Nature is measured in terms of biodiversity of wildlife and habitats. Biodiversity, which is short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life on Earth. It is in our forests and mountains, our rivers and seas, our golf courses. Biodiversity is the natural capital which supports all our lives. It is vital for our survival and is a key measure of the health of our planet.
Scotland is a special place for biodiversity. Not only for the sheer number of species it supports, but also for its complex mosaic of habitats and scenery which makes up our rich and varied landscape.
Biodiversity provides us with a range of services including supporting leisure activities such as golf and tourism, providing food, building materials, resources for education, medicine and research and broader ecosystem services.
Scotland’s golf courses occupy approximately 27,000 hectares and many host nationally and internationally designated nature sites, proving golfing areas are often important for their wildlife and habitats.
All golf courses have something to offer in terms of biodiversity. There are numerous ways a club can enhance their natural habitats and contribute to wildlife conservation. Many of which incur very little or no financial cost and some can even save the club money in the long run.
“A golf course which has been sensitively designed and managed in a way which works with nature rather than against it, is normally more interesting and challenging.” “Golf is a test against the hazards that nature provided.” Colin Montgomerie.
These pages contain downloadable best practice information about the management of golf courses for the benefit of nature and biodiversity.
Scottish golf courses are renowned the world over for their scenic beauty and stunning landscapes, with many found in areas designated as National Scenic Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Areas of Great Landscape Value or Designed Landscapes.
Golf courses interact with the aesthetic qualities of their surroundings and on the character of their local landscapes, whether they are links courses that have evolved from the original topography and vegetation, those within historic parkland estate landscapes, to the more recent golf courses with greater earth-shifting and design.
Landscape character and structure including vegetation types and cover, colours and textures, views and vistas to and from the surrounding countryside and coastlines, should all be taken into consideration in course design and management to make the most of the golf course landscape characteristics ultimately benefiting the golfing experience.
Activities clubs could undertake could include implementing planting programmes of locally occurring native species utilising locally indigenous species appropriate for the landscape context of the site and the climate while contouring cutting lines on mown areas to blend with the landscape.
Clubs should pay attention to colours, styles and textures of materials used; e.g. for buildings, site equipment, paths/roads, advertising and other signage and furniture and take measures to avoid light pollution; e.g. low level, directed lighting around car parks and outbuildings.