Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Course and Habitat Management

In response to a few concerns about certain areas on the course, here is a detailed explanation as to why this approach is taken. Lakes, ponds, streams and ditches are a regular features found on most parkland courses, and contribute to the diversity of species on the golf course. Larger ponds and lakes will often support breeding waterfowl, but also provide much wider ecological benefits for birds. Wetland areas such as these will provide habitat around the edges of the water feature for many types of prey insect, particularly dragonflies, damselflies and craneflies, as well as giving cover in which birds will nest. To ensure maximum ecological benefit from such wetlands, it is best not to cut the fringe of reed, grasses and other vegetation which grows at their edges. If it is necessary, it should be done in the autumn, after breeding birds have left. In addition, a buffer zone should be left between the wetland margin and the mown and sprayed areas of the course, so that polluting run-off does not reach the wetland areas.

Recommended Habitat Management for birds and other wildlife on parkland golf courses
1. Reduce the extent of frequently mown areas of grassland, to create carries and areas of rough or semi-rough, thus improving course definition and increasing areas of habitat for birds. Avoid fertilising – and minimise other inputs into – these areas to encourage diversity of habitat and species;
2. Allow the development of discrete and managed areas of native scrub within areas of rough grassland;
3. Consider planting native berry-bearing trees such as rowan, wild cherry, blackthorn and holly in small groups in areas of rough grassland. Mix species randomly and plant at irregular spacings;
4. Avoid planting of non-native tree species and species not characteristic of the area 
5. Consult with the local authority tree officer, Natural England or English Heritage (as appropriate) before undertaking any management works on veteran trees. Minimise the amount of dead wood removed from or beneath old trees;
6. Leave fringes of reed, grasses and other vegetation around the edges of wetland features (lakes, ponds and streams) to provide cover for breeding birds and to buffer against runoff into the wetland;
7. Maintain, restore or replant hedgerows within the course or along its margins, leaving a wide buffer strip (at least five metres) between the hedge bottom and the mown areas.

Please note, it is due to this policy of management that the club was asked to enter into the STRI Golf Environment Awards.

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