Machrihanish Dunes - The Black Sheep of Golf

In many circles black sheep might be shunned, Not at Argyll’s ground breaking Machrihanish Dunes Golf Course on the Mull of Kintyre.

Recently I spoke with GEO Certified Machrihanish Dunes Superintendent Keith Martin to discuss what life is like as the Black Sheep of golf and why this particular breed was chosen for Mach Dunes.

"These black sheep are Machrihanish Dunes’ first flock of Hebridean sheep, recruited as part of its ongoing commitment to managing the course through environmentally friendly maintenance practices.

Native to the west of Scotland, Hebridean sheep are a breed of small black sheep which are hardy and thrive on the rough grasses found amongst the dunes. 

They’re often used as conservation grazing animals to maintain natural grassland habitats and are particularly effective at scrub control, having a strong preference for browsing (obviously comfortable online as well) and are able to thrive on grazing that would be considered poor quality for other breeds.

The sheep will play a key role in thinning out the rough and maintaining other areas of the course where mowing is not permitted due to environmental restrictions on this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSi).

The Hebrideans have adjusted beautifully to their winter home here at Machrihanish Dunes, this is no ordinary golf course and the sheep are proof of that. They provide a useful tool in conservation management as we continue to maintain a sustainable and natural golf course".