GREENS AND GOLD

Hoylake is no stranger to the occasional heatwave. The 2006 Open was played on a links baked brown and lightning fast, and last year was no different.

Traditionally, links golf is to a large extent about letting the weather transform the landscape as it sees fit without too much human intervention. However, these days, sustainability has to be taken into account, too, and the need to use water wisely has inspired the idea that “gold is the new green”, not just on golf courses but in many parts of the world.

THE CHALLENGES

RLGC Secretary, Simon Newland, describes the challenges the Royal Liverpool faces when temperatures soar.

“Members and visitors enjoy nothing more than a finely maintained links, but in a drought situation that goal comes under real pressure. The links at Hoylake is irrigated by a superb network of sprinkler heads and water is sourced from an on-site bore hole but, as one might imagine, the ability to take water from the ground is strictly licensed in the UK by the Environment Agency. During a heatwave, the water we access must be carefully utilised and Links Managers find themselves targeting the high priority areas - greens, surrounds and tees.
 
“The golden hue that results as fairways and rough areas begin to dry down is rugged and earthy, and many describe this as links golf as it was meant to be played! Certainly it introduces the need for a different set of skills: sound ball striking from hard, tight lies, dealing with unpredictable bounces and the opportunity to practise a classic chip and run."