Our aim is to create a denser gorse stand, not only for golf but for ecology purposes too.

Harvesting season

This past week has proven to be quite a busy one for the greenkeeping team. Not only have they had their day to day tasks to complete but they have also been assisting me in harvesting heather seeds by hand from around the New and Eden Courses. The task is painstakingly slow as a good amount of the areas we collect seeds from are inaccessible for vehicles, hence the collecting by hand. What do we do with the collected seeds? We simply prepare an area which has been stripped of gorse shrubs, rake the sand to an acceptable level and then sow them in – simple! The team this week consisted of James, Jack, Lorenzo, John and Natasha. Many thanks for your hard work guys!

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One or two interesting sightings showed themselves on or around the courses this week including a peregrine falcon, two little egrets, whitethroats and an osprey. A sparrowhawk also made an apperance and launched itself into a group of wood pigeons on the 18th of the Jubilee – narrowly missing one in the process! Below is a picture of the sparrowhawk feeling ashamed wondering how it could miss such a cumbersome target.


Whilst on the subject of birds, the ringed starling pictured below was spotted sat on the fence adjacent to the Jubliee’s 18th hole. Further investigation revealed that this particular bird was ringed on 14/6/13 in Montrose. Starlings migrate to Scandinavia during the summer so Montrose is not that far from St Andrews as the crow flies (sorry for that attempt at a joke!).


This coming week will see us beginning the gorse management throughout the courses. The gorse is in good shape at the moment but we have identified areas which are in need of coppicing as they have taken on a leggy and untidy appearance. When this happens, nesting birds tend to avoid these gorse stands and head elsewhere. The gorse flowers become minimal too resulting in less nectar for visiting bees and butterflies so our aim is to create a denser gorse stand, not only for golf but for ecology purposes too.

Words by James Hutchinson, Environmental Officer

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