Post by Rikki White.
Large flocks of Canada Geese and golf courses are not usually compatible. Ducky doo-doos can be a minefield on the fairways and unwelcome obstacles on the greens. But it’s not an insuperable problem. Patshull Park Golf Hotel has done much to alleviate the dilemma and the geese add a new dimension to the enjoyment of the Capability Brown designed park with their very social and entertaining behaviour.
A friend and I discovered Patshull Park some years ago when we were looking for a reasonably priced summer break withgolf. The hotel offered an exceptionally good deal so we made a reservation. It was a comfortable size, overlooked a lake and the surrounding area teemed with wild life. The course itself is part of what had been the Earl of Dartmouth’s country estate and the trees are breathtaking. All this and golf too. The downside was the goose droppings, but on balance the pros greatly outweighed the cons and we thoroughly enjoyed our break.
The following year my husband, also a keen golfer, suggested that we should pop down to Patshull Park golf course for a few days. Now he is not the easiest man in the world to please, so I thought he should know about the guano, but he was still prepared to give it a go so off we went. During my previous visit I had ascertained that four of the rooms had balconies which overlooked the lake and the third tee, so I made certain that one of these rooms was available and crossed my fingers.
When we arrived he was very impressed by the entrance – good start. When we went into our room and then out onto the balcony his words were “This is stunning”. Unbelievable – this man is not easily impressed. It looked like I was on to a winner.
Come six o-clock, as we took an aperitif on the balcony, there was a great honking and several squadrons of geese flocked in from all directions and settled on their separate areas of the lake as if awaiting instructions. Two geese, acting as sentinels, appeared to be on duty on the third tee. What signalled the next move I don’t know, but the geese slowly started to swim towards the sentinels, in squadrons in line astern, and very sedately hopped out of the water and made their way to the area selected for grazing. There was no pushing and shoving, just a very civilized exit from the lake. After the last goose left the two sentinels joined them.
We were fascinated and this evening ritual became a very entertaining part of our holiday – the droppings were a bit of a nuisance but the social habits of the geese more than made up for it.
Patshull golf course was no disappointment. Not only was thepark beautiful, but the course was challenging enough in parts to give great satisfaction, and on a good day it was beatable. The hotel is friendly, the food good and the members made us feel very welcome. Patshull became our regular watering hole in late July each year, and little by little we realised that the droppings were not half as bad as they used to be. A few enquiries elicited the information that several measures that had been put in place were having a positive effect on the problem. A new gamekeeper had developed a pheasant shoot adjacent to the course. An increased number of dog walkers. The legal culling of cormorants on the lakes acted as a deterrent and the construction of reservoirs provided suitable alternative habitats. The geese still leave their mark here and there, but are really no problem. Spring and late autumn can see increased numbers, but the goslings also bring a delight of their own and Patshull would not be the same without the geese.
Patshull Park Hotel Golf Club – Golf Course.
Patshull Park Hotel Golf Club – Golf Course measures 6412 yards off the back tees.
Patshull Park Hotel Golf Club – Golf Course will definitely test the best, while also providing an enjoyable challenge in memorable surroundings.