Royal Portrush Golf Club

GEO Certified® 12/2015
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Telephone: 028 7082 2311

Royal Portrush Golf Club has successfully demonstrated it is delivering a wide range of positive environmental measures throughout the Club and the course including nature conservation, water management, supply chain, its communities, energy and waste management. This positive approach is seen throughout the Club and is demonstrated through the high quality course and extensive ecologically rich habitats.

Matt Johns, GEOSA, Accredited Verifier Read verifier report.

GEO Certified® Report

GEO Certified® is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide – designating that a golf facility has met a credible standard in the areas of nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control, and community, and is committed to continually improve. GEO Certified® is widely trusted and endorsed by a growing number of organizations and people, both inside and outside golf.

Click below to read about the activities undertaken by this golf facility to operate sustainably.

Facility details

Golf Courses
Dunluce Links (18 holes, 7143 yards, year opened 1888)
Valley Links (18 holes, 6304 yards, year opened 1888)
1 Clubhouse(s)
1 Maintenance Facility/Facilities
1 Pro Shop


Royal Portrush Golf Club is situated on the edge of the town of Portrush on the North Antrin Coast of Northern Ireland. The course is situated in amongst an expansive area of fixed dune vegetation set within dramatic sand dune systems. The dunes range from low to high and vary markedly in terms of their vegetation interests. Marram grass dominates the dunes nearest to the sea grading to a blend of marram and red fescue further inland. Grassland ecosystems are well-managed and provide habitat for ground nesting birds as well as wild flowers for pollinating invertebrates. Sea buckthorn, bracken and gorse stands occupy some areas of the course and offer habitat for many bird species such as yellow hammer, stonechat and linnet. Water courses consist of a pond and several streams that run across the course originating from the basalt rock inland and exiting on the Strand Beach adjacent to the course. These provide refuge for water birds as well as important drainage for the land. All 3 courses offer similar authentic links characteristics with rolling and dramatic dune systems and native vegetation that conserve biodiversity whilst creating a true links experience for the golfer. The Club are proud of the ecosystems and habitats created on their site and look to make improvements wherever possible. Various ecological surveys have been commissioned at the Club to help gain a better understanding of the land and the habitats it supports. Surveys include: Botanical assessments, Badger/Otter survey, Molluscan Survey, Breeding Birds Survey and a Management Plan to help implement ecological improvement of the site.

Consultation & Surveys

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding landscape heritage conservation:

  • Sports Turf Research Institute

No landscape assessments or surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding ecosystem protection and enhancement:

  • Sports Turf Research Institute

The following ecological surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Royal Portrush Golf Club - Ecological/Landscape Management Plan Bob Taylor (STRI) 2013/10/29
Royal Portrush Golf Club - Ecological Overview Bob Taylor 2014/08/12
Royal Portrush Golf Club - Badger/Otter Survey Bob Taylor 2014/08/11
Royal Portrush Golf Club - Botanical Survey Covering Selected Areas of the Dunluce and Valley Courses Bob Taylor 2014/08/13
A Molluscan Survey of Royal Portrush Golf Club Evelyn A. Moorkens 2014/08/18
Royal Portrush Golf Club - Breeding Bird Survey Antony Wainwright 2014/07/25

No rare, protected or notable species occur at this golf facility.

This golf facility does not monitor any species as indicators of environmental quality.

Habitats & Designations

This golf facility does not feature any landscape designations.

Area of habitats / vegetation types, and associated designations at this golf facility:

Title Estimated Area (Hectares) Designation
Rough 'ecological' grassland 52 None
Scrub Vegetation 8.4 None
Heather and other dwarf shrub communities 1 None
Open Water Features 0.04 None
Sand dunes 22 None


Size and estimated species composition of amenity turfgrass maintained at this golf facility.

Estimated Area (Hectares) Turfgrass Species Sward Composition (%)
Greens 3.57 Hectares Festuca rubra 75%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 25%
Tees 2.8 Hectares Lolium perenne 50%
Festuca rubra 50%
Fairways 24.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 75%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 25%
Semi Rough 12.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 65%
Lolium perenne 35%

These turfgrasses are optimal for the circumstances at this club because:
These turfgrass species are optimal for the courses at Portrush as they offer true links playing characteristics. The finer fescue and bentgrass species are also more sustainable to manage, therefore requiring lower fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation inputs. They are generally less-productive than more nutrient-rich species, such as annual meadow-grass, and therefore this will reduce mechanical inputs and labour costs.

This golf facility assesses mowing patterns every: time of mowing months

This golf facility consults the following individuals / organizations regarding its grassing plan:

  • Sports Turf Research Institute

This golf facility is making the following efforts to manage the playing quality expectations of customers:

Activity Description
Establishing clear internal policies for irrigation, fertilization, colour, cutting heights, overseeding etc Policies are established for managing all areas of the course to offer optimal performance. e.g. a greens overseeding programme is in place to increase fescue populations and improve greens performance and sustainability. Performance tools such as the soil moisture probe, clegg impact hammer and stimpmeter are also used to assess performance and inform maintenance inputs.
Promoting the playing quality values of more naturalized turf, particularly fairways and semi-rough Fairways, semi rough and rough are kept naturalised to offer authentic links playing characteristics. Rough management takes place through annual scarification/collection and semi roughs are verti-cut and coarser grass species managed.
Promoting the financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces Promoting the finer grass species and their benefits are outlined in the Club's policy document. The Club promote sustainable management where possible to other clubs and visitors where possible. They are also an active member of the Irish Links Initiative and promote sustainable, fine grass management where possible.
Improving customer understanding around greens maintenance Maintenance inputs and course changes are communicated to the membership through letters and notices in the clubhouse to improve awareness of greens maintenance practices.
Demonstrating the direct relationship between environmental best practice and year round high quality playing surfaces The Club use performance measurement tools to monitor greens performance. They also recieve regular STRI agronomy visits in which objective measurements are taken to assess playing performance and agronomic improvement. Greens performance has notably improved as fescue populations have increased.

Conservation & Enhancement

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve landscape character:

Activity Description
Allowing seasonal variation of course coloration and texture Seasonal variation of course colour and texture is well managed through management of the grasslands, gorse, bracken and sea buckthorn at the appropriate times through the year.
Appropriately matching mowing lines to contours Mowing lines are appropriately matched to contours throughout all the courses to ensure natural visual aesthetics are maintained. This is particularly important at Royal Portrush due to the significant undulations across the site.
Protection and restoration of historic features There are no historic features to be protected or restored on the courses.
Discreet on-course signage and furniture All course furniture and signage is kept as discreet as possible to minimalise the impact on visual aesthetics. Materials used are kept indigenous where possible. The fixed stone distance markers on the tees are made from basalt rock from the causeway. Litter bins are handmade from local timber.
Conservation of specimen trees There are no trees on the course.
Screening and softening unsightly man-made features Man made dunes were constructed to hide the maintenance facility on the course.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the landscape ecology of the golf course:

Activity Description
Minimizing the amount of amenity grass Amenity grassland is kept to an absolute minimum across the site to reduce inputs and the impact on the biodoversity. Large expanses of grassland are left un-mown throughout the courses.
Increasing the size of habitat patches Where possible the size of habitat patches are increased through managing and removing areas of scrub, such as bracken, sea buckthorn and gorse, to improve and expand habitat.
Connection of internal habitat patches Habitat patches are well-connected across the course through rough grasslands, scrub etc, providing ideal corridors for wildlife movement between habitats.
Connection of patches with external habitats The course provides an important reservoir and oasis for migratory species. Connection is provided east to west and is slightly more limited to the south due to the presence of the road.
Creation of habitat corridors Habitat corridors across the course are maintained and created through appropriate management grasslands and scrub.
Avoidance of habitat fragmentation Habitat fragmentation is avoided where possible by the Club consulting a professional Ecologist to advise on conservation issues and management.
Improving and diversifying habitat edges This is encouraged through managing grassland margins and carrying out phased scrub management programmes to diversify habitat edges.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the quality of habitats on the golf course:

Activity Description
Creation of botanically rich rough grassland Roughs are managed to encourage desirable native species and wildflower populations. Large sections are left without management but are monitored for scrub encroachment. Mowing and collection of arisings is carried out on a yearly basis through all sections of managed rough. Driving through botanically sensitive areas is discouraged and selective herbicide application is only through spot treatment to avoid wildflowers.
Ecologically informed management of scrub vegetation The Sports Turf Research Institute provide advice on scrub management and this is documented in the Club's Management Plan. Grasslands are being reinstated through an on-going policy of scrub removal at the Club.
Promoting species and structurally diverse woodlands There are no woodlands on any of the courses.
Establishment of littoral shelves and marginal vegetation in wetland areas Marginal vegetation is encouraged around the pond on the 12th including various rush and reed species. Water courses running through the course are often maintained however vegetation is often left to develop in 'out of play areas'.
Maintenance of an appropriate balance of open water and aquatic vegetation Weed ingress is becoming an issue in the pond on the 12th and tipping the balance between open water and aquatic vegetation. A plan is to be put together to address this moving forward.
Naturalization of linear habitats Fairway shaping follows natural contouring and very few artificial or linear features are represented. This ensures a good fit within the landscape.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity on the golf course:

Activity Description
Provision of nesting and nectar for pollinators Responsible grassland management is deployed through selected areas of the rough along with minimal selective herbicide control to allow wildflowers to develop and encourage pollinators. The rough play host to many wildflowers including notable orchid species.
Installation of nest boxes Some nest boxes have been installed in sea buckthorn over the years. Roping off and closing of shelter huts (through signs) has taken place to avoid disturbance to nesting swallows. The same process has been carried out with sand martins nesting in sand borrow pits on the course.
Provision of feeding tables No feeding tables are in place on the course.
Control / management of alien species Alien species on the course include bracken, gorse, sea buckthorn and Japqanese rose. These are all being managed in accordance with the STRI Management Plan.
Provision of hibernation areas There is no real provision for hibernation areas at the Club due to no incidence of hibernating species such as badger and bat being identified on the course. A badger survey was carried out to assess badger populations.
Creation of micro-habitats (eg log and stone piles) A pile of sea buckthorn branches has been created on the practise ground and left to encourage nesting birds. There are no log piles due to a lack of trees on the course and at present there are no stone piles however this is a consideration for the future.


Responsible water usage at Royal Portrush is endorsed to ensure minimal environmental impact as well as encouraging the correct grass species and playing qualities. Water is sourced from 6 bore holes located on the 2nd fairway on the Valley Course and this is applied and distrubuted around the site via a state of the art, fully computerised irrigation system. Water is applied to the course as and when required and only to supplement plant health and not mainulate playing conditions. Irrigation inputs are informed through regular use of a soil moisture probe and a high tech weather station, with handwatering being often deployed to accurately target drying areas of greens. The accuracy of water application to the course is assured through regular calibration of the system along with sprinkler technologies such as low trajectory nozzles. Drainage water from the courses exits on to the adjacent strand beach and into the ocean and high water tables are often experienced on the Valley Course.

Sources & Consumption

No water audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

The water used at this golf facility is drawn from the following sources:

2014 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,300,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 100% 11,000,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 50% 440,000 Litres
Other Reclaimed 50% 440,000 Litres
2013 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,560,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 100% 12,300,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 50% 412,000 Litres
Other Reclaimed 50% 412,000 Litres
2012 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,444,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 100% 11,180,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 50% 484,000 Litres
Other Reclaimed 50% 484,000 Litres

Irrigation & Efficiency

The following areas receive irrigation at this golf facility:

Greens 2-3 days per week
Tees Weekly
Fairways Weekly
Semi-Rough Never
Rough Never

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:
Fully computer controlled

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:

Serviced every 6 months

Upgraded every 1 years

Re-calibrated and checked for efficient application every 1 years

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to maximize irrigation efficiency:

Activity Description
Selection of grass species The finer, more drought tolerant fescue grass species are selected when overseeding and managing the amenity grass areas of the course to help minimise irrigation requirement.
Soil decompaction and thatch management An effective aeration programme is in place on the course to help maintain good soil structure and a healthy growing medium for plant roots. This encourages deeper rooting and therefore widens the capture of availabe water in the soils. Thatch management is good at the Club, with a dedicated topdressing programme in place to dilute organic matter.
Timing and dose of water application The dose of water application is accurately informed by evapotranspiration loss during the day and turf health requirement. Irrigation inputs are applied through the night to minimise water loss and reduce the risk of turfgrass disease.
Analysis of soil moisture A soil moisture theta probe is used to accurately measure soil moisture conditions and help inform irrigation inputs. The results of this are recorded to help assess trends in data.
Incorporation of evapotranspiration rates and weather data The irrigation system includes a state of the art weather station situated on the practise ground which records rainfall, temperature and evapotranspiration rates. This data is recorded.
Use of wetting agents Wetting agents are applied as and when required through the course of the year to help improve moisture distribution in soils and the efficiency of water inputs.
Overall reduction in irrigated area Irrigation is only applied as and when required and is accurately informed through soil moisture probe results and information from the weather station. The Greenstaff often carry out hand watering to apply water only to areas where it is needed most.
Targeting of sprinkler heads The arcs and direction of sprinkler heads are set to only water the required areas and avoid applying excess water to unnecessary areas.
Optimizing system pressure The system has 3 variable speed pumps to maintain optimum pressure for the system. Any pressure issues are highlighted immediately through sensors. Pressure levels are kept optimal to ensure that the correct quantities of water are applied without any waste.
Adoption of cutting edge nozzle technology Each sprinkler head has 3 nozzles which are of advanced technology to optimise water distribution. With the course at Royal Portrush being a windy site, low trajectory nozzles are used to optimise performance and minimise water loss in wind.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve / reduce / minimize water consumption:

Activity Description
Low-flow urinals and toilets Low-flow urinals and toilets are in place to minimse water use in the Clubhouse.
Use of water efficient appliances At present, appliances are not water efficient however the Club are looking at upgrading facilities and new upgrades will be efficient. An example of this is that the club are looking to install sensor taps in the clubhouse in the future.
Repairing leaks All leaks are quickly and thoroughly repaired. Monthly water readings are taken at the club and these highlight whether potential leaks exist.


Royal Portrush golf club look to conserve energy at any opportunity however this is an area where the club are looking to make some improvement moving forward. The Clubhouse is only 15 years old and its modern design was built with energy saving in mind. At present, no energy surveys have been carried out, however the Club are mindful of this and may look to commission a survey in the future to look where energy and cost savings could be made. Renewable energy sources are not currently used however initiatives such as solar and wind energy have been investigated over recent years and may be incorporated in future projects if the opportunity arises.

Sources & Consumption

No energy surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

Consumption of renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2014 2013 2012
Biogas (Litres) 0 0 0
Biomass 0 0 0
First Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0 0
Hydrogen (Litres) 0 0 0
On-site Hydro (kWh) 0 0 0
On-site Solar (kWh) 0 0 0
On-site Wind (kWh) 0 0 0
Renewable Grid Electricity (kWh) 0 0 0
Second Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0 0
Wood from sustainable sources 0 0 0

Consumption of non-renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2014 2013 2012
Coal 0 0 0
Diesel (Litres) 12853 12000 14100
Heating Oil (Litres) 52500 55742 62400
Hydraulic Oil (Litres) 380 818 606
LPG (Litres) 0 0 0
Natural Gas (Litres) 0 0 0
Non-renewable Grid (kWh) 471002 505979 329900
Petrol (Litres) 7200 7600 6600
Propane / Butane (Litres) 7939 11200 3700
Wood from unsustainable sources 0 0 0

Energy Efficiency

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to diversify energy and fuel supply:

Activity Description
Installation of small scale wind turbine There are no wind turbines installed on the course however the club have discussed this previously and may be considered in the future.
Installation of photovoltaic and / or solar panels There are no solar panels in use at the Club but again discussions have been held around their potential installation in the future.
Use of electric hybrid vehicles There are no hybrid maintenance vehicles currently in use at the Club. These have been trialled in the past and found problems with the machines .

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to reduce energy consumption:

Activity Description
Investment in low-energy heating and air conditioning systems The clubhouse is relatively new and a top quality modern heating system was installed to maximise efficiency. The air conditioning system is being reviewed in acordance with new legislation to ensure that it is inkeeping with modern day standards.
Optimizing thermostat levels for heating and refrigeration Thermostat levels for refridgerating and heating are regularly monitored and set by the clubhouse staff.
Enhancement of natural ventilation opportunities Natural ventilation is utilised where possible, with the design of the building utilising shade for cooling as well as windows and patio doors for natural airflow.
Upgrading of building insulation The building was thoroughly insulated to the highest specification during the build of the clubhouse.
Use of natural light (e.g. sunlight pipes) Natural light is utilised where possible. The upper part of the building makes good use of windows and patio doors to provide natural lighting. However the groundfloor of the clubhouse is relatively dark, with limited use of natural light. The maintenance facility, starters hut and driving range bays are also designed to make good use of natural light.
Installation of low-energy lighting Low energy lightbulbs are generally used throughout the clubhouse and maintenance facility. Any upgrades to lighting are to be of low energy usage.
Use of motion sensor lighting Motion sensor lighting is used in the locker rooms and toilets within the clubhouse. This is hopefully to be extended to other facilities at the Club in the future.
Transition to energy efficient appliances The appliances curently used are generally not energy efficient however the club are looking to improve upon this moving forward with any new intallations being energy efficient.
Use of timers with appliances, heating and lighting Timers are used for heating in the clubhouse. Motion sensors are in place for the lighting in the toilets and locker rooms, this automatically turns off lights when there is no one in the room.
Educating staff and customers Staff are educated on judicious use of the heating and lighting systems at the Club. This is included in the induction of new staff. No 'switch off lights' signs are currently in place however plans are to put these up in the future in rooms where sensors are not used to remind staff/visitors.

Vehicles & Transport

The maintenance fleet at this golf facility uses the following fuel sources:

Ride-on Mowers Walking Mowers Utility Vehicles
Petrol 100% 64%
Diesel 100% 0% 36%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 0% 0% 0%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

Additional vehicles operated by this golf facility use the following fuel sources:

Golf Carts Cars Buses
Petrol 100% 0% 0%
Diesel 0% 100% 0%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 0% 0% 0%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

This golf facility has established the following schemes to encourage reductions in staff and customer transport emissions:

Activity Description
Car sharing incentives At present there are no car sharing incentives in place at the Club however many of the Greenstaff car pool from their own initiative.
Group transportation (e.g. buses) Mini buses and coaches are used for team matches and inter-club matches that are played away from the Club.
Secure cycle parking Not at present but greenstaff have use of the maintenance facility to store bikes securely.
Increasing equipment storage (e.g. lockers) All staff have an assigned locker to store personal items.
Staff showers Showers are available to all staff.
Tax breaking incentives for cycling At present there are no incentives in place at the Club however they are looking into the cycle to work scheme moving forward.

Supply Chain

The supply chain at Royal Portrush is centred around utilising local companies, products and services wherever possible. This helps keep costs down, reduces the Club's carbon footprint and supports local businesses. Course management practices are of low input to help favour the finer fescue and bent grasses which offer authentic playing surfaces and are more sustainable to manage. Integrated pest management is a key factor at the Club, with cultural practices set well for promotion of healthy turf and the discouragement of pests and diseases. Pesticide use is few and far between however if required, careful consideration is given to select the most appropriate product for control of the disease with minimal impact on the environment. Spot treatment is preferred when possible to help minimise pesticide use and target affected areas. Records of fertiliser and pesticide inputs are well-kept and the Club are always looking to reduce inputs where possible whilst still maintaining healthy turf. Waste management at the Club sees good separation of recyclable materials at the clubhouse and on the course however this is an area where the club could further improve moving forward. Installation of recycling centers both on the course and maintenance facility are a potential future project to coincide with the build of the new maintenance facility.

Purchasing Policies

This golf facility undertakes the following ethical / environmental purchasing activities:

Activity Description
Measures to avoid waste at source The Club always look to order in bulk where possible to help minimise packaging and potential future waste. Examples of this include quarry dust used on pathways and gravel.
Use of local suppliers Local suppliers are used whenever possible to help local businesses, to reduce the Club's carbon footprint and costs. Food is generally sourced locally - especially meat which is sourced from local butchers.
Use of local products Local products (e.g. building supplies) are used whenever possible to support local business and reduce carbon footprint. Indigenous materials are used whenever possible, such as indigenous sand for topdressing and basalt stone for yardage markers.
Selection of certified products Certified products are not specially selected.
Use of recycled and recyclable products Composted recycled waste and hollow coring waste is screened and added to our own soil and used for filling divots on the course. Grass clippings are collected in a composting area on the course where they will break down and will be reused in sand soil mixes on the course.
Selection of products that feature minimal packaging Where possible, the Club look to select product where packaging is limited. This helps to reduce disposal costs and is also more environmentally responsible. Materials such as gravel, quarry dust and rootzone are ordered in bulk to help reduce packaging at the source.
Use of accredited suppliers (e.g. ISO 14001) The Club enlist STRI as consultants who are ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 accredited.

Supply Chain

An overview of the supplier network at this golf facility:

Total number of suppliers Total number of suppliers within 10 Kilometres Total number of suppliers within 100 Kilometres
Food & Beverage 6 6
Catering Supplies 10 6 4
Retail 25 1 1
Trade & Contractors 4 4
Maintenance Equipment 3 3
Course Supplies 6 1 4

Turfgrass Inputs

This golf facility undertakes the following IPM activities:

Activity Description
Encouraging drought and disease tolerant grasses Management practices at the Club are centred around encouraging the more drought and disease tolerant fescue and bentgrass species. These provide optimal links playing characteristics and are more sustainable to manage - requiring fewer fertiliser, irrigation and pesticide inputs.
Managing stress and wear Stress is managed through carefully calculating fertiliser inputs. Moisture is also well-managed through monitoring soil moisture levels and evapotranspiration rates to help determine the requirement for irrigation to keep the surface healthy. Wear is well-managed use of hoops and ropes to redirect wear when recovery is limited through winter.
Enhancement of soil structure Soil structure is well managed through regular aeration to varying depths in the soil profile. This relieves built-up soil compaction and encourages root development and drainage rates. The Hydroject is used through the year to apply deep aeration with minimal disruption to the surface.
Optimization of the growing environment A balanced fertiliser programme helps to supply the turf with sufficient nutrient for optimum growth. Seaweeds are applied to condition the soil and encourage soil microbial populations. Maintaining good soil structure and texture (through aeration and topdressing) promotes strong and healthy rooting as well as sensible cutting heights helping to favour the finer grasses.
Managing thatch levels Thatch is managed through weekly sand topdressings which help to dilute organic matter and improve soil texture. Regular aeration is applied to promote a well-aerated profile to allow beneficial aerobic microbes to degrade organic matter. Cultivation practices such as hollow coring are applied as necessary to physically remove organic matter. Laboratory analysis is carried out yearly to assess organic matter levels.
Managing surface moisture Surface moisture is removed first thing each morning to ensure that disease is not encouraged. This is done through either mowing, rolling or use of a dew brush. A soil moisture probe is used regulary to assess soil moisture and inform irrigation inputs.
Establishing thresholds for pests and disease Weather conditions are closely monitored to identify periods of high risk to disease. Records are kept of all disease activity and management. Conditions are well managed to discourage disease e.g. dew removal and promotion of tolerant grasses.
Scouting for pests and diseases The Greenstaff monitor the course each morning to identify if there are any issues with pests or disease. Leatherjacket populations are identified by carrying out a bag test and assessing populations per m2.
Monitoring / improvement of plant health Visual assessment of plant health is conducted daily during course setup, Moisture levels are also measured to ensure that conditions are favourable for optimal plant health. Nutrient inputs are carefully calculated on a green specific basis. Records are kept of all nutrient inputs.

Fertilizer use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2014 2013 2012
Fairways - K - Inorganic 5 0 0
Fairways - K - Organic 0 0 0
Fairways - N - Inorganic 25 20 20
Fairways - N - Organic 1 0 0
Fairways - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - P - Organic 0 0 0
Greens - K - Inorganic 20 20 20
Greens - K - Organic 0 0 0
Greens - N - Inorganic 50 50 80
Greens - N - Organic 3 0 0
Greens - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Greens - P - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Tees - K - Inorganic 24 45.5 45.5
Tees - K - Organic 0 0 0
Tees - N - Inorganic 15 84 84
Tees - N - Organic 18 0 0
Tees - P - Inorganic 6 17.5 17.5
Tees - P - Organic 0 0 0

Pesticide use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2014 2013 2012
Fairways - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Fairways - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0.44 1.77 2.21
Fairways - Herbicide - Total Weight 8.88
Fairways - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1
Fairways - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Total Weight 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0
Greens - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 5 5.34 4.56
Greens - Fungicide - Total Weight 14.45 15.43 13.18
Greens - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 1 1 1
Greens - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Greens - Herbicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Greens - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Greens - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 3.13 2.34 1.83
Greens - Insecticide - Total Weight 9.38 7.01 5.48
Greens - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 1 1 1
Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0.44
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 4.44
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 6
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Tees - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 5.54 5.54 0
Tees - Herbicide - Total Weight 8.31 8.31 0
Tees - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 1 0
Tees - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0.72 0 0.92
Tees - Insecticide - Total Weight 1.08 0 1.38
Tees - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 1 0 1

This golf facility undertakes the following actions to optimize pesticide use:

Activity Description
Selection on the least toxic and lest persistent products Where possible, the least toxic and least persistent products are selected for treating pests and diseases.
Selection of appropriate products for specific pests and diseases Firstly the correct disease is identified by the Greenstaff. If the disease cannot be identified then the help of STRI is enlisted. From here the most appropriate product is selected for control of the disease or pest. Cultural practices are adjusted accordingly provide the least favourable environment for disease/pests.
Spot-treatment with handheld sprayers and wipers Weed wipers are used on occasion to target Sea Buckthorn populations. Spot treatment is used when applying herbicide to fairways to avoid applying to areas where the product is not required.
Calibration and testing of sprayers All spraying equipment is fully calibrated and tested prior to use to ensure maximum efficiency of the application. The sprayer also has a computer fitted that self monitors spraying operations - this helps to identify any issues with calibration, application etc.
Use of shrouded sprayer and anti-drip nozzles Shrouded sprayers have been used in the past at the Club but issues were found with the accuracy of applications. Anti-drip and low drift nozzles are used during all spray operations.
Non-chemical weed control Chemical control of weeds is only used when absolutely necessary. Hand weeding is carried out on greens during mowing. Bracken bashing is applied to control bracken populations. Hand roguing of ragwort is carried out in roughs and digging out of gorse is applied to control gorse populations. Verti cutting and harrowing is applied to semi roughs.
Use of organic and biological products to improve plant health and resistance. Liquid seaweed is applied to all courses throughout the year to stimulate soil biology and supplement turf health. Waste material from the course is collected and composted, with compost being used as part of divot mixes.

Waste Management

No waste audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility manages key waste streams as follows:

Re-use Recycle Landfill Incinerate
Glass false true false false
Plastic false true false false
Aluminium false false true false
Metal false true false false
Paper & Cardboard false true false false
Grass Clippings true false false false
Cores & Turf true false false false
Sand true false false false
Wood / Timber false false false true

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to continue the lifecycle of materials and resources:

Activity Description
Separation of recyclable materials Materials used in the clubhouse are seperated before disposal. At present materials from litter bins on the course are not seperated but this is an area where the Club are looking to improve moving forward. Collected clippings and waste materials from the course are composted for reuse in divoting mixes.
Establishment of recycling centers The Club are to rebuild the maintenance complex in the near future and are looking at building a recycling center for seperation of materials.
Returning clipping to fairways and walkways Clippings are returned to fairways and walkways on the course. This helps to recycle nutrients and sustain better sward health. Any consequent thatch production is dealt with through aeration and topdressing.
Education of staff and customer education Staff are well educated on waste management and this forms part of their induction process. At present there is no signage educating staff and customers on waste management and this is an area for improvement.

Pollution Control

The course at Royal Portrush is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and provides habitat for many forms of wildlife. It is therefore ever-more essential that pollution is minimised to maintain biodiversity of the site and the Club's environmental responsibility. Control of pollution at the Club is responsible with the correct storage and disposal of hazardous products being adhered to. Pesticides are only used when absolutely necessary and precautions are taken to prevent pollution of the water coarses and land. A salinity meter is installed to assess the quality of the water from the borehole and mains. Use of a closed loop water treatment plant helps to avoid any waste water discharging into water sources and groundwater. Pesticides and hazardous materials are stored in secure and bunded stores and mixing is carried out in an appropriate impervious area adjacent to the closed loop system. Staff carrying out spraying operations are fully trained and wear appropriate PPE to prevent exposure. Erosion of some of the coastal dunes is an issue and the Club are proactive in their approach to stabilise the dunes and prevent erosion. Installation of chesnut fencing has taken place as well as plans to extend the stone armourment. There are some areas where pollution management practices could be improved at the Club - most notably establishment of an emergency spillage response plan.

Water Analysis

This golf facility monitors water quality with the following frequency:

Chemical Biological Visual
Inflow Daily Never Daily
On-Site Daily Never Daily
Outflow Never Never Monthly

Waste Water

Waste water from this golf facility is managed as follows:

Discharges to Formal Discharge Agreement
Golf Course Closed Loop Recycling N/A
Clubhouse Mains Sewer N/A
Maintenance Facility Septic Tank N/A
Wash Pad Closed Loop Recycling N/A

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials at this golf facility are handled and disposed of as follows:

Secure Storage Registered Uplift
Detergents true true
Cooking Oils true true
Lubricants true true
Pesticide Containers true true
Fertiliser Bags false false
Oil Filters true true
Batteries true true

Pollution Prevention

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution from its maintenance facility and clubhouse:

Activity Description
Storage of equipment and hazardous products on covered, sealed impervious areas All epuipment and hazardous products are stored in covered, sealed and impervious areas to minimise the risk of spillage. Labelling on products is clear and storage is neatly managed.
Maintenance of equipment on covered, sealed impervious areas Equipment is maintained on covered, sealed and impervious areas to reduce the risk of spillage and run-off of waste material.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers in covered areas Pesticides and fertilisers are mixed in a covered area that is adjacent to the onsite water treatment plant.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers over impervious surfaces Pesticides and fertilisers are mixed over impervious areas and close to the water treatment plant to avoid leaching.
Installation of above-ground fuel tanks All fuel tanks are above-ground and are bunded to prevent leaks from spillage. These are easily accessible for maintenance and monitoring.
Installation of sufficient secondary containment for fuel Fuel tanks are bunded to help contain any spillages or leaks.
Provision of containment booms and absorbent materials All spills will flow to the onsite water treatment plant. Spill kits are well positioned to help absorb spills and staff are trained on their use.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution on its golf course:

Activity Description
Eliminating leachate and run-off through careful timing of turf inputs Pesticide and fertiliser inputs to turf are always carefully timed to ensure that they are applied in suitable weather conditions. This helps to minimise leaching and also maximises the efficacy of the products therefore reducing the need for further application.
Establishment of vegetative buffer strips around water bodies Common reed and rushes are positioned around the pond on the 12th hole which act as a vegetative buffer strip.
Establishment of emergency spillage response plan At present there is no emergency spillage response plan in place at the Club.
Controlling erosion and sediment discharge Erosion is a key issue at the Club with the dunes adjacent to the 5th green and 6th tee having suffered notable erosion following winter storms. The Club have installed chesnut fencing in this area and are also looking to extend the stone armourment in the near future.
Establishment of pesticide-free zones Roughs across the course receive extremely minimal pesticide inputs and no-spray buffer zones are implemented when spraying near any water courses - this is in accordance with label recommendations and legislation.


Royal Portrush Golf Club is a focal point of the local community, with the town very proud of its history and heritage. The announcement of the course on the Open rota is an exciting prospect and will bring much business to the local community. The Club are very active in the local town and support local business and services wherever possible. The Club are the biggest raiser of money for the Portrush lifeboat with over £10,000 raised each year. The Club provides coaching for local children and adults with learning difficulties and also provides much support for junior golf. Charity golf days are often held at the course, with the club often donating prizes - such as 4 ball greenfee tickets.

Employment & Education

Typical staffing levels at this golf facility are:

Full Time Part Time Seasonal
Club Management 1
Course Management 18 4
Food & Beverage 11 4 4
Golf Coaching 3 1
Retail & Leisure 3 1
Caddies 40

The sustainability working group at this golf facility is comprised of:

  • General Manager
  • Course Manager
  • Technical Specialist
  • Local Government

Employees at this golf facility receive the following formal and informal environmental education:

Activity Description
Storage, application and disposal of pesticides Selected members of the greenkeeping staff recieve full training in use of pesticides and gain the relevent NPTC training qualifications. These staff members are solely responsible for pesticide application, handling and storage across the full site.
Efficient water management Staff members are informerly educated on efficient water management throughout their employment and during their induction. Water inputs to the course are carefully selected based on moisture probe and weather station measurements. The Course Manager, Deputy Course Manager and 1st Assistant are generally responsible for this but other staff members are educated.
Management of accidents and emergencies Emergency risk plans are established and communicated to employees via the employee handbook. There is also a fire action plan and designated fire assembly point. There are 10 first aid trained and 6 defibrillator trained employees at the Club to help deal with accidents and emergencies.
Management of habitats and vegetation Advice is sought from STRI regarding management of habitats and vegetation around the course. This information is communicated to greenstaff members, the pro shop staff, starter and clubhouse staff. The STRI ecology management plan document is available in the Clubhouse for staff members to read if they choose.
Waste minimization, separation and recycling The staff are informerly trained on minimising waste as well as separating and recycling. Greenstaff members are all educated on separation of waste such as air filters, pesticide containers and composting.
Health & Safety Health and safety training is issued to 2 staff per year. Health and safety training is given to all staff prior to use of machinery - this is recorded and updated as necessary. Risk assessments are done on all aspects of course maintenance and these are available to all staff. Manual handling training is provided for Greenstaff.
Energy Saving Staff are informerly educated on energy saving at the Club during their induction as well as continually encouraged to save energy through turning off lights, computers appliances etc.
Understanding of landscape and cultural heritage The staff are made aware of the cultural heritage and history of the landscape at the Club - including the sensitivity of eco systems across the course, the dune systems and native flint and rock that is indigenous to the site.
Environmental management planning STRI provide ecological and environmental advice at the Club and have recently produced an environmental management plan to manage the ecology of the site. The Club are implementing this plan moving forward and staff are educated and informed on the findings of the plan and the requirements to achieve goals.

Community Relations

This golf facility engages with local community groups in the following manner:

Activity Description
Neighbours The Club have a good relationship with neighbours from the local community and also support local businesses by frequently using their services and advising visitors to the Club where to stay/visit in the local town.
Local Government The Club work closely with the local Borough Council, particularly when hosting large events such as the Irish Open and British Amateur Championship. The Club also do much work with Tourism Ireland and NITB (Northern Ireland Tourist Board) to help publicise golf in Ireland.
Local Environmental Groups The Club works with the CVNI (Conservation Volunteers for Northern Ireland) on a yearly basis on projects such as installation of chestnut fencing for erosion management, native hedge planting and marram planting on the dunes. The Club have also worked with CVNI on transplanting some marram from the course for use on a neighbouring carpark.
Local Community Groups The Club work with local schools to help encourage youngsters to play golf. The Club also have a fantastic relationship with the Portrush RNLI Lifeboat and have been the biggest money raiser for many years, raising over £10,000 each year.
Media Royal Portrush Golf Club use Twitter and Facebook as social media outlets and also have a modern website which is updated regularly. Social media played an important role in the Irish Open.
Local Businesses Local businesses are supported wherever possible, with local produce, products and services used wherever possible at the Club. Visitors to the Club are informed of the best local businesses (such as accomodation, restaurants etc) for use during their stay.
Schools & Colleges The Club are actively involved in the local schools and encourage youngsters to take up golf. Various junior memberships and coaching options are available. Coaching of local children and adults with learning difficulties is also carried by the Club and is a great success.

Land Use & Cultural Heritage

This golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:

Activity Description
Maintenance of existing public paths The course at Royal Portrush is private land and there are no public footpaths running through the land.
Installation of effective and welcoming signage There is welcoming signage installed at the entrance to the Club and also signs on the beach highlighting that the dunes are private land and warning that golf is being played.
Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing) Members and visitors to the Club are able to walk their dogs whilst playing golf around the course.
Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland) The Club work closely with the CVNI (Conservation Volunteers for Northern Ireland) on various projects such as: stabilising dunes through chesnut fence installation/marram planting, native hedge planting and harvesting marram grass from areas on the course for use on a neighbouring car park. Following sea Buckthorn removal on the course, the CVNI will be involved again in marram planting.
Continuation of traditional agricultural activities Native hedge planting.

No archaeological or heritage surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding the conservation of cultural heritage:

  • The Sports Turf Research Institute

This golf facility does not undertake any activities to conserve cultural heritage features.


This golf facility undertakes the following internal environmental communications:

Activity Description
Provision of newsletters, notice boards & poster display The Club are very proactive in comunicating environmental and community activities. Any information is displayed on the notice boards in the clubhouse, on posters in the locker rooms or in the Club's monthly newsletter (The Royal Times).
Course guides / brochures The Club have a book published on the history of the Club and course. The Club are interested in producing an environmental leaflet in the future describing the wildlife and ecosystems across the course.
Interpretation panels & course signage Signage is used to make golfers aware if spraying is in progress. Signs are also in place on the beach to identify that the duneland is private property and to beware that golf is being played.

This golf facility undertakes the following social and environmental advocacy activities:

Activity Description
Course walks / open days The Club host course walks and members evenings with their STRI Ecologist Bob Taylor to communicate the Club's ecology plans and help identify habitats and ecosystems across the course.
Joint practical projects with community Fundraising for the Portrush RNLI Lifeboat. Golf coaching for children and adults with learning difficulties.