Greenkeepers across the county have been busy. They spent two months preparing courses during the lockdown and since the reopening they have been working hard as golfers have filled every available timeslot. Monkstown has been in high demand and Captain Shane Horgan has been delighted with the results from the hard work put in by the greenkeeping team. “The course has been in amazing condition since re-opening and it has been getting really positive reviews from members” said Horgan. “It’s in as good a condition as I have ever seen it. We’re really lucky to have an exceptional course staff, led by Martin Travers, who has been with the Club for over 30 years, and they have done an amazing job to keep the course in magnificent shape both during the period of closure for the lockdown and since re-opening.”
With limited access in the opening phase, members tee times were at a premium. Government guidelines meant that additional time was needed between each group, restricting the total amount who could play. “The planning for the re-opening of the course was difficult, particularly in relation to considering the demand for tee times. As it transpired, that demand from members was really strong. Over the first six weeks of re-opening we reviewed the demand on a week to week basis and adjusted the timesheets accordingly each week.”
Almost 550 members played that first week but with many members working from home or off, demand still exceeded the available time and Shane explained how they worked to maximise the tee times for members. “We felt that introducing front nine and back nine timesheet options would provide some additional flexibility. As a result from week two onwards we introduced 9 hole timesheets on both the front and back nines on Mondays and Thursdays and this has received really positive feedback. Additionally, to try and ensure all members had a fair chance to get access to the course, we also implemented a limit on the number of rounds a member could play in a week. Tee times were set at 14 minute intervals. That seems to have been very popular with members and it’s interesting that the pace of play has been great, with 4 balls typically completing their rounds in under 3½ hours. We’re trying to take that on board going forward – the most recent guidance issued by the GUI and ILGU in recent days now permits minimum intervals of 9 minutes for 3 balls and 10 minutes for 4 balls. We have opted for 10 minute intervals for 3 balls and 12 minute intervals for 4 balls to try and give members the best possible experience.” Despite the slow start to the season, Monkstown is now in great shape for the busy summer.