Leading causes of damage to golf greens

With the arrival of spring (allegedly), golf clubs up and down the country are preparing for a busy season ahead. For players to be able to play to the best of their ability and for clubs to maintain a credible reputation, healthy, successfully-managed greens and fairways are vital.

Greenkeepers have many challenges to overcome in order to keep the course in tip top condition. Some examples of these perils can be seen below:

Greenkeeper error

Greenkeepers do an invaluable job maintaining greens and ensuring they remain in optimum condition for players. That said, greenkeeper error does occasionally occur, when those in charge of maintaining the club’s green accidentally cause damage. The cost of restoring the greens can be tens of thousands of pounds as well as adversely affecting the clubs income from guest green fees.

Such an incident occurred at a golf club in Sussex, when the greenkeeper accidentally sprayed the green with an industrial-strength weed killer instead of using a lighter-strength substance, causing the green to turn yellow.

Damage caused by horses/cattle

Horses and cattle wandering onto a golf course will almost inevitably leave a green in an unusable condition. A golf club in Guernsey experienced such a loss when two horse riders rode across a green causing serious damage to the playing surface that was made worse due to heavy rain.

Malicious damage

Malicious damage is another cause of damage to golf greens, whereby greens are deliberately vandalised. In February 2019, a Golf Club in Leeds was the victim of such abuse when two men tore up the green on quad bikes.

Flood / Storm Damage

Flood is another common cause of damage to golf greens. Excessive water flowing into bunkers can wash out the sand and cause structural damage that can be costly to repair.

With spring being a notorious time for heavy rainfall and flooding, golf courses are at particular risk of flooding at this time of year.

The erratic weather of late, which has seen Storms Gareth and Freya batter Britain, has posed a significant risk to the condition of golf courses including the potential eroding of greens.

Golf Operators Insurance

With the many risks golf clubs face, particularly during this time of year when the prospect of flooding and storms can wreak havoc, it is important for golf clubs to have adequate golf operator’s insurance in place.

When deciding which policy best meets your client’s needs, it may surprise you to learn that not all insurance policies provide cover for Greenkeeper error and some restrict cover to an inadequate limit.

Nelson Polices at Lloyd’s Golf Club Policy provides a wide range of bespoke covers including Greenkeeper error.

To find out more about our comprehensive golf operators insurance, get in contact with Nelson Policies at Lloyd’s sports and leisure team today.

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