Welsh golf courses are set to become prettier, more environmentally friendly and more efficient thanks to a series of Wales Golf grants.
A total of 18 clubs in Wales have benefitted from grants totalling just under £40,000 to help them foster nature, improve water efficiency and reduce emissions.
“Golf courses are fantastic green spaces which occupy communities across the whole of Wales and the positive contribution which golf makes for environmental good is considerable, but little known outside of the sport” said Dilwyn Griffiths, sustainability lead at Wales Golf.
“These schemes at courses all round Wales, supported by the Sustainability Kickstarter Fund, are brilliant, creative and imaginative and will make a real contribution to the communities served by these golf clubs.
“They will also act as an example that other clubs around Wales can follow. The grants will not only help clubs foster their environment, but also be more efficient in terms of how they look after their land.
“Measures such as reducing emissions, renewable energy, improved water sourcing will help clubs save money – which will help with the sustainability of the club as well as the environment.”
The clubs around Wales which have benefitted from the grants are Maesdu, Prestatyn, St Melyd, Pwllheli, Royal St David’s, Llandrindod Wells, Machynlleth, Ashburnham, Pyle and Kenfig, St Idloes, Royal Porthcawl, Neath, Tenby, Aberdare, Rhosgoch, Cradoc, Mold and Wenvoe Castle.
The schemes supported include sustainable drainage, natural ponds, water pumps, re-wilding, wildflower meadows, tree planting, turf nurseries, heathland restoration, duneland restoration, and solar panels.
One example at St Melyd in North Wales has seen the creation of wildflower meadows which do not just enhance the beauty of the course, but also reduce the grass cutting by an eighth – which in turn reduces emissions and makes greenkeeping more efficient.
St Melyd head greenkeeper Jonathan Pritchard explained, “We had a lot of areas on the course which were maintained weekly, but were not in play for golfers.
“Out of a 16 hectare site we have found two hectares where we have been able to re-grow wildflowers and create habitats for wildlife.
“It has had quite a reaction locally with people stopping every day to take pictures, one of those pictures being featured on the ITV Wales weather, while the golfers appreciate it as well for turning areas of mown grass into features.
“It is good for the balance of the ecology, we are starting to see more bees, butterflies and moths already.
“With the grant from Wales golf we also want to produce our own compost on site, which will save us a lot of money, and to improve our waterways and drainage. Apart from improving the course, this will also help encourage wildlife.”