thick skin (literally), but they still face ongoing threats in the form of poaching for their valuable keratin horns (the same material as human hair and fingernails).

The Zoo and The Wilds do their part in the conservation of rhinos by providing a sanctuary for three different species: the black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros and greater one-horned rhinoceros. The two organizations have also partnered with other zoos worldwide and other conservationists like the International Rhino Foundation for breeding programs and to support field work, education, and law enforcement in Africa and Asia.

Hole 13 - The Tree Kangaroo

Staring down from the treetops within the Zoo’s Australian Roadhouse, you will discover Matschie’s tree kangaroos. Conflicting with their land-dwelling counterparts, the tree kangaroos prefer a life of solitude to group gatherings.

Currently, there exists less than 2,500 of this species left in their native habitat because of unsustainable hunting. The Columbus Zoo Fund for Conservation attempts to bolster these dwindling numbers by partnering with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program in Papua New Guinea. The two organizations work with locals to protect the ten species of tree kangaroo that reside in the area.

Hole 14 - The Monarch Butterfly

The fourteenth hole lies near our butterfly way station, a plot of land abundant in milkweed and other native plants to create an ideal space for monarch butterflies to rest during their migration to Mexico. The brilliant insects can be seen in all of Ohio's counties!

Even though they are present from May to October, they are most commonly spotted in late summer during their fall migration. 

Hole 15 - The Gorilla

Gorillas hold a special place in the heart of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where the first gorilla was born into human care.  Colo entered the world on December 22, 1956, and lived until the age of 60, where she went on record as the oldest gorilla in human care, far outliving her species in the wild.

The Zoo also prides itself on housing one of the largest Western lowland gorilla groups in North America and works alongside Partners In Conservation (PIC) to protect gorillas that make Central Africa their home. 

Hole 16 - The Bear

Eight species of bears roam the world's landscapes, with four of them represented at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium... black bears, brown bears, polar bears and sloth bears.

Every species of bear faces a challenge that threatens their existence. Polar bears rely on sea ice for hunting food and denning, but this process has been challenging because of increasing climate change. The Zoo has found major success with polar bear breeding, with its footage of denning behavior being utilized by researchers in the Arctic!  They've also partnered with organizations such as Polar Bear International to continue advocating for conservation efforts. 

Hole 17 - The Bald Eagle

This national symbol may be seen gazing down upon this hole from the tops of the trees or from the skies above... or watching over you when you sink that birdie.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium hosts an aviary that houses non-releasable bald eagles in a safe and nurturing environment.  You can visit them in the Zoo's North America region

Hole 18 - The Hellbender

Located near a small creek, your final destination is named after the distinct hellbender!  This unique-looking amphibian is the second-largest salamander in the world and is found in small bodies of water throughout Ohio, West Virginia and other areas along the Ozark and Appalachian Mountains.

Sightings have become rare due to pesticides, silt and other threats to their freshwater ecosystems. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds have teamed up with various organizations to breed, release and study the hellbenders, and they're also available to see within the Zoo's historic reptile building in the Shores and Aquarium region