It’s been a tough few months for the Murrumbidgee Country Club, but there is hope that the golf course will be back to normal by October.
At the moment, half the putting greens are out of action after greens staff inadvertently applied a poisonous chemical to nine of the greens.
Club general manager Ray Duncan says it was hoped the grass would recover.
“We consulted a number of experts from the chemical companies about a rectification process. We thought we had saved it.”
But a heavy downpour dispelled this initial optimism and it was decided to re-sow the greens and undertake measures to assist the germination process.
“We have over-sowed a couple of times and applied a growth cloth,” says Ray.
During this process, the Club continues to operate normally by using temporary greens on the nine affected holes.
The club has steadily increased membership by around 5 per cent annually for the last couple of years, and the club hopes it can maintain these levels given the damage to the greens.
According to the club, there has been a surge in interest in golf, which is thought to be to some extent generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Membership currently stands at around 950 playing members and 100 social members.
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It hasn’t been totally smooth running, though. Several events, including the two-day Murrumbidgee Open, have been cancelled.
“The members have been really understanding,” says Ray, “There have been a few who have been disgruntled. Ninety-eight per cent, though, realised it was a mistake and understand that things will return to normal around October.”
Ray is confident these public comments will help dispel rumours circulating about the club’s future, with some going as far as suggesting the course could close.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Ray says.
“Not only have affected greens been re-sown, but we are also making some exciting improvements by transitioning the course fairways to couch grass, resulting in significant water savings. And we have a bunker renovation plan and cart path upgrades that will greatly improve the course over the next 12 months.
“These initiatives, in combination with the return of the greens in Spring, will have the course starting to realise its potential.”
Ray says while it was a shock when the accident happened, there is now optimism that by October the course will be back in full swing with a focus on the future.