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Basic maintenance continues at Bryn Mawr CC

By |  April 18, 2020 0 Comments

Like many people have been since coronavirus changed how we live, Brian Bossert, CGCS at Bryn Mawr Country Club, is stuck in a Groundhog Day-like loop.

“I’m losing track of days a little bit — they all seem sort of the same,” he says.

Per the governor’s executive order, Bossert’s course, located in Lincolnwood, Ill., just north of Chicago, is closed to players through the end of April.

Routine basic maintenance goes on as scheduled to preserve the golf course, and the 13-person staff is working staggered shifts. Bryn Mawr’s hourly staff is working 30 hours each week, but fortunately, the country club’s membership is paying them for 40 hours.

Rehires of supplemental workers for the spring and summer season are on hold, however.

“In some ways, it’s like being a superintendent a long time ago — just working with my staff and getting done what we can get done,” Bossert says.

In the state of Illinois, the state government’s language was open to interpretation in mid-March, he recalls. A few days after March 21’s stay at home order, the governor’s office said that golf courses have to be closed. Later in the day, it said they could be open, and a few days later, it said they had to be closed again, Bossert says.

“I was communicating (with maintenance staff) daily. There was one day when I made up the schedule for the following week, and then the executive order came out, so then I balled it up and said, ‘I’ll text you over the weekend what Monday looks like, and we’ll just take it from there.’”

Now that the golf course has been closed to players for several weeks, Bossert considers the impact of the guidelines on people. “I think the way we interact with friends and strangers going forward is going to look different,” he says. “Social distancing, it’s a real thing, it’s a concept, and I think that people are going to practice that routinely going forward.”

While he doesn’t want to predict the economic impact of the coronavirus, he says that the Bryn Mawr staff will likely run a little lean.

“We’ve made some small concessions already on our capital,” he says. “We were budgeting for a few new members this spring, but I can’t imagine anyone’s going to join a country club right now.” He guesses that the club will have fewer members in the fall going into 2021. He’s seen the ebbs and flows of membership at Bryn Mawr, since 2020 is the start of Bossert’s 30th season at the club.

And he’s accepted how the guidelines have changed his workdays, at least for the short term. “I feel like golf has the opportunity to play by the rules and set our game aside for the moment and do what’s right for the health of mankind,” he says.

Bossert communicates regularly with 15 superintendents in an email chain about the current situation and how they’re taking care of their courses and crews.

“I wouldn’t want to figure this out on my own,” he says. “This is a great fraternity — everyone’s always looking out for each other and sharing ideas. Between what I see on social media, my local chapter and some friends, I feel pretty dialed in.”

This article is tagged with and posted in COVID-19, Industry News

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