We spoke to Ryan Golding, Head Groundsman at Leeds Rhinos RLFC 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?
It's affected work greatly as it's now just me. There is a very high number of our club (as a whole and my team) who have been furloughed. It means it is just me, so I have to do quite a bit of planning and have had get back on the tools - which has been really enjoyable.
What are the major changes you've implemented?
As I am working solo, I'm having to plan cleverly. This has meant not taking on too many tasks per day and I must be smart with the weather and the tasks I am completing. The Stadium went through a tough winter weather-wise, so we need to get the grass cover and density back. However, I actually think that might turn out to be a negative; I don't want to be creating a dense lush cover which promotes a thatch layer - I want to keep it as clean and open as possible. It is a very different way of thinking, but it's enjoyable and challenging - although the circumstances are obviously sad.
Do you think there will be any long-term implications?
Yes. I think there could be people who are going to have to do things a little different to what they are used to. We are going to have to diversify what we know; whether that is going back to basic groundsmanship, or going back to your ABC's with aeration, root growth, not relying on a stable surface and relying hundred percent on having that renovation etc. There is going to be financial implications for everybody, and I think we are going to have to be quite clever and intelligent in what we are doing as an industry.