Aldeburgh course wins top award

ALDEBURGH Golf Club, where much of the fearsome gorse has been ruthlessly cut back, has been awarded the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association environmental award for the South East.

By Tony Garnett

ALDEBURGH Golf Club, where much of the fearsome gorse has been ruthlessly cut back, has been awarded the British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association environmental award for the South East.

Course manager Mark Broughton, who has been with the club since he moved from Morecambe in 1988, will collect the prize at Harrogate next month.

An ecologist, Dr Kelly Watson of the Sports Turf Research Institute inspected the course and commented: “The extensive programme of gorse removal which, when complete, will transform and rejuvenate the course.


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“The aim is to get a more even balance between grassland and gorse.

“The interior of large blocks of gorse is inaccessible to small birds. Breaking up the gorse blocks helps regenerate the gorse and increases accessibility.”

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It should lead to an increase in yellow hammers, linnets, nightingales and skylarks.

Dr Kelly's report praised the policy of re-establishing heather which has been evident in the past. The acidic soil is suitable for heather growth.

The club has selectively thinned the woodland on the course removing non-native trees such as sycamore but retaining the native species.

A hawthorn hedge has been planted to screen the road and provide wildlife habitat.

Minimal use of pesticides and the fact that fungicide has not been needed for nine years was also a factor in the club winning the award.

“What is good for a golf course tends to be good environmentally as well,” said Mr Broughton who is keen to get the message across that golf courses, properly managed, are beneficial to the environment and wild life.

Club captain Perry Hunt said: “Some members feel that too much gorse has been removed but they should remember that our course is firstly a maritime heath and secondly a golf course.

“We have a responsibility for the care of the environment around us.”

Both Thorpeness and Ipswich have had their efforts to help the environment acknowledged at national level in the past.

In 2004 eight Suffolk clubs (Stoke by Nayland, Rushmere, Bungay, Felixstowe Ferry, Halesworth, Stowmarket, Ufford Park and Seckford) received environment certificates from English Nature, as it was then, the English Golf Union and the STRI.

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