Sustainable greenkeeping - why is my course not perfect all the time?

By: BIGGA | Tue 13 Jun 2017 | Comments ()

Well that depends entirely upon your point of view.

If you’re a wildflower, birdlife or animal such as rabbits and badgers, areas of unkept meadow are perfect, in an increasingly developed country, where loss of habitats such as forest, hedgerows and fields are commonplace.

For example, did you know that the UK’s golf courses cover an area the equivalent of the Lake District? That’s a whole lot of greenspace, and in the UK, golf courses have gained a reputation as the lungs of the country.

We know what you’re thinking – you pay good money to have a course that’s in top condition, but that doesn’t mean every square metre of the course needs to be perfectly managed.


In place of manicured out-of-play areas, these can become beautiful habitats for deer, birds, bees and other species of fantastic British wildlife. It is in recognition of this that in 2016 BIGGA expanded the team to feature our first ever ecology and sustainability executive, James Hutchinson.

The close management of a course is desirable at some exclusive venues, but understand this takes an incredible amount of man hours and your budget will be taken up by the need to spray fertilisers and fungicides. Extra fuel and machinery costs money.

Composting all those grass clippings is good too. It can be added to the topdressing or spread onto flower beds. Even the paper and cardboard from the club can be used in the compost too.

One of the most important species to benefit from sustainable course management practices are bees. You may have heard about the plight of the UK’s bees in recent years, and how the fact they are endangered is actually putting us at risk – most of our crops depend on various pollinators.

Through schemes such as Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator, golf courses are now a major driving force in the recovery of bees and other species of pollinators. And it’s all thanks to the acres of unmanaged areas that are a haven for wildflowers and other beneficial species.

To watch the BIGGA greenkeeping series videos visit:

BIGGA represents the Nation's greenkeepers and works hard through education and training to raise standards in golf course management throughout the greenkeeping profession. To find out more about the work BIGGA do visit:

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British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association

BIGGA is dedicated to the continuing professional development of its 5,700 members, BIGGA works hard through education and training to raise standards in golf course management throughout the greenkeeping profession.

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