Original golf courses

David W Walker dave at diwalk.demon.co.uk
Sun Feb 18 06:35:03 EST 1996


In article: <4g3bm2$pvm at acme.freenet.columbus.oh.us>  
cdonahey at freenet.columbus.oh.us (Cynthia Donahey) writes:

> In a sports bar, I saw some pictures of the original Scottish golf
> courses.  The land looked sort of like a seashore, though I can not be
> positive.  The grasses were definitely not cultivated.  They may have been
> making "productive" use of some sort of wasteland.  Can anyone identify
> the particular ecosystem.  They were either watercolors or prints of
> watercolors - very nice in either case.  Maybe a sports historian is in
> order - I have to find the board.

The course may have been St Andrew's south east of Dundee on the East coast 
of Scotland (also the site of the British Golf Museum) which is in the sandy 
St Andrew's bay. 
 
The ecosystem you describe could well be a coastal sand dune system. They 
are a threatened habitat in the UK but can be found in isolated patches 
around the UK, and golf courses are often developed on them.

Many of the other Scottish courses are on sandy coasts eg Turnberry on the 
West coast.

The dominant vegetation is Marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) and Sea Couch 
Grass (Agropyron junceiforme) which have extensive root systems that 
stabilises the sand allowing colonisation by other plants. They are a 
popular hunting ground for amateur naturalists like myself because of their 
often unique flowers and insect life.

Dave Walker


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