Greenskeepers beg for dispensation during Covid-19 lockdown to protect their turf

With many sporting turfs left unattended throughout the nationwide Level 4 coronavirus lockdown, local clubs from both the lawn bowls and golfing communities are calling for an exemption for their greenskeepers to return to work.

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Clubs are calling to allow their green keepers to be able to work one day a week. Source: 1 NEWS

With bowling greens being comprised of weeds, they require around-the-clock maintenance involving regular mowing and spraying.

Bowls New Zealand has petitioned the Government to allow a club greenskeeper to work alone, once a week, to spray and mow the green.

Mark Cameron, Bowls NZ CEO, believes the special dispensation could save his organisation millions of dollars.

"All we're really saying here is if the powers that be can grant us this concession, it will save us millions of dollars.

"When we’re sitting on 500 bowling clubs, even if it was just $5000 each, there’s $2.5 million that we’re going to have to figure out how we can get back into the bowls community.”

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They fear their golf courses may never recover. Source: 1 NEWS

With 20 years of greenskeeping experience under his belt, Des Cotter of the Takapuna Bowls Club provided a rather blunt and grim outlook on the survival of lawn bowls greens around the country.

"Without spraying and without mowing, you will lose your green."

As local grants are being slashed, clubs are facing the prospect of financial ruin and there are growing concerns that a disappearance of local bowls clubs will leave a social void needing to be filled.

Cameron emphasised the importance of local bowls clubs for some elderly citizens around the country.

"Stan - who’s 73 years of age, not working now the family have left home, etcetera - the bowling club was his refuge, and [if] we take that away we really isolate him from our communities and it's a real danger."