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Operation Pollinator Awards 2019 - And the Winner is Corhampton Golf Club

Op Poll Awards winners Corhampton GC
Operation Pollinator Award Winners 2019, Iestyn Carpenter and Duncan Brown of Corhampton Golf Club

Corhampton Golf Club in Hampshire has won the prestigious Operation Pollinator Award 2019, presented at the STRI Golf Environment Awards at BTME Harrogate last week (23 Jan).

Course Manager, Iestyn Carpenter, paid tribute to the endeavours and enthusiasm of all the Corhampton greenkeeping team, with Deputy, Duncan Brown, on hand to pick up the trophy from renowned STRI Ecologist, Bob Taylor, and Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, 

"We are incredibly fortunate to look after an outstanding downland golf course in an outstandingly beautiful area," said Iestyn.

"Working with local wildlife trusts and specialists, we are looking to create and restore some of the extremely valuable native habitats, which will add to ecological resource and make the course an even more attractive place to play."

Op Poll Awards winners Corhampton GC

Independent judge of the Operation Pollinator Award, STRI ecologist, Rowan Rumball, commented: "Corhampton Golf Club are taking full advantage of the naturally alkaline chalk soils they have around their course to create new and species rich flower meadows. 

"These grasslands will and help increase in population a wide range of invertebrates to the area that are normally considered rare," he added. 

The Corhampton team have taken very bold and decisive measures to remove the top nutrient rich soil and reach the bare chalk below, before covering with a thin layer of topsoil and allowing to recolonise naturally with native plant species.

Other finalists in the Operation Pollinator Award 2019 included:

Wigan Golf Club

Rowan cited: "There were many beautiful areas of wildflowers which often contained rare orchids. 

Op Poll Awards winners Wigan GC

"Wigan was also the site of a dedicated attempt at trying to help recover Willow tit populations, these birds burrow into soft wood to create nests so special bird boxes were created to facilitate this. 

The greenkeeping team really understood what they were looking to achieve, and innovative approaches to make it happen," he added

Banchory Golf Club

Op Poll Awards finalists Banchory GC

Banchory Golf Club, in Aberdeenshire, has a relatively small area to play with, being sandwiched between Banchory town and River Dee, reported Rowan.

"But they make excellent use of the land given to them. This is a great example of using ecological enhancement placement well."

The team has installed an insect hotel on the border of a beautiful wildflower area. Rowan also enthused about the club's tree line - showing great structural diversity, with young and old trees sharing the space.

Wylihof Golf Club

Wylihof is the first international finalists in the Operation Pollinator Awards, and with good reason. "They have some of the most amazing wildflower fields I have ever seen using traditional autumn cutting methods to maintain a fantastic diversity," said Rowan. 

Op Poll Awards finalists Wylihof GC

In addition, they innovated by combining three existing ecological enhancements into one structure, to optimise space and effort. 

"It is this forward thinking we need more of in ecological conservation," he added.

Find out how to enter next year’s Awards

Read about all the winners of the Golf Environment Awards