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‘Golf club staff have been working under significant pressure this past year – let common sense prevail’

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association are calling on golf clubs to consider the wellbeing of their staff during lockdown
 

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association are appealing to golf clubs to consider the mental health and wellbeing of staff with coronavirus lockdowns having shut courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

BIGGA, having reviewed the UK Government guidance and liaised with the All-Parliamentary Group for Golf and the R&A, have confirmed there are no limitations on maintenance activities that can be undertaken by teams at golf courses, driving ranges and other venues.

With England now in a lockdown that is expected to last until March, while courses in Scotland can remain open in a restricted capacity, and with Welsh and Northern Irish clubs in the grip of their own shutdown, BIGGA said clubs may choose to take advantage of the UK Government’s furlough scheme.

But, in a statement, they added: “BIGGA is asking facilities to consider the mental health and wellbeing of all staff, both those who have been under significant pressure to work with reduced staff levels for an extended period and those who have been asked to remain at home.

“Rotation of staff may be deemed appropriate, as is enabling all team members to take part in professional development opportunities, such as BIGGA’s Continue to Learn online education programme that is taking place during January.”

The association also urged golf clubs to use “common sense when assigning tasks to the greenkeeping team and reminds club managers of their responsibility to provide a Covid-safe working environment for all members of the team”.

Jim Croxton, BIGGA chief executive, said: “With widespread vaccinations taking place across the country, our hope is that this is the final hurdle and golf courses will take the opportunity presented by reduced playing levels to prepare their courses for what we hope will be a busy and prosperous summer season out on the fairways.

“In the meantime, the focus must be on safety and not putting anyone at risk. Course managers should have an awareness of what work is considered a priority during this period of the year and advise senior management as to these requirements, adjusting staffing levels to suit the needs of the golf facility and to ensure the continuing safety of the entire team.”

How is your course coping with the latest coronavirus lockdowns? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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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.

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