Thanks to Mike Yorston, Golf Course Superintendent Russley Golf Club Christchurch New Zealand for these fantastic pictures of the course. Russley Golf Club, like all New Zealand golf clubs was impacted when New Zealand announced level 4 lockdown due to COVID-19 on 25 March 2020. The government enforced lockdown stated that staff were unable to access any golf courses throughout New Zealand for maintenance for a period of 4 weeks.

After 17 days, this decision was reviewed and 20 days following the lockdown staff were granted approval to access golf courses throughout New Zealand for maintenance.

‘It was such a relief when the government announced that golf clubs were able to access their course for maintenance on Friday 10 April’ Mike Yorston, Golf Course Superintendent Russely Golf Club. ’The golf course maintenance team hit the ground running on Tuesday 14 April with the main focus on getting everything cut.  We are fortunate to have the machinery and staffing level to be able to cut everything (apart from the rough) in one long day.  Even though we raised the height of cut on every surface, we have struggled to cope with some areas which we have had to go over multiple times as it was too long to cut.  These are relatively small areas which would have been a lot greater if we were made to go for the remaining 8 days of the lockdown. These areas where too much chlorophyll was removed have now been hit badly with fungal activity and may yet struggle to recover before winter sets in’.

‘We were very lucky to get this news as the remaining 8 days of the original 4 weeks would have seen us struggling to have managed the grass growth that had occurred on the fairways and semi rough areas. Tees and greens were sprayed with growth regulator prior to the lockdown so they were fine, they had actually benefited from the lack of play.’ says Mike.

What a fantastic effort by Mike and his team of 5 greenkeepers in getting the course into such great shape again following just four days of maintenance – well done.