Golf clubs have been widely criticised for their impact on the environment for both wildlife and the surrounding countryside. Mark Ellis, course manager at Stocks Golf Club in Hertfordshire, is determined to avoid such comments. He has drawn up an extensive management plan to ensure that any disruption during course improvements is kept to a minimum and is keen to enhance both the course and local environment.
Working with Herts Wildlife Trust, English Nature and the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) Ellis will implement the ecological and environmental objectives recently identified into the ongoing plans for the golf course. His team is determined to make Stocks golf course a challenge to players, while still providing a safe haven for birds, animals and flora.
Environmental and ecological improvements are crucial to the three year refurbishment plan of Stocks. By the careful introduction of new course improvements and the sustainable management of the areas enveloping the course, Ellis is confident that Stocks can attract a growing number of visitors and members alike.
“There are several things we are planning to put in place,” he said. “For instance, by adding semi-mature trees in carefully selected locations we can create subtle contours that will provide more habitat for the many birds we have in the area. We want to offer a first class golfing experience as well as an aesthetically pleasing and interesting landscape for other guests who just want to enjoy the countryside.”
Information boards about the various indigenous species such as sparrow hawks, buzzards, sky larks, badgers, foxes and fallow deer will be strategically placed alongside the golf course creating a nature trail. A variety of bird-boxes will also be erected to encourage nesting and it is hoped that some rare breeds of cattle may be brought in to graze the paddocks and outfields.
Situated in the Chiltern Hills and close to the Ashridge estate (owned by the National Trust), Stocks has areas of historic interest and a great deal of opportunities for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Less than an hour from London, the elegant Georgian hotel, golf and country club near Tring has been reborn. Following a £1 million refurbishment, the echoes of the celebrated history of a grand country house now combine with the contemporary elements of a modern hotel.
The golf course, described as an ‘inland links course‘, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Selected as the venue for an East Region PGA Order of Merit tournament, the course is gaining an enviable reputation under the supervision of Mark Ellis, who continuous to improve the playing and practice facilities, while resident golf professional and Hertfordshire county coach Peter Lane increases his following amongst both amateurs and European Tour players for his successful teaching methods.
Stocks Hotel Golf & Country Club www.stockshotel-golf.co.uk