There is ‘some good’ amidst all this bad

THE Covid-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc cross the globe, and continues to do so unabated.

But the time of lockdown has also allowed golf courses and nurseries, even those operating with just 30% staff of normal capacity, the time to rejuvenate and in some cases, come into full bloom.

Of the more than 20-odd golf clubs and related establishments TeeUp spoke to this week, all said they had elevated the condition of their properties by several notches in the time there has been with no player traffic.

“Of course, the closure of the course to players has hurt the financial side of operations,” said one general manager from the Klang Valley, just as any other business would be.

“But we fully respect the efforts being made by everybody concerned to try and help curb the spread of the Coronavirus and we will continue to support this.

“What the lockdown has also done though, is allow us to get more out of our own efforts to improve the condition of the golf course,” he added.

Following are excerpts from the interviews conducted with some of the representatives of the golf clubs:

Forest City International Golf Resort

Management , Malaysia & Singapore

DESPITE the loss of money-making in these difficult times, there is still a bright side to the lockdowns for golf clubs and courses.

The greens, like all the plant life on a golf course, are a living organisms, so we need to regularly maintain them by providing enough nutrients, trimming and watering.

And the absence of wear and tear from daily use means the greens are in great condition. The zero-patron period has been great for maintenance works to revitalise the greens and other areas of the course, such as bunkers and irrigation systems.

But we would still love to see the players return. Golf is a safe activity with physical distancing as it is a contactless sport and with a maximum of four people playing together in a flight they can measure 100m or more apart at any one time.

Golf is also a moderate level physical activity. Regardless of age, it has a positive health effect – boosting among other things, mobility and fitness. We are truly hoping that things get better and we are looking forward to get up and running again once the situation allows.

Gunung Raya Golf Resort

Pei Ling, Senior Executive, Sales & Marketing

OUR Gunung Raya Golf Resort features is an 18-holes international-standard golf course spread over some 300 acres of former rubber plantation land.

When play is allowed to resume again, and in light of the on-going maintenance and recent improvements, golfers will be able to enjoy an exciting game with the scenic backdrop of the valley of Gunung Raya, access to leisure areas like the Club Cafe, a patio overlooking the golf course, as well as other facilities.

And as part of our golf course cultural practices, we have just completed green renovations to get the putting surfaces in real healthy condition, and in the process provide good green speeds and a true roll.

We pride ourselves on allowing the player to get the most out of their golfing experience here – where sport and nature come together in a perfect blend.

With our continued maintenance work and operations on-course during the lockdowns, despite this being reduced to 30% from full capacity, we have been able to present a course that is top-class.

Templer Park Country Club

Datuk Manibalan Kutty , Director

WITHOUT the player traffic due to the lockdown, the state of the golf course has been uplifted significantly. The club has had sufficient time to do the normal culture practice like hollow-tining and verticut that enhance the condition of the green.

We also took advantage of the situation to further improve the drainage system on the fairways and getting rid of wild grasses.

So, I must say that the golf course is in good condition and that all divots have been fully covered by turf.

We were worried that with no work possible during this lockdown, it would have damaged the golf course. But we are happy now that maintenance operations have been allowed to continue.

Golf course maintenance is not like a restaurant or office where you can just close and come back in 14 days to reopen. We are dealing with living grasses that need daily attention, in some cases.

We need people to monitor the situation constantly and make sure there are sufficient nutrients, sunlight and water for the grass to stay healthy.

Palm Garden Golf Club

Terence Lee , Assistant General Manager

The current course condition is good as we have been able to organise and manage our field department team to work on major areas that needed special attention.

Some of the areas that we focused on were the greens, tee boxes, hollow-tining fairways and repairing sap soil.

The golf course irrigation is also important, more so with the current warm season. If the grass does not receive adequate water, large areas can quickly die. Depending on the length of time without water, complete turf loss can occur.

Our routine bunker maintenance is done so as to create good playing conditions. Of course, if the bunkers are not maintained, weeds will eventually take over and cover the sand. Unmaintained bunkers are also vulnerable to serious decline from soil erosion if they remain un-repaired.

The pros and cons of a situation are like this is: a) The club can take the opportunity to do much cultural practice and maintenance on the golf course, and b) Without golfers coming to play the club’s revenue is badly affected.

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