golf courses contain many archaeological sites, ruins and monuments
that are incidental to golf but important in their own right. Although
golf course development nowadays comes under planning rules designed
to preserve heritage features, ancient sites have always tended
to survive well on courses. This is because golf course management
is usually a benevolent regime: natural and manmade features tend
to be appreciated and enhanced for the variety and character they
afford each course, rather than being swept away in radical improvements.
change to reflect new technology and the ambitions of their members,
and as new courses are planned and established, the Group assists
clubs in finding sources of sound information and practical advice
about their share of the nation’s heritage. There is little
doubt that golfers, following a game founded upon tradition, are
in sympathy with the Group’s aims: to turn that sympathy into
practical conservation for the benefit of golfers, public and environment.
remains of human settlement in eastern Scotland lie under a course
at Fife Ness near to the intriguing Dane’s
Dyke. The new course at Drumoig, Fife, was
planned around a range of archaeological sites.
The Muir of Ord course in Easter Ross owns a prehistoric ritual
enclosure, or henge, dating from around 2000 BC. The siting of the
pin in the middle of the sacred area has a certain resonance, although
archaeologically one would always prefer to see such sites undisturbed
a rare case of a "hole in one" being less than desirable!
Iron Age forts feature on several courses, sometimes
making unusual approach hazards to greens, as at the Royal Tarlair
at Macduff, Aberdeenshire.
Remains of at least
two medieval castles associated with the Bruce family feature, at
Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire and, most famously, Bruce’s Castle,
the 9th hole at Turnberry, Ayrshire, which recently appeared on
a British postage stamp.
Remains of pre-Improvement agriculture, in the form of rig and furrow
cultivation ridges, are an almost ubiquitous reminder of more recent
centuries. This is no accident, since many courses
were established on marginal land around settlements just before
the arrival of mechanised ploughing, which has wiped out rig and
furrow on most land that continued in farming use.
The Defence of
Britain project has identified coast defence and anti-aircraft batteries
on golf courses, for example at Stromness, Orkney.
Sometimes completely unknown features, such as the 18th-century
bridge at Kingsbarns, Fife, are discovered during course development.