What You Can Expect to Experience
With the onset of COVID-19 and the restrictions associated with it, golf maintenance has been changing how we will operate for the foreseeable future. Two of the leading golf associations, The Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA) and The United States Golf Association (USGA) have put together some minimum Maintenance Guidelines for courses during the Covid-19 outbreak. These guidelines are included in this article.
These guidelines address all phases of golf maintenance from mowing frequencies to bunker maintenance. The mowing guidelines reduce the time and number of employees needed to maintain a healthy stand of turf by cutting back on times selected areas are mowed, increasing mowing heights to allow for longer intervals between mowing and using plant growth regulators to manage growth rate and clipping yields. We will also decrease fertility applications along with limiting irrigation and plant protectants to minimize excessive growth while still maintaining a healthy turf. What this translates to for the golfing public is longer roughs, shaggy fairways and potentially slower green speeds. Once the pandemic has passed, we will be able to quickly bring all areas back to the standard of maintenance you are accustomed to.
Since we have removed bunker rakes (remember a bunker is a hazard) the necessity to rake bunkers on a regular basis have diminished. We will only do what is necessary to prevent weed encroachment and protect the integrity of our Better Billy Bunker liner systems in place on four of our courses.
We have been asked to delay hiring of our seasonal workers through at least April, so these practices are necessary from a labor shortage perspective as well. We usually have from 8 to 10 employees per course starting in April and we currently are operating with 5 to 6 per course.
The golf maintenance teams along with the golf operations group are working hard to follow all the required guidelines so your courses can remain open now and going forward. We thank you for your understanding during these difficult times and hope you will safely continue to enjoy the golfing experience at the Bella Vista POA.