THE Malaysian Golf Association’s (MGA) announcement on Thursday that golf clubs were allowed to operate a reduced workforce for maintenance purposes was greeted with relief across the board.
This follows the Ministry of Housing and Local Government’s approval of an appeal from the national association to allow course maintenance operations during the present lockdown.
The MGA’s response to earlier inquiries from TeeUp as to what the MGA was doing to help alleviate the predicament of golf clubs, some of whom called for their workforce to be allowed to operate, even at 30% capacity in the face of the national lockdown, was that an appeal had been lodged with Government.
Several golf clubs expressed fears that they could incur costs that amount to tens of thousands of ringgit, if not millions, following the imposition the movement control order 3.0 that came into effect on Tuesday.
These untold of costs, the clubs said, would have come mainly from the deterioration of the golf courses themselves, given that work of any sort on the facilities was not permitted during this movement control order.
Prior to the national lockdown on Tuesday, which has been penciled in for two weeks, a work force of up 30% of their normal capacity was allowed at clubs in the districts and states most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, that restriction was revised on the grounds that golf did not fall under essential services, and thus no work operations of any sort were permitted.
This prompted some clubs to call for a review of the situation, pointing out that they stood to lose massively in the wake of no work being undertaken on the courses.
Saujana Golf & Country Club general manager S.A. Nathan said:
“We are pleased by the approval given to conduct maintenance work again. Our authorities must know that it would have been a costly exercise to recover the course if no maintenance was carried out during this lockdown.
“And that is why we urged them to allow at least 30% of the workforce for course maintenance. We will also ensure strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) are imposed during this period,” he added.
An administrator with more than three decades experience in the golf industry, Nathan added: “Courses need to be maintained daily with practices as outlined in the golf course maintenance programme. This is to avoid pests and diseases attacking the grasses of the greens, tee boxes and fairways, and allow for the general upkeep of the plant life and golf course.
“If this not allowed, it will become a very costly exercise to recover later,” he said.
Among the key areas of maintenance of golf courses are irrigation and water management systems, fertiliser programmes, sand bunker rejuvenation and the nurturing of the greens, which by nature are a delicate proposition to handle on the best of days.
Speaking TeeUp, MGA secretary, Datuk Zulkifli Ismail had earlier said: “We are aware of the pressing needs of golf clubs to continue with their maintenance works. And that is why we liaised with Ministry of Housing and Local Government to get the relevant approval for golf clubs to maintain their courses during the lockdown period.
“The details requested by the ministry to facilitate this
approval from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) were sent along with the course maintenance standard operating procedures (SOP) prepared by the Golf Club Managers Association of Malaysia (GCMAM).
“MGA is grateful for the assistance from all agencies, the National Security Council, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, as well as the industry stakeholders, golf clubs and GCMAM in compiling the data on course maintenance to facilitate the approval by MITI.”
For more info on applying for the permit via CIMS at https://notification.miti.gov.my call 012-2057969.