Black sheep used as greenkeepers13th December, 2013 by Alistair Dunsmuir
An award winning environmentally friendly Scottish golf course has employed an unusual team of greenkeepers to mow the grass this winter – 40 black sheep.
A spokesman for Machrihanish Dunes said that these ‘natural lawnmowers’ will enhance the club’s environmental credentials – it was named ‘Number 1 Eco Golf Course in the World’ in 2012 by the Association of British Travel Agents.
David Southworth, president and CEO of Southworth Development, owner of Machrihanish Dunes, said: “Here at Machrihanish Dunes we are very proud of our eco friendly status.
“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.”
In November 2013 Machrihanish Dunes also won the Golf Tourism Scotland ‘GEO Sustainability Award’ for outstanding environmental practices. Askernish Golf Club, which also uses sheep to cut the grass in winter, was thought to be in the running for the award as well.
VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay added: “These woolly wonders will have people flocking to see them in action, mowing this truly breathtaking golf course.
“Golf in Scotland is now a £1 billion 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.”
Meanwhile at Gleneagles eco friendly credentials have been boosted by the purchase of three bicycles, used by staff when accessing its 850 acres of greens. Gleneagles also grows its own organic grapes for the fruit platters served daily throughout the resort during the fruit season. And although the luxury resort does not take grape growing to the alcoholic stage, it does recycle all leftover wine corks by sending them to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for use in its innovative drainage systems.
A video about the black sheep at Machrihanish Dunes can be seen here: