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Members at New Zealand’s second oldest golf club accidentally poisoned seven of their greens after their head greenkeeper resigned.

Hagley Golf Club, which is located in Christchurch, is now without seven of its greens after they were sprayed with a fungicide from a tank that hadn’t been cleaned properly and may have contained herbicide.

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As first reported by Stuff, senior members at the club were attempting to kill a fungus that had developed in the greens, but instead killed the grass altogether, destroying the putting surfaces. That was in a period of four months after the head greenkeeper, Daniel Tiffen, left his role.

The members sprayed the greens with a coating of the chemical. Two weeks later, the results weren’t as they hoped, so they sprayed the greens again, this time with a dose twice as strong. This resulted in the greens turning yellow, before eventually dying off completely.

The club’s vice president, Alan Timu, who was overseeing the makeshift greenkeeping team, said the problem wasn’t the fault of anyone, but was instead “a bit of bad luck.”

“It was the culmination of both, really,” he said. “A bit of bad luck having an over-strength fungicide and some residue poisons in there as well.

“The problem occurred when we didn’t have a greenkeeper and were making decisions by committee.”

The club will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and they hope to have their greens back in order for the occasion.

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“If there’s a good side to the story, we’re going to have brand-new greens come winter,” Timu said.

Since the accident, new greenkeeper Scott Schoormans has put in a plan of action to get things back on track. 

It’s estimated that the restoration will cost around $20,000, but that will be offset by the usual work on the greens that now won’t be required.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

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