We spoke to Mark Crossley, Course Manager at Prestbury Golf Club to find out how they have adapted their working practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How is COVID-19 affecting the way that you work?
We are social distancing and using the clubhouse for our lunch breaks, which allows us to sit in a bigger room - rather than being sat in our usual small mess facility.
What are the major changes you've implemented?
We have adopted 'a one machine, one-person' situation. If one of the team is cutting rough, that's their job for the day - same with greens and fairways etc. The machines are also wiped down, prior to and after use, with anti-bacterial wipes.
Are you working with a reduced team during this time?
Half my team are in - so I have four of the lads instead of the usual eight. The remaining lads have been furloughed, which was not an easy decision! I had to select the most rounded team members who I thought could carry out the job, no matter how long this lasts for.
Do you think there will be any long-term implications?
I think so unfortunately. I can see a percentage of golf clubs closing after this. After a hot summer in 2019, followed by a terrible winter - even if we were open, we had terrible playing conditions and many courses had closures. Then, just as the weather improves going into spring and we enter the playing season, lockdown happened. I think clubs that where struggling anyway, might fold unfortunately. Hopefully, that could strengthen other surrounding clubs. Greenkeepers being out of work is my main concern.