BANNED! Historic golf club takes bold stance

Westward Ho

The esteemed Royal North Devon has become the first known golf club in the country to ban the use of plastic tees on its course.

Founded in 1864, the club, near Bideford, is the oldest in England and regarded by many as the 'St Andrews of the South'.

From January 1, 2020, its pro shop will sell only wooden tees, with extra tee bins to be provided around the course.

The club has made the bold move in order to protect local wildlife.

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A statement on the club website said: "We have all seen golf tees lying around the course, both wooden and plastic. The simple fact is that plastic tees are more likely to harm the birds and animals we share our wonderful course with. The greenkeepers will also tell you that they can do a great deal more harm to their equipment than a wooden tee.

"So, from the start of the new decade we would like all golfers to only use wooden tees and the pro shop will only supply wooden tees."

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The club's course is located on common ground adjacent to Westward Ho! beach and is grazed by sheep and horses.

The statement added: "If you see a plastic tee (or a wooden one for that matter) that has been discarded please place it in one of the "tee bins" provided. There will soon be more of these for the other tee areas.

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Committee member Richard Hughes told the BBC: "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."

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