fbpx
coronavirus

The biggest challenge facing golf this summer?

BIGGA have warned clubs to expect the coming months to be more hectic than what followed the first lockdown
 

The levels of play produced by golfers flocking to courses after coronavirus lockdowns ease may present a “fairly major challenge” for 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 those levels were likely to be “significantly ahead” of where they would normally be in March and April – as players make up for lost time when three months of closure come to an end in England on March 29.

Golf resumed in Wales last week, as fourballs returned in Scotland. Irish clubs are hoping to open the doors next month.

Croxton said the number of rounds played per month in the early spring usually averaged out at around a couple of thousand per course over the last five years.

But last May, when the first Covid shutdown was eased and golf clubs reopened, that figure nearly doubled as players understandably rushed to courses and it rose further through the summer. Pundits have widely predicted a similar wave of enthusiasm when the padlocks come off this time.

“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.

“That, actually, 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 as well.”

Croxton used the analogy of a three-legged stool and a glass of water – representing the balance between the amount of play that’s 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 get 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 your industry, and I guess 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, I guess, in terms of whether or not there is actual tee availability on certain days when all these guys and girls want to play golf. But, actually, maintaining the three legs of that stool is the biggest challenge.

“Certainly, from our aspect, in terms of what’s going on: particularly on the back of a very wet winter in lots of places, reduced maintenance staff at lots of clubs – not every club, but reduced numbers. 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

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

LIV Golf Greg Norman

LIV Golf

LIV Golf chief Greg Norman ‘open-minded’ about switch to 72 holes

By

Read full article about LIV Golf chief Greg Norman ‘open-minded’ about switch to 72 holes
club membership

The NCG Podcast

Golf club membership in England continues to rise

By

Read full article about Golf club membership in England continues to rise
golf online betting

The New Frontier in Golf: Online Betting’s Role in Revolutionizing the Game

By

Read full article about The New Frontier in Golf: Online Betting’s Role in Revolutionizing the Game
Zurich Classic golf betting tips

Golf Betting Tips – Zurich Classic, LIV Adelaide and more…

By

Read full article about Golf Betting Tips – Zurich Classic, LIV Adelaide and more…
Shiels Biom C4

Introducing Rick Shiels’ Edition Biom C4

By

Read full article about Introducing Rick Shiels’ Edition Biom C4

Short game

Get Up And Down More With The Bump And Run

By

Read full article about Get Up And Down More With The Bump And Run
most popular golf balls RBC Heritage

Buying Guides

The most successful golf balls at The RBC Heritage

By

Read full article about The most successful golf balls at The RBC Heritage
rory mcilroy pga tour board

PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy set to make shock return to PGA Tour Policy Board

By

Read full article about Rory McIlroy set to make shock return to PGA Tour Policy Board
tiger woods tgl

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods names PGA Tour stars joining his TGL Golf team in 2025

By

Read full article about Tiger Woods names PGA Tour stars joining his TGL Golf team in 2025