Case Studies

French Ryder Cup venue benefits wildlife

Wildlife surveys at Le Golf National proves that golf can increase biodiversity over other land uses.

23rd April 2013
Designing your course,Working with nature
Le Golf National shows that golf courses can be built with habitat creation in mind  

Le Golf National was built as the centre for golf in France by the French Golf Federation (ffg).  139 hectares of arable farmland was acquired at Guyancourt, outside Paris, in 1985.  Over a three year period, 400 trucks a day brought a total of 1.6 million cubic metres of earth excavated from construction projects in the Paris region, which would otherwise have gone to landfill.

... a great test of golfing skill and an extremely rich variety of habitat


Construction was completed in 1990, providing two 18 hole courses (l’Albatros and l’Aigle) and the 9 hole l’Oiselet.  Water features, tree planting, fescue roughs and sand mounds were all incorporated into the design, providing a great test of golfing skill (good enough to host the 2018 Ryder Cup) and an extremely rich variety of habitat.


The ffg, with other French golf organisations, had outlined its position on positive environmental development and management of golf courses in its 2004 publication, ‘Naturellement Golf’.  They followed this up in 2008 by publishing ‘Naturellement Golf: la biodiversité’.  This provided a series of articles from practitioners discussing how golf courses can enhance biodiversity, and it reported on the success of increasing wildlife to the Golf National site.


The landscape created at Le Golf National provides a home for 107 different plant species


This document recorded the results of a site audit by the internationally respected French National Natural History Museum to benchmark its biodiversity.  The audit recorded a total of 782 species, with 107 different plants (10 rare) and 72 bird species.

This compared very favourably with the surrounding arable land; the golf course supporting 50% more plant and 60% more bird species.
Le Golf National and arable field
Golf courses can enrich biodiversity compared to other land uses

Further audits are planned every 5 years to identify changes and trends, but from this initial assessment it is clear that the development and management of le Golf National has made a significant positive contribution to the ecosystem value of the locality.