REPORTAGE. Drought : "If we have no more water, we have no more work"the golf courses defend their derogations to water part of the courses

At the wheel of the golf cart, Lucas Pierré, responsible for the maintenance of the three National golf courses, at Guyancourt, in the Yvelines. “For the moment, we are on heightened alert. We have the right to keep the departures and the green, that is to say the departure and the arrival of the hole. Between the two it is the fairway that is prohibited. to water. With the restrictions between the tee, which is green, and the green that we see at the very bottom: everything is brown”, explains the “greenkeeper”.

True of False >> Drought: are golf courses exempt from water restrictions?

As drought rages in France, where pRead from all the departments are on the alert, with more or less strict restrictions for the use of water, derogations exist, in particular for the watering of golf courses. An inconsistency for certain political leaders like Eric Piolle, the ecologist mayor of Grenoble, who even wrote to the Secretary of State in charge of Ecology Bérangère Couillard.

Lucas Pierré, responsible for the maintenance of the three national golf courses, in Guyancourt, in the Yvelines (BORIS HALLIER / RADIO FRANCE)

On the course, under thet golfers’ feet the grass stays dry. “You see we can’t lie, it’s burnt”, Lucas insists. But in the middle of the yellowed grass, the green areas are obvious. “The Eagle course must be 45 hectares. There is one hectare of green and half a hectare of departure so we are on two hectares of watered. We use zero drinking water to water the golf course”.

The water is in fact drawn from artificial basins which collect rainwater or can be supplied by boreholes. “Tomorrow, if we no longer have the right to use the boreholes, I can hold out until the end of the year. If we have to lower the level of the basins to a minimum, we will lower it”, shows the “greenkeeper”. “I can’t say we’re a water millionaire, but we’re going to tighten our belts and have to play the little mouse as soon as we can”, he tempers.

But there is no question of stopping irrigation, especially that of the “Albatross” course. The showcase of the National golf course benefits from a special authorization in the event of drought. A justified privilege according to Lucas Pierre: “We’re like at the ‘Stade de France’. It’s golf that hosts all the international events in France.”

“It’s still alive but you see you tap your foot, it’s not the sound of something being soaked in water.”

Lucas Pierre, Golf National greenkeeper

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Completely stopping the watering would amount to destroying the course according to him. Without watering, “that’s dead”, he insists, pointing to the floor. “He there’s too much sand below, the grass has nothing to protect it. In the sand, he will die. We are businesses and a business sector like any other. Here, there are 50 people who work at reception. I have 25 people in the field. If we have no more water, we have no more work.” At the national level, golf represents nearly 15,000 jobs.

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