How to Manage/Maintain

The ILI was set up to help preserve and protect the true links courses in Ireland, the unique courses that make golf in Ireland so special; the courses responsible for attracting over 90% of golfing tourists to Ireland.

With improvements being made in many areas of agronomy it was only natural that new methods, new grades, use of fertilizers to promote growth, better watering systems would all find their way to links courses. In the most cases they were totally unnecessary but while they were being used they damaged the fragile natural ecosystems already in place. One championship links said that it took 5 years to restore the links from the moment they realized the damage being done.

The great thing about links courses, particularly in these difficult economic times is that they do not need major investment in maintenance if looked after as a true links.

In creating a true links the ILI is encouraging members to ;-

  • Ensure that only the minimum amount of nutrition is applied to greens and fairways
  • Implement an ongoing aeration programme to combat disease and compaction
  • Use natural methods of cultivation in preference to chemicals and pesticides
  • Conserve heather and marram grass habitat
  • Select and encourage the correct native grass
  • Preserve and encourage wild flora and fauna within the rough
  • Keep greens and approaches as firm as is possible.

The ILI supports the principle of a ‘no-fungicide’ policy, which prohibits the use of chemicals to control fungal disease.  This is done by limiting the amount of free moisture (which can encourage turf diseases) by implementing an efficient aeration regime, selecting the correct native grasses and by only using the minimum nutrition required for healthy turf growth. Others limit use of irrigation to  times of drought to keep the grass alive.

Natural is best – although nature often requires a helping hand to ensure unwanted invasive grasses are kept out and the grasses most normally associated with links are promoted.