Keeping it green at Royal St. David's Golf Club

We have had the pleasure of assisting a number of conservation sites in our 35-year history, and one of our most interesting projects to date was our weather station installation at Morfa Harlech Nature Reserve. The initial primary aim of this project was to help Natural Resources Wales better manage the stunning sand dunes which are home to rare orchids and sand lizards at the Harlech site, whilst improving the understanding of the links between weather and ecology. Throughout this project the greenkeeping team at neighbouring Royal St David’s Golf Club utilised live weather data for course management and as the Natural Resources Wales project drew to a close, Skyview worked to transfer ownership and management of the weather monitoring system directly to the golf club.   

About Natural Resources Wales and Royal St. David's

Natural Resources Wales is responsible for the protection of people and the environment including marine, forest and waste industries, as well as the overall management of the natural resources of Wales.

The impressive Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve coastal landscape is home to a diverse range of plants and animals, all especially adapted to life at the edge of the sea. The sand flats and salt marshes in the estuary serve as feeding grounds for winter wildfowl and otters and water voles use the estuary’s waterways.

The sand dunes structures are some of the most dynamic forms of natural habitat in the world and the coastal walk through the reserve is a huge expanse of golden sandy beaches.  

Occupying the dune land between Harlech Castle and the Irish Sea, Royal St. David's Golf Club has breath-taking views of the Snowdon Mountains, the castle and Tremadog Bay.

The Challenge

The initial aim of our partnership was to assist National Resources Wales to monitor the sand dunes at Morfa Harlech Nature Reserve, a renowned natural habitat for rare orchids and sand lizards.

The station at Morfa Harlech provided real-time and historical weather data, including wind speed and direction, rainfall and sunshine to the public and other interested parties including local schools, universities and leisure users.

Previous Golf Environment Award winners, Royal St David’s Golf Club benefited from real-time weather data to improve its course maintenance, with careful management of the local ecology. With an Environmental Plan to comply with, and conservation high on the team’s objectives, it was clear to us that simply decommissioning the station would significantly impact all those who had become reliant on this vital information.

Our Solution

As Natural Resources Wales initiative began to draw to a close, we reached out directly to the grounds team at Royal St David’s Golf Club to invite them to take over the management of the system and continue to benefit from the data that was being stored and shared, which they were more than happy to do. This was perfectly in fitting with our own green objectives to recycle and re-use equipment, rather than to decommission or dispose of it completely.

The existing installation consisted of a network of three weather monitoring systems to facilitate climate and wind studies. To ensure that the installations are tailored to the specific requirements of Royal St. David's Golf Club, we upgraded the hardware by installing a soil moisture and soil temperature station to facilitate effective green keeping and grounds maintenance. Data gathered from the equipment after the occurrence of extreme weather can also be used to understand the effects on Wales’ coastal environments.