Men and women in the shadows, they are more than indispensable. They are the maintenance staff of the Montauban l’Estang golf course. If throughout the year there are five to pamper the 55 hectares of the field, for the Montauban ladies open, they have two reinforcements of their choice. Because the program is overwhelming for the team led by Jean-Jacques Courtin. “Normally we mow the whole field for the whole week. For the MLO we have to do it every day. At night, as soon as there is no one left on the field, it’s up to us to play,” explains Jean-Jacques. Courtin with a smile. And as soon as the machines are off, there’s no time to mess around. Everyone knows what to do on their machine and where to do it. The greens, the towers of the greens, the bunkers, the parts with a little more grass, everything must be protected to offer the best course to the players. Each height of cut has its own machine, meticulousness is required every day. And this tournament goes further. “It is true that the specifications are extremely precise, with a lower height of cut. You have to adapt.” The director of the site, Jérôme Bottero, goes further: “We go beyond what the authorities ask of us. It is a basic principle at Montauban L’Estang”. For the MLO, outfielders even indulge in a few little fantasies with crosscutting, which we regularly see on football fields.
Eyes turned to the sky every day
Suffice it to say that the weather is examined many times a day, if not every hour. “Obviously it is essential. We are like farmers. The weather determines many things in our schedule, starting with the amount of water we need to bring (note that the water we use is recycled, editor’s note)”. In this mass of daily work, what is, then, the most complicated? Jean-Jacques Courtin answers bluntly: “These are the greens. You have to reach a precise rolling speed. Every morning tests are carried out and the players are informed, who therefore know if the green is more or less fast. and they must therefore adapt their setting, for example”. For six years, the maintenance team has been almost the same. Suffice it to say that no big words are needed to give instructions. “Trust and autonomy are very important things. The relationship between the director, myself and the caretaker of the green, Jean-Jacques, is fundamental. Everyone has their own job. I can say what I want, what would be good. It’s then Jean-Jacques who tells me what is possible. I have expectations of results, and he has the skills over the means”, continues Jérôme Bottero.