Golf Courses and Biodiversity

Golf Courses and Biodiversity

I recently gave a brief talk at Worplesdon Golf Course in Surrey on the biodiversity benefits that golf courses can provide. This was at an event organised by Chartehouse and Rigby Taylor to principally demonstrate equipment to a number of green keepers from a variety of courses. I was asked to provide an overview of how Golf Courses and incoperate biodiversity management. Indeed Golf Courses already provide a certain amount of ecological resource within the UK and are typically more ecological diverse than surrounding agricultural land[1].

Golf courses cover a relatively large amount of land. For example in England Golf Courses cover around 270, 000 Ha[2]. They also can contain a variety of habitats including grassland, water courses and woodland/ tree habitats which, outside of the playing areas, often contain a variety of species. Golf courses are also often within areas of ecological interest such as coastal links or heathland and are associated with over 100 SSSIs.

Though golf course, in general, are providing an ecological benefit this can be improved with simple appropriate management. Management would need to incorporate effective biodiversity management as well as the needs of the golf course and, in particular, have the backing of the members to ensure the management is sustainable. Biodiversity management needs to also consider the atheistic of a golf course though management can allow the course to sit within the landscape more effectively, which is the aim of most courses.

Biodiversity management of golf courses has the potential to help meet local and regional BAP targets as well as contributing to living landscape schemes. The following conclusions can be drawn regaridng Golf Courses and biodiversity management;

  • Golf courses provide important ecological resource
  • Biodiversity Management could improve this resource
  • Help to provide social and economic benefits
  • Management needs to be structured and appropriate
  • Should contribute to aesthetics of golf course

For any information on how we can assist with biodiversity management please do not hesitate to contact us.

[1] Effects of golf courses on local biodiversity. R.A. Tanner, A.C. Gange. 2004. Elsevier