As much land in Dublin is taken up by golf courses, there are calls to replace those courses with homes and parks.
An architecture firm in the UK recently proposed a plan to build 650 homes on Enfield Golf Club in North London.
In Ireland, there are many golf courses similar to Enfield, and Dublin Commuter Coalition Chairperson Feljin Jose believes they could be used better as spaces for homes and parks.
“There are golf courses like Clontarf that are built right beside a railway line,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“There was a proposal about two years ago that said [Clontarf Golf Club] could house 5,000 homes.
“We need more homes, and we need more homes in good places, not like Kildare – housing in Dublin has basically reached Kildare and it shouldn’t sprawl that much... when there’s land here in Dublin.”
Mr Jose agreed golf provides an amenity for people, but not to the same extent a football pitch or local park would provide.
“The density of people using a golf course is very, very low as per the amount of land it takes up,” he said.
“A football pitch is 100 metres by 70 metres and could be used by hundreds of hundreds of people every week.”
'There aren't many golf courses'
Off the Ball reporter and Golf Weekly co-host Nathan Murphy said it’s hard to make a case for golf courses remaining “during a housing crisis”, but he argued there aren’t many golf courses in Dublin in the first place.
“It's very hard to travel from north to south Dublin and pass a golf course,” he said.
“There aren't many golf courses in central Dublin if you look inside the M50.”
Mr Murphy said there should be a place for golf “around the country”, and you can’t push away all nature and amenities "outside the M50” to replace it with housing.
“There has to be amenities for different people,” he said.
'Golf courses don't have nature'
Mr Jose said he doesn’t want to replace everything with housing, and he agrees amenities are important – but golf is a particularly large amenity.
“If you look at Howth, most of it is actually a golf course; it’s not nature,” he said.
“The courses don’t have nature in it... grass isn’t nature.
“When you look at public parks, they have more nature than golf courses... [golf courses] should be wilder.”
'We need to build higher'
Mr Murphy argued if we’re looking at solutions to the housing crisis, “there are better targets than golf courses”.
“We need to go higher, we need to add more stories [to buildings], we need to increase density in the city centre and there needs to be a space for amenities,” he said.
“Golf in general in this country is an incredibly accessible sport... if you're around the corner from one of these clubs, you don't want to suddenly have to go 20 miles down the road.”
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