PROVIDING good putting surfaces may be the priority for most golf club committees, but an alternative green approach has earned one Edinburgh course a feather in its cap from environmentalists, writes Martin Dempster.
Mortonhall is the first club in Scotland to receive the Environment Certificate for Nature from the Scottish Golf Environment Group.
“Mortonhall Golf Club has, for many years, been keen to protect the natural environment of the golf course and to encourage wildlife and nature conservation on the course and in the ‘out-of-play’ areas,” said Dr Kerr Fraser, a past green convener.
The club’s environmental policy covers an area of 165 acres, of which 40 are mature woodland up to 200 years old. There are two natural ponds and an artificial pond, one of which, the Elf Loch, has been deemed an urban wildlife site in recent years because of its diverse flora and fauna.
Kerr added: “Roe deer, foxes, buzzards, sparrow hawks, woodpeckers, herons, fieldfares, grey partridges, toads, frogs and newts are frequently observed.”
As well as encouraging wildflowers with sympathetic planting, bird and bat boxes, including an owl and hawk have been installed, along with an island for nesting water birds on the Elf Loch.
A “Forest Kindergarten” has been approved by the club within part of its woodlands for a neighbouring nursery school.
Kerr added: “Future plans are to explore ways of working together with the newly formed Friends of Braid Hills. Further pond clearing is planned and the club aims to continue to promote its good environmental work further, to their staff, members and visitors.”