“Everything is going to be a storm! We would just need 10 mm to 15 mm of rain to fill the retention basins and be able to cut off the watering for a few days. The only condition to save the greens”, announces, Tuesday August 9, Michel Tehery, greenkeeper at the Golf de l’Odet, in Clohars-Fouesnant. With Baudouin Lemétayer, golf director, they have their eyes riveted on the usurped weather every day. Thunderstorms are forecast for the weekend. Rain, the only resource that brings water to the greens.
“We don’t use drinking water. There is also no fodder. We have a watering system connected to rainwater retention basins, with a capacity of 20,000 m3”. These basins were built about ten years ago on the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), owner of the site. “They were pioneers at the time. The CCI already had the protection of water resources in mind,” emphasizes Baudouin Lemétayer.
If it does not rain at all, we have enough to last until the end of August, not beyond
Except that with the drought, the retention basins are almost empty. “If it doesn’t rain at all, we have enough to last until the end of August, not beyond,” admits Michel Tehery, who specifies: “We had a 90% rain deficit in May and the same chosen for July”.
The fairways have not been watered for three weeks
However, the director and his greenkeeper had anticipated things, even before the publication of the decree of July 16 which authorizes golf courses to water only the greens. “It’s been three weeks since we stopped irrigating the fairways, which are yellowing day by day”, specifies the director.
A golf course whose greens are dead, can go out of business
Because the grass of the fairway, which is mowed much higher, is not threatened with disappearing, contrary to the grass of the green, which measures only 3-4 mm and which is therefore more fragile. “A golf course whose greens are dead can go out of business,” adds Baudouin Lemétayer. “It has to rain, otherwise it would be dramatic economically. If there are no more greens, there is no more golf! “, abounds Michel Tehery. Even if the greens represent only 1% of the hundred hectares covering the Golf de l’Odet, they are strategic locations for players. At the Clohars-Fouesnant golf course, this area represents the equivalent of a football pitch.
“The players understand the situation”
“All of our greens represent an investment of €400,000 on the two courses, the 9 holes and the 18 holes”. And there is no plan B, since the fully computerized irrigation system is not connected to the drinking water network. “The players can’t ask questions badly but they totally accept the fact of playing on yellow fairways. They understand that we are forced to make choices”, indicates the director, who recalls that golf, “it is a sport, a leisure activity but it is also an economic activity. We have about twenty people employed year-round on permanent contracts”. Baudouin Lemétayer does not hide his concern. The future of the Golf de l’Odet, which has 700 licensees, therefore remains dependent on any rainfall announced for the next few days.