Richmond Golf Club in Yorkshire was recognised for creating the best environment project for its 'living wall' at the recent Golf Environment Awards.
On the club's website, Head Greenkeeper Anthony McGeough explained how he and and his team brought the project to fruition.
"As a result of seeing the reoccurrence of natural wildlife, such as hares, buzzards, jays, deer and woodpeckers, the greens team had a chance to create something that would help to support the existing wildlife, whilst hopefully providing more favourable conditions, for less familiar species and also producing a project that would be visually appealing to the members. Therefore, the opportunity came along whilst creating a new 8th tee.
We are just starting to dip our toes into the environmental side of golf course management and the living wall was a project which was just big enough to cut our teeth on. The concept was to build a visually attractive retaining wall round a newly constructed 8th tee which would attract small mammals, insects, bees and butterflies and, over time, the wall would start to decay and produce fungus to encourage this wildlife.
Working with a very small budget of just £70, we started thinning the trees that line the hole, cut these into 90cm lengths and began stacking them in pre-made compartments made from fence posts.
Insect hotels, a small colony of bumble bees and a hedgehog home placed into the wall were included during the build, as well as a bee friendly wildflower mixture placed on top of the wall to encourage the natural habit.
We then began constructing the new 8th tee, which was built right up to the living wall, and a buggy path was installed to allow access onto the tee top. It definitely became a labour of love during the building process and attracted a lot of attention from the members.
We have now started to look at all our renovation work as an opportunity to further enhance the good environmental work we have started with the living wall.
In the spring, we will be pushing our newly written environmental policy, written by Chris Yates - our volunteer from the On Course Foundation, which will hopefully start to involve the local community.
There are exciting times ahead of Richmond Golf Club and we really can't wait."
Anthony's reward for winning the best environment project category is an amazing trip to Europe, as well as visiting some of the world's leading golf facilities and sites of specific ecological interest.