Royal Manchester Golf Links working to rebound from damaged greens


The staff at Royal Manchester Golf Links is working tirelessly to get its greens back into pristine condition after they were destroyed by a contaminated fungicide, according to general manager Kieron Mooney.

The fungicide, Viceroy 70DF, affected numerous other northeastern golf courses, including The Bridges Golf Club in Abbottstown.

The product — manufactured by NovaSource — was recalled in June after it was discovered to have trace amounts of herbicide which, when combined with fungicide, created a "death chemical" for bent grass, which comprises 100 percent of Royal Manchester's greens, Mooney said.

Mooney said his organization is in the process of working toward a legal resolution with the production company, but in the meantime, Royal Manchester is spending its own money to actively repair its greens, with help from the U.S. Golf Association and independent contractors.

Affected: The course has been closed for regular play since June 15, and the target date for re-opening is Sept. 1, but Mooney said it's still too early to know when the greens will be ready, especially for heavy foot traffic.

Mooney said it's also too early to determine the total financial implications of this manufacturing error for Royal Manchester, but he guessed that it would be in excess of $1.5 million when accounting for renovation costs and lost revenue.

The error also led to nearly 40 percent of the staff — about 40 part-time employees — being let go in June, Mooney said. He said the course's closure has negatively affected local hotels and restaurants as well because Royal Manchester is considered a destination-type course, which golfers would travel to from across the country.

The facility has remained open for dining, golf instruction and other banquet and corporate functions. Temporary greens were also established on fairways exclusively for members to play the course.

York Open: Mooney said the course would absolutely be open Oct. 2 for the York Open golf tournament. The tournament, held by the York County Amateur Golf Association (YCAGA), was originally scheduled for Aug. 7.

David Bennett, executive director of the association, said about 24 golfers have signed up, but he expects 90 to 110 participants between the open and senior divisions.

Mooney said several other amateur and junior golf tournaments that had been scheduled at Royal Manchester this summer were forced to relocate to different courses.

— Reach David Weissman at