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..
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
Ann Behan, Ph.D., B.Sc., L.I.P.F.,
The Hidden Wilds, Environmental Awareness and Management Services,
Redhills, Kildare, Co. Kildare.