International “Thank a Greenkeeper Day”

Sep 25, 2020 | Info Brief

Dear Club Manager, Director of Golf, Course Superintendent,

Wednesday 23 September is International “Thank a Greenkeeper Day”.

This will provide the opportunity to make special acknowledgement of the work that your greenkeeper and his team do every day at your golf course. Greenkeepers and their teams are the unsung heroes of golf. They go quietly about their business, usually unobtrusively, at generally unsociable hours and definitely in all kinds of weather. The scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant regulations enforcing various levels of the lockdowns have made the job of the greenkeeper even more complex.

A greenkeeper’s primary focus is to nurture thegolf course in terms of environmental stewardship.

For example, your golf course provides an abundance of habitats for wildlife and contributes significantly to biodiversity. In addition, water is a precious commodity and there is no one more aware of the importance of careful management of your club’s water resources than your greenkeeper and staff.

Many golfers are quick to criticise their greenkeeper. The criticism is either direct or indirect and for various reasons such as the bunkers not being ‘up to standard’, or the greens playing too hard, or the rough being too punishing. However, as a golfer and having paid your green fee, stop for a moment, and do the maths with the goal of understanding whether your greenkeeper has the financial resources or management support to meet your expectations.

Equally, greenkeepers need to become more proactive in the process of educating members about what is required to manage their golf course effectively and sustainably. The more knowledge golfers have about their golf course, the more understanding they will have for the challenges faced by their greenkeepers. Through this approach, greenkeepers can become agents for change and help to encourage their governing body, management team, and their club’s golfers to be more aware of the importance of the environmental stewardship of their golf course.

These processes will take time and commitment. However, there are two quick and easy interventions, both of which can help to get your greenkeeper and your club on the road to effective environmental stewardship. Management should make it mandatory, along with the necessary financial provision, for your greenkeeper to be a member of the local Turfgrass Management Association, at the least, and for your greenkeeper to be an integral part of completing and submitting, the annual John Collier Good Governance and Environmental Compliance Questionnaire.

Yours in Sustainable Golf,

John Collier