As a sports turf apprentice at Gosnells Golf Club, I recently had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at the prestigious Kalgoorlie Golf Club during their PGA tour event. This experience not only allowed me to apply the skills I’ve learned at Gosnells but also introduced me to the unique challenges and landscapes of Kalgoorlie’s golf course.
One of the first tasks I tackled was shovelling dirt off the pathways to ensure they were clean, unobstructed, and aesthetically pleasing. The striking difference between Gosnells and Kalgoorlie was immediately evident. Kalgoorlie’s bunkers featured a mix of white and red dirt, with hard bunker faces, contrasting Gosnells’ softer bunkers. To maintain the bunker faces, we used a board rather than a broom, a technique that was new to me but quickly adapted to. Using their bunker rake, I put my experience to good use in facing some of their bunkers.
Mowing the fairways at Kalgoorlie Golf Club presented another unique challenge. The fairways were mowed in a light and dark, or shade pattern, a method I was familiar with from Gosnells but was new to Kalgoorlie. We also adopted a convoy of three mowers to increase efficiency, a practice that was a first for me. On the last day I was the lead in the convey. I also used a blower towed by a Workman to clear divots from the fairways.
Tee-islands were a distinctive feature at Kalgoorlie, with tees raised above the red dirt to resemble mini-islands. I weeded around these tee-islands and ground covers, enhancing their appearance. Additionally, I helped clear piles of debris from the waste bunkers which are stretches of red dirt in the middle of fairways. This was a new experience for me as we don’t have waste bunkers at Gosnells.
Gosnells and Kalgoorlie have different types of grasses. While both clubs used Bent Grass for greens, Gosnells has Kikuyu for fairways and Santa Ana Grass for tees, whereas Kalgoorlie utilized Winter Green Couch grass for fairways and tees.
Due to Kalgoorlie’s vast course, the team implemented a two-way radio system for communication. This ensured efficient teamwork and good communication over long distances.
The last four days were the PGA tour event, and on three of those days, we worked double shifts, both morning and afternoon, to maintain the course in prime condition. The resulting landscape was nothing short of stunning, with the striking contrast between the red dirt and lush green grass creating a picturesque scene.
In addition to my work at Kalgoorlie Golf Club, I had the opportunity to explore the region. I visited the Super Pit, the endpoint of the Perth to Kalgoorlie pipeline, and the tallest bin in the world. We were even able to watch some of the tournament on the final day, and I had the pleasure of taking a photo with Ben Eccles, the tournament champion.
During my time at Kalgoorlie Golf Club, I was not only able to apply my skills and knowledge gained at Gosnells but also experience the unique challenges and beauty of golf course maintenance in a different setting. The friendly staff, the remarkable wildlife, and the tight-knit community at Kalgoorlie left a lasting impression on me.
3rd year sports turf apprentice