The Ecology of Enniscorthy Golf Club through the Greenkeepers Eyes
“One of the priorities on present day golf courses is to enhance the ecological system and not eradicate it.”In Enniscorthy we have a policy to use eco friendly products where possible (e.g. 90% of all fertilisers we use are organic). All of our new machines can run on Bio fuels and all the washing from the machines are treated before being released back to the water table. One of the biggest pressures on greenkeepers today, is to produce a quality playing surface without the use of chemicals. Most of the chemicals on the market when I started here 23 years ago are now banned because of the adverse effect they had on the whole eco system. They were used not just for the target they were intended e.g. Lindane was sprayed every 4 to 5 years for leatherjackets, its replacement is more of an irritant than a pesticide. Large punitive fines are imposed on clubs if any chemicals that are not passed for amenity use are found on the premises. This is because the general public can come into contact with these chemicals. Golf courses are frowned upon for their wastage of water through irrigation. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, irrigation is used to keep grass alive during times of drought, with a firm dry surface still being maintained where possible. Night time irrigation takes place to minimise evaporation this in turn saves water. Our trees are mainly native, with some planting of evergreens in the past to enhance the winter look of our golf course. Some of our winter work program over the next few years will see us removing a number of the evergreens and replacing them with native trees. Our native evergreens Scots pine won’t be included in this program. The trees are very important to the ecology of our course, from nesting areas for birds to habitats for thousands of bugs and fungi. Enniscorthy Golf Course at the moment has approximately 2 hectares of prime habitat (wild areas) we can see that the inhabitants have increased greatly in the last couple of years. These areas are totally untouched by chemicals they are full of wild flowers e.g. Buttercups, Violets, Poppies, White and Red clover, plus many more. In the closely mown areas they would fall in the weed category and be eradicated. Definition of a “weed” is a plant in the wrong place, the problem being that nature knows no boundaries.
Inhabitants of our course
Foxes, Hares, Rabbits, Stoats, Rats, Squirrels and Mice.
Crows, Jackdaws, Raven, Magpie, Pheasant, Thrush, Blackbird, Sparrow, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeon, Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Finches, Linnet, Snipe
Lapwing, Plover, Starling, Swallow, Fieldfare, WoodcockA Kestrel patrols our sky by day and a Barn owl can be seen at night. I’m sure both are only visitors to our course but they have lodgings close by. From time to time you can spot migratory birds on their way to or from their wintering grounds in Wexford slobs and wildlife reserve. One of the down sides of our job is the weather especially the last two summers with incessant rain. But have no doubt its all part of natures cycle, it’s been bad for golf, but good for our aquatic eco systems.