The Open, naturally

Skylark on a golf courseJuly 14 to 17 2011 will see the world’s top golfers competing over the links at Royal St George’s Golf Club for the game’s greatest prize, the Claret Jug.

The hosting of an Open is no small undertaking, with preparations commencing years ahead of the event and the construction of infrastructure beginning months in advance of play.  The Open will attract a global viewing audience of over 400 million, with more than 175,000 watching the action live on the course.

The Open’s host courses all meander and tumble over ancient links, each hosting an array of specialised habitats and wildlife, including some rare and protected species.  How can the nature at Sandwich accommodate the level of human interest and activity witnessed at The Open?

A booklet on the environmental management of the links is now available, which explains how The R&A protects wildlife during The Open Championship.  It describes the rare and valuable habitats that are managed by a golf club, Royal St George’s, that sits within the most important sand-dune and coastal grasslands system in south east England. 

Wildlife BookletThe course is noted for the high botanical value of its dune grasslands, which provide a refuge for some of the country’s rarest plants and insect species, including lizard and man orchids, pygmy footman, restharrow and bright wave moths.  The area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), representing the highest level of national wildlife protection in Britain.

Natural England, the statutory wildlife body in England, supports the conservation work at Royal St George’s and have endorsed the publication.

The booklet for The Open 2011 will be available free of charge throughout the week of The Championship.  For those not lucky enough to be there in person, it can also be viewed here.