Fitting Tribute to Golf Course Management Professionals

Singapore: As a healthy outdoor activity that can adhere to social distancing requirements, golf has seen a worldwide resurgence in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On September 23, the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF), in conjunction with other global superintendent and turf management organisations, is recognising those who help keep the game going enjoyable with the first international ‘Thank a Superintendent Day’, encouraging all those who love golf to thank their course’s turf management professionals.

In addition to the AGIF, other groups taking part in the global event include the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA), British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA) and many others.

Together the groups represent more than 31,000 golf course management professionals in 78 countries around the world.

The celebration on September 23 will include a ‘Thank You’ video that will appear on the Golf Channel and other media outlets, and social media messages touting the many ways that superintendents and their teams make the game more enjoyable, diverse and sustainable.

Clubs, members and others are encouraged to join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags #ThankASuper or #ThankAGreenkeeper depending on their country’s nomenclature.

“We are proud to join with our fellow associations around the world by encouraging those who love golf and appreciate the work superintendents and their teams do to send a message, to reach out on social media and #ThankASuper,” said Eric Lynge, Chief Executive Officer of the AGIF.

It was three years ago that the Federation launched the Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG), in partnership with the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI) and with backing from The R&A.

“The CIG was launched with the specific aim of improving the professional knowledge of greenkeeping staff and providing an educational framework for the golf greenkeeping industry in the region. This has enabled greenkeepers across Asia to develop their careers and gain certification,” said Lynge.

The CIG programme focuses on the core knowledge and skills required to operate safely and efficiently as a greenkeeper on a golf course, and in a way that protects the turf, prevents damage to the reputation of the course and improves productivity. The CIG is a 12-month programme with five modules.

To date, the courses have attracted students from China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand with 18 individuals completing the programme. Currently, 31 are part way through and a further 30 waiting to sign up.

Since the success of the inaugural CIG undertaking, further courses have been held in Thailand and Malaysia. Staging of the latest modules is set to resume in the coming months as the imposition of travel restrictions and size of gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic are eased.

“Faced with a range of challenges due to the pandemic, turf professionals across our region have played a key role in developing and maintaining the safety protocols that allow golfers to engage in their favourite activity while adhering to regulations and restrictions,” said Lynge.

Richard Walne, President of the AGIF, added that course management teams are continually striving to keep playing surfaces healthy and beautiful with environmental stewardship as a primary focus.

Walne said: “Thanks to the efforts of many superintendents and the golf industry, courses are using less water, engaging in incredible bio-diversity activities, employing sustainable management practices and developing green corridors allowing natural wildlife habitats to be incorporated into the environment of courses.

“Golf has been a refuge for many during the past few months, so we are taking a day to recognise the hard-working teams, the men and women who work behind the scenes to make the golf course an ideal opportunity for healthy activity right now.”

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