As a healthy outdoor activity that can adhere to social distancing, golf has seen a worldwide resurgence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sept. 23, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI), in conjunction with other global Greenkeeper Association groups, is recognizing those who help keep the game going and enjoyable with “Thank a Greenkeeper Day,” encouraging all those who love golf to thank their course’s greenkeepers.
In addition to GCSAI and the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA), other groups taking part in the global event include the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA), the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). All together, the groups represent more than 31,000 golf course management professionals in 78 countries around the world.
The celebration on Sept. 23 will include a commercial that will begin rotation on the Golf Channel and other media outlets, and social media messages touting the many ways that superintendents/greenkeepers make the game more enjoyable and sustainable. Golfers and others are encouraged to join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags “#ThankASuper” or “#ThankAGreenkeeper depending on their country’s terminology.
As courses reopened after the early months of the crisis, the demand for golf was clear. In the United States, golf rounds in June and July were up as much as 20% over the same time period in 2019, and in many parts of Europe, July rounds were up to as much as 40% – 60% over last year.
In addition to dealing with new pandemic procedures, greenkeepers continually strive to keep Irish golf courses healthy and playable with environmental stewardship as a primary focus. Thanks to the overall efforts of the golf industry, golf courses are using less water, employing sustainable management practices and expanding natural wildlife habitats on courses.
Damian Mc Laverty of GCSAI commented; “Thankfully over the last few months thousands of new people here in Ireland have had the chance to experience the health and social benefits golf can bring. Golf has been a major outlet, giving some normality to people’s lives during the pandemic.
“Irish greenkeepers worked hard through the lockdown insuring our courses were successfully opened when restrictions lifted. Greenkeepers have played a critical role for our sport in the last few months, it is therefore fitting we are taking a day to recognize this. GCSAI are proud to join the many associations around the world by encouraging those who love golf and appreciate the work done by our dedicated greenkeepers to share their thoughts on social media to #ThankAGreenkeeper”
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