All the above images were taken on the course by Wildlife Photographer, Richard Mullen


As a global sport with millions of followers, set in nature and with deep community roots, golf can step forward as a leader for sustainability and climate action.

In many ways, from ecosystem services and conservation of wildlife to health and well-being for all ages, to jobs and economic value through local supply chains, golf is good for nature and communities.

Following years of research and professional expertise, the industry is in a new phase of activity, working collectively and credibly while also pledging to do even more – for the good of the planet, and to help ensure golf remains valued and resilient.

This commitment is especially important as we enter the United Nations ‘Decade of Action’, a time to accelerate sustainable solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Sport is stepping forward to take action and raise awareness. As a popular global sport played across living landscapes, golf has an exciting opportunity for leadership.

Courtesy of: Sustainable Golf

The move towards a sustainable golf course and Club is one which Richard Mullen, previously the course manager, had been working towards all his life. From the courses of Midlothian to nearby Old Meldrum, the opportunity to work closely with the natural environment has always been a priority for him.

The team here at Banchory Golf Club work very closely with nurseries and schools to explain, promote and encourage an appreciation of how the Club manages its course using the full extent of the biodiversity and ecology of the site, sitting on fertile but low-lying land above the banks of the River Dee. Youngsters are encouraged to come and help spread wildflower seeds, and to learn about the flora and fauna found on the course.

Richard’s work has been recognised at the highest level, being one of only 20 people globally to have become a GEO Sustainability champion specifically for his work on the golf course, which is also GEO certified and recognised in further national awards. Cultural methods of management rather than reaching for fungicides or insecticides has paid off, with a growing biodiversity helping to address any seasonal fluctuations. This also leads to significant budget savings for the members, and the course is in excellent shape thanks to nature and the course working hand-in-hand.

From beehives to bat boxes, and red squirrel feeders to rafts of wildflower meadows, the course is brim-full of the very best that nature can provide in this glorious valley. Never distracting from the game being played, these sustainable additions to the course are signposted for information and interest around the estate, and have helped improve the fairways and greens’ surfaces whilst managing the Club’s impact on the environment.