There are over 60 golf courses in the county of Hertfordshire which are of an exceptional standard. Our team had the hard task of selecting courses to represent the county in The Ecological Top Golf Courses for 2019.
The Grove, set in 300 acres of stunning Hertfordshire countryside, is the ultimate five-star retreat. Lovingly restored, the former home of the Earls of Clarendon, boasts an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Kyle Phillips. The golf course remains the only venue in the UK to have hosted a World Golf Championship event (2006), won by Tiger Woods. Ten years on, it went on to stage its first European Tour tournament, The British Masters in association with Sky Sports.
The golf course is renowned for its year-round conditioning and supreme putting surfaces, and is managed on a day-to-day basis by Head Greenkeeper, Jonathan Taylor. Maintaining its supreme condition is of paramount importance, however the use of chemical fertilisers is being phased out and replaced by organic products.
Cutting its signature long grasses that frame each hole is now a bi-yearly event, retaining natural wildlife habitats and allowing animals to move around the estate in perfectly preserved environments.
Jonathan has also overseen the careful reduction of Welsh Chafer grubs across the golf course. They not only destroy root ecosystems, but their existence can cause large areas of turf to be disturbed by birds and badgers. Through a targeted application of specialist products, The Grove has seen an 80% reduction in grub population, allowing the fairways, tees and greens to thrive.
Moor Park Golf Club
The two championship style courses that form Moor Park Golf Course are part of the 300 acre Moor Park Estate in Hertfordshire which was built in the late 17th century for the 3rd Earl of Bedford. The estate and golf courses are proud of its focus on ecology and Stuart Bertram (Course Manager) shared with why this is the case.
The land on which Moor Park is based used to be a deer park and ecology runs through the heart of the course. Wildlife is attracted to and stays on the course by the retention of the natural habitat. This includes Muntjack Deer which can be found on the site as well as Egyptian Geese. There are 3 ponds on Moor Park with Carp in one of them.
Hanbury Manor Hotel & Country Club
Hanbury Manor is a 72-par Championship course, set on 200 acres of landscaped grounds in Hertfordshire that was designed by Jack Nicklaus II. We spoke to Stan Power who has been the Director Of Golf & Estates there for the last 10 years. Stan gave us some great insight into the ecology of the course and what steps have been taken to preserve the natural habitat around the course.
In addition to having a regular hotel onsite, Stan was keen to bring the Bug Hotels to our attention which have been strategically placed throughout the site. You can also find a small apple orchard and the growing of longer grass across the site is done in order to once again make wildlife comfortable in their natural surroundings. Many natural wildlife areas can be found throughout the course. 2 wildflower beds have also been introduced, one of which is near to the orchard and attracts more bees. These are also attracted to the walled garden where bee-hives can be found.
A standard buffer is in place around the lakes as and when the grass is treated on the course. These lakes are themselves established as fisheries.