Cork golf courses can be maintained despite new coronavirus restrictions

Cork golf courses can be maintained despite new coronavirus restrictions
Bandon's seventh green with Castle Bernard in the background. Picture: Niall O'Shea

THERE was some relief for golfers with the news that golf course maintenance could continue despite the Covid-19 restrictions. 

There were fears that courses could not be maintained after the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland recommended on Monday evening that Irish greenkeepers not to attend work, in compliance with HSE and government policy. 

The response from golfers was disappointment, as it looked like courses would be left to grow for a few weeks. On Tuesday, the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union issued guidelines to clubs around the country as to how they can continue to maintain their courses safely throughout the Covid-19 crisis. 

Working under new conditions, the key requirements for course staff will be to focus on hygiene and social distancing, ensuring staff members work separately and allocating individual machinery to one worker only. 

Limiting or prohibit use of communal areas and regularly disinfecting any surface that is contacted such as door handles, fuel pumps and communal machinery. 

The limited work seems to match the guidelines issued by the R&A last week. 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. 

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.

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