For the past few weeks, golfers have had four-legged company thanks to the partnership between the Lourdes golf course and a breeder of Lourdaise sheep.
The idea germinated during a conversation between a young golfer, Baptiste, and the director of the Lourdes golf course, Jean Doyer, who remembers the moment: “It was during an award ceremony and he said that it would be good to have sheep here and gave me the contact of Nadège Bielsa who has a flock of 130 Lourrdaise sheep, she came to do a visual survey at the beginning of the summer and we called back at the beginning September and we started the collaboration at the end of October”.
And the sheep began their work at hole n° 15, at the very top, with a breathtaking view of the golf course. They are obviously parked in the area to graze and cannot wander on the greens, thanks to this electrified enclosure which works with a solar battery, all surrounded by nets to make it a closed park. They are thus moved about every three days, and the director is not the last to lend a hand by playing the shepherd on occasion: “The movement is done with dogs, most often thanks to Virginie who comes here with its two borders. We put the barriers together”.
The animals only have to taste the grass available as well as the contributions that the breeder gives them for the winter, without forgetting the water.
An ecological weeding
Healthy food since the site does not use phytosanitary products: “The grass is very green and we also bring them into the woods where they also take care of the brambles by clearing the surroundings of the course. It’s pretty, the golfers appreciate this company, the ewes are very well accepted, there is no mowing waste and this saves us fuel, we use less machinery and it is less painful for the staff in these areas in slope and it is a beautiful development of the relief”.
The ewes are not unimportant since they are Lourdaises “the same ones that Bernadette Soubirous kept not very far from there, a passion for Nadège Bielsa who focused on breeding and safeguarding this particular breed in Arrens -Marsous: “I want to preserve this breed. There are only 1,200 in France. It is a sheep which is large, a very old breed which has horns, on the side, a little square”.
A calm and hardy breed
Calm animals that spend the summer in the mountains, accompanied by a shepherd. Nadège is moving towards organic with her pretty ewes that she has chosen because they are also very hardy: “They stay outside all year round and up in the summer pastures from May to the beginning of November. . And then they come back down to the plain.”
Delighted to have these animals at the golf course as a reminder of Lourdes, she finds it always difficult to find land: “We knocked on all doors and today we are here. We also have very good relations with the town hall of Lourdes and it seems that everyone is very happy”. Golfers will not say otherwise, delighted to rub shoulders with these very friendly and ecological mowers which blend perfectly into this sumptuous decor.