What does a greenkeeper do in Winter?
The first snow has fallen, which means that the golf course is going into hibernation for the winter. But it doesn’t yet signal a winter break for the greenkeepers. The team, led by Andermatt’s head greenkeeper Daniel Speer, is now taking care of their equipment and machines before putting everything away for the winter. Most members of Daniel Speer’s crew are employed during the season that starts with May and lasts through November.
But what happens then? We asked our greenkeepers: “Vacation” is the unanimous answer, because during the golf season there is usually no chance for this. But of course not vacation for the entire winter. Most of the greenkeepers return to their trained professions or take up complementary seasonal work. Two greenkeepers from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG tell us what they do professionally during the cold months of the year.
The green workplace turns white
“In my profession one must love nature”, says greenkeeper Patrik Steffen. He is a member of the five-man team at the Andermatt Swiss Alps golf course. Besides working in open nature, Patrik especially loves working with machines. So it’s natural that he sits behind the wheel also in winter – and he trades his agile greenkeeper two-seater for a heavy snowcat and prepares the legendary slopes of the Gemsstock. For him, this is a “young boy’s dream come true,” tells the 24-year-old with twinkling eyes. As a trained farmer, he already had experience operating various motor vehicles such as tractors and combines, but he emphasizes: “Operating a snowcat is something very special.”
Changing light bulbs instead of mowing grass
A person who is particularly happy about Patrik’s perfectly prepared slopes is his greenkeeper colleague Jan Bonetti. Unlike Patrik, in winter the native Andermatter trades his lawnmover for a screwdriver and works again in his trained profession as an electrician. “Here I have fixed working hours. As an enthusiastic skier I appreciate that.” On weekends, when Patrik does his job, Jan enjoys the broad slopes of the Gemsstock and the view upon “his” snow-covered golf course.
When the snow starts to melt in the mountains, the golf season begins in the valley. Then certain key words like mowing, topdressing, holes and setting flags once again become part of the daily routine for Patrik, Jan and their greenkeeper colleagues.
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