Just over one week in to the nationwide lockdown and greenskeepers across New Zealand are desperate to get back to work.
Deemed not essential workers, they fear if they’re not allowed to care for their golf courses, some might never recover.
“Even if they got back in to it tomorrow, it’d still probably take them two to three weeks to get back to the condition they had ten days ago,” St Clair golf pro Patrick Moore says.
Already one week in to the lockdown and several greens are already starting to show signs of fungal disease in Dunedin.
“This year is a renown period for turf disease and there’s probably two or three different types of fungi out there at the moment,” Otago Golf Club superintendent Craig Parata says.
“There’ll be some courses around the country where the greens will just go and they may never get them back,” says Moore.
New Zealand Golf has applied to the government for a special exemption, to allow greenskeepers to carry out basic maintenance during lockdown.
Former NZ Golf Pro Greg Turner, says it’s a must.
“The threat level in terms of what we’re trying to do in lockdown is virtually zero…whereas the consequences of not doing anything are pretty significant,” he says.
If no maintenance is carried out, the costs to restore several courses, he says could range in the millions.
“We know with a lot of golf courses around New Zealand, they’re on pretty tenuous turf economically, so that could spell the death of them,” Turner says.
A decision on whether they’ll be allowed to operate during lockdown, is expected in the coming days.