Wednesday 21 August 2019

British Open is first-ever plastic-free tournament... and the alternative is going down a treat

Ireland's Shane Lowry celebrates after he birdies the 10th hole during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Ireland's Shane Lowry celebrates after he birdies the 10th hole during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

A round of golf is thirsty work - whether you've the club in your hand or you're following the stars of the game across the course.

Usually that means a massive amount of waste, with a plastic bottle of water almost as well needed as a trusty caddy.

However at the 148th Open in Portrush there are no plastic bottles whatsoever - as tournament organisers, the 'R&A', have rolled out a new scheme to stamp out single-use plastics.

This is the first major golf tournament to introduce such an initiative.

There are 24 filling stations across the Co Antrim course with the first 1,000 people through the gates each day getting a free metal bottle - perfect for the memory box.

Spectators can also purchase a bottle for just £4.50 on the course, a reasonably priced piece of memorabilia.

Tiger Woods of the United States throws his club in the air in frustration on the 5th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Tiger Woods of the United States throws his club in the air in frustration on the 5th green during the second round of the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Friday, July 19, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

The players also get a special engraved bottle to use as they compete in the prestigious contest.

Belfast couple Donna and David Kirk were two of the volunteers handing out the reusable bottles on the course this morning.

"There's 24 filling stations with free water, that's chilled or room temperature," said David.

"You can buy the bottles on course too.

"All the players get a blue bottle that is engraved and is put in their locker for them.

"It's a lovely piece of memorabilia too," he said.

"We had a 5am start today but it's a great way to see a few rounds of golf after your shift too," added Donna.

This scheme follows the lead of major music festivals such as Glastonbury where plastic bottles have been banned.

The Open continues today, and while the weather held up for the morning, a damp mist has rolled in with rainy conditions set to continue this afternoon.

There was plenty of life around Portrush between holidaymakers and golf fans who had travelled from the US.

One group of 12 from Atlanta, Georgia had devised a smart way of finding each other if they got separated - by wearing matching star spangled American flag trousers.

Garel Curry (65) said the friends had been playing a few rounds themselves as well as enjoying the Open.

"It's just fantastic here. We play Castlerock tomorrow and we played at the Royal County Down.

"We played Lahinch before too," he added.

"We love it over here."

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