Redesign on the Kent coast creates typical natural zones
Sand dunes and areas that had long disappeared are now visible again: At Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich on the Kent coast in England, a phase of renovation work lasting more than three years was completed in 2021: “Our vision was to restore the square to its pre-war condition while at the same time increasing the sustainability and ecology on the site to be considered,” explains General Manager Rob McGuirk the approach.
Creation of wild sandy areas
If you want to get an impression of how to bring a dune landscape back to life, this is the right place. On the 27-hole course, which is in the immediate vicinity of the British Open venue Royal St. Georges, all atypical bushes and shrubs were removed and numerous new sandy areas were created between the holes. These are not designed as classic bunkers, but represent spacious, wild sandy areas that replace the previously existing deep rough.
For guest players, the variety in such sandy terrain, which is common on the coasts of Great Britain, is often surprisingly large. Especially dune systems made of calcareous shell sand, which also prevails on the coastline of the Prince’s Golf Club, have a surprising variety of plants, which in summer include pyramidal orchid, kidney vetch, cabbage thistle or various grasses. Because the sand warms up slightly, there are many invertebrates such as grass wasps or bumblebees, but also reptiles such as lizards.
However, since the dune landscapes are relatively flat, there are also many flood areas in which orchids such as the marsh orchid can be found. In order to re-establish such water areas, a flood zone along the long par 5 hole number 6 at Prince’s was recently extended along the entire right side of the fairway to the green. In summer, these wet areas then turn into dry sand zones. That way, you attract numerous typical bird species as well as butterflies.
The high ecological value of the golf course area should also enrich the Sandwich & Pegwell Bay nature reserve, to which the golf course is directly connected. The site is designated a National Nature Reserve and is overseen by the Kent Wildlife Trust.