When the golf offseason rolls around and winter approaches, it is essential for golf course maintenance crews to be aware of the potential hazards that come with colder temperatures and how to protect themselves. The safety of your team should always be a top priority, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the season can go a long way in preventing risks to their health.

We spoke to the superintendent of a golf course that’s seen its fair share of extreme weather conditions – Ryan Walsh of Woods Hole Golf Club in Woods Hole, Massachusetts – to gain further insight into how he ensures his crew’s safety in the winter seasons, and how he’s found Golf Safety’s videos helpful in achieving this.

1. COMMUNICATE

The ability to tolerate cold temperatures differs among people. “Everyone’s built a little bit differently and has different tolerances,” he says. “It’s just a matter of listening to the crew and getting an understanding of their comfort level.” Keep an open line of communication with your crew and make sure they feel comfortable expressing any concerns they might have with the conditions.

 

Ryan Walsh, Golf Course Superintendent of Woods Hole Golf Club and Golf Safety Member.

2. STAY RESTED

If your team is having a hard time coping with the weather conditions, it’s important to allow them breaks to warm up and recover. Walsh also enjoys these indoor breaks as a way to connect with his crew throughout the day, “Not only is it good to come in here and warm up,” he says, “but to also brief me on progress and how things are going.”

3. BE PREPARED

Preparation is one of your best tools when it comes to dangerous and unexpected weather conditions. “I look at a lot of forecast models,” Walsh tells us, “You’ve got to be prepared for a multitude of things out there.” Prepare ahead of time and plan your crew’s weekly tasks around the weather conditions to keep them safe.

4. LAYER UP

As anyone familiar with harsh winters will tell you, layering up is your best defense against the cold. Walsh’s crew has recently been equipped with heavy-duty sweatshirts and hoodies to keep them warm while they work. “We’re investing in the comfort of our employees,” Walsh assures us. 

5. COMMUNICATE (and Repeat Yourself!)

Walsh believes that repetition is key to instilling safety practices in the minds of his crew. “The more you repeat [something], the more important people realize it is,” emphasizes Walsh. Repeating important safety information often ensures that the message is understood and remembered.

When asked about the most helpful aspect of working with Golf Safety, Walsh appreciated the thorough repetition of best safety practices in the training videos. “[The crew] is not just hearing from me, “he says, “it’s a secondary voice to help instill some of these practices.”

Be prepared before temperatures start dropping and make sure your crew knows how to stay safe from cold stress, weather hazards, and other risks involved with maintaining a golf course in the winter season. To read Walsh’s full insights and learn more about cold weather safety on the golf course, take a look at our in-depth article on the GCSAA site about Chemical Safety.

 

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