“Here at Machrihanish Dunes, keeping the green is an incredibly difficult job, but we employ some local employees who keep the greens immaculately. They only work for 6 months of the year, they love the work and they’re very well looked after.” They even “get free haircuts every year.” Yes, ewe herd him right – free haircuts for some of Scotland’s most popular greenkeepers.
If you haven’t guessed yet, we’re talking about the black sheep here at Machrihanish Dunes, one of the most natural golf courses in Scotland. The 40 hebridean sheep make their way around the course during the less-busy winter months, nibbling their way through the roughs one patch of grass at a time. They tend to leave golfers alone, although you may hear them “baaing” out some criticism if they don’t approve of your golf swing. And, for a bunch of sheep, they are quite hammish – posing for pictures whenever a golfer takes out their camera.
The sheep help us keep the course well-maintained without disrupting the beautiful and delicate flora that inhabits this Site of Scientific Interest. David Southworth, President and CEO of Southworth Development, had this to say:
“By using these natural lawnmowers to thin out the rough on the course, we are able to help preserve several rare and protected specials of orchids that grow here on this site. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they enjoy Scotland’s best golf holiday retreat.”
The sheep certainly bring a bit of personality the Machrihinsh Dunes experience – one that you just can’t explain until you see it for yourself. Sure, you can imagine it, you can see the pictures, you can even watch the video – but there’s no real substitute for experiencing the natural beauty, charming quirks, and historical significance of playing an all-natural course here, where golf began.