Bizgolf September 2017

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Dr. Micah Woods

Chief Scientist Asian Turfgrass Center





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05.10.2016 18:54:21

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Ireland and Northern Ireland

A brief guide on the top courses from Dublin and Belfast


The Golf Time Machine

Identifying the landmark moments in the evolution of golf equipment industry


OFF COURSE Make a statement off the course with these luxury products






GEC Open 2017 in full swing



Bubba hangs out with Justin Bieber


Justin Thomas Wins 99th PGA Championship


Callaway To Acquire Travis Mathew


The putters to rule the greens




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Breathing spaces in a concrete landscape Dear Readers,


ope you had a great time reading the inaugural August issue of bizgolf. bizgolf aims to tell the best of stories, share experiences and create a global knowledge sharing platform for the golf industrythat caters to its wide array of segments. Golf Course around the world receive a lot criticism with words like water guzzler, pernicious phenomenon, breeding ground to elitism, despoliation of natural land etc. Hardly true on merits. With constantly growing population and rapidly increasing infrastructure demands, the major cities in the world are already facing an existential crisis to maintain the natural landscape and counter the resulting pollution.Not that a golf course is an absolute solution to all these issues but it certainly provides a much-needed breathing space in a ‘concrete jungle’. Implementation of latest technologies in construction and maintenance reduces the cost towards natural resources to a great extent. In this issue, we take a look at the greenskeeping practices undertaken by some of the major golf courses in the eastern hemisphere. We also spoke to Dr. Micah Woods, the chief scientist at Asian Turfgrass center on his journey from harboring pro golf ambitions to becoming one of the leading figures in turfgrass research in the world. Our lead story on golf equipment refers to the history books to identify some of the ‘game-changing’ innovations and products. Golf tourists can bookmark ourtravel guide to some of the breathtaking courses of Ireland and Northern Irelandfor an extraordinaryholiday experience. In the world of corporate golf,GEC Openkicked off its 2017 international golf tour with national qualifying rounds in Ghana and Turkey and six lucky winners have already reserved spots for the Dubai Corporate Golf World Cup in December! I would like to thank our readers who wrote to us with their views and opinions. Your feedback is a great motivation force that enable us to constantly innovate and further refine the magazine. Keep reading, Keep writing!

VINEET MANN @vineetmann








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oday, much of the equipment used to play the game barely resembles what was used just a few decades ago. Indeed, technology changes in clubs, balls, shoes andequipment help make the game easier and more enjoyable. If the manufacturers are to be believed, amateur golfers can make huge strides in their game just by stepping up the hardgoods. Everyone from Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer to Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson have advocated that your golf game can improve by playing with improvedproducts. While it’s easier said than done, cutting edge equipment does have the ability to turn an average golfer into a good one, a good one into a great one and also help bridge the gap between top amateurs and pro ranks.

The evolution of golf equipment has been one of continuous improvement, with some seismic leaps along the way, such as the movefrom leather balls to rubber or wooden shafts to aluminum, but the current round of advances is the most notable in decades—especially for recreational players. While history books mention Royals from China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279) playing “Chuiwan”- a vaguely similar game of hitting balls into holes with bejeweled clubs, Golf, in its most relatable form, has been around since 14th century. And needless to say, the game has progressed incredibly over the last 600 years or so. Technological advancements have brought tremendous changes in the game of golf. The changes are in every facet of the game ranging from

equipment, club house amenities, a variety of self-help apps, GPS enabled devices and range finders to tee time reservations, training & coaching aids and as far as golf course management and maintenance practices. Golf clubs have changed perhaps more than any other single aspect of the game in the last 15 years. The equipment manufacturers have experimented with combinations of titanium, steel, aluminium, tungsten, zirconia and graphite with a focus on adding distance and accuracy to the swing. It’s a journey of ever-changing rules of golf, controversies as well as innovation, improvement and excellence. Let’s take a stab to revisit some of the major breakthroughs of this long and ardent passage of golf equipment’s evolution and innovation.



Drivers The original driverswere called longnoses - long and oddly shaped like a modern ice hockey stick. Mostly used by aristocracy, the long noses were made of Beachwood. It was in late 1800s that golfers mainly moved to persimmon. Because of its durability and great bounce, it was highly successful and remained the standard wood for almost a century. Just as the industrial age spawned change, golf embraced improvement and metal wood made its way into competitive golf. Designed by Gary Adams, the revolutionary product was TaylorMade’s original cast stainless steel driver and it was used by Lee Trevino to win 1984 PGA Championship. In 1991, Callaway changed the game with Big Bertha driver. Named after a World War one howitzer, the Big Bertha sported a giant stainless-steel head (190cc) that was 25% bigger than other drivers at the time. Callaway followed it up with the Great Big Bertha- first titanium driver measuring 265cc. The new millennium brought along the trend of personalisation and technology withTaylorMade’s R7 Quadon

the forefront. It was the first adjustable driver to allow movement in the center of gravity with weights enabling the golfers to alter and optimise launch conditions. Adjustable drivers have improved over the years from tens to hundreds to thousands of combinations in one head. Driver heads are so much bigger than they were in previous generations. The rules of golf allow manufacturers to construct drivers that measure 460 cc. These huge drivers are far more forgiving for less-than-perfect contact with the ball while also providing less wind resistance and more club head speed. The components inside the golf club are lighter and stronger than they were just two or three years ago. Today’s average driver may weigh 50 grams lighter than previous generations of the equipment, and that will result in more distance over the course of a round or golf season.Factors like aerodynamics, component weight and better shafts have allowed golfers to hit the ball longer and straighter.



TaylorMade Pittsburgh Persimmon by Gary Adams

The Great Big Bertha – titanium driver measuring 265cc

TaylorMadeR7 quad

1991 2000 Callaway Big Bertha

2009 TaylorMade 300 series

Nike SQ Dymo2 Str8-fit



Fairway Woods & Hybrids Drivers and woods belong to the same general class of golf clubs, only a driver is traditionally the longest club in the bag, with the largest clubhead, and least amount of face loft. It is fair to say that the one-wood evolved into the driver and, in essence, became a ‘specialty’ club and while higher woods became known as fairway woods. They have more loft and are designed to strike a ball far, but not as far as a driver and not only from a tee:

Pinseeker’s ‘Bombshell’first stainless steel metalwood



fairway, short rough, or wherever a lowrunning shot might be needed. Pinseeker Golf Corp. innovated the first stainless steel metalwood called the Bombshell in 1976.The single most important technological advancement was when TaylorMade came up Rocketballz Woods in 2012. It was the first fairway wood to offer maximum allowable Coefficient of Restitution (COR) of .830. COR is a technical term describing the

Adams Tight Lies


There are a number of factors that have influenced club design, particularly irons. These are the nature of the terrain in which they were used, the technology available to make them, the rules set up to govern what could or could not be used, and post millennium, physics and computer aided design. A major influence has been the golf ball itself. New club styles have tended to follow innovations in ball design. The early irons were used somewhat sparingly because they could easily destroy the “feathery” golf balls. Until late 1870s, iron clubs were made by blacksmiths and were rather crude with massive hosels. The advent of drop forging in the later years decreased the mass of the club considerably and meant that better iron clubs could be

energy transference between two objectsgolf club and ball in this case. The higher the COR, the lower is the energy loss upon impact. The club promised 17 more yards, but for many players delivered even more than that. In 1996, Barney Adams developed a revolutionary hybrid ‘Tight Lies’. Sporting an upside-down head design, Tight Lies has low profile and low center of gravity making it easier to hit off the rough.

Taylor Made ‘Rescue’one of the must have utility club till date


mass produced in factories. The period from 1900 to 1930 was marked by many innovations in club design, such as the hollow faced irons, Walter Hagen’s concave faced (now illegal) sand iron with the extended flange, a variant of Gene Sarazen’s initial idea (still universal); a club that could be adjusted to give different lofts; the drilled hosels of the “Maxwell” irons intended to lighten the club head, and experimentation with a variety of alloys. There were many bizarre clubs made in this period, such as the “giant niblicks” whose faces measured over 6 inches (15cm) across! Around 1908, the designers realised that the club will generate more backspin on a ball with groves on the club face, and that this led to more distance. The coming of the Heskell

Taylor Made Rocket Ballz woods with max COR of 0.83


golf ball went hand in hand with this. With advancement in golf ball technologies, balls have become softer and are made of thinner layers of urethane that enables it to go far with minimal side spin. Golf irons now are designed to support mishits, so the ball still ends up where you wanted it to go. In recent years,TaylorMade Burner launched in 2009 were the first mass produced irons capable of providing higher ball speed and distance. They quickly became a fan favourite. TaylorMade’sRocketBladez Tour irons debut as a forged, better-player’s club that features a lively, more flexible face for added distance. Tour players who embrace them included Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose, who won the 2013 U.S. Open with them.



Wedges Legendary Gene Sarazen debuted the modern sand wedge, with a steel shaft and markings on the club face, in his 1932 British Open victory. Fast forward 1988, Cleveland launched ‘588’ wedge. It was cast from soft carbon steel and featured high spinning U-grooves. High spinning U grooves or square grooves were also featured in Ping Eye 2 irons and wedges – one of the hottest selling clubs of the time and were go to clubs of a vast majority of tour

players. In 1989, the USGA had determined that the PING EYE 2 club’s square grooves in fact provided an unfair advantage versus non-square, or V-shaped, grooves. The USGA claimed these grooves were 5/1000s of an inch too wide and planned to ban the number one club from pro competitions. Ping’s Karsten Solheim sued USGA claiming USGA’s measurement system was, ‘’arbitrary, inconsistent, unreliable and not

I’m glad it’s resolved. It wasn’t good for golf, with all the confusion going on. I’m glad Ping took the bigger approach and waived their side of it, and I think the Tour did a good job sorting it out with them. But I was disappointed with the USGA and the stance they took. I just think if the USGA is going to make the rules, they have to do their homework a little better. This could have all been prevented if they went to Ping, said this was our intention to change the rules, and let’s sort this thing out before we make the rule. The least amount of controversy the better.”

-Sean O’Hair

Color coding system introduced by Ping to indicate lie angle of the club


Ping Eye2 irons with additional offset and parameter weighting


a recognized standard of measurement’’. In early 1990, the USGA settled the suit with Solheim and unbelievably conceded that “there was no competitive advantage to a user of the club” and that the issue was merely a technical one based on their math, as Solheim had insisted all along. In return, PING agreed to stop manufacturing the U-shaped grooves with the condition that all pre-1990 U-shaped clubs were grandfathered in.

Gene Sarazen’s modern sand wedge


Mizuno released irons made with patented grain-flow forging process


Cleveland 588 wedge


TaylorMade Burner irons




Putters Since golfers don’t need to generate high club head speed for a putt, golf shaft innovations have minimal impact on putting success and the changes over the years have come almost exclusively within the club head. The early day putters ‘cleeks’ were made of wood like all other clubs. The durable gutta- percha ball made iron heads popular and in late 19th century, steel shafts became the standard in putters and they remain so in the 21st century. The positioning of the shaft however

Karsten Solheim’ Ping Anser Putter


changed in 1951 when R&A legalized the center-shafted putters which led to a variety of bent and offset shafts in the coming years. One of the major breakthroughs that resulted in the modern golf equipment industry came in 1966 when Karsten Solheim invented a putter with more weight at the heel and toe of the blade and a thinner, lighter sweet spot- Ping Anser putter. The quick forward roll was a result of the center of gravity being below the equa-

Callaway Odyssey Rossie mallet putter made from Stronomic


tor of the ball. It was the first cavity-back putter. Moving on from USGA’s decision to ban anchored putting, the equipment industry innovated with counter balanced designs. One stand-out innovation of the time was the 2013 Odyssey tank putter with a heavy head, grip and shaft that stabilized the club stroke. The extra weight was counter balanced by adding weight to the grip end of the club. It also had higher MOI than rest of the available putters.

Odyssey 2-ball putter

Odyssey released Tank putter



Golf Balls From its beginnings to the mid 1800s, the “feathery” golf ball was used. This was made from leather in three pieces (two disks and a rectangular strip) stuffed with “one Top-Hat full of fine feathers”! The first big change came with the “gutty” ball around 1848. This was made from a solid molded rubber called gutta-percha. It was much stronger than the feathery, and a range of iron clubs were introduced, as they gave the golfer better control over the ball and the ability to hit it out of difficult lies. The next revolution in ball design came around 1898 with the patented “Haskell” ball, which is a composite of a solid core wound with thin strips of

What lies ahead

With official restrictions on increase in size, springiness of the face and adjustability, the clubs of the future are being designed with a focus on aerodynamics, new materials and digital innovations.

rubber. Some modern balls (the expensive ones) are made this way today. This ball performed much better than the gutty and could be made cheaply compared to earlier balls. The surface shape of the ball was also an area of considerable experimentation. Early gutty balls were smooth. Around 1910, balls with small dimples were devised. Initially the dimples were square but the golf ball makers found that round dimples in the ball surface made it fly even further and this has been the standard since about 1920. In 1994, Titleist launched the professional ball. It was the first tour played ball with a Urethane cover. They followed it up Pro V1 in 2000 and rest is history. It is the number oone ball in golf since then.

Today, a number of third party systems and apps connects golf clubs to a smartphone and enables a never-seen-before analysis of the game. This is expected get better and more seamless in the future with the club manufacturers integrating the tech-

Gutta-Percha golf ball by Reverend Adam Pearson


nology right in your clubs that connects seamlessly to a smartphone to provide real-time data. ‘Connectedness’ is huge area of growth in the future. This will help in a big way in terms of custom fitting the ‘right’ clubs for



Shafts Ushering in the era of transition from wood to metal, Billy ‘Burkowski’ Burke’s won his first US Open in 1931 using steel shafted clubs painted on to look like wood. Next year, legendary Gene Sarazen debuted the modern sand wedge, with a steel shaft and markings on the club face, in his British

Open victory. In early 2000s, there was a definite hunger among professionals and as well as amateurs to milk out maximum distance from their shots. In mid 1990s, Aerotech, a company known for producing top quality hockey sticks began applying the same technology

Billy Burke used steelshafted clubs to win US Open

When I switched to Aerotech Golf shafts, I was looking for a lighter weight iron shaft that could provide me with the consistent ball flight and spot on distance control. Aerotech’s SteelFiber shafts fit the bill perfectly. The SteelFiber technology has allowed me to take advantage of all the benefits of a graphite shaft yet still maintain complete control over my golf ball.


to golf shafts. By 2001, they succeeded in making a shaft with SteelFiber- It was lightweight, had stability and consistency of steel and less vibration due to composite. Today, Aerotech Golf shafts are available as custom options with almost all golf club manufacturers.

Graphite shafts Aerotech SteelFiber



-Matt Kuchar, PGA Tour pro

invented Haskell golf ball by Coburn Haskell and Bertram Work


Titleist ‘Professional Ball’


a golfer using the data garnered from how they play on the golf course rather than a traditional fitting bay on the driving range. Club manufactures can use this information to design clubs with high affinity to customisation.

Top-Flite Strata the first multilayer tour-played ball


‘Revolution Ball’ with a solid core by Maxfli


Club manufacturers are also experimenting with new materials to improve clubhead speed and contact efficiency. This can be achieved by inventing new materials that are light, strong and flexible. Finally, with the advent of 3D printing, it not

Titleist Pro V1


farfetched to ponder on the concept of golfers printing their own clubs! Callaway uses 3D printed metal parts in clubs today but the final products needs a lot of work before being functional and is not very cost effective today but this can change very quickly.





Ireland & Northern Ireland Offer World’s Best Golf Courses, Historical Sites, Brewing Experiences And Game Of Thrones Fix For The AvidTraveller


he anxiety of spending more than 12 hours on the flightfrom Delhi, including a stopover at Abu Dhabi, ended as a rainbow and some playful rabbitsnear the runway welcomed yours truly at the Dublin Airport early morning. Once youcheck into your hotel, the warmth and famed Irish hospitality is pretty easy to witness. Wide streets and Georgian structures embrace you with open arms as you make your way into the city centre. The home of world-renowned writers like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, Dublin connects old with the new. From the island’s patron saint St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral to the Dublin Castle, Trinity College and Chester Beatty Library there’s always a sense of history; architectural beauty only lightening up your journey.Tasting the unique beer at the Guinness Storehouse and a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery and Teeling Whiskey only enhances the experience. Apart from collectible items for purchase, the Guinness Storehouse also offers a 360 degree view of the entire city.

Portmarnock Golf Club

Dublin Double Coming back to golf, the Irish capital’s links courses Portmarnock Golf Club and Royal Dublin Golf Club are nowhere less popular to its Scottish counterparts.

Portmarnock is easily Ireland’s best links course. The 27-hole 7400-yard facility is set on a peninsula of sandy soil, interspersed with low sand dunes. The course overlooking Ireland’s Eye on one side and Dublin airporton the other side offers a tough but fair challenge to golfers. Dimpled fairways and score crunching bunkers add to the difficulty of power hitters. Founded in 1894 by MsPickeman& Ross with the owner and popular whiskey

distiller John Jameson himself a golfer, the club has a rich history, having staged the Irish Open for a record 19 times in – 1927, 1929, 1934, 1938, 1946, 1948, 1976-1982, 1986-1990 and 2003. The illustrious winners of those Irish Opens include Bobby Locke, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance, Ben Crenshaw and Michael Campbell among others. Portmarnock was the scene of victory for a star studded American team led



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How has the club made use of technological advances in the past 5 years to enhance the visitor/golfer experience?

by Phil Mickelson in the 1991 Walker Cup against a Great Britain and Ireland side featuring golfers like Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.It also hosted the St Andrews trophy as recently as 2012. Portmarnock also has a separate links resort for people to play, stay and enjoy Irish delicacies.

Green fee Weekday – Euro200 Weekend – Euro 225 Visitors welcome on weekdays and week-

ends; more restricted on Saturdays.Must book in advance. Proof of handicap required Caddy fee – Euro 50 Cart charges – Euro 50 Rental clubs – Euro 45

Contact Portmarnock Golf Club Golf Links Rd, Portmarnock, Co. Dublin Ireland Office: +353 (0)1 846 2968 Pro Shop: +353 (0)1 846 2634 Email: Website:

Portmarnock are always looking at ways to improve the golfers experience. Technological steps we’ve taken in recent years include the option of online bookings, which allows golfers to book when the offices are closed, which is important when attracting golfers from all over the world working off different time zones. We’ve also introduced online payment options, which again caters for different time zones, while also adding an extra layer of security in a time when PCI compliance is becoming so important when processing payments. We are currently trialing the Tagmarshal system, which monitors the speed of play of all the groups out on the golf course, which allows us to be more proactive when cases of slow play start to arise. From an operational point of view, it is also beneficial for our front of house staff so they know when buggies/caddies are due back in after a round, allowing us to maximize the use of the resources available to us. It also helps our catering staff know when groups are due in off the course, allowing them to adequately prepare for any pending busy periods. - Jeff Fallon, Operations Manager, Portmarnock Golf Club



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Royal Dublin Golf Club

Founded in 1885 by a group of Scottish gentlemen led by John Lumsden the club shifted from its initial location at Phoenix Park to its current venue at Bull Island in early 1889. There’s an interesting story behind how nature helped create such a beautiful links course. Captain William Bligh (of HMS Bounty fame) recommended the building of a sea wall to facilitate the safe approach of vessels into Dublin Port. The wall, known as Bull Wall, was constructed in early 1800s and a direct consequence was the formation of a sand bank which has grown ever since and became Bull Island. World renowned architect Harry Colt was brought in to design the course following its destruction in the World War I. However, keeping in mind, the rapid increase in golfing interest in the region, Martin Hawtree was invited in 2001 to produce a preliminary report on the available options to make it equally competitive in comparison to other Irish courses. Subsequently, his suggestions were implemented at a cost of Euro 4.5 million over four years. Not only did he changed the layout but significantly added contouring of most of the greens making it challenging for top professionals. The course was also lengthened by 400 yards and is now in excess of 7200 yards making it a quality championship venue. The club’s legendary members include Christy O’Connor Senior and Michael ‘Dyke’ Moran. Christy represented Great Britain and Ireland on 10 consecutive occasions in the Ryder Cup and played for Ireland in a remarkable 15 World

Cups, famously clinching the title in 1958. Michael Moran was born at Curley’s Yard (near the 14th green) on Bull Island in 1886. He not only emerged victorious in 5 Irish Open Championships from 1909 to 1913 but also finished tied 3rd at the British Open with Harry Vardon in 1913.

Green fee Weekday – Euro 150 Weekend – Euro 160 Visitors welcome on weekdays (except Weds), Saturdays (4pm-5:30pm) and Sundays (10am12pm). Must book in advance. Handicap required. Cart charges – Euro 40 Rental clubs – Euro 45

Contact The Royal Dublin Golf Club North Bull Island, Dollymount, Dublin 3, Co. Dublin Ireland Office: +353 (0)1 8336346 Pro Shop: +353 (0)1 833 6477 Email: Website: Where to stay in Dublin Trinity City Hotel, Pearse St, Dublin. Tel: + 353 1648 1000 Price: Euro 158-300/night pp

OTHER DUBLIN ATTRACTIONS Trinity College & Book of Kells Dublin’s Trinity College Library has 5 million printed volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps and music reflecting more than 400 years of academic development. The most famous of its manuscripts, the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, were presented by Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath and former vice-chancellor of the university, in the 1660s.

Dublin Castle The Castle is located in the heart of historic Dublin. In fact the city gets its name from the Black Pool – ‘Dubh Linn’ – which was on the site of the present Castle garden. The south range houses the magnificent State Apartments that were built as the residential quarters of the Viceregal court. They are now the venue for Presidential Inaugurations, State Functions and Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union. Christ Church Cathedral Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin’s oldest building, a leading visitor attraction and a place of pilgrimage for almost 1,000 years. Renowned for its beauty, architecture and exquisite floor tiles, it is home to the famous 12th Century crypt, one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland. Chester Beatty Library The library’s rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe. Guinness Storehouse Located in the heart of the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, this production site has been home to the Guinness Brewery since 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a lease for 9,000 years.



Breathtaking Belfast Belfast is just 2 hour 15 minutes by train from Dublin with the seashore route throwing upon the lovely countryside to one’s excitement. River Lagan divides the city into two portions – East and West. While the Queen’s University and the Ulster Museum lies south of the city centre, Titanic Belfast (Museum of the popular cruise ship), SS Nomadic are situated on the eastern coast of the Lagan touching the Belfast harbor. At the height of the industrial revolution, the city was the global epicentre of the Irish linen industry, tobacco production, rope

making and ship building. Today, discover a resurgent, dynamic, capital. One can’t help but relish Belfast’s diverse charms and emerging quarters: City Centre that includes the charming City Hall; Cathedral Quarter, Titanic Quarter, Linen Quarter and Queen’s Quarter. Northern Ireland offers top-ranked links courses for the passionate golfer. From Royal County Down southwards of Belfast to Royal Portrush Golf Club, venue of the 2019 British Open, and Portstewart Golf Club – northern most region of the country aligning with the Atlantic Ocean – the three

couses are regularly featured in world’s top-10 courses in the world. Together with best parkland facilities like Royal Belfast Golf Club and Galgorm Castle Golf Club the country provides a golf traveller with the most varied and fulfilling experience. Add to it the Game of Thrones locations like Castle Ward, world heritage sites like Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge along with the historic Dunluce & Dundrum Castles and gardens at Mount Stewart, what you get is simply overwhelming.

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Portstewart Golf Club The roads leading to Portstewart Golf Club are well known for conducting high-end annual motorcycle championships with enthusiasts maneuvering the bends on the Causeway Coastal Route with meticulous precision. The same strategy needs to be applied while playing the Par 72 7054-yard layout on the Strand. The natural sand hills and the undulating contours coupled with vulnerable weather conditions make it a tough challenge even for the top pros. Founded in 1894, Portstewart Golf Club is home to 3 courses – the Strand, the Riverside and the Old – and has benefitted from numerous makeovers since, most famously by Willie Park Junior in the 1920s. The original 9 holes were laid out on 26

acres of land belonging to the Cromore Estate on the seaward side of the County Road to Portrush at Portmore to the East of the town. The outward nine on the flagship Strand course, venue for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, is awe-inspiring. From the stunning opening par 4, which tumbles 80 yards downhill before doglegging gently right into an elongated green framed by dunes and gorse bushes, this collection of holes wows at every turn. The back nine is equally worthy of praise with carefully placed bunkers lending goosebumps to the fainthearted.

Green fee Strand Course (Par 72, 7054 yards)

All Week – 90-150 Pounds (Summer); 60 Pounds (Winter) Riverside Course (Par 68, 5725 yards) Weekday – 22 Pounds Weekend – 27 pounds Visitors welcome on weekdays and weekends (after 2pm on Saturdays on Strand Course) Must book in advance. Handicap required. Caddy fee – 40 Pounds Cart charges – 40 Pounds

Contact Portstewart Golf Club 117 Strand Rd, Portestewart, Co. Londonderry BT55 7PG Northern Ireland Office: +44 (0)28 70832015 Pro Shop: +44 (0)28 7083 5791 Email: Website:



Royal Portrush Golf Club From checking out the brilliant cliffs protruding into the Atlantic to exploring the geological wonder – Giant’s Causeway – whose 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns defy logic, it has been a terrific outing so far. But I have been eagerly awaiting to have a look at the venue for the 148th British Openchampionship. Royal Portrush is the only venue outside the British Isles which will be staging the event in 2019 after a gap of 68 years – when Englishman Max Faulkner beat Argentine Antonio Cerda to lift the Claret Jug in this part of the globe. However, golf’s governing rules body – The R&A – made it clear from the outset that for the return of the world’s oldest Major the Dunluce Links course needed to make some modifications in order to accommodate infrastructure for the Championship. Following a detailed study it was decided that Hole 17 & 18 would make way for the spectator village area during The Open and that the replacement holes could be forged from the area of the 5th and 6th holes of the Valley Course.

The 148th Open will include a gigantic 630-yard par-5 7th and a 460-yard par-4 8th sculpted by Martin Ebert. Add these to a bunch of high quality holes and what you get is a lethal mix in two years’ time. The breeze from the North Atlantic and the humps and hollows leading you to the green could possibly add to the woes of the thoroughbreds when they tee off here two winters later. The 5th called the ‘White Rocks’ is a classy layout that seems to plunge into the Atlantic with the Skerries (a rocky island formation in the ocean) on the left and the Dunluce Castle on the right. The head of Finn MacCool (a rocky formation resembling a massive human face reminiscent of the giant of the Causeway myth) stares you when you look at the limestone cliffs. Royal Portrush’s signature hole, the 14th, is named ‘Calamity Corner’ for the prime reason of being surrounded by deep ravines which is likely to gobble up balls landing in the area. In all, the couse rewards patience and careful planning.

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Green fee All week – 190 pounds (Summer) 100 pounds (Winter)

Contact Royal Portrush Golf Club Dunlace Road, Portrush, Co. Antrim BT56 8JQ Northern Ireland Office: +44 (0)28 7082 2311 Pro Shop: +44 (0)28 7082 3335 Email: Website:

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Galgorm Castle Golf Club

Weekend – 60 Pounds Cart charges – 25 Pounds

Contact The venue of Northern Ireland Open on the European Challenge Tour since more than 10 years is another Parkland course which is worth playing. Fast greens, contoured fairways and much flora make you appreciate the layout. Compared to Royal Belfast it seems a less difficult facility for

average golfers. The course encourages family outings and hosts a lot of activities during the weekend to attract newcomers and walk-in visitors.

Green fee Weekday – 50 Pounds

Galgorm Castle Golf Club Galgorm, Bellymena, Co. Antrim Bt42 1HL Northern Ireland Office: +44 (0)28 2564 6161 Pro Shop: +44 (0)28 2564 6161 Email: Website:


Royal Belfast Golf Club Founded in 1881 Royal Belfast Golf Club lays claim to the title of the oldest golf course in Ireland. In 1885 the club became “Royal” after the Prince of Wales was invited to become its Patron during a visit to Ireland. The present course dates back to 1925, when responsibility for the course design and layout at the present location was given to Harry Colt. One of the best Parkland courses in Northern Ireland, Royal Belfast’s beautiful setting with Belfast Lough on one side coupled with tall fir and pine trees add to the golfers’ delight. The undulating nature of the course means the long hitters have no definite

bizgolf ratings GOLF

advantage. With the bulk of travellers opting for links course, walk-in visitors get to play this venue at a very affordable price. For stay, Culloden Hotel & Spa is less than 5 minutes away offering some splendid views of the Lough and County Antrim’s hilly terrain.



Green fee- Pound 45-50 Cart charges– Euro 30 Rental clubs– Euro 25

Contact The Royal Belfast Golf Club Station Rd, Craigvad, Holywood, Co. Down BT18 0BP


Northern Ireland Office: +44 (0)28 90428165 Pro Shop: +44 (0) 28 9042 8586 Email: Website:

bizgolf ratings GOLF



Green fee

Royal County Down Golf Club Royal County Down is located in Murlough Nature Reserve, one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretch along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole. The narrowest ribbons of fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, so beautiful to look at but so punishing for any who may stray from the prescribed path. Ranked within the world’s top-10 courses several times, the club was established

by influential Belfast businessmen in 1889. George L. Baillie, a Scottish schoolteacher who came to Belfast and quickly embarked on a personal crusade to establish golf courses, was mainly responsible for the original nine-hole layout. That course was opened on 23rd March 1889. After several makeovers, it was the famous Harry Colt who was asked to lend his final touches to the course resulting in the present 4th and 9th holes, which were to become two of the most photographed holes in world golf.

Weekday – 200 pounds Weekend – 220 pounds Visitors welcome on weekdays (not Weds) and Sundays (pm). Must book in advance. Handicap required. Caddy fee – 35 Pounds Electronic trolley charges – 15 Pounds Rental clubs – 40 Pounds

Contact The Royal County Down Golf Club 36 Golf Links Rd, Newcastle, Co. Down BT33 0AN Northern Ireland Office: +44 (0)28 4372 3314 Pro Shop: +44 (0)28 4372 2419 Email: Website:



Other Belfast Attractions Giants Causeway Formed over 60 million years ago, when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water, the Giant’s Causeway is an awe-inspiring landscape of mostly hexagonal basalt columns. Look out for the distinctive formations of the Camel, the Wishing Chair, the Harp and Giant’s Boots.

Dunluce Castle Dunluce Castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast. Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, this medieval castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built and where its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings.

Game of Thrones Delight One of the prime reasons of visiting Northern Ireland is the popular HBO TV series Game of Thrones that has caught the attention of all age groups. The entire series has been shot at various locations across the country with Northern Ireland’s unique topography and rock formations lending perfect backdrop to the blockbuster.

Castle Ward

Ballintoy Village and Harbour Ballintoy, from the Irish ‘Baile an Tuaigh’ meaning ‘the northern townland’, is a village on the coast of County Antrim with the small fishing harbour located at the end of a very small, narrow, steep road down knocksaughey hill which passes by the entrance to Larrybane and Carrick-aRede Rope Bridge. Ballintoy Beach is located beside the harbour and can be accessed via the road leading down to the harbour on the right hand side.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Fishermen used to erect a rope bridge to Carrick-a-Rede island to check their salmon nets. Today, the National Trust operates a double hand-railed rope bridge across the 30m-deep/20mwide gorge. Visitors who traverse the bridge are rewarded with stunning views of the North Coast.

Titanic Belfast Constructed at the cost of £97million and opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast relates the story of the famous ocean liner. The iconic building (shaped like the bows of a ship) comprises of 9 galleries over 4 floors. Titanic Belfast transports the visitor through time: travelling from Edwardian ‘Boomtown Belfast’ (learning about the lives of the workers who built the ship and the lives of the passengers and crew who made the fateful voyage) to the present day with live streaming from where the wreck lies at rest on the ocean floor.

Castle Ward, overlooking Strangford Lough, was home to the Ward family since the 16th century. The 18th century mansion house is a unique blend of both classical and gothic architectural styles, resting on a rolling hillside overlooking the lough and surrounded by a beautiful 820-acre walled demesne with gardens and woodland. It played host to the Winterfell episode of Game of Thrones.

Where to stay in Belfast?

The SS Nomadic was built by Harland & Wolff in 1911; it was the tender (a small vessel) that transferred passengers from Cherbourg Harbour to RMS Titanic which, due to its size, was obliged to anchor well off shore. Now fully restored, SS Nomadic sits in Hamilton Dry Dock directly opposite Titanic Belfast.

Mount Stewart Gardens The famous gardens at Mount Stewart were planted in the 1920s by Edith, Lady Londonderry and are of international importance. The magnificent series of outdoor ‘rooms’ and vibrant parterres contain many rare plants that thrive in the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula. Following an £8m restoration programme which took 3 years to complete, the house reopened in 2015.

Culloden Estate & Spa Bangor Road, Belfast BT18 0EX Tel: +44 289 042 1066 culloden-estate-and-spa Price: 90-110 pounds/night pp

Europa Hotel Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7AP Tel: +44 289 027 1066 Price: 60-130 pounds/night pp (The writer is Managing Editor of Golf Digest India.)


SS Nomadic


Reaching the Green is Tough Going Green is simple. OneEarth OneLight aims to leave an environmental and social impact on the urban and rural parts of the world.

OneLight Solar powered | All-weather | Portable source of light | Lightweight | waterproof Provides light for up to 12 hours once fully charged

How can you help?

Individuals Golfers registering in the GEC Open 2017 can purchase OneLight with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. They can choose to donate the light as well.

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Corporates OneLight is available for bulk purchase for corporates who want to give the gift of light as part of their own CSR programs.

Help make a difference





hile understanding the agronomy that goes into maintaining a golf course is quite a complicated task,executing the maintenance and management process to keep the course ready in pristine condition is totally another

monster. In the past 25 years, greenskeeping has changed tremendously. What used to be an ‘art’, has evolved into fine art and science. The extensive usage of power equipment and technology today has not reduced the amount of work on the greenskeepers but has definitely increased the turf quality and playing experience. “The way in which golf courses today are now managed is substantially different from those early years yet the responsibility is not any easier. Superintendents’ ability to provide quality-playing conditions is still their primary responsibility” ---- excerpt written in 1952 entitled ‘Maintenance Changes from Art to Art and Science’. 65 years down the line, everything has changed, from technological innovations in machinery to the actual greenkeeping practices with advancements in soil and grass research. For the major part of sport’s evolution, the role of superintendents and greenskeepers was largely undermined. It all changed with the introduction of inland courses where machinery was used to create the banks, hollows and lakes found on modern courses. As the popularity of the game increased, the rules became more formalized and maintenance of the course became a necessity. This included identifying and working with turf specialists to produce top quality playing surfaces that will stay that way all year long irrespective of the conditions. Contrary to superintendents of yesteryears, day-to-day responsibilities today are much more time consuming. The ongoing administrative functions, budgeting and the continual management of compliant standards can take away from their ability to oversee valued playing conditions.bizgolf spoke to the maintenance heads of few of the best managed golf courses in the eastern hemisphere.


Mohamed Omar is the head superintendent and resort ground manager at Katameya Dunes in Cairo, Egypt. Omar is 46 years old and has been working in the turf industry since 1997. He started working at Katameya Dunes in 2007 as a grow-in greenskeeper only to be promoted to his current post in 2011. Since then, he is at the helm of a beautiful 27-hole championship course designed by Sir. Nick Faldo and Schmidt-Curley. A graduate from faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University in Horticulture sciences, Mohamed Omar leads a team of 64 people and his responsibilities include managing team’s work and time distribution, financial and material resources to ensure pristine conditions for the turf grass and landscaped ground on the Westin



Maintenance team at Katameya Dunes


property. “My primary concern is to keep the environmental health of the golf course balanced with the sporting needs of the players. I communicate the status of the course and maintenance resources to the club management, owners, golf course architects and other concerned parties. We strongly believe that management strategies must also align with the golf club business’ environmental and philanthropic role in the community.” His typical workday depends largely upon the weather forecast. “As soon as I reach the course, I grab my regular cup of joe and check the weather station for any changes in the predictions. If mother nature allows, the mowers are the first equipment to hit the ground with the greens being the first to be cut as soon as the sun comes up. This is followed by raking the bunkers and changing the cups on weekends and takes about two hours.” Fairways are mowed three days a week depending on the season along with tees and collars on a reverse schedule. Similarly, cutting of various rough heights, spraying of fertilizers etc are scheduled to counter the weather conditions.

“We carefully monitor the natural weather patterns, environment and other influences that affect the playing areas and landscapes with which golfers interact while also intensively studying and diagnosing any sort of disease and injury to golf course’s turf grass fairways, tees and greens areas, as well as bunkers, areas of water hazard, naturalized areas and trees.” Katameya Dunes’ work program is structured in way that Omar has a supervisor responsible for each division of maintenance work. They have a weekly meeting to review the past week’s work and discuss the progress and plan for the upcoming week. There is a monthly meeting with whole team as well to disseminate the work further. The weather conditions drive the maintenance program at Katameya Dunes as the yearly work program is finalised depending on the weather pattern. “We do our yearly renovations in the summer, which is the growing season for our grass type (seashore paspalum). In winter, this type of grass goes into dormancy state because it is hot season grass. So, we work with what we have and we try to give

our best.” Katameya Dunes attracts a ton of footfall with a number of corporate as well as professional golf tournaments held at the club and Omar understands how to step up the game and get the course tournament ready. “Tournaments are certainly the best opportunity to present the course for media and various photo ops. Although, in Katameya Dunes, our maintenance program is built up to keep the course in top conditions at all times but we do prep the course to meet the tournament needs. Whether its increasing the green speed, or marking the course for professional play. Sometimes extra culture processes are needed like rolling the greens, additional mowing time for tees and greens etc.”



Mowers Riding mowing machines for the fairways and rough Walk-behind machine for greens Small machines to cut the grass around palms and around bunker edges Transportation Used to transport mid to small size machine and staff for mowing To collect waste and grass clips to waste storage Utility and tractor machine For spraying chemicals, spreading fertilizer used in culture process, for example, bunker rakes sand topdressing, aeration or slicing the grass Katameya Dunes is equipped with an advanced automatic central irrigation system that measures grass needs and provides optimum amount of the water to the grass.



Maintenance team at Nikanti GC

NIKANTI GOLF CLUB THAMMASALA, THAILAND While Mohamed Omar provides interesting insights on greenskeeping operations in an arid, desert climate, there are some lessons to learn from the tropical region of Thailand. Brad Revill is the Director of golf course maintenance at Nikanti Golf Club in Thailand. He has worked on a number of golf courses in Australia, America and Asia working on PGA and European Tour tournaments. Over the years, Brad has won numerous awards for his work in Turfgrass management. Along with his team, he is responsible the 18-hole golf course which includes a variety of several newly planted mature trees and extensive landscaping surrounding each hole as well as the clubhouse. Brad’s aim is to bring the course conditioning to the highest standard in Thailand and South-East Asia. “Similar to any other golf course, the work starts as early as five in the morning every day which includes changing holes, moving tee markers, Raking bunkers, cleaning up

debris, cutting all surfaces and possibly a fertiliser application. This is followed up by measuring the greens clipping yield and speed and then necessary adjustments to ensure consistent speed across all greens.”, Brad says. After overseeing the morning operations and ensuring a timely execution, Brad often moves on to the ‘office’ preparing reports, attending meetings, planning future projects and fine-tuning schedules. “When I am not in office, I can be found on the golf course supervising various projects, taking performance measurement of the playing surfaces or training my team in areas such as agronomy, personnel management, machinery operation and horticulture.” Brad points out that there are two biggest challenges that his team faces to deliver top notch playing conditions as well as visual appeal of the course. “The weather and water supply are our biggest challenges we face on a daily basis. Our water supply is high in dissolved salts

and sulphur which we have to monitor regularly so that they do not build up in the soil. Thailand has a definite wet and dry season and can rain for days on end which makes it challenging to provide firm playing surfaces. The consistent cloud cover and poor light intensity also provides a challenge to growing Bermuda Grass.” The Solution? It lies in the technology. “We use the latest irrigation system control software and GPS soil moisture meters and cloud technology to accurately measure and apply water to our turf areas. We also regularly measure the firmness, infiltration rate and organic matter percentage of all of our surfaces. By utilising this technology and following these methods, we have ensured our surfaces meet our performance targets.” Nikanti Golf Club also make use of top of the line products and technology for their greenskeeping needs with an emphasis on water conservation. “We predominantly use Toro machinery with John Deere and Shibaura Tractors. For fertiliser, we use agricultural grade soluble fertilisers which we mix ourselves to meet the requirements of the plant. We have a Toro irrigation system installed which we



Club House


Verticutting Fairways

recently upgraded last year to improve the accuracy and uniformity. Our water supply comes from an adjacent river as well as the many lakes on the golf course. We use the latest technology moisture meters along with an onsite weather station to determine when and how much water we apply, ensuring we only irrigate when needed and don’t waste any water.” The maintenance team at Nikanti utilise technology, collect performance and agronomical data on a regular basis to ensure consistent high standards. Some of the measurements they take are green speed (daily), surface firmness, infiltration rates, root depth, thatch depth, organic matter content, clipping yield and compaction. These results are tracked over time to ensure the efficacy of the programs. One relatively new method of interpreting soil fertility tests called Minimum Levels of Sustainable Nutrition enables Brad’s team to only apply what nutrients the turfgrass plant is using. This approach has improved the course performance tremendously while reducing the expenses to a great extent. Different weather seasons calls for tweaks in the maintenance program as well.


“During the dry season, there tends to be more hand watering and greater pressure on irrigating the course as well as more aggressive cultural practices like verticutting and dusting as the plant tends to grow much more aggressively during this time of year. During our wet season, we tend to favour less aggressive practices as the light intensity is very low and the Bermuda grass tends to recover a lot slower.” He continues, “Our goal at Nikanti, is to maintain our surfaces to a tournament standard on a daily basis, which we are currently achieving. When we have a tournament, we focus on ensuring the many landscaped areas surrounding the course are looking great and improving the surfaces just that little bit more to achieve something special.” Brad heads a team of 76 including 22 landscape staff. The maintenance team at Nikanti is separated in different verticals - Landscaping, Irrigation, Applications, Equipment Maintenance and Golf Course Maintenance. Each team has their one foreman to oversee and adhere to the program. Other than this, Brad leads two assistant superintendents along with a workshop manager and an administration executive.

Communicate Effective communication to your team, other departments and to management is extremely important, especially when you are dealing with a multicultural workforce with multiple languages. Always keep your composure. No matter how frustrated, angry, upset you may feel, never take it out on your team. This was advice given to me when I first started working in Asia and has proven to be a much more effective approach and gains you much more respect from your team. Help others Share information and experiences with other superintendents, your team or whoever may be interested. You never know how much you may help someone. This also helps to break down cultural barriers and earn respect from your team. Observe Always observe everything and take note of changes. Whether that be grass or people. Always Question Can I/we do this better? Faster? Cheaper? It was this mentality, along with strong determination that got me where I am today. You can never stop learning. “If you want it, go after it! Be confident in your abilities, ask questions if you do not know something and do not be afraid to say “I don’t know”. Make contact with other superintendents and ask them questions about how they do things or anything you would like to know, you may be surprised at how many there are that are willing to help you”



Maintenance team at Bali National GC

BALI NATIONAL GOLF CLUB BALI, INDONESIA Katameya Dunes in Cairo and Nikanti Golf Club both employ in-house maintenance team and superintendents. Bali National Golf Club has a different approach. Instead of assigning an individual Superintendent, Bali National has outsourced the maintenance to PT. Karya Rama Prima – a golf course maintenance and construction company. The company is headed by its Director, Qamal Mutaqin. And, in turn, Qamal have stationed a fulltime course maintenance assistant at Bali National to oversee daily maintenance work and lead the crew under Qamal’s direction. “In principle, it is my job to ensure that the assistants and field crews are fulfilling agreed programs, in accordance to the golfing needs of the club. In the morning, they

work on daily game preparation, starting with mowing green, tee-boxes, fairway, raking bunkers before moving on to the turf maintenance programs, that is, fertilizing, chemical usage, and other cultural practices such as aerator, verticut, topdressing and slicing. We utilize the night time, since there are no players, to do irrigation or any other additional work in the areas that need special attention.” When quizzed upon the various challenges his team faces at Bali National, Qamal was quick to respond. “There are two main challenges. First, natural conditions - In natural conditions, weather and water determine the field quality. The sun heat, wind speed, and the extreme weather-changes affect the field

program. Another challenge in Bali National Golf course is the availability of suitable water for grass, as the water here contains salt, it must be well anticipated. Secondly, increase in golfers implicate to a wider cultural practice adjustments. We have to ensure that the previous game will not affect the next player (such as ball marks, divots, etc), apart from that, the cultural practice must also be able to meet different demands of players. For example, the standard of green speed at Bali National Golf course is above 9 feet 5 inches, but some players consider it too fast while others feel it’s slow. So, we have to work around that to provide everyone what they want.” Being an outside firm, usage of technology to communicate with the field team in real time is of critical importance. Apart from daily reporting to the head team at the end of the day, the staff is encouraged to use apps such as WhatsApp to submit real-time reports and communicate. Bali National has also adopted a state of the art irriga-



QAMAL MUTAQIN DIRECTOR OF THE MAINTENANCE FIRM tion system by TORO that uses a monitor system which is connected with irrigation experts in Jakarta in real time. The product also has an app to monitor irrigation system on the move. The irrigation at Bali National is not dependent on ground water resources. “There are two water sources - around the lake in the course, and waste water from surrounding community. We regulate and recycle water from these two sources without causing natural ground water depletion”

The course has a fleet of TORO, John Deere and Jocobsen machines to help with the greenskeeping work while using Granular and Foliar fertilizers. Weather in Indonesia calls for unique and customised greenskeeping practices. “We have to continuously measure and monitor salt levels in the grass. The salt rich sea water is used to suppress the growth of weeds. The sand for greens, tees, bunkers and even sand layering for the fairways and rough is all local. During dry season,

we often apply wetting agent in the course maintenance while in rainy season, one of our main objectives is to control the growth of algae.” The maintenance team at Bali National consists of 38 members for irrigation, machine operators and landscaping. They are supported by 60 daily workers. The machine team and landscaping team work in two shifts while the irrigation team works in three shifts to monitor irrigation 24/7.



GEC OPEN 2017 rolls out with qualifiers in


One of the fastest growing corporate golf tournament, GEC Open, returned with its much anticipated 4th edition in August. National qualifying roundswere held at Celebrity Golf Club in Tema, Ghana, Kemer Golf & Country Club in Istanbul, Turkey and Dreamland Golf Club in Baku, Azerbaijan. From Ghana, George Amoah, a business and investment consultant, Samuel Koranteng from MTN Telecom and Elizabeth Aku Yabah who works in the hospitality industry emerged

victorious in their respective handicap classes to book their berth in the World Final.In Turkey, the trio of Serhan Eryuksel, Ali Fidanboy and Nursel Çökelek blew away the field to claim World Final spots. From Azerbaijan, Yerlan Duissenbin, Eldar Kerimov and Susan Drummond staved off stiff challenge to bag the coveted spots. The world final, Dubai Corporate Golf World Cup 2017, will be held over two days on 13th& 14th December at world class golf courses at Trump International and Emirates Golf Club in

“First of all, it was a perfect day for golf in Istanbul and Kemer Country field’s condition was excellent. Tournament was also very well organized just like last year’s so everything was ready for me to play under 90, 6 strokes below my handicap. And I’m not even counting the missed putts!! I can’t wait to play in final in Dubai. The tournament season is just starting in Turkey now so in 2 months me and other participants from my country will be more than ready to bring the trophy home”

-Serhan Eryuksel




Dubai. The events engaged top corporates and industry leaders with over 250 avid golfers tee-ing off in the initial legs of the 18-country GEC Open international golf tour. GEC Open is an initiative to bring leading global organizations and executives on a unified platform; growing the bond and strength of business while working to improve the lives of others though charitable causes. With the support of our generous participants in Ghana, the event raised approx. GHC 3000 to support our local charity partner ‘The Girl in Need

Foundation’. With humble beginnings in 2014 in just one country, GEC Open has grown into a global platform for networking and a nursery for everlasting friendships and international business relations. The 2017 edition will see 29 golf rounds played across 18 countries amongst 2400 CXO’s under the aegis of 800+ global organisations. Following Ghana, qualifying rounds will be held in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Dubai, Kenya, Botswana, Egypt, Thailand, UAE, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Bahrain, Singapore, China, Indonesia to name a few.

“My experience at the qualifying round was an enjoyable one. Conditions of play was tough, we had a lot of rain the previous day but I was really excited to be among the winners. I have represented my country internationally twice before and I’m very excited to have this opportunity again! I believe myself and my fellow qualifiers will have a few practice rounds to solidify our game plan. I believe all sponsors did tremendously well and I take this opportunity to thank them all.”

-Elizabeth Aku Yabah



“Continuing the high standards set during the previous editions of the event, the 2017 GEC Open kick off was every bit impressive. The participants had a great time and the events were the right combination of competitive golf and networking for potential business opportunities. Indeed, with another successful start to the event, we have no doubt that it will grow into one of the most coveted corporate tournaments in the world. We

will continue to expand this platform and associate GEC Open with more golfers and corporates across the globe.”, said Tushar Sahoo, MD, GEC Open. GEC Open brings together leading global organisations and executives on a common platform through golf. GEC works to improve the lives of others through charitable causes while growing the bond & strength of business between corporate leaders.

We were delighted to welcome the GEC Open to Dreamland Golf Club Baku for Azerbaijan’s inaugural event. To be part of a Global series covering 18 different countries clearly helps us to position the country as a new and exciting golf destination. The 92 players enjoyed the experience of playing in the qualifying round and the fantastic prize on offer to each category winner. I am pleased to announce that Baku’s three winners share different nationalities coming from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the UK. We wish them continued success for the final and look forward to our 2018 event!


General Manager Dreamland Golf Club



GEC Open Global Leader board after Azerbaijan qualifier

STATS SO FAR Different Nationalities represented

Unique Corporate entities

28 120

Likeliness of attending GEC OPEN again next year? Extremely likely

Very likely

Somewhat likely

Not so likely





Recommending GEC Open to a friend or colleague? TOTAL PLAYERS

239 Male: 209


Extremely likely

Very likely

Somewhat likely

Not so likely





Overall feedback of the event Excellent

Very good







Female: 30




Redexim Enters Indian


edexim Charterhouse are the gold standard in the turf maintenance and machinery marketplace with innovative design, craftsmanship and heavy-duty construction. Best known for products such as Verti-Drain, Verti-Seed and Easy Spread, Redexim has a distribution network in 100+ countries and is represented by Gallant Sports & Infra in India and South-East Asia. These unique and trend-setting machines are the most advanced turf management tools on the market, recognized for performance, quality, durability and customer satisfaction.

bizgolf caught up with Hessel Rozema (Commercial Director, Redexim) recently to know more about the company’s products, offerings and foray in the Indian subcontinent. Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about the machineries designed and developed by Redexim and how the company differentiates itself with the competition? Redexim manufactures specialized machines for turf maintenance. We do not make mowers, utilities vehicles etc. that

are made in very large quantities by the other companies and constitute for over 90% of their business. Our focus is on niche machines like aerators, scarifiers, top dresses, sweepers and that is why we perform better than other companies in our particular domain. Our speciality is aeration, self-propelled & independently powered carrier / verti-drain for every day maintenance, carrier with sand spreader for top dressing, seeding and over-seeding machines, verti-cutters and core-collectors. These are just few of our specialised machines that are not matched by any of the competing companies.

How does Redexim plan to penetrate the sub-continent market? Golf courses in the subcontinent up till now have been attended mainly by 1-2 companies with not too many other options available and an evident lack of after sales service.



Appointment Gallant Sports & Infra has recently appointed Srijan Yadav as Country Head – Business Development, Redexim India Contact: +91- 9416252880 Email:

We know what our customers need – machinery that performs well, saves time, and offers value. Although we strive to make our machines durable enough to minimize the need for after sales service but we’ll be setting up a network for service as well to provide world class customer experience. With the latest technology at our disposal and a clear understanding of niche vertical of turf management and maintenance, we are confident of making a lasting impression in the sub-continent market. In fact, in many countries, our direct rivals and their distributors sell our products for aeration, dressing and seeding. This is a huge testament to the products and services that we offer. We are looking at a revenue of US $1 million for this financial year from India.

Apart from golf, what other sports are on your agenda for

India? We are already in contact with BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) with proposals for upgrading the playing fields. We are already working with cricket boards in the UK and Australia. With lots of matches getting cancelled because of heavy down pour, our aeration system with the carrier can be especially helpful for quick removal of water from the outfield. We’ve been involved in the maintenance of playing fields for FIFA World Cup and the Olympic games for many years now and we are in discussions with different venues and contractors for upcoming U17 World Cup. When a sudden cloudburst inundates the playing field with water, a Verti-Drain, penetrating holes in the grounds, can quickly make the water disappear, and thus guaranteeing a more attractive football match, or to make sure that a match does not need to be cancelled. In a World Cup match in Pretoria in 2010

FIFA World Cup in South Africa, there was sudden torrential rains and cloud burst. Our aeration systems saved the day and were used to start the game as soon as possible.

How can Redexim machines help in addressing the challenges faced by golf courses pertaining to Indian climate? We have established ourselves as the market leader when it comes to aeration, dressing and seeding. Our machines are extensively used by courses world-over in all kinds of weather and climate conditions. With most part of Indian subcontinent facing constant weather changes, our machine can help in optimising the turf conditions for pristine playing experience while keeping a check on the health of the course. Before entering the Indian market, we did opportunity analysis and we feel there is definitely a demand that we can meet, golf and otherwise.




Justin Thomas Wins 99th PGA Championship The 99th PGA Championship began with Jordan Spieth’s quest for a career grand slam at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. But it was his long-time friend and compatriot Justin Thomas who claimed the final major of the season and the coveted Wanamaker Trophy. With two massive breaks after the turn, a chip-in for birdie to seize control and a brave 7-iron over the water to

a peninsula green, Thomas carded a 3-under 68 for a two-shot victory. The trio of Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen finished tied for the 2nd place, though none of them had a chance to win playing the 18th. Oosthuizen holed a 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th to get a runner-up finish in the majors for the fourth time. For Reed, it was his first

top 10 in a major. 24-year-old Justin Thomas finished at 8-under 276 for his fourth victory of the year. “I just had an unbelievable calmness throughout the week, throughout the day,” said, Thomas. “I really truly felt I was going to win. I was just very confident. I didn’t get flustered. “I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be. I thought

I would be very shaky. At one point, I looked at my hand it was a little shaky but that’s why you play.” “I know that ‘major champion’ will never be taken away, you know, after my name,” he said. “Hopefully I’m going to win some more, plenty more, a lot more, whatever ... It’s huge for me. I mean, who knows what will happen.”

Champions bag Here’s a look at Thomas’ entire Titleist setup Driver Titleist 917D2 (Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana BF 60TX shaft), 8.5 degrees 3-wood Titleist 917F2 (Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Blue 80TX shaft), 15 degrees 5-wood Titleist 915Fd (Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X shaft), 18 degrees Irons

Titleist 716 CB (4-iron; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft), Titleist 718 MB (5-9; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts), Titleist Vokey SM6 (46-10F degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shaft)

Wedges Vokey SM5 (52-12F and 56-14F degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts), Vokey SM6 (60K degrees; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft) Putter Scotty Cameron X5 Flow Neck Prototype (SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour grip) Ball Titleist Pro V1x




Mena Tour skips Oman to accommodate Jordan and Ajman LPGA | LET

United States retains Solheim Cup The premier professional golf tour in the middle east, Mena Tour, has decided to skip the sultanate of Oman as a tournament venue for remainder of 2017 season. The decision has been taken to expand the tour’s reach to Jordan and Ajman. “We have been visiting Oman since Ghala Golf Club made its debut on the tour in 2013, and even organised our flagship season-ending Tour Championship at Muscat Hills last year in a testament to Oman’s growing reputation as major golf destination,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the Mena Tour. “We see it as our responsibility to showcase years of investments made in building world-class facilities by different countries in the region. And that is one big reason, we have added Jordan’s Ayla Golf Club and Ajman’s Al Zohra Club to our schedule this year.” “We can only have a limited number of events on our schedule because of extreme weather conditions and other logistical snags and, therefore, we were forced to skip Oman this year to accommodate new host venues” The Mena Tour lauded the Oman Golf Committee for its continued support in putting the tour on a trajectory for growth, saying it’s just a matter of time before the tour events return to the Sultanate’s premier golf clubs. The 2017 season comprises 16 championships including the season-ending event in Ajman, UAE. With Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points on offer, the MENA Tour is a pathway for golfers from the region to qualify for the Olympics.

The United States beat Europe to retain the Solheim Cup held at Des Moines Country Club in Iowa. The Americans started the 12 singles matches on the final day with a five-point lead, needing only four more points to secure victory. After an early

European rally, the U.S. steadied to close it out reasonably comfortably. Angel Yin halved the fifth match against Karine Icher to ensure the U.S. of at least a draw, enough to retain the Cup won two years ago in Germany. Wins from Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Lizette

Salas, Gerina Piller, and Danielle Kang, combined with halves from Lexi Thompson and Angel Yin and were enough to see USA win 16 ½ - 11 ½. The U.S. improved to 10-5 in the history of the biennial event which started in 1990.


Jason Norris wins in Fiji Australian Jason Norris shot a final round five-under-par 67 at the Natadola Bay Golf Course to secure a four-stroke victory at the Fiji International and bag the biggest pay day of his career. The US $1.2 million tournament is trisanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours. Starting a shot behind overnight leader Wade Ormsby, Norris shot six birdies against a single bogey on the front nine to gain

a four-shot cushion. Playing safe on the back nine, he parred the final three holes to emerge victorious over compatriots James Marchesani and David McKenzie as well as Thai Jazz Janewattananond. “It’s taken me 21 years to have a win like this,” Norris said after receiving the trophy from Fiji President George Konrote. “Now I’ve got a start in Europe and Asia as well. I was going to quit the game last year and now I’m playing all over the world. It’s just fantastic.”




Hideki Matsuyama wins WGC Bridgestone

On his 100th appearance on the PGA Tour, Japanese sensation Hideki Matsuyama clinched the WGC Bridgestone title in some style at the Firestone Country

Club. Sitting pretty on a two shot overnight lead, Hideki masterminded a 9-under-61 blitzkrieg to claim his second World Golf

Championships victory in nine months. The dominant five-shot victory over Zach Johnson sent him to the top of the FedExCup standings. “It was probably the worst warmup I’ve ever had on a tournament that I’ve won. I was shocked, and the first tee shot showed it.” The 25-year-old claimed he “was nervous all the way

around because I really wasn’t sure of my swing,” but it didn’t show on the outside as he scrambled for an opening par and then kick-started things with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 2nd. After he added seven birdies, including three straight to finish, he joined Tiger Woods (twice), Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal with the South Course record at Firestone.


Poom claims TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru The inaugural TAKE Solutions Masters played at KGA Golf Course in Bengaluru, India saw Thailand’s Poom Saksansin take home the winner’s cheque with a convincing wire-to-wire victory by two shots over home favourite Khalin Joshi. The 24-year-old Poom shot a four-under-par 67 on the final day for a tournament winning total of 16-under-par 268 to claim his second Asian Tour title. Joshi put up a good fight in the hope for his first Asian tour title but was no match for Thai’s resilience and eventually settled for second place. Ajeetesh Sandhu of India finished a further shot back in lone third place Rory Hie of Indonesia, Divyanshu Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan of India settled for fourth at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event. “No, I didn’t expect to win and be leader for four days! I was very surprised I was the leader after the third round because I played so badly. But after leading for three days, it would have been very disappointing to lose.”, said Poom. “This time, I felt that I played very well and I had a lot of expectations to win. Maybe I’m also good player that’s why I win (laughs). This win means I’m back in form. I injured my back before so this is a very good win for me”




Cambia Portland Classic; Donates prize money to hurricane relief EUROPEAN TOUR

Julian Suri claims Made In Denmark title

In her first win since 2014, American Stacy Lewis captured the Cambia Portland Classic presented by JTBC by one shot over In Gee Chun.Lewis, who fired a 3-under-par 69 in the final round, will donate the whole of her winner’s check - $195,000 – to the relief efforts in her adopted hometown of Houston, Texas. “I’m more relieved just knowing that I can pull the shots off when I need to. I knew I could win, but it’s always hard,” said Lewis, who finished runner-up 12 times since her last victory. “There are great players on this tour.” One of Lewis’ sponsors, financial giant KPMG, said they would match Lewis’ donation total. Lewis made just one bogey in the final round before rattling off a string of 11-straight pars to close out. She moves up to 6th from 16th on the Race to the CME Globe. After a 6-under-par 66, In Gee Chun finished just one shot back of Lewis, notching her fifth runner-up finish of 2017. Chun was bogey-free Sunday but just ran out of holes, and fell just short of catching Lewis. Moriya Jutanugarn and Brittany Altomare finished tied for third at 14-under. Jutanugarn fired an evenpar 72 on Sunday, while Altomare shot a 3-under-par 69 to notch her best ever LPGA Tour result.

Julian Suri won his maiden European Tour title after clinching a four-stroke victory at the 2017 Made in Denmark tournament in Farso. The world number 213 went into the last day one shot adrift of overnight leader David Horsey, but overtook the Englishman with seven birdies in a bogey-free effort as Horsey carded

a disastrous triple-bogey on the final hole. As a result of his win, Suri becomes the third American to win on both the Challenge and European Tours, sharing the honor with Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein. “I actually said to my caddie, I think I was more nervous on that putt on 16 than I was to

win the tournament two years ago, especially in that atmosphere with the fans.My game is coming on and the changes I am trying to make are starting to take effect.This is definitely something I’ve worked for. But to finally come out and do it, especially after the string of good finishes this summer, is really special”.


Peter Karmis wins Sun City Challenge Peter Karmis lifted his second title of the 201718 Sunshine Tour season with a playoff victory against Jake Roos at the 54-hole R750 000 Sun City Challenge. Playing at the Gary Player country club, Karmis entered the final round three shots behind Roos but managed

to land himself in the playoff after a meltdown by Riekus Nortje who was in the driving seat for the win. “This was a little unexpected,” said Karmis, “but any win is the nicest win. I’m not too fussy about how it comes.” “I’m very pleased,” he added. “I’ve

been working hard and I think I’m starting to be able to get into the mix and give myself a chance. Look, I was lucky today. Jake hit it in the hazard on the playoff hole, and also, I birdied the 18th to get into the playoff. That pin was just about in the bunker,” he laughed.




Callaway To Acquire TravisMathew Callaway Golf Company has announced to have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TravisMathew, a high-growth golf and lifestyle apparel company, for $125.5 million in an all-cash transaction. Chip Brewer, President & CEO, Callaway Golf said: “We are very excited about this acquisition. With its golf heritage, culture of product excellence and double-digit growth in the golf and lifestyle apparel business, TravisMathew is a great fit with our business, brands, culture and our strategy to grow in areas tangential to

golf. This acquisition, once completed, is expected to be slightly accretive to earnings in 2018 and create significant value for our shareholders over the long-term. We look forward to working with the TravisMathew management team to maximize this brand’s growth potential.” Post-acquisition, TravisMathew will continue to operate out of its Huntington Beach, California headquarters. The purchase price values TravisMathew at a multiple of approximately 11.8 times projected 2017

full year adjusted EBITDA. Callaway also expects to realize significant value from potential tax benefits associated with the transaction. Callaway intends to finance the transaction with cash on hand and borrowings from its asset-backed credit facilities. Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal counsel and Lazard acted as financial advisor to Callaway. Baker & Hostetler LLP acted as legal counsel and Moss Adams Capital LLC and Optivest IB acted as financial advisor to TravisMathew.

Chip Brewer, Callaway Golf


Topgolf partners with Cineplex with Canada in sights Erik Anderson Topgolf

Global sports entertainment leader Topgolf and Cineplex, a leading entertainment and media company, have announced an exclusive partnership that will bring Topgolf’s sports entertainment experience to Canada. The joint venture will see the opening of multiple Topgolf venues in markets across the country during the next

several years. Through the premium experience of play, food and music, Topgolf inspires people of all ages and skill levels – even non-golfers – to come together for playful competition. Guests can enjoy point-scoring golf games using microchipped balls that instantly score themselves, showing players the accuracy

and distance of their shots on a TV screen in their hitting bay. Topgolf locations are typically three-level, 65,000-square-foot venues that feature a chef-driven menu, top-shelf drinks, big screen TVs and music in climate-controlled hitting bays for all-seasons comfort. Year-round programming includes events for kids and families, social leagues, groups, golf tournaments and

instruction. “Throughout the years, Canada has been the toprequested country among our fans asking us to expand outside the United States,” said Topgolf Entertainment Group Co-Chairman and CEO Erik Anderson. “We’re thrilled to continue our growth in North America and introduce Topgolf as a destination for entertainment and socializing where Canadians

can play golf even when there’s snow on the ground.” Cineplex will manage the venues’ day to day operations, working closely with Topgolf to ensure the best guest experience in Canada. Predominately known as Canada’s largest and most innovative film exhibitor, Cineplex operates in the film entertainment and content, amusement and leisure, and media sectors.




NBC Acquires Revolution Golf to strengthen digital portfolio

Mike McCarley, NBC Sports Group

Martin Slumbers The R&A

The Asian Tour becomes an affiliate of the R&A In a major boost to the development of golf in Asia, The Asian Tour has become an affiliate of The R&A enabling both bodies to work more closely together. The R&A will provide support for the Asian Tour’s developmental tour and will engage with the tour on Rules education and development projects. The tour will now also be represented at The R&A’s quadrennial International Golf Conference in St Andrews. Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are delighted that the Asian Tour has become affiliated to The R&A and look forward to supporting its efforts to assist more elite amateur players to make the step-up to the professional ranks. One of our goals in Asia is to create more pathways for talented young players to emerge. Strengthening our partnership with the Tour will enable us to provide greater support in this important aspect of the sport.”

Josh Burack, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour, said, “In 2010 we set up the Asian Development Tour. Over the past 7 years the ADT has expanded to over 20 tournaments per annum and provided a great pathway onto our main tour and the world stage of golf. Now working with the R&A we will create some playing slots for top amateur players in Asia to compete against our professionals on the ADT. We are proud to announce this new partnership with the R&A as we collaborate to strengthen golf in Asia.” The Asian Tour will join The R&A’s global network of more than 150 affiliates to promote and develop golf in accordance with the official Rules of Golf and the Rules of Amateur Status. The Asian Tour is the first tour outside Europe to become an R&A affiliated body. It joins the European Tour and Ladies European Tour which are existing R&A affiliates.

One of the largest consumer digital platform in golf, Revolution golf, has been acquired by NBC Sports Group. With nearly 2 million highly-engaged subscribers, Revolution Golf partners with some of the most recognizable names in the industry to deliver high-quality, videobased instruction, travel content, and integrated e-commerce. The announcement was made today by Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group and Justin Tupper, CEO of Revolution Golf. This addition to NBC Sports’ digital portfolio strengthens its ability to serve the largest community of active golfers through multiple digital platforms, including Golf Channel’s traditional digital media and social channels, GolfNow’s tee-time marketplaces, multiple golf lifestyle brands and, now, Revolution Golf’s instructional, travel and e-commerce connections. The agreement also increases NBC Sports’ digital monthly users aggregated across all platforms to 15 million active golfers who rely upon NBC Sports’ digital platforms to connect with the sport they love and play. “A pioneering spirit has fueled Golf Channel’s growth since Arnold Palmer founded the company 22 years ago and that spirit continues today as Revolution Golf joins the NBC Sports Group,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports. “From a business standpoint, as we continue to evolve for the future, Revolution Golf adds another subscription-based business that is not dependent on rights fees.



Swing by Swing acquires gottaGolf Swing by Swing Golf, the golf mobile app, media and marketing company has announced the acquisition of gottaGolf. The acquisition gives Swing by Swing the top ball tracer and social app in golf with an engaged user base and social audience of more than 250,000 golfers. “We are excited to add gottaGolf and its CEO & Founder, Clint Jarvis, to the Swing by Swing family,” said Charles Cox, CEO of Swing by Swing. “gottaGolf’s growing, loyal audience of young, active golfers is a

tremendous fit for our golf-improvement and entertainment businesses. The combined companies will offer our large golfer community an incredible bouquet of digital products across GPS, instruction and social.” The gottaGolf app provides its user base with automatic ball tracing, unique photo and video editing tools, and social features. Golfers use the app to create and share golf photos and videos as well as connect with a passionate community of golfers around

the world. The gottaGolf team will join Swing by Swing but remain in its offices in Atlanta, Georgia. “gottaGolf’s mission is to make it more enjoyable for golfers around the world to engage with the sport by leveraging the power of technology and social media,” said Clint Jarvis, CEO at gottaGolf. “We are thrilled to join the Swing by Swing team, as it will empower us to accelerate this vision and make an even greater impact on the golf world.”

CEO Khodabakhsh leaves Ladies European Tour

Ivan Khodabakhsh

The Ladies European Tour has revealed its chief executive officer Ivan Khodabakhsh “is leaving his position”. In his absence, day-to-day duties will be taken over by Chairman Mark Lichtenhein. Khodabakhsh has been under fire for quite some time now with the LET struggling to hold on to tour events. The LET was forced to cancel seven events this season, making it particularly difficult for those this side of the pond to qualify for next week’s Solheim Cup. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew was one of a number of players to call for Khodabakhsh’s exit at last week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open. “I think the product’s there,” said Matthew. “They have got a lot of good players. It’s just perhaps they have had the wrong person at

the head. So, hopefully, if they can get that resolved, it can start building itself up again.” The LET’s statement read: “Under the board’s guidance, the executive management team will continue to support all its stakeholders and ensure the future direction of the Tour.” The LET’s website now lists just 15 events on its schedule, down 11 events from six years ago, and beyond the majors, it has hosted just six events this season. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan was asked late last year about the LPGA’s interest in taking the LET under its umbrella and forming a satellite circuit to feed pros into the LPGA, much like the Symetra Tour. “My vision is not to acquire the LET,” he said then. “We’ve got a good partnership.”



The key technologies Lower-Compression Energetic Gradient Growth Core: AD333’s core technology uses variable stiffness to deliver better feel and exceptional distance on every shot.


Third Generation Spin Skin Coating: This latest iteration of Srixon’s proven ball coating is more elastic with less bonding points so it produces more consistent spin from any lie — especially the rough.


Srixon Launches All-New AD333 Golf Ball Srixon has launched a newly redesigned version of its immensely successful AD333 golf ball, which has dominated the 2-piece market for the past 11 years.

Ideal for golfers who demand balanced performance from a more durable, 2-piece offering, the new AD333 is a premium, lower compression golf

ball that delivers the perfect combination of performance, exceptional distance, soft feel and greenside control. The AD333 golf ball utilises the same

premium technologies found in Srixon’s higher performing tour-level balls, but offers them in a 2-piece construction that is more durable and affordable.

Aerodynamic 338 Speed Dimple Pattern: Along with more control in the wind, this dimple pattern reduces drag to maximise distance.



LPGA Launches digital platform for women to engage with tour pros Having identified a pressing need for the establishment of a digital platform to engage new and existing golfers, the Ladies Professional Golf Association will be ‘going live’ online with the Women’s Network on Monday, August 14 - just a few days before the showpiece Solheim Cup, the prestigious biennial contest between Europe and the United States, takes place in West Des Moines, Iowa. The timing is perfect. The

Solheim Cup is arguably the biggest, and certainly the most passionate and talked about, event in women’s golf. The Women’s Network aims to be the biggest and most passionate online forum for female golfers, with the goal to get to half a million women engaged with its content and conversations by 2020. The Women’s Network will give its subscribers the opportunity to receive golf tips and instruction from LPGA

Teachers; to engage with the LPGA and its players through an interactive blog and video series; and to connect with each other. “The LPGA Women’s Network is designed to help nurture women’s interest in the game of golf,” Ashleigh McLaughlin, Manager of Digital

Marketing and Brand Strategy for the Women’s Network, told about the new venture. “LPGAWomensNetwork. com will start as a blog and will quickly grow into an online community that celebrates the growth and connections women can find through golf.”



Lifestyle To share news on your products or updates on new launches, please email

The New Tiffany Fragrance

Turing Appassionato Finland giant Turing is releasing its latest smartphone, The Appassionato, this fall. It is made of liquidmorphium, one of the strongest materials to be used on smartphone, as claimed by Turing. With 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the phone sports some high-end specifications- a Snapdragon 821, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, 12 MP camera sensor with 4K recording and Arkamys tuned built-in DAC along with an amp for audiophiles. Its most distinctive feature though is Sir ALAN. It is an AI software dubbed as the ‘digital knight’ by Turing. In short, Sir ALAN puts a concierge at your beck and call directed by a team of human assistants. Price - $999 (includes a 2 yr subscription for Sir ALAN)

The new Tiffany fragrance is a modern homage to 180 years of Tiffany history, from the design of the bottle to its signature ingredient.The sparkling floral scent is a contemporary take on the most precious ingredients of traditional haute perfumery, created by world-renowned master perfumer Daniela Andrier of Givaudan, with the precious ‘iris’ as the hero ingredient – a motif which dates back to the earliest sketches found in the Tiffany Archives. Harvested in France during the months of July and August, the iris butter is obtained through a unique hydrodistillation extraction, exclusive to the Tiffany fragrance. Price - $130 for 75ml

Montblanc Summit smartwatch In a departure from its typical classic aesthetic, the Montblanc Summit showcases the watchmaker’s inventive take on wearable technology and its growing focus on millennials. Modelled after a classic wristwatch, the Montblanc Summit bears the vintage-inspired case of the manufacture’s 1858 collection, replete with a pusher that resembles a winding crown. Notably, it is fitted with a curved sapphire crystal glass touch-screen (a first for smartwatches) like that found in most fine watches, and comes paired with either a rubber Nato or calfskin leather strap. Bespoke services are available upon request. Price - $890 onwards

H. Moser Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz H. Moser is a brand synonymous with minimalist styling and serious watchmaking. The new Swiss Alp Watch Zzz is no different. The Zzzz has a soft rectangle shaped white gold case and wire lugs that give the Swiss Alp Watch its character. Below the curved crystal sits a deep glossy black dial with no signatures at all and just a pair of hands made of white golf in the shape of a leaf. The case measures 38.2mm x 44mm (and 10.3mm thick) and has the hand-wound HMC 324 movement inside. This is an in-house rectangular caliber that has a four-day power reserve, an interchangeable Moser escapement, and 27 jewels. Price - $26,900 and limited to 20 pieces (each engraved “1 of 20”)



THE PUTTERS TO RULE THE GREENS A true classic that’s been refined over the years. A floating insert helps raise MOI which means a higher resistance to twisting when you don’t hit putts from the centre. It has a soft, but solid feel that CAMERON SELECT provides exceptional feedback NEWPORT 2 PUTTER on putts hit out the center of the PRICE: US $320 clubface.


Titleist Scotty

The Odyssey O-Works blade putter is a perfect fit for golfers who have difficulty aligning the putter face and like a mid-to-soft feel. The new ‘Microhinge insert’ technology helps the ball to stay on line more often from different strike locations on the clubface. This is made possible by O-WORKS BLADE increased topspin due to an Elastomer PUTTER insert that is co-moulded with a new PRICE: US $230 stainless steel Microhinge surface with the individual hinges flexing on impact, lifting the ball to produce a better roll.


TaylorMade’s first putters to be created from 303 stainless steel- the same flatsticks used by the TM tour pros. Highlighting the Juno’s performance is a new milled Pure Roll insert that generates a truer roll for improved consistency and TP JUNO PUTTER speed control. Due to 35 degrees of toe PRICE: US $200 hang, it works best for players who utilize a moderate or slight arc in their putting stroke. It also features adjustable sole weights to give golfers the precise feel they’re looking for.




Dr. Micah Woods

Chief Scientist Asian Turfgrass Center

The ‘other’







he Woods surname in golf is understandably well known. Apart from all his on-course accomplishments, Tiger Woods has made forays into the golf course design business with properties underway in America and Dubai. There is another Woods albeit lesser known, working behind the scenes making sure that the golf courses professionals play are in top-notch condition year round. This month, bizgolf Magazine spoke to Micah Woods, who by profession describes himself as someone who ‘grows grass for a living.’ Before anything, do people ask him if he’s related to his namesake? “Yes, sometimes they do - and I usually tell them no, but he’s a month older to me and I’ve had the opportunity to work at a lot of golf tournaments at which he has participated.” “Growing up in Oregon, my father was a golf professional when I was very young - so it was but natural to be surrounded by the game.” Like many other twelve-year-olds at the time, Micah harbored ambitions of playing professionally. “You think with practice you keep getting better. Four years later at sixteen, I started losing to the same guys I had previously been beating!” At seventeen, he got a job on a golf course in Portland, which was his first foray into turfcare. “I found it fascinating to prepare the golf course for play, not to mention the fact that I could be on it for hours on end.” For the next four years after high school, Micah attended Oregon State University studying horticulture. To give one an outsider’s perspective, it is the science of how plants grow. You also study some basic chemistry and biology along with soils and other subjects. One really learns golf-specific turfcare hands on, combining theory and practice, thereby giving you the knowledge you need to work the industry. “The fact that I had worked for a year before studying further helped. In the United States, the collegiate system is such that you have three months off every year. Come the holidays, I would go work at different courses around the country.” By the time graduation came around in 1998, his boss from Scottsdale, Arizona had moved to Shanghai and was happy to hire Micah as his assistant superintendent. “It was a Nicklaus signature design called

Shanghai Links and was quite the introduction to what you need to do to take care of a golf course. Five months into the job, my boss quit” Suddenly the 22-year old college graduate was in-charge of a Nicklaus course in faraway China. There was the challenge of managing 60 people who worked under him as well as the fact that it was difficult to grow and maintain grass in Shanghai given the climate and type of grass they were growing. He over saw the opening and eighteen months later moved to Japan for a stint on a golf course outside Tokyo. “From 2001-06 I went back to school at Cornell. I had originally decided that I wanted to get into research going all the

back to my undergraduate days. The question I wanted to answer was - how could one create good golfing surfaces in places where it was difficult to envision one?” “Cornell has a big library, labs for research and smart professors. It was really a tremendous time in my life. My area of study was going into the depths of turf grass nutrition.” This leads to the next discussion about his main interest - the potentials vs. perils story of the golf industry in Asia. “Asia has a big population compared to its land area. Sometimes what happens is that golf courses are not built on very good soil, which is saved instead for agriculture. On the opposite end in the West, one can



find properties on some pretty good soil. In Asia, it also rains harder for part of the year, hence the sand base below the surface to handle the climate and foot traffic. University helped me learn and specialize in this area.” Armed with the additional know-how, Woods headed back to the east to found the Asian TurfgrassCenter in Bangkok, Thailand. Friends from earlier years in Asia, plus the central location of the southeast nation were plus points according to him. “I was fascinated by this part of the world that seems to be importing information from the US or Australia when the conditions there are vastly different. In my mind, it would be interesting to do some research here in Asia and share that information.” The Asian TurfgrassCenter began with the idea of a research and information business about turf grass, which was specific to locations around Asia in places such as Japan, which has more than 2,000 golf courses. Here Micah adds how the retail golf industry is related to its architectural counterpart.

“Both equipment and irrigation companies want more courses to be built around the world because they would sell more fairway metals and irrigation systems. Whether the golf industry is shrinking or booming, my niche in an advisory role does not diminish.” Globally, the chief scientist at the Asian TurfgrassCenter Co Ltd has worked at the Ryder Cup, The Masters, US Open, and a couple of Open Championships as well. “I was at St Andrews in 2010. It’s so fun to be on courses that are prepared for major championships and to see how they do it. Then of course there are the players who are playing on courses that are usually fair but also quite difficult.” “In 1997, I helped rake bunkers at Royal Birkdale during the Open. I got to walk with (who else) Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh’s group. What more can someone at 20 ask for?” “The point is to not let the players ever even see us. Ideally, you wouldn’t have the media focus on the course maintenance at all. The attention should be on golf that is

played.” Miles and miles of airtime has to bring some favorites over the years too. For Micah, he chooses traditional setups. “Cypress Point, California and Old Course at St Andrews. Otherwise pick any course that I’m playing with my friends at the time. Its more about the fun now.” “I’m at a golf course every day, but it’s hard to get to play on a regular basis given my work schedule. Pretty much really enjoy the technical aspect of looking after a property.” These days the ‘other Woods’ is a regular writer, documenting not only his travels but also his findings in turf on his company and personal blogs. Somewhere in the middle there are two books too. “Beyond my clientele, I wanted to share my work with anyone who would be interested.” “I started writing for a magazine in Japan, 2008. This has been published ever since. A select number of these pieces were turned into a book in March of this year in Japanese, and we’re working on an English edition.” Before closing time, Micah who speaks from Japan leaves us with the story of how his ‘birdie dance’ is slowly making him a cult hero online. “It happened spontaneously while playing golf in 2009 at the Manele Course in Hawaii. We were taking lots of pictures because the course has some great ocean views. I made a birdie and posed when a celebratory photo was taken. I liked the way the photo looked, and it has been fun to make a few more ever since.”

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