When you arrive at Rio Real Golf & Hotel, one of the first things that strikes you is the immaculate golf course. Manicured greens and fairways line the course from start to finish and these perfect playing conditions are maintained year-round, no matter the weather.
In this blog post in the Behind the Scenes at Rio Real series, we take a look at what it takes to maintain one of the best golf courses on the Costa del Sol. And to do this, we talk to Fernando López, Head of Maintenance.
Maintaining 18 holes over more than 6km of course is no easy task. Keeping Río Real Golf in tip top condition is a team of 20 maintenance staff, all with the expert knowledge and experience you’d expect on an iconic course. Fernando López, head of maintenance, is responsible for coordinating this dream team.
For Fernando, one of the most important positions in the group is Greenkeeper, responsible for everything and anything to do with that all-important grass. Helping him are plumbers in charge of the equally important irrigation system, mechanics and gardeners.
Some of the team have been keeping Rio Real Golf immaculate since 1986. That’s over three decades of experience, the fruits of which are easy to see in the verdant fairways.
“Perhaps the most important daily task is keeping a very close eye on conditions,” says Fernando. Every day of the year, the maintenance team examines every inch of the entire course to make sure all the greens and fairways are as they should be.
To keep the greens as smooth as marble, they get an almost daily haircut. The lawnmowers come out five times a week on the greens and the rollers on the remaining two. The tees and fairways have twice-weekly cuts and the rough just once a week.
But maintaining a golf course of the caliber of Rio Real Golf isn’t just about cutting the grass. The maintenance team has a long list of tasks that take place at difference times of the year. “The actual dates depend on the weather,” says Fernando, “but they’re roughly as follows:”
Tree pruning – the dozens of trees make up one of the defining characteristics at Rio Real Golf. Care of these trees involved annual pruning, usually done in the winter months, outside the growing season. December and January, low season for golf on the Costa del Sol, are the preferred months.
Hollow tining – one of the most aspects of golf course maintenance is hollow tining. This allows the grass to ‘breathe’ and stops the fairways from being compacted. The process takes place at Rio Real Golf during the last week of May every year. To allow the hollow tining, nine holes are closed every day and Rio Real Golf makes sure players know exactly which holes are closed and when.
What makes Rio Real Golf special
Fernando highlights his hardworking team as the principal reason behind the perfect playing conditions at Rio Real. “It would be impossible to maintain these conditions without the effort and dedication our team puts in,” he says.
He also underlines the importance of irrigation. After all, no grass stays green without water. Rio Real Golf uses a system that combines watering and fertiliser, allowing maximum efficiency with minimum impact on the grass. “The results,” says Fernando, “are plain to see”.
See the immaculate conditions at Rio Real Golf for yourself. Book your round now.