The Irish Links Initiative (ILI) which was set up to ‘preserve, protect and promote’ Links golf in Ireland, has called on Ireland’s links clubs to give their full support to the initiative by each becoming a part owner of the scheme. The ILI, the brainchild of Brian Coburn, Greens Convenor of Royal County Down is a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2008.
Since its creation the Irish Links Initiative has held three major seminars on links golf courses in different parts of Ireland. The latest of these events was held earlier this month in Co Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point. The seminar, which attracted over one hundred delegates from 30 links clubs, was held over two days. The mix of delegates included club captains, club secretaries, greens convenors and course superintendents. It is the third such venture following successful seminars in Royal Co Down and Portmarnock Hotel and Links. The seminar at Rosses Point consisted of a series of practical sessions highlighting new techniques to help preserve and protect links courses.
The Irish Links Initiative has the backing of the R&A, the GUI, Failte Ireland and the Toro Company, all of which have agreed to continue backing the initiative in 2010.
Speaking in relation to the overall initiative Mr Brian Coburn, the founder, said that while it was wonderful to have the backing of these major organisations that the ILI still needed further funding. It was proposed at the seminar that further funding might come by asking all of Ireland’s links clubs to take ownership of the Initiative. All present were unanimous that this was the way forward and it was agreed that all clubs would be written to.
Speaking in relation to the initiative Mr Coburn once again stressed the unique nature of links golf and the need to share knowledge and experience amongst those involved with this form of golf. He reminded everyone that Ireland has almost a third of all true links courses in the world.
He said that the three seminars that had been held to date clearly demonstrated the value of the information being shared. He believed that Irish golf had a unique body of knowledge and experience and it was essential that this information was shared.
He said that the links heritage was truly the preserve of the clubs involved and to that end he felt that the clubs should own the Initiative and concluded by saying that while currently the emphasis is on networking and sharing of information that part of the remit of the ILI was to promote Irish links golf on a worldwide stage.