Greenkeepers prepare courses for return

Golf courses across the county are expected to be in top condition when golf returns from lockdown towards the end of this month.

With anticipation growing following the government’s decision to ease coronavirus restrictions from March 29th onwards, golfers are relishing the opportunity to play again on their home courses.

Although some clubs have needed to furlough some greenkeeping staff over the winter, many have benefitted from the lack of activity on their fairways and greens, meaning more maintenance work has been possible.

The relatively mild weather conditions in recent weeks has also helped in this regard, with any scheduled work being able to proceed without any major interruptions.

Whether this pattern continues in the first few months of the season remains to be seen since clubs are anticipating an upsurge in bookings – as was seen when courses re-opened following the first COVID lockdown last spring.

Many clubs benefitted from a large growth in membership levels and green fees in 2020 as players of all ages and abilities made the most of the opportunity to take part in an outdoor sport.

Whilst this unexpected development took golf by surprise 12 months ago, the industry has learnt from the experience and has put contingency plans in place to deal with the increased demand.

To control the flow of players throughout the day and prevent the spread of the virus, pre-booked tee times will be utilised at courses, including those membership clubs that have not traditionally used this practice throughout their history.

Other measures that will help the transition back into playing include golfers using their own equipment, not touching the flag, whilst adhering to the rule of six.

Clubhouses and professional shops will remain closed for the time being, but takeaway food and drink and group coaching for adults and juniors is allowed.