The Nature of Lochranza Golf Course
The Isle of Arran has a great variety of natural habitats (giving each of the 7 golf courses a unique character) and an abundance of wildlife.
You are almost sure to see wild red deer as you play at Lochranza. Just observe them and they will just observe you. Magnificent as they are, they add to our green keeping duties: the stags love sunbathing in the bunkers, and, in autumn, they dig muddy wallows to bathe in. They arise out of these wallows looking dark and dripping which makes them intimidating to opponents and attractive to the hinds! Our plantations have to be fenced because the deer have a hearty appetite for anything that grows. From mid-September on the stags begin to roar their challenges in the annual rituals of the rut.
If you pause for a break in your game of golf, look up and you may see buzzards or hen harriers hunting the hillsides. The Arran Distillery café is a wonderful vantage point for watching the high crags which are the favourite haunts of golden eagles.
Red squirrels live in the wooded areas of the course and are most easily seen early in the morning or at any time of day in Autumn. They are regular visitors to the Stags Pavilion garden.
Seals and otters inhabit the loch and surrounding coastline. Here, in the warmer months, look out for passing basking sharks or porpoises- they are not uncommon.
The glen is a U-shaped valley, carved out by glaciers in the last Ice Age. Arran’s almost surreal-looking high mountain ridges are visible from the sea field. They are composed of granite and were created by volcanic activity. The area has long been famous for its geology. Nearby geological attractions, accessible by walking, include Hutton’s Unconformity and 260 million year old giant millipede tracks near Laggan Cottage.
The local blackfaced hill sheep are kept on the course for lambing in early spring and can be useful grass cutters. Unfortunately they haven’t picked up the skills of giving definition yet. They are hardy, agile sheep, used to surviving on the steep hillsides, but the grass in the glen gives the lambs a nutritious and sheltered start.
The lower end of the sea field can flood in high tides and winter storms. It is partially salt marsh so any lying water you see has usually risen up through the turf rather than been washed up with the waves. Sometimes you may notice the unusual phenomenon of turf bubbles.
The golf course’s origins go back to 1898/9. It was opened as a 12 hole course on 6th June 1899. It had been created by villagers with a new club house as well as new bridges over the burn for the use of golfers.
During World War 2 the golf course was a camp for commando training. After the war the 9 hole layout was established. Following a period as an 18 hole course with double greens, Lochranza was returned to its traditional 9 hole layout in 2011.
We regard ourselves as caretakers of this beautiful and precious landscape.
We aim to manage the golf course in sustainable ways, using natural methods wherever possible to assist biodiversity, and encouraging visitors to appreciate the rich wildlife of the area.