By Paul Vardy
WE see Covid-19 related lockdowns having a major impact on lives and livelihoods as governments try to contain the spread of the virus.
Amongst golf clubs and facilities, an ever-changing patchwork of rule changes in a climate of strong demand for golf, is causing a level of frustration.
Rules, such as allowing golf in twos, for those within 5kms or 10kms travel zones, whilst better than no golf at all in other locations, creates a visible form of haves and have-nots amongst members.
Whilst most members can see the greater context and know this will pass, there are plenty of reported cases of members taking out their frustrations on the board, management or staff.
Whether the club’s administrators agree with the government mandates or not is of little consequence. A club administration carries the ultimate responsibilities and so must comply.
Holding steady amongst the challenges is important.
Churning out or burning out people involved in running the show is not only personally damaging but it serves no purpose in the current climate.
Volunteer boards are doing their best in unprecedented times.
Managers are on constant stand-by for changes, knowing they must minimise costs while holding on to their staff in order to be ready for the times ahead.
Goodwill and support has to be the order of the day so that member services are ready to resume at short notice.
There are things in our favour. With the spring growing season just around the corner, we can expect nature to assist in bringing courses back to good condition.
The extra daylight will ease the pressure on tee times and the warmth will offer outdoor options.
But expectations will need to be in check.
Clubs that typically top-up with qualified seasonal course workers will be doing without this season.
On the hospitality front, it’s a similar tale with a shortage of qualified and unqualified staff.
The hospitality industry has been rocked with workers leaving in their thousands due to uncertainty related to capacity restrictions, lockdowns and venue closures.
In the US, a study released in July suggests a third will never return.
The huge exodus of 457 visa workers in various employments in 2020 left Australia high and dry and now we can’t get them back.
It’s important to hold on to the talent in the club.
So the simple message is, despite the current challenges it’s important for clubs to be prepared for a resumption of services.
Golf clubs can be a haven away from the troubles of the world but support and a little extra patience will be needed along the way – and in this everyone can play their part.