THE splendour in the grass of Irvine Ravenspark Golf Course has seen the top venue emerge as a prize winner in a UK-wide environmental competition.

Course Manager Jonathan McMaster was the recipient of a Highly Commended scroll at the Golf Environment Awards in Harrogate.

The prestigious event, which was organised by the Sports Turf Research Institute and golf’s governing body, the R&A, was open to golf courses throughout the country.

And McMaster was delighted that Irvine’s municipal golf course found itself competing with courses which are household names.

Ravenspark did not win one of the big prizes, but to receive a Highly Commended award, is absolutely marvellous.I am ecstatic,”said the head greenkeeper.

"This is a great honour for a small municipal golf course. The award has been given to Ravenspark for sustainability and environmental management of the golf course. The work we have carried out has helped to create habitat for the re-introduction of the small blue butterfly.

“And by having areas of unmanaged rough we have allowed corridors for nature to thrive. It has been a joy and delight to see nature return.”

McMaster paid tribute to the work done by the greenkeeping staff at Ravenspark and stressed that it was thanks to their diligence that the Irvine course had been recognised by the competition organisers.

“This has been a real team effort,” he said. “And I would like to thank the greenkeeping staff for all they have done.

“When I attended the Golf Environment Awards in Harrogate I was impressed by the good work of the STRI, the R&A and greenkeepers throughout the country to promote the environment. UK golf is in safe hands.”

And Ravenspark clearly made an impression on the organisers because McMaster has been invited to enter Ravenspark for next year’s competition.