So what does...
...the greenkeeper at the Kulm Golf Cours do in Winter?
Bart Davey, the greenkeeper at Kulm Golf Course in St. Moritz, spends his summers tending the grass. He is up at between 6 am and 8 am. „If we are holding tournaments, or have a long list of reservations, I’m up even earlier“, says the 43-year-old greenkeeper. From mid-April until the end of October, this New Zealander keeps the grass in optimum condition. This entails mowing, aerating and fertilising. „Greenkeepers have to be out in all weathers“, he says. „This is what I like about this summer job.“ Grass is a living organism, and it reacts differently to varying weather and other factors. „This, along with my contact with the golfers, makes my job extremely varied“, he says. His well-kept greens also receive a succession of VIPs, like star golfers Caroline Rominger and Robert Baker, or the FC Basel football team.
Bart Davey graduated from agricultural college in New Zealand. He has lived in Switzerland for 20 years, and performed various jobs, including training as a greenkeeper before Kulm. „The place is fantastic“, he enthuses. It’s a very tranquil location, despite being on the edge of St. Moritz. The course also has an interesting history.“ Originally established in 1891, it is one of the oldest golf courses in continental Europe. During the winter, the Olympic bobsleigh run crosses the golf course and driving range. The course was an Olympic venue in 1928 and 1948. „One of the things I also love is the number of ancient trees that dot the course“, says the greenkeeper.
Snow insulates the grass during the winter
Even though Bart Davey spends the summer tending and pampering the golf course, he is not at all averse to winter. „The snow insulates the grass, protecting it from the cold. In the spring, the covering of snow prevents the course from drying out“, explains Mr Davey. „In fact, winter is not half as bad as people might think.“ It is however important to ensure, before the first snows fall, that the grass is in a trouble-free and healthy state. Starting in the middle of April, the greenkeeper nevertheless frees the course of its splendid-looking white covering. „This is when the grass needs sunlight and air.“ But up until this time, the golf course remains in hibernation under a thick layer of snow – and Bart Davey works in a sports shop, where he maintains and hires out skis.