For quite a few years now we have run a volunteer program where RCP Greenstaff are sent to other courses to help out and we receive help when needed also. This is massively beneficial on both sides. Many tips and tricks can be picked up from other courses and applied here, we do this on an every day basis when we steal instead from fellow turf managers on the likes of Twitter. Not only is this valuable tournament experience but it also is a great opportunity to network with fellow Greenkeepers and friendships for life are formed.
Assistant Greenkeeper headed out to Ireland to help out at this year’s Irish Open. Below Danny has written about his week:
Irish open – Lahinch 2019
This was my first ever taste of tournament experience, and what an experience it was.
The tournament was sponsored by John Deere. This means that they provided extra equipment, machinery, their mechanics and also clothing for all of the greenkeeping volunteers. Lahinch Golf Club certainly weren’t short of machines or staff during the week. John Deere provided 20 extra machines to Lahinch on top of what they already had meaning that tasks could get done quicker to avoid time pressures in the case that anything went wrong. Luckily, nothing went wrong the whole week so credit to Brian McDonagh for organising the event so well. We should also mention Lahinch’s mechanic Pete and also the John Deere guys for spending their time servicing the machines so that we could go out trusting that everything was set up correctly.
The town completely transformed for the week. Host Paul McGinley said that he wanted to make it a sort of festival vibe rather than just about the golf which is exactly what he did. It really helps that the town is a two minute walk from the golf club so that the whole of County Clare could get involved, and get involved they did. Every building was spruced up especially for the Irish Open, all newly painted, some pubs opened up just for the week that had been closed for a number of years.
On top – Lahinch 2018 after the drought last summer.
Below – Lahinch 2019 this year.
What a difference a year makes. Lahinch lost half of the grass on their fairways last year and with a lot of work from all the Lahinch staff and a fair bit of over seeding, they managed to get the course looking amazing and green again ready for the Irish Open.
Upon arrival on the first day, I was taken to a B&B where I would be staying for the next week along with 13 other greenkeepers, some Lahinch staff and some volunteers. We were told to be down at the club for 4.30pm for briefing. When we got to the club we were given uniform and told what our jobs would be and I was told I would be cutting greens. As there was no need to do any work that evening, we were given an introduction into the mower we would be using and then went on a walk around the course. This was good as it gave us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the course and the route we would be taking the following mornings. We were then able to meet everyone else cutting greens.
‘The Greens Team’ –
From L to R – Paul Collins, Damien Coleman, Colm Lawlor, Brian McDonagh (Course Manager Lahinch GC), Me, Padraigh Haugh.
After finishing for the evening, we then went back and got acquainted with everyone else staying in the accommodation, a few of us then went for a bite to eat and off to bed ready to get up at 3.30am to be in work for 4.
Our general day consisted of getting to work for 4 greeted with soft drinks and a muffin to start the day and out on the course for 4.30am. We would go off and complete our morning jobs and then re convene about 7.30-8 ready for our breakfast at 8am. We would then shoot off after breakfast and maybe go back to bed to catch up on sleep for a few hours and then maybe watch a bit of golf before reconvening at 5pm ready for dinner. The spread was amazing, we would not go hungry. Lahinch organised breakfast and dinner for all the greenkeeping volunteers. This was provided by The Sherwood Inn based in Ennis. Breakfast consisted of cereals, yoghurts, muesli and a cooked breakfast. Dinner would be a choice of 2 meals, some of which were lasagne, roast dinner, chicken dishes…etc, complimented by choice of potato, veg and a sauce. After dinner, the greens team would split into groups of 2 and go and hand water greens, approaches and pathways to keep them going to deal with the heat, traffic and evaporation rates.
Brian McDonagh claimed he wanted to get 3 things right. Food, accommodation and uniform. I personally think he smashed all 3 of them.To finish, here are a few pictures while at work.
Me cutting the 7th green.
Me watering the 18th green.