KEEP­ING THE GREEN GOLF COURSE MAIN­TE­NANCE JOB VA­RI­ETY

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES + SERVICES - Re­becca Isaacs

MOW­ING: Given the size of a golf course, part of the green will need mow­ing each day. At Kil­lara, Wood and his team mow the green to just 3.2mm. Other parts of the course — the sur­rounds and fair­ways, for ex­am­ple — are cut to a dif­fer­ent height. TOP DRESS­ING: A top dress­ing ma­chine is used to spread sand evenly over the sur­face of the green, cre­at­ing a car­pet-like feel. This is fol­lowed by broom­ing, which is done by hand. ROLLING: This is de­signed to con­sol­i­date the sur­face of the green to make it quicker and smoother for the day’s play. A roller is usu­ally around 300kg and keeps the grass com­pressed for up to 12 hours. Af­ter that the green lifts back up. At Kil­lara, Wood and his team roll the green a cou­ple of times per week. KEEN golfers rely on groundskeep­ers to keep their beloved greens pris­tine.

“Ba­si­cally we are in the cus­tomer ser­vice game,” said Loren Wood, grounds man­ager at Kil­lara Golf Course.

“We ser­vice the grounds to the mem­bers’ needs. Kil­lara is quite an af­flu­ent club so ex­pec­ta­tions are high.”

There is a lot of work to keep Wood’s team of 16 go­ing.

“The trade is very broad. You’ve got ev­ery­thing from cut­ting and rolling the lawn to main­tain­ing the bunkers. Any­thing in­side the fence is our re­spon­si­bil­ity – the trees, gar­dens, grass, path­ways, con­crete sur­faces, and carparks.”

Days start early – think 6am – and week­end shifts are the norm.

There is also some se­ri­ous science in­volved.

Take the struc­ture of sand in the bunkers, for ex­am­ple.

“We have to use sand with ir­reg­u­lar par­ti­cles,” Wood ex­plained.

“This cre­ates a firm sur­face that stops balls from sink­ing.”

They also have to know the science be­hind grass growth.

Green­keep­ers have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally un­friendly but Wood said that was an un­fair as­sump­tion.

“”With pests and dis­eases for ex­am­ple, we try to use bi­o­log­i­cal con­trols rather than old fash­ioned chem­i­cals that knock out a lot of species at once,” he said.

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