Highfield is a fine example of the best in traditional parkland design – the natural contours being the inspiration to Alan Duggan’s layout.
The finest of Kildare land provides natural drainage while the unique undulations give character to the course.
Because the greens were not originally built as sand based greens but instead chosen from the natural terrain, there has been minimal invasion of the soil with little or no chemicals needed to maintain their natural lushness thus making Highfield a unique and environmentally friendly eco-golfing experience.
With a par of 70 measuring 6,140 yards in distance, it is a good challenge for golfers of all abilities.
With undulating greens and cleverly designed layouts, this course has become a most enjoyable but testing course.
Throughout the 1990’s, thousands of young trees were planted to compliment the abundance of mature hardwood trees already on the course.
This has made a significant impact now to the visual beauty and setting of Highfield.
Several innovative features and water hazards come into play throughout the course including the tee box for the 1st hole from the roof of the club house.
“Highfield is a fine example of the sensitive integration of a leisure facility with environment. The course has been created on farmland without cultivation of soil. Careful grassland management has led to the creation of greens with minimal use of chemicals and without herringbone drainage. Unused areas have been left uncultivated and the course contains a network of wildlife corridors incorporating watercourse banks, hedgerows and mature trees. Plantations of native trees have been inserted. Clubhouse facilities have been constructed using recycled timber.”
Environment Kildare – is an educational information pack relating to the local environment of Co. Kildare. As part of a comprehensive programme including an Audio-Visual presentation and Workshops, the aim of Environment Kildare is to raise awareness of environment in Kildare.
Grassland Management – Greens and Fairways
The course has been developed on farmland by following a well-planned programme of mowing and grassland management with minimal input of chemical fertilisers. Greens have been created without herringbone drainage. There has been little, if any, soil disturbance. The possibility of pollution of surface waters by chemicals or silt particles is, therefore, minimal.
Trees and hedgerows
Mature farm trees have been maintained and new plantations have been put in place. Native stock of native varieties has been used where possible. Farm hedges have been maintained and only those portions which would have impeded access or obstructed fairways were removed.
Trees offer food, shelter, breeding and nesting sites for insects, birds and mammals. These animals are not obtrusive on the human population and the preservation of as many trees and hedges as possible is essential for their survival. A network of hedges provides wildlife corridors where they can find food and feel secure. The preservation of these trees and hedges at Highfield therefore supports the wildlife value, not only of the course itself, but also of the surrounding areas.
The value of hedges for shelter is often overlooked.Trees and hedges at Highfield offer shelter o the golf course and its visitors. They add to the comfort and pleasant, relaxed atmosphere which Highfield offers its players. The maintenance of native broad-leaved species ensures variety of colour and visual interest at different times of the year.
Unused areas and filed corners have been left uncultivated. These areas contain a variety of wildflower species. Flowers provide summer feeding for insects such as butterflies, etc. and winter feeding for birds.
These uncultivated areas represent remnants of semi-natural grassland vegetation which have become extremely scarce over the past thirty years because of the trend towards reclamation. The existence of uncultivated areas is essential for the survival of many of Ireland’s wildflower species. Rare species often occur in areas such as these.
The uncultivated patches at Highfield do not intrude on playing areas. They emphasise the rural setting of the golf course, provide visual interest and contrast to the tightly mowed areas.
Existing watercourses have been preserved and additional channels have been developed. The banks have been left uncultivated and unaltered. water quality has not been affected by development.
Bankside vegetation is an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. It influences life in the water and is important for the completion of the life-cycle of many aquatic insects
Aquatic insects form part, or all, of the diet of most fish and fish survival is, therefore, dependent on a healthy insect population. Bankside vegetation provides cover for birds such as heron, duck, and moorhen and mammals such as otter. Watercourse wildlife corridors are important countryside habitats but there is a national trend towards manicuring and over-management.
The preservation of bankside vegetation at Highfield is commendable. For the visitor at Highfield the watercourses provide interest and variety. Water is always considered to be an attractive feature on any golf course. Natural watercourses at Highfield have maintained their character have been sensitively created.
The golf course at Highfield is an excellent example of the sensitive integration of a leisure facility with the environment.”
Ann Behan, Ph.D., B.Sc., L.I.P.F.,
The Hidden Wilds, Environmental Awareness and Management Services,
Redhills, Kildare, Co. Kildare.