11 Oct 2023
Fostering Nature Scorecard - The Turn
During Sustainable Golf Week, we will build a Fostering Nature Scorecard, revealing actionable steps that every golfer, club, or supporter can take to enhance golf's connection with nature and make it truly #BetterWithNature. By the week's end, you'll have a comprehensive 18 'holes' on the scorecard, each representing an opportunity to contribute to a more nature-friendly golfing experience.
We are now entering the turn in the Fostering Nature Scorecard as we close out day three of #SustainableGolfWeek. Here are holes 9-12 on what do do to protect nature.
#9 Prioritize native species
Native trees, shrubs, grasses and flower species benefit local birds and butterflies and can add an authentic regional character to golf courses. Planting or returfing native drought and disease tolerant turfgrass can also reduce inputs and improve playability and aesthetic with a naturalistic feel for members and visitors.
#10 Minimize intensive managed turf
Converting areas of intensively managed turfgrass to roughs or grasslands not only provides food and shelter for various species, but can create a natural feel, colour contrast and authentic, place-based experience for golfers, while increasing habitat and biodiversity. Player tracking initiatives, which monitor the location of golfers using GPS or written records, can ensure identify underutilised areas for further naturalisation – maintaining or even improving shot value, strategic interest, and pace of play.
#11 Increase patch size and connectivity
Habitat quality for many species, and especially birds, is greatly increased where core patches of habitat are preserved. Larger habitat patches tend to sustain larger diversity and richness of species than smaller fragmented habitats.
Habitat corridors, both large and small scale, are vital for the movement of species enabling them to breed successfully. Usually the wider and more natural the habitat corridor, the more effective it is. Banks of scrub and shrubs, lines of mature trees with large canopy, hedgerows, grassy verges, walls and ditches are all valuable forms of corridor on, across and around the site.
#12 Creating new micro-habitats for key species
Leaving dead trees, stumps, and leaf litter can enrich ecosystems and food webs. By attracting predators (i.e., birds) that prey on pests (i.e., grubs), installing bird boxes and bug hotels in gardens and wooded areas can support biological control. Local wildlife experts and charities can help to assess adjacent landscapes and create a flourishing, interconnected ecosystem.