Pop-up marker proves popular
The days of the distinctive holly bush or the white stake strategically placed on the side of the fairway 150 yards from the front of the green would appear to be increasingly numbered. In recent years, more courses have opted to install course markers - with yardages clearly displayed on the disks or sprinkler heads - and such simple technology has been taken a step further with the development of the pop-up Kirby Marker System, which is now available in Ireland.
Available in traditional green (which is quite unobtrusive), or red, white, blue and yellow, the Kirby markers are being distributed in this country by the Dun Laoghaire-based Turfland company, whose managing director, Ken Heffernan, claims the initial response to their introduction here has been "remarkable".
The supply and installation of each collapsible marker costs £50. "The beauty is that it is a permanent job with minimal maintenance," says Heffernan. "It actually takes about one hour to install a marker, because it comes in three pieces: tubing for permanent placing, a saucer which gives it the dome effect, and finally the spring-loaded capping. It is designed to speed up play, and also to aid people who are visiting a course and wouldn't be exactly sure of their yardages."
This particular marker is actually visible above the fairway - but it has proven a friend to greenstaff, as it is designed to sink down into the ground as a mower (or golf cart) comes along, and then it springs back up immediately afterwards.
Turfland claim there is no need to be too typically American by placing the markers every 25 yards or so up the fairway. Indeed, it is pretty much up to the club itself to decide how many markers they want, and where, whether in the centre of the fairway or to the side.