Horowhenua golf clubs have joined a nationwide chorus of greenkeepers warning that clubs could go belly up unless greens are urgently attended to while New Zealand is in Covid-19 lockdown.
Otaki, Levin Foxton and Shannon golf club bosses are urging the Government to make allowances for greenkeepers to get on course to save greens estimated to be worth as much as $70,000 apiece.
Otaki Golf Club course superintendent Jamie Lamplough said time was ticking and a decision needed to be made soon before the damage was irreversible.
"This could be catastrophic for some clubs. They could close their doors," he said.
Lamplough said the cost of replacing a golf green was huge and would have massive financial implications for some clubs if the greens were not regularly mown, and mown soon.
"The greens are the biggest concern. I've got 18 children. That's how greenkeepers feel about their greens," he said.
To replace the greens to an acceptable standard could cost as much as $70,000 - each. That could be a replacement cost of almost $1.5million, taking into account seed, labour, drainage
Once the grass was sewn, it could take as long as seven months for a green to play to the standard of an existing one after an intense period of base construction, sewing, fertilising and dusting.
"To get these greens back to what they were - the labour content is massive and most clubs won't be able to afford it," he said.
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Most greens were mown to a height between 2.5mm and 3mm, but if the crown was allowed to reach a height of 10-15mm, the damage could be irreversible.
Lamplough said there was a contradiction as local authorities were able to maintain sports fields, which he said were a different type of grass and would recover more quickly.
It made sense for a greenkeeper to be allowed to unlock the shed, access equipment, and go about their work in a hugely spacious area.
"You couldn't be more isolated," he said.
Levin Golf Club president Ivan Franklin said their greens needed mowing twice a week and said they would be ruined by the greenkeeper lockout.
They had been affected by a grass grub this season, which had been sprayed, but left unattended and allowed to return, it would kill the greens at root level.
"One man on a tractor out in the open isn't going to affect anyone else. We've got farms on both sides," he said.
"It just needs some common sense. The powers that be are probably not golfers and don't realise the implications."
"If the Government makes up their mind soon we might all be able to save them."
Franklin said a decision needed to be made soon otherwise clubs and courses would collapse.
Foxton Golf Club's Baz Woodcock said he hoped greenkeepers could be put in the same bracket as farmers and join the list of essential workers.
Woodcock feared for the sport if a decision wasn't made soon as he felt some clubs would be forced to fold.
"Courses will turn into paddocks and will be very, very difficult to get them back again," he said.
Buckley Golf Course in Shannon had sheep to mow their fairways and fenced off their greens, but they wanted an urgent decision to be made.
Club secretary Bernie Wildbore said their greens were kept up to date through voluntary work and hoped that would be allowed to continue in a controlled and common sense way during the lockdown.
"There is no-one else out there. It is isolated and quite safe," he said.