The Wild Side of Royal Troon
Usually a haven of tranquility and peace, the sleepy seaside town of Troon has transformed this week into the epicenter of one of the biggest annual sporting events on the planet – The Open. Thousands of spectators will be joining the competitors on the course, and millions more will watch from home. At this, The 145th Open, household names such as Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth, will be sharing the spotlight with the dramatic coastline of Royal Troon and the wildlife which have made this historic links course their home.
From butterfly reintroductions and boutique bug hotels to protected breeding grounds for globally threated birds, Royal Troon has shown itself to be more than just a world class golf course. It is also an important home to wildlife and a positive part of the Ayrshire community.
“We’re very proud of the conservation work we’ve carried out at Royal Troon” said David Brown, Environmental Advisor to Royal Troon Golf Club. “It’s all down to the enthusiasm and drive of the team. They are very aware of both the responsibility and the opportunity that we have to manage this land in a responsible and positive way. Their passion and interest is infectious and has already had great results.”
Throughout their conservation work Royal Toon has partnered with experts such as STRI, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and local groups. They’re work has including being an active member of the Irvine to Girvan Small Blue Conservation Project, along with neighboring Dundonald Golf Club, which has seen the successful re-introduction of the Small Blue Butterfly to the Ayrshire coast.
“The Small Blue Project has been a fantastic demonstration of the power of partnership work and we’ve been delighted to have been involved with such a dynamic and driven group,“ continued Mr Brown. “Royal Troon is now home to 13 different species of butterfly, along over 80 different species of birds, 33 of which breed on the site, including seven Red Listed, globally threatened, species. We have put a number of nest boxes across the site and planted native species which support food and habitat supply for the butterfly’s and birds across the site.”
Throughout the planning and delivery of The Open, organisers, The R&A has worked closely with Royal Troon, to identify and protect the important habitat found across the course. Measures have been taken to minimise any disruption from hosting The Open to flora and fauna across the site. GreenLinks, The Open’s programme for sustainable development, addresses a broad scope of sustainability issues and opportunities across the staging of the Championship, including protection of nature as well as efficient use of resources and providing value to the local community.
Royal Troon’s own sustainability work also goes beyond their conservation work. ‘solarglass’ recently installed in the clubhouse will dramatically reduce energy consumption, and use of local suppliers is imperative to the clubs catering menus. In 2014 the club was recognised for its commitment to providing environmental and social value by achieving the GEO Certified® eco-label, golf’s international sustainability mark.
More information about Royal Troon’s initiatives across nature protection, resource efficiency and community value can be found at golfenvironment.org. More information on GreenLinks at The Open can be found at theopen.com/Spectators/GreenLinks.