Devon

Westward Ho! golf club bans plastic tees from course

Royal North Devon Golf Club Image copyright Royal North Devon Golf Club
Image caption The Royal North Devon Golf Club is grazed on by sheep and horses and adjoins a long beach

Golf course officials say they have become the first to ban the use of plastic golf tees to protect wildlife.

The Royal North Devon Golf Club, near Bideford, is the oldest in England and took the decision at a recent committee meeting to allow only wooden tees.

It said "plastic tees are more likely to harm the birds and animals we share our wonderful course with".

The golf club is located on common land that is grazed by sheep and horses, and it adjoins Westward Ho! beach.

Image caption Golfers place their ball on a tee to play certain shots and they are often left discarded on the ground

From 1 January 2020 the shop at the club will only sell wooden tees and extra "tee bins" are being provided on the course.

A statement from the club on the matter was titled: "Starting the new decade how we mean to go on - no more plastic tees."

Part of the course, that was founded in 1864, was washed away after a storm last year, and there are fears more could be at risk in the future.

'Clean and natural'

Committee member Richard Hughes said: "We want to keep the golf course as clean and natural as possible.

"Nature has been giving us a hard time recently and we want to placate nature to some extent.

"Birds pick up the plastic tees that are often garishly coloured and they drop them all over the place, including on the beach and in the sea. We have found tees in birds nests before."

Wooden tees are usually white or wooden coloured meaning they are not so attractive to birds and decompose over time.

The National Golf Club Managers' Association said it believed this was the first club to have banned plastic tees.

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