The mental strain on our greenkeepers during Covid-19

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association surveyed more than 200 of their members and found some concerning trends More than two thirds of greenkeepers have worried about their mental health or felt excessively stressed during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey has revealed. Conducted by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association, a quarter of respondents also believed the crisis would result in a permanent reduction in the size of their team, while 40% felt the traumas experienced in the last 12 months would change the way their courses operated forever. BIGGA spoke to 204 head greenkeepers, course managers and deputies from across the UK to find out the impact of Covid-19 on the workforce. They discovered that while the number of staff on furlough averaged two from May to September last year, and October to December, it rose to three from January. Just under 40% of those surveyed they would be brining back staff as soon as possible in preparation for golf’s return, while 18% said they will return will the game reopens. Worryingly for golf clubs, 68% of those asked said they had worried either sometimes (41%), frequently (20%), or constantly (7%) about their mental health, or felt excessively stressed, since the emergence of Covid-19 a year ago. Similar numbers (46% sometimes, 27% frequently, and 8% constantly) said they had been concerned for the mental wellbeing of a member of their team during the same period. Looking ahead, greenkeepers were split over the impact coronavirus would have on the budgets made available to them. Just under half, 48%, believed their budgets would decrease, while 43% believe there will be no difference. The remainder felt their budgets would increase. With the weather having wreaked havoc on courses over the last couple of months - the result of a cycle of above average rain combined with frost, snow and storms - only half of those surveyed said they had been able to achieve their renovation ambitions and improvements over the winter.
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