At a series of Golf Union of Wales roadshows hosted across the country and sponsored by ECL Telecom, the ecologist Bob Taylor explained how wildlife – from skylarks and dragonflies to waterboatmen and stag beetles – all thrive in the natural habitats provided by golf courses.
Taylor, a senior ecologist at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), said, “Golf is such an important land use which supports a range of habitats and species. It’s up to everyone to consider the range of issues affecting golf and to manage it appropriately.
“Royal St David’s in Harlech, for example, is an outstanding coastal habitat. It’s a nature reserve and provides a home to the sand lizard which is very rare. The maiden pink also resides there – a small carnation-like flower.
“Courses within towns and cities are also rich in wildlife. Cardiff Golf Club is home to the great spotted and green woodpecker.”
But Taylor explained how the golf industry should not be complacent. “There is more that we can all do. We need to look at courses with fresh eyes and identify areas of grassland which may be over-managed unnecessarily. We can work towards increasing native species, improve waste management and energy efficiency. There are plenty of opportunities and small changes can go a long way.”
Taylor is the Senior Ecologist with the Sports Turf Research Institute and is responsible for the Ecological and Environmental Services that are run as part of the STRI’s Golf Development Services. Much of his time is spent undertaking ecological assessments on golf courses.
He is Ecologist to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and is responsible for undertaking ecological assessments of the Open Championship courses.
The Golf Union of Wales invited clubs from across the country to a series of roadshows (Wenvoe Castle, Llandrindod Wells and Northop), providing the opportunity for delegates to pick the brains of some of Europe’s leading experts in their respective fields.
As well as ecology and the environment, topics cover greenkeeping, policy-making and health and safety.
Judy Ganz, chairman of the Golf Union of Wales’ Course Management Committee explained, “It’s a great opportunity for clubs in Wales to learn from the experts across the fields of legislation, the environment, training and so on. The newly merged Golf Union of Wales is delighted that it can help clubs keep abreast of key developments and we believe that these roadshows will all help to improve the golf experience for everyone.
“The Golf Union of Wales is sponsoring the publication of a book which outlines ways to improve waste management. It will be available to download from www.golfunionwales.org from next week.”
Sports Turf Research Institute www.stri.co.uk