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Turf maintenance exemption a relief

Masterton Bowling Club greenkeeper Warren Wyeth, pictured with his wife Judith, said it would take “a week or two” to get back on track. PHOTO/FILE

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The lifting of restrictions banning the maintenance of bowling greens and golf courses could save Wairarapa clubs thousands of dollars.

Under the Level Four lockdown, the covid-19 website’s list stated that, “Turf maintenance is not considered an essential service and should not be undertaken at this time”.

However, the government announced last Thursday that essential maintenance work at major stadia, golf courses and bowling greens could go ahead from Tuesday.

Masterton Bowling Club greenkeeper Warren Wyeth said the exemption has come at a crucial time.

“At this time of the year we’re normally doing our major maintenance,” he said. “The greens haven’t been mowed for three weeks.

“Fertilising and spraying for disease are also very important, and the spraying needs to be done, but I did get some fertiliser on before the lockdown.

“There will probably be some disease and it has probably put us behind by quite a bit.”

Although the lockdown has been a hindrance Wyeth said the dry summer created extra problems.

“We had quite a bit of damage with the water restrictions and that caused some major problems,” he said.

“The cotula [weed used on bowling greens] needs such a lot of water and with no water that caused quite a bit of damage and it will be a lot more work to get the greens right.

“We should be able to manage all right and it will take a week or two to get back on track, but the lifting of the restrictions will save us a lot of cost.”

Masterton Golf Club greenkeeper Rob Macklin was also pleased to get out on the club’s Lansdowne course. He said the greens had come through the past three weeks well.

“It’s looking good,” Macklin said. “I had to raise the mower heights a bit, but the greens have benefited from the break, because there was no golfing traffic.

“The greens were pretty dry because of the drought, and they’ve just been growing slowly out. I’m pretty much on top of it.”

Macklin said the rest of the course was looking good and was greening up slowly, and it should be in ideal condition for when the golfers were allowed out on the course again.

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