As a healthy outdoor activity that can adhere to social distancing requirements, golf has seen a worldwide resurgence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 23 September 2020, the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA) in conjunction with other global superintendent and turf management organisations, is recognising those who help keep the game going enjoyable with the first international “Thank a Superintendent Day” encouraging all those who love golf to thank their course’s turf management professionals.
In addition to the ASTMA, other groups taking part in the global event include the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) and The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA). All together the groups represent more than 31,000 golf course management professionals in 78 countries around the world.
The celebration on 23 September will include a “Thank You” video that will appear on the Golf Channel and other media outlets, and social media messages touting the many ways that superintendents and their teams make the game more enjoyable, diverse and sustainable. Clubs, members and others are encouraged to join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags “#ThankASuper” or “#ThankAGreenkeeper” depending on their country’s nomenclature.
“Course management teams work hard each and every day to prepare and manage the outstanding playing conditions that Australian courses are renowned for,” says Mark Unwin, chief executive of the ASTMA. “Faced with a range of challenges due to the pandemic, these turf professionals have played a key role in developing and maintaining the safety protocols that allow golfers to engage in their favourite activity while adhering to regulations and restrictions.”
As courses reopened after the early months of COVID-19 restrictions, the demand for golf was clear. In Australia, early indications are that rounds in June and July were up as much as 30 per cent over the same time period last year, around 20 per cent up in the United States and in the United Kingdom July rounds were up 40 per cent over last year.
In addition to dealing with new regulations, course management teams continually strive to keep playing surfaces healthy and beautiful with environmental stewardship as a primary focus. Thanks to the efforts of many superintendents and the golf industry, courses are using less water, engaging in incredible biodiversity activities, employing sustainable management practices and developing green corridors allowing natural wildlife habitats to be incorporated into the environment of courses.
“Golf has been a refuge for many during the past few months, so we are taking a day to recognise the hard-working teams, the men and women who work behind the scenes to
make the golf course an ideal opportunity for healthy activity right now,” says Unwin. “We are proud to join with our fellow associations around the world by encouraging those who love golf and appreciate the work superintendents and their teams do to send a message, to reach out on social media and #ThankASuper.”
To learn more about the ASTMA and the role sports turf managers play in the enjoyment and sustainability of the game, visit www.agcsa.com.au