BIGGA have warned clubs to expect the coming months to be more hectic than what followed the first lockdown
Huge numbers of players flocking to courses after three months of coronavirus lockdown in England will present a “major challenge” for golf club managers and greenkeepers.
In a Hot Topics webinar hosted by the Golf Club Managers’ Association, Jim Croxton, chief executive of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association, told viewers levels of play were likely to be “significantly ahead” of where they would normally be in April – as players make up for 12 weeks of closure coming to an end.
Croxton said the average number of rounds played in the early spring averaged out at around 2,000 per course over the last five years.
But last May, when the first Covid shutdown was eased and golf clubs reopened, that figure doubled as players rushed to courses. Pundits have widely predicted a similar wave of enthusiasm when the padlocks come off.
“I assume that’s what is going to happen at club level over these next few weeks when the tee sheets are reopened,” Croxton said.
“The levels of play are going to be significantly ahead of where they normally would be for March and April and that presents a fairly major challenge for all the GCMA members and our members.”
Croxton used the analogy of a three-legged stool and a glass of water – representing the balance between the amount of play permitted and put through the golf course, the amount of maintenance that’s allowed to take place, and the expectation of golfers and the condition of the golf course they will find.
“I think that’s a really tricky balancing act,” he added. “If any one of those legs gets longer, or potentially shorter – in terms of, let’s say, maintenance isn’t maintained – then pretty soon that glass of water falls off and we’re in with a problem.
“That’s a major challenge. I think that’s the biggest challenge facing our industry over these next few months.
“As I understand it, nearly every club has got more members. New members play more. There’s going to be a yield issue in terms of whether or not there is actual tee availability on certain days when all these guys and girls want to play. Maintaining the three legs of that stool is the biggest challenge.
“Certainly, from our aspect, on the back of a particularly wet winter in lots of places and reduced maintenance at lots of clubs, I think that’s a really tricky balance.”
Have you managed to get a precious tee time when golf courses reopen in England? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.
Subscribe to NCG
Source: National Club Golf