What Greenkeepers Are Doing To Maintain Courses While Closures Are In Place
During this extended break from playing golf, you may be wondering what greenkeepers are doing to maintain courses. When the UK Government introduced the lockdown procedure that has impacted daily life for millions in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, many speculated on what "essential" work entailed for those staff who look after our cherished layouts.
Various clubs and greenkeepers had interpreted that advice differently, but now the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), following guidance unveiled by The R&A, has made it clear what work should be considered essential at courses throughout this current situation.
Ensuring the safety of staff, the work of greenkeepers is recommended to be kept to a minimum, and the lessons of hygiene, disinfecting machinery and social distancing are paramount, but there are key areas that require continued maintenance.
Here are just some of the main suggestions from the governing bodies.
- Greens should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of three times per week. Dew removal should be considered on non-mowing days as required to prevent disease spread.
- Tees and green surrounds should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.
- Fairways should be mown according to the rate of growth to a maximum of once per week.
- Managed roughs and grass paths should be mown according to need to a maximum of once every two weeks (fortnightly). Only roughs considered to be in direct play should be mown allowing for naturalisation to areas largely out of play.
- The height of cut adopted for all these areas is site specific but the elevation of the cutting height on fine turf areas is advised to minimise unnecessary stress on the turf. The aim of the above operations is to maintain uniformity, density, texture and health to allow surfaces to be quickly brought back to an appropriate playing standard once play resumes.
Additionally, irrigation and nutrition should be carried out as necessary but with the objectives of keeping the turf alive, maintaining a full sward and preventing turf thinning.
However, operations such as maintaining bunkers, penalty areas, wider practice facilities (other than greens and tees), aeration, top dressing and spraying are not considered essential.
So, work is continuing at your golf course, but at a minimum where possible. Ultimately, this will pass, and the game will return, and your club will reopen, and it's thanks to the dedicated greenkeepers that magical day will be made possible. If you want to gain a greater appreciation for what they do on a daily basis, then you should enjoy the following features.
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