The COVID-19 pandemic is tremendously affecting golf courses in many countries. Most supervisors are operating with limited personnel and with not much resource – which can worsen over the next weeks. Some are also getting ready for being suspended and might not be able to maintain their golf courses for weeks or longer. This is not a surprise, and there have been several avid golfers who called in raising questions about what would possibly happen if their favorite golf courses would not be maintained. Indeed, it would be a waste to see these beautifully landscaped lands wither and become useless.
Here are some facts about golf course maintenance and what can possibly happen if steps are not taken to care for these beautiful golf playgrounds.
If there’s grass growing actively, it’s still okay not to mow the tees, fairways, and putting greens for a few weeks. After this, aggressive measures must be taken to clean or even re-grass the field to return to its normal playability state. Usually, grass should be mown at least every three days and fairways once a week. Mowing heights can be reduced for overgrown grasses, although playing quality may be different than the usual – that’s if these areas can even be restored at all. As for putting greens, they become an issue, particularly if they’re left to grow and not mown due to their very low normal mowing heights. Also, they usually use specialized grasses for these things.
One thing that should not be taken for granted is the fact that mowing is the best way to control weeds. Thus, if this is suspended for long periods, there is a higher likelihood that weeds will grow abundantly, and more work must be done once maintenance continues.
The need to irrigate depends on several elements, such as rainfall, soil type, and temperature, but if the grass is not sufficiently watered, it can wither and die quickly as well. On the other hand, some types of grasses can tolerate drought than others. These include Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass. Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, bentgrass, and Poa annua are cool-season grasses that can’t tolerate drought. The type of playing surface also makes a difference. Rough areas usually tolerate dryness more than the putting greens, which are the least tolerant, which don’t typically survive without water for a day or two.
Fertilizer And Protectant Application
Fertilizers and wetting agents are generally applied to make sure that the turf remains healthy and provides the best playing conditions. Plant protectants, on the other hand, are applied at certain times to avoid diseases, insects, or weeds from destroying the grass or affecting playing conditions. If golf course supervisors are not able to have these areas applied with these products, especially during these stay-at-home guidelines, turf decline results because of insect and disease outbreak. Weeds will most likely invade, causing many problems in terms of playability for the rest of the season.
Regular bunker maintenance is essential in creating excellent playing conditions, and it also inhibits weeds from appearing in the sand. If bunkers are not routinely maintained, these weeds will soon cover the sand. Consequently, if the sand remains unrepaired, the bunkers’ conditions will seriously decline. Sand washouts can ultimately lead to sand contamination, and when this happens, it must be completely replaced – more work and more cost. The bunkers, too, will need to be rebuilt.
While debates about whether or not golf course maintenance can continue in specific areas by people outside of the supervisors’ control, it is vital for golfers to be aware that a stoppage in regularly caring for these golf courses due to the current pandemic will mean that they’ll have to wait even longer after COVID-19, as recovery will take time.