Scottish Golf Courses

Mach Dunes enlist black sheep

The flock of 40 Hebridean sheep help to thin out the rough on course and are proving popular

One of Scotland’s most dramatic courses, Machrihanish Dunes, is celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland by herding an unusual bunch of ‘locals’ back onto the course.

Keeping it neatly manicured during the winter months, the maintenance of this stunning coastal course is a labour of love for these ‘natural lawnmowers’; a flock of 40 black Hebridean sheep.

After swinging back into action on the course this weekend, these woolly wonders are not only a hit with visitors but provide a perfect example of environmentally friendly practice in Scotland, the Home of Golf.

So much so, in fact, that they can be credited with helping Machrihanish Dunes secure the 2012 Association of British Travel Agents title of ‘No.1 Eco Golf Course in the World’.

David Southworth, president and CEO of Southworth Development, owners and managers of Machrihanish Dunes, said: “Here at Machrihanish Dunes we are very proud of our eco-friendly status and in particular the iconic characters who have helped us achieve our environmentally friendly credentials.

“By using the ‘natural lawnmowers’ to thin out the rough on the course we are able to help preserve several rare and protected species of orchids that grow here on this site and in few other places. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they play a round.”

VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay added: “These woolly wonders will have people flocking to Machrihanish Dunes to see them in action.

“Golf in Scotland is now a £1bn industry and our reputation as the Home of Golf will be reinforced as we host one of the biggest events on the global golf calendar at Gleneagles in 2014 – the Ryder Cup. The greenkeepers there, however, will have to book our fleecy friends well in advance as I’ve feeling they’ll be a big hit with golf courses across Scotland.”

Other golf courses have also considered the environmental impact they have, with Askernish GC in South Uist, Gleneageles and Dundonald Links all taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.

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