GCMA North West

BIGGA appeals to golf clubs to follow important guidance


Topdressing is not considered essential maintenance at this time

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton has moved to ask golf clubs and greenkeepers to consider their responsibilities to the wider industry and to the health of their staff if they disregard guidelines regarding essential maintenance during the period of current restrictions.

Following representation from the golf industry including BIGGA, the UK Government has permitted ‘essential maintenance’ to take place on golf courses so that they can be returned to a playable condition in a timely fashion when COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Following this announcement, BIGGA and The R&A worked to define what constitutes ‘essential maintenance’ and last week published a document that gave an indication of what work can take place.

The guidance is not intended to allow greenkeepers to maintain an immaculate playable course. Instead, it is intended to allow a level of maintenance that will enable the course to be returned into a playable condition very quickly, rather than the months it could take if no work was to take place for an extended period.

As the UK moves into summer, bringing warmer weather and increased growth, BIGGA and The R&A have pledged to revisit these guidelines on a regular basis for as long as restrictions remain in place.

However, it has come to BIGGA’s attention that some golf clubs are choosing to disregard these guidelines, even posting the work they’ve completed on social media, and BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton has moved to warn them of the potential consequences that could result.

Speaking on the Continue to Learn Extra: HR in the Coronavirus Crisis webinar, Jim said: “We feel very strongly that anyone who is flouting the essential maintenance guidelines should be brought to task. 

“Some golf clubs are putting staff members at risk by ignoring the guidance so we’re working with the other governing bodies in golf to ensure that the guidelines are adhered to.

“We’ve been asked whether we should be enforcing the situation, but as a members’ association we have no control over facilities. I’m hopeful that the rest of the sport will help us work with other clubs that are not playing by the rules, firstly for the safety of those involved and secondly because we are relatively privileged as a sport that the Government has allowed maintenance to continue. It hasn’t happened in other countries and I’m worried that permission could be removed if the Government perceives that the guidance is being abused.

“Every employer’s first duty of care is to its employees and if you are in an unsafe situation you should contact our HR Helpline for advice on how to proceed.”

For more information and guidance about COVID-19 and what BIGGA is doing to help its members, head to our COVID-19 Hub.

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