Written by: Craig Hempseed
In 2020 we started looking at ways we could naturalize areas of rough around the course after joining OnCourse and seeing how other clubs were benefitting. GEO Foundation gave us some invaluable advice, too, and we set about putting a plan in place.
We introduced 3.7 hectares of unmown rough, which has proved a great success and resulted in us saving up to 7 man-hours and 60 litres of diesel per week. We have saved around 1,800 litres of fuel and around £900 on fuel per season, which is 3,600ltrs and just under £2000 of fuel to date. This is a fantastic saving and that money can now be put to better use within the club.
Instead of having unmown rough areas, we have also introduced around 2 hectares of wildflower areas around the course, combined with installing two beehives on site which have around 10,000 bees in total. Having them on-site is great to see and for myself, is something that I have had an interest in for several years. I am also looking into doing a beekeeper course so that I can learn more about how they go about their business and what they must do to survive and also in the hope of looking after them myself.
Alongside these areas, we have erected 35 bird boxes for the smaller birds and 3 bigger boxes to attract Kestrels and owls alike. We had great success in our first year by having a pair of kestrels who nested in one of these boxes. They went on to successfully raise 6 chicks.
Reducing these previously managed areas has helped us protect and enhance nature by increasing populations of mammals & grassland birds, butterflies and other insects.
The great thing for me is that it’s benefited the environment through increased biodiversity and less fuel being used but also saved us time and money in the process. The feedback from members has been great and the work undertaken has given the course a better aesthetic without impacting playability.