Members and Visiting golfers expect challenging conditions, yet enjoyable rounds of golf. Unmanaged rough areas can spoil a round of golf. They can frustrate players due to losing golf balls or injuries caused to golfers from playing heavy lies. The ideal rough penalises a poorly struck shot but does not prevent the golfer from locating and advancing the ball to some degree. The heavy rough or deep rough on our golf course is also the most important grassland habitat from an ecological point of view. It is usually allowed to grow throughout the season. It provides refuge for mammals and insects it can form part of the broader wildlife corridor and more recently we have attracted the Native Irish Hare, “not a great consolation if you have 37 points standing on the 18th tee and lose a ball in the rough”. It’s our job to get the balance right so that Wildlife, Wild flower and fauna survive and that we make the links experience enjoyable for all golfers.
Management Plan The objective of a management plan will be to alter the sward composition of the heavy rough over a period of time, by a combination of cultural techniques. Encouraging finer grass species and reducing sward density along the fringes of play and landing zones will be our priority, as they have the most impact on play and subsequently the speed at which the game is played. This plan will need repeated treatments to be successful and the goal will be, to have rough that is more forgiving and improve playability.
Implementing the Plan
The rough management plan is an ongoing procedure and we are seeing positive results. As you may have noticed when playing the links, the Greenstaff have been working on scarifing and collecting thicker parts of the rough. We can only do this over the winter months when nesting birds are not present.
Conclusion For any plan to be successful it must be implemented in full and supported by staff and members alike. Along with economic benefits, implementation of this type of plan can also have the following advantages for the golf course;
● The speed of the average round of golf decreases as golfers spend less time looking for golf balls in the rough. ● Biodiversity increases as flora and fauna flourish.
We do ask members and visitors not to take golf buggies or trolleys over the rough as the wheels can be disastrous for wildlife. Especially in nesting season.