Often we come across new ways of thinking, some exceptionally brilliant and others fairly pedestrian by comparison. However, it is always worth looking at new ideas but one thing stands out with most golf courses and that is how you tend to feel a little closer to nature when you are playing a few rounds. see the page Golf courses are the one sport where most countries agree on this one factor. I’ll leave it you to decide whether it should stay that way…
Golf is the sporting activity that has one of the most intimate interactions with the environment. There are over 25,000 golf courses in the world. Golf courses account for millions of ha of land all over the world. In our times of urban sprawl, these green spaces should satisfy the needs of golfers and also accommodate wildlife. Golf courses can become a proper habitat for desirable and sensitive wildlife species. This also represents a great advantage for the golf players as it improves the educational and aesthetic aspects of the golf course.
Habitats that can be found on a golf course vary greatly; there are: ponds, streams, grasslands, wetlands, savanna woods, mature forests, etc. In the United States reports show that golf courses have already had an important role in conserving some important species, such as the tree swallow, Eastern bluebird, purple martin, osprey and red-cockaded woodpecker.
A wide variety of rare species have also been recorded on different golf courses in England, such as the sand crocus, the pasque flower, the sand lizard and the natterjack toad. The Royal St George’s GC in Kent provided a habitat for 11 orchid species. In my opinion, any golf course has something to offer when it comes to wildlife conservation. Actually, all courses have some wildlife, but the goal is to use their full habitat potential. The wildlife that can be found on a course depends upon its soil, vegetation, climate, topography and so on. With the help of a professional biologist, the golf course manager can identify strategies that will lead to creating a more naturalistic landscape.
Lately, golf course management includes creating naturalistic landscapes. And this is not only due to ecological concerns, but also because this represents a cost-effective solution on the long run. This is because the more naturalistic courses require smaller quantities of pesticides, herbicides and water and therefore they can be maintained with less effort than the conventional golf courses.
There are some important steps to be followed in a habitat enhancement plan. A good selection of plants for the golf course is very important; the trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs are basic habitat components as they provide shelter and food. The plants have to be chosen considering the drainage, the amount of sun, the soil structure, and the already existing vegetation. A combination of ornamental plants, berries, nuts and seeds is the ideal one. It is important to know that native species of plants are less expensive to maintain, because they are naturally resistant to pests and diseases and they require less fertilizer and water.
The turf used on golf courses is often expensive and difficult to maintain. Therefore, it should be replaced with prairie grasses and wildflowers in out-of-play areas, on hills or along ponds. The drought tolerance of these plants can greatly reduce the use of water and fertilizer. Even if creating a naturalistic landscape requires higher costs until established, it is a good business, as the cost savings will be substantial over time.
The use of pesticides can be replaced by some natural methods for managing against pests. Hanging bat boxes will encourage bats to reside on the golf course. They consume thousands of insects every night, and this way you’ll get rid of mosquitoes, leafhoppers and moths. The birds also consume insects that are harmful to the plants, which live on bark, leaves and branches.