St Andrews Links has received national recognition after winning a prestigious award for protecting the ecology of the historic land at the Home of Golf.
The Golf Course Environment Awards aim to promote and reward the highest standards of environmental management in golf and the Links Trust was the Overall Winner. The awards are run by the Sports Turf Research Institute and are sponsored by Syngenta, Scotts, Ransomes Jacobsen and Golf Monthly.
The award particularly highlighted the creation of a reedbed washdown area by the greenkeeping team on the Jubilee and New courses led by course manager Graeme Taylor. The reedbed on the 17th hole of the Jubilee Course enables water that has been used for washing machinery to be fed through two gravel beds which have been planted with common reed. The reeds filter out the impurities, allowing clean water to be discharged to a soakaway.
A number of other conservation projects carried out by the Links Trust’s greenkeeping teams on all seven courses, including the Old Course and The Castle Course, were also recognised. These included dune reinstatement, grassland management, coastal protection, wildlife habitats and water resource protection.
Alan McGregor, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said, “This is a great achievement and is testimony to the hard work of our greenkeeping staff in ensuring that the maintenance of the Links is as environmentally sustainable as possible.
“The innovative conservation projects we carry out on the Links are designed to protect the natural ecology of the land and maintain this wonderful asset for Scottish golf for future generations.”
St Andrews Links has received support from its global partner Allianz in its efforts to maintain the ecology of the Links. Steven Althaus, Senior Vice President Global Brand Management and Strategic Partnerships, Allianz, said, “An important part of Allianz’s partnership with St Andrews Links Trust is our shared commitment to sustainability. The Trust has a huge amount of knowledge and experience in minimising the environmental impacts of course management. Everyone at Allianz is delighted their leadership has been recognised by this award.”
Examples of the conservation projects include the dune reinstatement work at the Links involved stripping gorse, rosa and bramble from the network of dunes running through the Jubilee Course and allowing dune grasses, such as sea lyme and marram, to regenerate naturally.
The grassland management project sees the cutting and collecting of long grass in the autumn and then the scarification of these areas in spring to allow wispy open rough to grow. These areas form ideal habitats for hares, skylarks and partridges.
Soft engineering work for coastal protection was carried out on the dune system at the outhead of the Jubilee Course last winter and gabion baskets were installed to protect the coastal wall at the Eden Course.
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk