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Cumbria Leading the Way on Net Zero: Golf Club Cutting a Pathway to Success with Robotic Mowers

Cumbria Leading the Way on Net Zero: Golf Club Cutting a Pathway to Success with Robotic Mowers L-R: Craig Stoba from Husqvarna; Trevor Mill-Irving, with Simon Bell from Lloyd Ltd; and Peter Makinson, Head Greenkeeper, Casterton Golf Course Ltd.

On the back of the recent “Cumbria – Leading the Way to Net Zero” Conference a Cumbrian golf club, near Kirkby Lonsdale, showed how it was contributing to the county’s commitment by using two robotic mowers to help cut their grass.

Casterton Golf Course received grant funding of £12,078 from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovating for Success programme. It went towards total project costs of £36,600 to purchase two robotic mowers, which have been cutting the club’s driving range, fairways and rough since July.

The electric mowers are charged by solar power, using a Global Positioning System (GPS). Working night and day, in between charging, they cut the par 3 course, the driving range and areas around the club house. This currently cuts diesel tractor use by six hours, reduces noise pollution and carbon emissions, as Ruth Kendal, the Clubhouse Manager, explained:

“We are grateful to the Cumbria LEP for helping us to buy two robotic movers, in support of our business decarbonisation ambitions. It’s been a steep learning curve getting used to the technology, but we all agree that it’s a great addition to the team and we’ve plans to increase the amount of grass that they cut over the coming months.”

Golf has been played at Casterton for over 60 years, by all ages and abilities. The family run business, established by Ruth’s parents, continues to innovate and was quick to introduce new forms of golf, like footgolf and rugby golf.

Cumbria Leading the Way on Net Zero: Golf Club Cutting a Pathway to Success with Robotic Mowers

The business is now run by Ruth, her mum Elizabeth Makinson and her brother Peter, and is set in spectacular landscape near Kirkby Lonsdale. Golf is available at Casterton all year round, with the underlying limestone rock, providing natural drainage. There’s also a café and a golf shop.

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria LEP, said: “It’s great to see businesses like Casterton Golf Course using the Innovating for Success programme to support their ambitions. We launched Innovating for Success to help small and medium sized business across Cumbria to invest in innovation or decarbonisation projects.

Jo added “This has not only helped Casterton Golf Course but appears to have encouraged other golf clubs to start using robotic mowers based on their experience. It is not only meeting their commitment to reduce carbon emissions but is also contributing to Cumbria leading the way on net zero and achieving this in advance of Government’s 2050 deadline.

The LEP’s ‘Innovating for Success’ grant, launched a year ago (September 2023) and resulted in dozens of businesses being awarded a share of a £1million grant to either support innovation or cut carbon emissions. Across a 10-year period, CLEP say this should result in savings of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2 and deliver £35 million of economic growth from the innovations.

Grants are split into two areas:

  • Innovation: Maximum grants of up to £50,000 to part fund initiatives that turn new ideas into commercially viable and deliverable propositions.
  • Carbon reduction: Maximum grants of up to £20,000 to part fund practical projects that will help businesses reduce energy usage or increase renewable energy production.

For information about Casterton Golf Course visit

For more information about CLEP’s grants and support for businesses visit

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