Initiative: multiple access points for heart devices

A prominent Dublin golf club is to install defibrillators across its course for older golfers who find themselves with heart difficulties.

The move is part of a new health initiative being put in place for older members at Howth Golf Club, which includes training courses and the provision of new terrain for emergency services.

Many golf courses have a defibrillator, but they are largely confined to the clubhouse. Manager Darragh Tighe said Howth Golf Club is in the process of installing multiple access points for the heart devices and is also aiming to train all members in their use.

"We currently have over 40 members trained in the use of defibrillators. But not everyone can be there at all hours. We are looking towards getting the majority of our membership trained in using these for obvious health reasons."

Tighe said he is unaware of any health incidents on the course, but says the new equipment is now essential.

"At this stage, it has become a necessity to roll this out. We are also installing a new kind of terrain which is aesthetically pleasing, and looks like grass, but which emergency services can drive on if they need to get across the course in a hurry," he said.

Tighe is also attempting to set up a "test run" with the emergency services.

"We need to see if there will be any problems with travel times or any obstructions. We need to be very sure that the ambulance services can get in and out and so we are looking to set up this test run with the emergency services over the next short while, where we will act out an emergency."

"The problem is that this is all proving very expensive to roll out, but it will be worthwhile. We just have to do it bit by bit and chip away at the costs as we go along. These kinds of things take a lot of organisation, and it takes a long time to make sure you have all the boxes ticked."

The club is one of the first to provide such extensive emergency services for its members.

"I don't know of too many other golf clubs who are doing all this, but we need to push a greater awareness of this, and it is better to be safe than sorry," says Tighe.