Beyond Golf at the Irish Open
As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation tees off this week within the majestic grounds of the K Club, spectators will not only enjoy some top quality golf and gripping competition but they will also experience the beauty of the Irish country side and some of the wildlife for which the country is famed.
If you keep your eyes peeled you might spot a hare hopping out for its lunch, a brightly coloured kingfisher flashing past, or one of the badgers which has made its home in a set dating back to the 18th century. Despite the eyes of the world being on the course the wildlife that call it home do not need to worry about an intrusion into their daily lives. From the siting of the hospitality village to the flow of the thousands of spectators around the course, care has been taken to ensure habitat and wildlife are protected throughout the event.
“We consider ourselves privileged to play host to such varied and interesting wildlife and take great pride in providing a safe and secure home for it” explains Gerry Byne, Course Manager at The K Club. “We have ensured a substantial area of the site is keep naturalised and untouched to provide this important habitat and our planting in manged areas of the resort is done with consideration for wildlife, important pollinator species, such as the bees which enjoy our summer begonias and make their home in many hives throughout the resort. Within our woodlands fallen trees are allowed to decay naturally resulting in a great home for insects, as are the reed beds found in our flood plain. We have also constructed islands in the lakes of our Smurfit course which act as a protected sanctuary for bird life with many different species happily making their nest there every year, including our resident swan and heron. If you keep a sharp eye out you might also see our Kingfishers and Swallows flying across the site.
“While we are honoured to welcome a international tournament to our club we were aware of the impact that it could have had on our local wildlife” continued Mr Byne, “and that is why we’ve worked very closely with the European Tour from the onset to minimise any disruption to the tournament might have on our wildlife. Knowing that they are protected and continue to have a safe and productive home we are delighted that the tournament gives a chance to show our thousands of spectators and millions of viewers back home some of the beauty and nature of Ireland.”
“One of the best things about golf is the stunning settings we get to play and watch it in, so of course it is our responsibility and priority to protect that nature” said Rory Colville, Championship Director of the Irish Open. “It is a delight to host the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club this year and to show the world of golf some Irelands beauty. Throughout all stages of the planning, build, running and take down of the tournament we continue to work closely with the club to ensure we protect the local wildlife and sensitive areas, returning the site to the club as we found it. Through this close relationship we have ensured that our site planning has taken care to ensure vehicles, tents and spectators are kept away from sensitive areas, and wildlife habitats, such as the 18th century badger set on the site, are carefully protected. As part of the European Tour’s Green Drive sustainability programme this work in protecting wildlife is accompanied with a commitment to run a resource efficient event and maximise the benefit that hosting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open generates for the local community.”
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open takes plates at The K Club, County Kildare on the 19th – 22nd May 2016, tickets and further information are available from www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com. More information on the European Tour’s Green Drive can be found at www.europeantour.com/aboutus/environment .