Grave concern about the survival of many of our sporting facilities and golf courses

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Australia’s peak turf management body has warned of multi-billion dollar damage to the nation’s sporting assets should staff be locked out of work because of Covid-19.

Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association chief executive Mark Unwin said his organisation was lobbying policy setters to include his staff as “essential” workers to minimise damage during – and expense after – the global pandemic.

“Specifically, we have expressed grave concern about the survival of many of our sporting facilities and golf courses should the country move to Alert Level 4 as (they have in) New Zealand, where there has been a complete lockout (of) maintenance operations,” Unwin said.

“This has major consequences for the industry.

“Should golf and sporting facilities not be maintained to at least a basic standard over a period, it is conservatively estimated that during such a lockdown, up to $5billion worth of sporting assets Australia-wide will be at significant risk within a week.

“The task of repatriating turf to current conditions may not be achievable. nor affordable for the greater number of clubs and councils.

“We are appealing to government that in the event of a full lockdown, exemptions be provided to allow staff at turf facilities (golf courses and other facilities) to tend to the maintenance of the course and/or surfaces during the lockdown period.

“It is our position that it is vital that turf managers be provided this exemption as once greens and playing surface infrastructure have rapidly declined, due to the costs associated and time requirements to repatriate facilities, too many facilities, clubs and courses around the country could be forced to close their doors for good.”

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