What do lawnmowers, golf, sheep and Groundskeeper Willie all have in common?

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When you think of Scotland and lawnmowers, a rather strange combination I’ll admit, you would be forgiven for conjuring up images of Groundskeeper Willie’s flowing red locks/beard/eyebrow as he tends to the grounds of Springfield Elementary School in The Simpsons. In fact, many people argue that Willie is the most instantly recognisable Scot in the world, sorry Sean Connery, Billy Connolly and Ewan McGregor! Why not take a look at our list of famous Scots and decide for yourself?

Anyway…where were we, ah yes…lawnmowers. Here in Scotland, a country renowned for its technological innovation, we have gifted the world with many things including the television, telephone, steam engine, bicycle, penicillin, Harry Potter and golf. However, sometimes, like in Argyll & The Isles, we choose to refer to more traditional methods…

Machrihanish Dunes, one of Scotland’s most dramatic golf courses is celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland by herding an unewesual bunch of ‘locals’ back onto the course.

During the winter months, a flock of 40 nibbling black Hebridean sheep will be keeping this beautiful coastal course trim and tidy! David Southworth, President and CEO of Southworth Development, owners and managers of Machrihanish Dunes said:

“By using the ‘natural lawnmowers’ to thin out the rough on the course we are able to help preserve several rare and protected species of orchids that grow here on this site and in few other places. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they play a round.

I should point out that the Hebridean sheep at Machrihanish Dunes, although out on the course during the winter months, do not interrupt games or affect the standard of play or condition of the greens. In creating the images and video footage it was required for the sheep to move around on areas of the greens, whereas in reality, they predominantly stick to the rough (alongside my tee shots).

With over 550 unique golf courses, sheep acting as greenkeepers and The Ryder Cup in 2014, it’s pretty easy to see why Scotland is heralded as The Home of Golf. After your round, why not check out some of the other golf courses throughout Argyll & The Isles and enjoy a wide variety of things to see and do while in this beautiful part of Scotland?

Oh also, if you want to trace Groundskeeper Willie’s roots, apparently he is originally from Orkney, has lived in Glasgow, his parents live near Loch Ness and he’s a big fan of Aberdeen Football Club.

P.s I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for my uneweusual sheep related pun – I was suffering from a shear lack of creativity…

Jack Gorman

Jack is a Media Editor at VisitScotland. Originally from Fife, he is now based in Edinburgh and enjoys exploring Scotland, radio, sandwiches, Arrested Development and terrible dad jokes.

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