By Alistair Collier | The Business of Golf Magazine

Dear Club Manager, Director of Golf, Course Superintendent: Why not, on Tuesday 12th September, together with organisations such as the PGA, the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA), the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) and the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA) along with the several chapters of the South African Turfgrass association (TGMASA), participate in the international “Thank A Greenkeeper Day”? It is an opportune moment, to help remind us that without our greenkeepers, there simply is no golf, and it comes at the start of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere.

This is when many courses have undergone significant work to their fairways, greens etc., aerating, seeding and hollow tinning them, to protect against the anticipated increases in traffic and any long-term conditioning issues. The day is designed to celebrate the hard work of all greenkeepers, who wake up at the most antisocial hours week after week to create magical playing surfaces, by showcasing their attention to detail, craft and expertise, while also showcasing the career opportunities within the greenkeeping industry as a whole.

Golf is unique, in that it is one of the few sports with such radically different playing arenas, and courses are always facing adversity in some form or another. Mother nature dictates so many of the challenges that face course managers

around the world, from deluges of rain, harsh winters and droughts, infestations, broken equipment, and the inevitable challenges of recruitment and retaining talent. However, often in the face of persistent adversity, greenkeepers continually strive to keep the game’s playing areas healthy and beautiful, with environmental stewardship as a primary focus. According to recent research carried out by the John Collier Annual Survey, thanks to the overall efforts of the golf industry, golf courses are using less water, employing sustainable
management practices, and expanding natural wildlife habitats on courses.

“Thank A Greenkeeper Day” happens just once a year, but it takes a year-round effort to keep golf courses playable and in top notch condition. With this in mind, please don’t be afraid to say thanks to your greenkeepers. It takes a lot to be a greenkeeper, so make the time to thank them whenever you have the chance, rather than just on the 12th of september.

There are approximately 414 golf courses in South Africa (source TOP 100 Courses in SA), each employing greenkeeping staff to look after the courses, and whether they are at our most prestigious and top ranked courses, or work at the local municipal, the greenkeeping staff all have a sense of pride in their work. Perhaps the next time you are disappointed
in the amount of sand in the greenside bunker, or looking for an excuse, when your putt finishes a few inches short of the cup, you’ll find something other than the greenkeeper to blame! Yours in sustainable golf – John Collier

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email or visit the John Collier Golf website at