Play at different golf clubs around Johannesburg and South Africa, and you will realise that, condition-wise, it’s hard – if not impossible – to find courses that can top our own immaculate Firethorn and Bushwillow layouts. Simply put, considering it’s the end of the season, and not easy to maintain a golf course, the fairways and greens are superb. We are privileged to have such a wonderful place to play this great game.
But course care is still a problem. People often don’t fill their divots with the sand mix, rake the bunkers, or fix their pitch marks on the green. And carts can be destructive, if not driven with care and consideration. A minute taken to do these small tasks can save many frustrating hours of hard work by the greens staff to patch up the wear and tear and damage.
“Players should aim to leave the course after their rounds in as good a shape as they found it when they first teed off, or even better,” says Head Greenkeeper, Roger Innes. “Please fix those divots, on the green please repair your pitch mark and at least one other, and if you are worried about touching the bunker rakes because of Covid, then get one of those little ones that snugly fit into your golf bag for your personal use. If all this is done, we will have a more pleasing situation for players and course staff alike. Finding your golf ball in a divot or footprint in a bunker is no fun at all.”
”I do think the majority of our members are responsible and practice course etiquette, so thanks to them. But problem areas can be laziness, junior competitions, corporate golf days when participants may not adhere to proper course care, alcohol, and players coming down to the club for a quick nine late afternoon and, thinking that because it’s the end of the day, they don’t have to worry too much about doing little repairs, fail to do so.”
Roger says Randpark is looking at doing about 100,000 rounds this year (approximately 50,000 on each course), so popular has golf become as an activity that can take place in lockdown – especially at a quality venue like ours. “This huge footprint adds to the work and time needed to maintain the course. About 90,000 rounds would be ideal. But we’ve got 100,000 and we have to work with this number. So, we need all of us to play our part when it comes to course care.”
Roger also points that, according to research, a golf cart causes 17 times more wear and tear than one player’s footprint. “This means if you get four carts moving along a hole, it’s the same as 68 players. Therefore, it’s really important to drive carts carefully, and not to park them too close to the greens and more sensitive areas where they can cause damage.”
Roger has been at the club for 18 years, and between him and his dedicated staff, they have ensured that condition-wise, we have two splendid courses on which to make our birdies and bogeys. Let’s keep it this way!
Written by Randpark Member, Grant Winter