As of 11.59 pm on Wednesday 25 March, New Zealand will be at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
This means New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of your household. This is a major step for the country however eradicating this disease is vital to protect people’s health and ensure our health system can cope and look after New Zealanders who become sick.
The move to Alert Level 4 has major consequences for the golf sector. From Wednesday 25 March at 11.59pm, all operations at golf clubs must cease for at least four weeks.
This means all golf courses, practice facilities, clubhouses, pro shops, bar, function and catering facilities must now close. While this a major move for the country, the government is trying to save lives and we urge the golf sector to do all we can to play our part.
While there was some thought that on course solo golf activity might be able to continue, providing a controlled environment that is healthy and safe will simply not be possible for all golf courses and facilities.
Regarding the maintenance of golf clubs and facilities during the four-week shut down period, we are working with Sport NZ and the government to seek urgent and critical advice. We understand this advice may be at least 24 hours away.
Until formal advice to the contrary is received, we recommend the golf sector plans to proceed with a cautious approach during the shutdown period. We accept that if golf courses/facilities are not maintained to at least a basic standard over the next four weeks, the task of repatriating to current conditions may not be achievable nor affordable for a great number of clubs. With that in mind, we recommend:
If essential and critical maintenance of golf facilities is deemed necessary, it should only be undertaken in a strictly solo manner (i.e by an individual). During the undertaking of any essential maintenance, all recommended Ministry of Health hygiene practices must be followed, and strict social distancing must be maintained.
This recommendation may well need to be updated if the government issues further advice however for now, we recommend golf clubs/facilities proceed cautiously in this manner.
New Zealand Golf will continue to communicate any updates through our website, social platforms and via direct correspondence.
For clubs who wish to cease all maintenance activity during the shutdown period, the NZ Sports Turf Institute advise the following for the next 36 hours:
Priority one: Mow greens, tees and surrounds.
Priority two: Discontinue all fertiliser applications – even Poa will survive a month without fertiliser. Discontinue all planned renovations.
Priority three: If your greens are susceptible to Fusarium apply a systemic fungicide.
Priority four: If you have growth regulator (trinexapac-ethyl such as Trexel, Primo max) apply this to greens and collars.
Other Advice for Golf Clubs/Facilities
New Zealand Golf Operations
Essential New Zealand Golf services will remain in place over the next four weeks however our office is now closed and all events have been cancelled or postponed through until at least 10 May. Click Here to view more details.
Social Connection for Club Members
Many golfers rely on the social connection at their golf club as a normal and essential part of everyday life. Clubs might consider offering a telephone service where members, particularly elder members, can check in and connect.
COVID–19 Government Financial Support Package
If your golf club, facility or business has been adversely affected by COVID-19 you may be eligible for financial support.
The best source of information on the support available is at this link: https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/financial-support/
As a final thought, please look after yourselves and your families – life will return to normal but for now it’s home time. As a golf sector its important to be positive and all stay connected as much as we can. Golf will be important to so many New Zealanders once we emerge from this current crisis.
All the best to you all.
New Zealand Golf