Greenkeeper Diaries: Sweetwoods Park
Name: Allan Tait
Club: Sweetwoods Park
Position: Course manager
What projects do you have coming up?
It’s a bit of a mix this year. There are a few bunker renovations and some pathway updates. We are undecided as to whether we are doing another tee.
What don’t golfers understand about your role?
It’s more of a science than they imagine. It used to be an art but, the way that technology has moved on it is very much a science now.
If you don’t embrace that, you are going to fall behind pretty quickly. I am more of a tech head than the old school and, if you embrace it, you certainly see the rewards. Members have got to get out of the thought that we are just grass cutters.
If you could ask golfers to do one thing, what would it be?
The obvious one is to take responsibility for your damage on the course. If you make a divot, put it back. If you create a pitch mark, repair it.
We don’t ask a lot of golfers we tend to do it all for them but a very basic knowledge can make a big difference.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It’s working in the outdoors, in the sunshine, in the summer. January and February are the two worst months of the year but you can either work in an office or you can’t. I couldn’t. Being outside’s a treat.
How has the job changed since you have been in the profession?
I have been in it for 15 years and technology has obviously come on – the quality of the mowers. There’s more education. There’s more science now and people are embracing that.
The more we learn about it the better it will become. What we have to do is help the golfers understand that and be educated as well.
What challenges will you face with new pesticide rules?
The demands for pristine surfaces through the winter won’t be attainable and (golfers) will have to accept some disease at some point. I think for some poorer clubs, who rely on winter, it’s going to be a massive issue.
If you can’t play on a fairway that’s a mud pit what are you going to do? It’s an interesting and scary time.
We are sorting out other things but I am genuinely worried about what to expect next winter.