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Landscape Guidelines


Scottish Golf Environment Group



The visual impact and presence of golf courses, particularly outwith towns and cities, has often been criticsed for its part in the 'suburbanisation of the countryside' Developers prefer to locate golf courses on areas of interesting topography and landscape setting, in order for the golfing experience to be more enjoyable. Areas such as Coastal Dunes and Links, Coastal Clifftop, Undulating and Prominent Hillsides and Lowland Heath are all chosen because of their landscape character. Golf courses situated in such areas are often the most memorable because of the association with the surrounding landscape.

The debate is: How can golf courses be designed and constructed in such a way that their presence in such landscapes does not detract from landscape quality?

In the same way as Nature Conservation, the architect will be unable to ensure the golf course is designed in harmony with the existing landscape character if they are not aware of what the current strengths and weaknesses of that landscape are. For this reason we advise all developers to undertake a Landscape Character Assessment of the site before designs are prepared.

Let us not forget that the introduction of a golf course into certain landscapes will be to their benefit by adding diversity, new tree cover, increased rough grassland, management and introduction of dykes and hedgerows and so on. These benefits should not be assumed in all cases, and in every project, the developer should strive to seek maximum landscape gain.

Developments which impact upon Historic Parklands and Designed Landscapes will face other landscape and cultural heritage issues in order to maintain the historical integrity of the site. The guidance covers this to a degree, but more detailed advice is available from the range of contacts appended to the document.

Our guidance on considering the needs of Landscape Character during the planning, design and construction phases may give some ideas of what to look for and what issues to address on a given site.





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