Crafting a future inspired by nature

13 Oct 2023

Crafting a future inspired by Nature

Nature has been an integral element of golf since its inception and  today during Sustainable Golf Week we are looking forward. Sustainable golf courses not only show reverence for their surroundings but also pay homage to the innate beauty of the natural environment. They aspire to celebrate the distinctiveness of each location by enriching its historical significance, cultural heritage, topography, and ecological features.

Leading golf course architects and designers are taking the lead in forging a harmonious relationship between golf and nature. Through collaborative efforts and partnerships, they are bringing forth new developments and renovations that are geared towards protecting, restoring and promoting nature.

Here are just a few illustrative examples of how.

CostaTerra, Portugal

The CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club sits on the Portuguese coastline offering spectacular views. The project protects and continues to do important restoration work of the native habitats on the property. Due to this important work, 65 hectares of the rare Zimbral (made up of juniperus spp) habitat have been cleared of invasive species and improved to ensure its long-term integrity. Around the golf course itself over 500,000 native plants have been planted to date to create native habitats that encourage the native wildlife to the project. 

Golf Course architect Tom Fazio (ASGCA) of Fazio Design ensured that the course flowed with the natural land and there is no doubt that the natural landscape and the habitats within it on this stretch of coastline are in better condition because of the CostaTerra project. 

Photo credit: CostaTerra Golf & Ocean Club

 

Rumanza, Pakistan

Rumanza Golf and Country Club is an example of how a golf development can have a positive impact on a piece of land and be the driving force behind biodiversity improvements. The project, designed by Andy Haggar of Faldo Design, has resulted in 50 hectares of monoculture cereal crops being regenerated into a rich mosaic of diverse and native habitats which now play host to thriving ecosystems. Within days of the course’s water bodies being created, native bird life was flocking to the area in numbers far greater than had previously been seen. 

Because of the Rumanza project, there is a vibrant mix of habitats that would not have been there without it. Over time this biodiversity, we can anticipate, will continue to grow and improve.

Photo credit: Rumanza Golf and Country Club

 

West Cliffs Golf Links, Portugal

During the construction of the West Cliffs Golf Links, designed by course architect Cynthia Dye (ASGCA) – Dye Design Group, over 15 hectares of rare, native coastal habitat was uncovered. This habitat had lay dormant for years beneath the dense pine tree plantation that had been planted by the previous landowners for paper production. The project uncovered this native habitat and has allowed it to establish and grow naturally, creating a far more authentic and diverse environment to experience.

Photo credit: West Cliffs Golf Links

 

Hoiana Shores Golf Club, Vietnam

The development of Hoiana Shores Golf Club is a real example of how golf can bring a piece of land back to its natural state and restore it from the effects of human activity. The coastal site was formally a fish farm and was in poor condition ecologically. Using only native and locally sourced plants the project team were able to restore 23 hectares of native coastal scrubland and rehabilitate a further 6 hectares of natural coastal dune landscape.

The positive change also resulted in native fauna returning to the area much faster than expected. This is testimony that, when the right habitats are provided, the native animal species will ensure they are full of life. Without the development of Hoiana Shores Golf Club, it is highly unlikely that this kind of positive change would have happened. Bruce Charlton (ASGCA) – Robert Trent Jones II, golf course architect for Hoiana Shores has produced another great example of how important golf can be to the restoration and rehabilitation of nature. 

Photo credit: West Cliffs Golf Links

 

La Reserva Golf Links, Mauritius

La Reserve Golf Links, designed by Peter Markovich of Matkovitch Designs is a stand-out project for the sheer scale of habitat restoration that was carried out as a result of the golf course being created. 104 hectares of sugarcane monoculture was removed from the site. Created was 55 hectares of native habitats, over 2 hectares of riparian habitat, 3,000m2 of wetland and 4,000m2 of waterbodies.

The benefits to wildlife that this rich diversity provides outweigh those of the previous sugarcane plantation. The increase in biodiversity is the first to spring to mind but also the protection of soils and reduction in flooding are welcome benefits. 

Without the development of La Reserve Golf Links, it is very likely that this area of land would have remained as a monoculture plantation with a severe lack of biodiversity and authenticity. This development and the care for the natural land that the project team has given the land a new lease of life which is now thriving. 


Photo credit: La Reserva

Read more in Tyler Annan’s perspective on the Restoring Nature through Development's 

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