Honoring SACRED Ground
Machrihanish Dunes is one of the most sustainable golf courses in the world—it was the first 18-hole golf course to earn a GEO certification in the United Kingdom. It is also the only course successfully created on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Because of the fragility of this pristine coastal environment and in order to preserve the unmatched natural beauty of the site, the course was built and is maintained with the lightest touch possible. Of the 259 acres on which the course sits, only seven–yes, seven–were disturbed during the construction of the course. Only the tees and greens were shaped. The fairways upon which golfers tread are just as they were found, only mown, shorter and optimized for golf. Apart from tees and greens, the course is pesticide-free and relies on rainwater instead of traditional water irrigation systems. To top it off, we utilize some of the world’s greenest pieces of lawn maintenance equipment—a small herd of local sheep who graze and keep the rough at bay.
Machrihanish Dunes received GEO Certification for creating and maintaining a sustainable golf agenda while fulfilling GEO’s rigorous assessments for maintenance and management practices at the most comprehensive eco-levels. Since our stewardship began, the diversity in plants and animal species has exploded–with many varieties of orchards, fragile species of ground-nesting birds, and several species of larger fauna having reappeared that are now thriving. Recently, we’ve seen the historically threatened Sand Martin flocks return to the natural bare sand areas of the course.