A bushy-tailed secret behind gorse on links courses in Ireland and Scotland
Royal County Down, a lot like Royal Dornoch in Scotland has an overwhelming amount of gorse - a thick, weedy flower that grows all over the British Isles. In warmer months, it grows a yellow flower that can be very popular to North Americans discovering links golf for the first time.
I was informed while playing RCD last week that the course didn’t have gorse until about the 1920s. Before then, the dunes were sandy and bare.
So what happened?
Well, history books of the course reveal the answer. During one of the many course renovations in the 1920s, one of the decisions was to eliminate rabbits from the property. Rabbit holes were all over - which doesn’t go well with golf balls.
However, rabbits nibble on the roots of gorse and don’t allow it to grow. The result is a sandy, not bushy dune. I didn’t completely believe it until I was walking Enniscrone’s sandy dunes, and seeing on multiple occasions - you guessed it - rabbits!!
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