2020 COURSE CLOSURE
COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND TURFGRASS CONVERSION
In accordance with the conditions of the ‘State of Alert’ (SoA) introduced by the Spanish Government on Saturday 14th March, Desert Springs Golf Club had to close the Indiana Course from this date until it was permitted to re-open on Thursday, 14th May – a period of two months.
Whilst an unavoidable action, the Club is very conscious of the support, patience and understanding of the Membership and also acknowledges the contribution of the Club Committee in helping the Golf Club to begin the process of rebuilding with our phased reopening in accordance with the guidelines agreed between the Spanish Federation of Golf and the Spanish Government. As the de-escalation process advances, it is to be expected that the guidelines will evolve, and the Golf Club will with them.
Whilst this closure was legislated upon the Golf Club, in recognition that Members were unable to play the course, irrespective of whether they were able to be at the Resort or not, the Club is providing the compensation detailed below:
- Resort Resident Member: 15 Buggy Rentals & 31 Range Credits
- Resort Resident Partner Member: 12 Buggy Rentals & 19 Range Credits
- Resort Non-Resident Member: 11 Buggy Rentals & 11 Academy Range Credits
- Resort Non-Resident Partner Member: 8 Buggy Rentals & 10 Range Credits
- Annual Member: 8 Buggy Rentals & 20 Range Credits
- Annual Partner Member: 6 Buggy Rentals & 15 Range Credits
- Junior Annual Member: 4 Buggy Rentals & 14 Range Credits
- Junior Annual Partner Member: 3 Buggy Rentals & 10 Range Credits
This equates to the financial equivalent of two months of your applicable membership annual subscription fee paid.
A registry of each Members’ credit is held at the Resort Reception and is valid to be redeemed by 31st December 2020.
THE INDIANA COURSE – THE STATE OF PLAY
Opened in 2001, the fairways, rough and anti-greens of the Indiana course were seeded with ‘Dwarf Rye’ grass, a cool season grass. Strange you may think to have a cool season grass in the only designated region of desert in Europe; however, at that time this forward-thinking decision delivered a course for many years that was renowned for its immaculate condition and emerald green fairways, no matter what time of the year you visited.
Dwarf Rye grass is susceptible to disease and requires regular chemical applications. However, since 2015, important changes in chemical application law introduced by the EU regarding grass treatment in Spain has resulted in a significant reduction of products permitted to be used and their effectiveness, resulting in a deterioration in the existing turf quality.
The irrigation water we have access to has always had a high salt content, which over time despite maintenance procedures, builds up in the soil profile. Dwarf Rye grass has a relatively low tolerance of salt water and its strength and health being affected is visible through lack of density, change in colour and a weak root system.
A further significant reason for deterioration is the effect of rabbits on an already weakened root system and soil profile.
We are now at a critical point with the Dwarf Rye grass where conversion to a grass more suited to the changes in chemical application law and the environmental conditions is required to both ensure and provide our golfers with the quality of turf grass that Desert Springs was once renowned for and the future sustainability of the Indiana course.
Since the phased reopening of the Indiana course on 14th May, the number of rounds played by members has been extremely low, reflecting the fact that either many Members are not currently in Spain or that they are waiting to see the success of the de-escalation measures to provide them with the confidence to begin to play golf once again. Rounds played by members of the public are almost non-existent and golfers visiting through golf tour operators for holidays have obviously all been cancelled.
We do not foresee a demand for golf until at the earliest September onwards, with that being dependent upon the success or otherwise of de-escalation measures, the availability of flights, ease of travel and consumer confidence.
DESERT SPRINGS INVESTING €399,000
IN THE FUTURE OF THE INDIANA COURSE
The Club is pleased to announce it is investing €399,000 to convert the turfgrass of the tees, fairways and driving range to Pure Dynasty Paspalum and the green surrounds and roughs to Tall Fescue.
To carry out this work, we advise that the Indiana Course will be closed from Sunday, 21st June and scheduled to reopen on Saturday, 1st August.
Pure Dynasty Paspalum is a warm season grass that is designed to thrive in high temperatures with relatively low irrigation water consumption throughout the year, with the added benefit of a high tolerance of salt content in both water and soil profile. It will provide enhanced playing conditions during the summer months and much better playing conditions after the high summer temperatures in September, October and November. The grass is more resilient to rabbit damage and the risk of losing turf grass from environmental stresses is greatly reduced with improved divot recovery on tees and fairways. The density of the grass results in a hard line to both fairway and bunker edges being easier to maintain and less weed invasion and insect damage resulting in a 50% reduction in pesticide applications, which in turn will free up labour hours that can be assigned to maintenance of the desert areas. Last but by no means least, golf buggy’s will be permitted on the fairways.
Tall Fescue is one of the hardiest cool season grasses being much more resistant to heat and to a high salt level in both irrigation water and soil profile.
The Indiana course will be keeping good company in its selection of new grasses, as it is the same grass specification for the venue of the 2022 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy.
COURSE CONVERSION CLOSURE
For this period of closure of six weeks, again, irrespective of whether a Member is able to be at the Resort or not, the Club is providing compensation for each Member which equates to the financial equivalent of the six weeks of your applicable membership annual subscription fee paid.
The credit will be registered onto your membership card and can be redeemed against shop stock, Member’s Guest Green Fees or food and beverage consumed at the Club.
The credit is valid to be redeemed by 31st December 2020.
Resort Resident Member: €270 Resort Resident Partner Member: €202 Resort Non-Resident Member: €173 Resort Non-Resident Partner Member: €130 Annual Member: €204 Annual Partner Member: €153 Junior Annual Member: €109 Junior Annual Partner Member: €82
Simon Coaker, Director of Golf commented;
“COVID-19 resulted in a complete loss of all the Club’s revenue streams for two months as a consequence of the ‘SoA’, that has naturally resulted in the Club being faced with financial challenges this year. We hope that the compensation provided for that forced closure of the course demonstrates our acknowledgement of the inconvenience caused to our Member’s and our appreciation for your continued patience and support.
In what are unprecedented times for all, I am confident that the Membership shall recognise the significant investment off €399,000 as an extremely positive confirmation of the support for Desert Springs Golf Club.
There is never a good time to close a golf course, however with everything taken into consideration, completing these works at this time is going to have the least impact on the majority of the membership. The conversion is a significant statement of intent on the part of Desert Springs, is vital for the future sustainability of the Golf Club and will benefit all, Members and visitors alike. The Golf Course will be significantly better for this investment and is something no other Golf Club in Spain is benefitting from at this time.”
The On-Line Booking system for members has been updated to reflect this closure and I encourage you all to use this system to book your tee times going forward.
Stay safe and well and we look forward to seeing you playing and enjoying the new and improved Indiana Course in the near future!