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A whole new range - PAGE 22

Spring 2012

GMAN Confe Z renc Clubs to cha told n appro ge ach



Spring 2012

Page 2 Mike’s Space - The industry is starting to align

Page 3 Turfmate - A dedicated website


Page 4 Industry News

A Glimpse of whats to come at Waimairi

Page 10 Urban Golf Australia - Takes players to the street

Page 12 Industry must change to prosper

Page 15 NZ clubs told to change approach

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Waimairi remodelling update

Page 22

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Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


Mike’s Space The industry is starting to align It’s been a very busy few months here at Golf Industry Central. I’ve had the privilege to attend, facilitate and present in NZ and Australia at a variety of industry forums.

Mike Orloff

is an Operations and Marketing Specialist for Golf Industry Central and a PGA Member in the USA and Australia. Originally from Southern California, Mike has permanently resided on the Gold Coast for the past 10 years. He has over 20 years of commercial golf experience in various senior management roles and currently provides operational and marketing solutions to the golf industry in the region. Currently, Mike also lectures part-time for the PGA International Golf Institute and runs the industry based website

Editor / Sales: Mike Orloff +61 415 682 259

Contributors: David Newbery Senior Writer

The GMANZ Conference was recently held in Christchurch with close to 100 attendees from all aspects of the industry. Themed Survival of the Fittest, the conference was staged in Christchurch. The national bodies spoke about how they can work closer together on various initiatives which was summarised well from Dean Murphy CEO of NZ Golf. (This event is featured in this issue.) On the Gold Coast last month representatives from across all areas of Australian golf arrived at Palm Meadows for the Annual Golf Development Forum organised by Golf Australia. The forum saw representatives from Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia, the ALPG, Golf Management Australia, all State Association and Junior Foundations, School Sport Australia and the Australian Sports Commission join forces to work through a range of development programs including National Participation Plans Golf Australia Golf Development Manager Cameron Wade said the forum was an important meeting as the sport looks

to maximise its resources. “We’ve held this forum for the last two years and it’s been quite successful each time,” Wade said. “By bringing all of the industry’s major development stakeholders together in one place, we can identify and work through any issues and challenges around our programs and also use our success stories as blue prints for the future. Much of the week was about the ways that the industry can use its collective strength to grow grassroots golf even more in the future,” Wade added. Im personally very excited to see where both countries are heading in regarding to working closer together. We are a large geographic area, but we are not a large industry. We tend to have a lot of duplication in many areas, and if we can coordinate major initiatives better well have extra resources to focus on the most important thing- PARTICIPATION!!

Mike Orloff

Operations and Marketing Specialist

Publisher Morlo Pty Ltd ACN 123 872 784 ABN 1812 3872 784 PO Box 773, Main Beach, QLD, Australia, 4230

Golf Industry Central exists to help golf facilities throughout Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia perform better. We offer easy access to golf industry news, job vacancies, recruitment services and operational advice. We also help overseas markets access the local golf industry via our vast network, online magazine and weekly publications. Golf Industry Central operates with a general premise that for the industry to get stronger there is a real need for a cross pollination of ideas and networking from across all the different sectors of the golf industry. We all have a common denominator with our respective businesses - we need more people playing golf and spending money! Currently our readership covers all sectors of the industry - General Managers, Superintendants, suppliers, golf pros, front line staff, accounting, architects, and various others from over 80 countries worldwide.

Contents may not be reproduced without written permission. Views expressed in editorial contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication and it’s management


Our goal in each issue is to bring you a fresh and unique perspective on our golf industry. Through the sharing and discussion of thought-provoking topics, we will hopefully help your business in some small way. For this magazine to be fully sustainable and to achieve our goal and vision, it truly will need to be a collaborative effort. Please feel free to submit any items or stories you think the general industry may have interest in.

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Turfmate The first website dedicated to the Australian and New Zealand turf professional It’s finally here! The brand new turf industry online community and free news hub, turfmate, is up and running. Over time it has become clear that Australian and NZ turf professionals needed a website oriented to the southern hemisphere and its conditions. As a result Pitchcare Oceania has been discontinued, which relied on input from our English affiliate who ultimately controlled the website. But don’t fear Turfmate is going to offer all the same resources and information in a more user friendly and attractive way. As of September 2012, turfmate will provide enhanced services and products, suitable to, and focused on, local conditions.

business listings for the turf industry? · Turf talk: an online forum in which our members can share information and connect with others in the turf community and general public. Our Vision is to deliver the turf industry access to all sorts of green news and product information in one complete online service, as well as allowing everyone to connect with each other through our state-of-the-art website and newsletters. We aim to bring a fresh, fun, interactive website that lives up to our billing as ‘your best friend for all things turf.’

It is free to become a member, and what we want to offer, is a website dedicated to them. · Timely, interesting, and informative turf information written by a dynamic team of writers. · A shopping facility focused on products for turf professionals whether they are running golf courses, council parks, school sports grounds, tennis courts or footy grounds at great prices. · Media mate: Our industry first media channel, namely video content. · Classified advertisements for machinery (new and used). · Jobs: an entire section dedicated to job listings for the turf industry, a must for anyone searching for their next employee. · Green Pages: which is soon to be the largest resource of

Seeking a job in the Golf Industry? Interested in finding the right staff? We have a full range of job seeking and recruitment services.

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


Industry News Save .. $$$$’s… and shop online at Parsett Parsett Australia has recently launched its web based, online store for Driving Range and Golf Course Equipment. Previously a small supplier to boutique operations, the range of Parsett products are now all available online at www. Sales of Parsett product have been growing rapidly as the Golf Industry embraces quality products at sensible prices…Course Managers and Superintendents are discovering that Parsett offers quality products at substantially lower prices…By shopping online, the golf club saves money, buying direct from the source, online at

Items like sets of flags/flagsticks and alloy cups are packaged up in sets of 9, and offer tremendous value…

Driving Ranges are discounted off the standard website prices, which include GST....

With the new slope ratings at most courses throughout Australia, yardage markers and course signage boards are in need of renewing and Parsett have some great deals on custom tee signage boards…

To access the trade prices, call Parsett on 02 9971 2770 or email your promotional code.

Items like ball washers, shoe spike brush cleaners/ seating / garbage receptacles and sand box’s, all made from recycled plastic are available through Parsett at very competitive prices. Trade pricing to all Golf Courses and

How Now, Norm’s Tao How Now, Norm’s Tao is a powerful and poignant memoir by one of the most accomplished and unique writers to grace contemporary American literature, Norm Spitzig. Far more than just an autobiography, How Now, Norm’s Tao is an inspirational, insightful and deliciously humorous probing into the essential components of “the life well-lived.” Along the way, Norm offers his legions of loyal fans “thirteen timeless core principles” that have guided and anchored his fascinating life’s journey–a baker’s dozen of pragmatic universal lessons that anyone, anywhere will find of significant value and compelling interest.

(“Twisdom”)–nuggets of off-beat cleverness that have caused more than a few readers to chuckle uncontrollably at the most inopportune of times. Be forewarned: This groundbreaking book even dares to reveal “the secret of the universe.” To learn more about two other books recently written by Norm Spitzig (these under the nom de plume Clive Endive Ogive IV), please visit

As an added bonus, the book is peppered with the best of Norm’s Twitter wisdom


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Save .. $$$$’s… and shop online at for all your golf course equipment supplies.

Industry News Lifestyle resort one step closer THE $85 million northern suburbs Claremont Golf Course and lifestyle resort redevelopment is a step closer to reality after gaining council approval. Glenorchy mayor Stuart Slade said the council had backed the project -- a 90room hotel complex, a restaurant and 77 units, incorporating two and threebedroom dwellings -- proposed for the Claremont peninsula. Under the plan, the existing 18-hole golf course and two bowls greens would become integral to the development, which aims to attract golfing tourists from across the world. Alderman Slade said the council had been working with the Claremont Golf Club for a positive outcome. The Claremont Golf Club board says developers are waiting in the wings to

work on the project, which would require a 3.5ha parcel of land on the northern side of the peninsula to be rezoned. Club president Brian Richardson said yesterday the project would become a major attraction for the City of Glenorchy and the Claremont district in particular. “The application has now been forwarded to the Tasmanian Planning Commission for approval of the rezoning of the land which is expected to take about three months,” Mr Richardson. “The club will be seeking expressions of interest from developers for the development.”

The board is also continuing its negotiations for a loan extension with local developer Robert Rockefeller, to whom it owes $1.55 million. Mr Rockefeller’s company, Humana Pty Ltd, lent the golf club the money in September 2009. The parties are expected to come to an agreement in the next month. “Golf members and friends have ensured the future of the club by providing financial support to meet the immediate financial commitments,” Mr Richardson said. “This has been done without outside support nor government involvement.”

He said about a dozen developers had previously expressed interest in the project.

Seeking: Expressions of Interest Our client is looking to offload a large amount of Cane It bamboo tees from their warehouse. They are willing to offload in smaller parcels of 500 boxes (10 tees per box) or the entire amount. If you have any interest in the stock or if you may have a connection that would, please contact Mike Orloff at Golf Industry Central on (+61) 0415 682 259 or

BULK BUY OFFER!! continued on next page...

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


Industry News Stuart Fraser Appointed NSW CEO After eight years as CEO of Castle Hill Country Club, Stuart Fraser has been appointed the new CEO of Golf NSW. Amongst a long list of candidates, Stuart was a standout according to Chairman of Golf NSW, Chris Allen. “We are very pleased Stuart has agreed to join us and he will commence on September

24 and assume the CEO position the following Monday, October 1st, which provides a one week handover period from retiring CEO, Greg Mills” said Allen. Fraser has a distinguished golf administration career behind him including quite a number of years with the PGA and he also holds executive roles with Golf

Management Australia, both here in NSW as well as nationally. A capable golfer in his own right, the new man will continue the momentum created following the amalgamation of the NSW Golf Association and Women’s Golf NSW to form Golf NSW in 2010.

Yarra Ranges Council approves planning application Yarra Ranges Council last month overwhelmingly approved development plans for The Eastern Golf Club’s (EGC) proposed new site at Yering in the Yarra Valley. Seven (7) Councillors voted in favour of the application, with only two (2) voting against. Supporting Councillors spoke positively and highlighted the benefits the proposal would bring to the entire region including significant environmental improvements. National and International tourism opportunities were also highlighted through the addition of a world class Greg Norman designed golf course, further enhancing the region’s reputation to rival that of the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsula’s. The Club proposes to invest $49 million building the new facility, creating hundreds of jobs during construction and an additional 35 permanent jobs upon completion. The 600 acre site with gentle rolling hills will have an 11 hectare wetland system created and 400,000 plantings with 95% indigenous species. The golf course will see the


implementation of a 30m riparian buffer to the Yarra River and use over 150 mega litres of Class B recycled water that is currently disposed of into Olinda Creek that in turn flows into the Yarra River. Central to the addressing environmental matters, the Club completed an extensive quantitative human health and ecological risk assessment as part of the application, believed to be an Australian first for the golf industry. This assessment was subjected to incredible rigour of review by Melbourne Water with peer reviews conducted by Australia’s leading consultants and academics as well as arguably the worlds leading academic on pesticides. Club General Manager, Benjamin Telley said “This is obviously a great outcome for the Club, but also it represents a great achievement for environmental planning and environmental management as we believe a new benchmark has been set”. The Club hopes other developments in the future will choose to follow suit.

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The proposal only received one formal objection from a developer, Bill Boerkamp whose case appeared only to be based on planning issues previously unsupported by VCAT. A late objection was received from Anthony Amis of Friends of the Earth, although it appeared based little on any facts or evidence. Mr Telley said “for Mr Amis to suggest that we would likely use pesticides other than those approved, is completely inappropriate and a cheap scare tactic that demonstrates a complete lack of respect to the intelligence of the broader community and to the authorities involved in assessing planning applications.” Mr Telley added “It is unfortunate that Friends of the Earth sought not to understand the work that has been undertaken and to be informed despite repeated offers by the Club”. The Eastern Golf Club, voted 2011 ‘Club of the Year’ by Clubs Victoria, will wait to see whether the decision is appealed at VCAT before commencing construction.

Industry News McDade named Teacher of the Year Renowned Victorian PGA Professional Denis McDade was honoured as the PGA of Australia’s 2012 Teacher of the Year. McDade, who bases himself at the Yarra Bend Golf Course, accepted the award in front of a room of his peers gathered in Queensland for the Srixon PGA Coaching Summit. Dedicating the achievement to his late father, McDade was humbled to receive the award that is fittingly named in memory of his former employer, Ross Herbert. A Member of the PGA for over 20 years, McDade has coached as part of the Victorian Institute of Sport Golf Program for 11 years, and has spent two years as the Scholarship Coach at the AIS Golf Program. McDade also coaches a number of leading Tournament Professionals

including Marcus Fraser, 2012 Travelers Champion Marc Leishman, OneAsia winner Matt Griffin, Paul Sheehan, Ash Hall, Gareth Paddison and Clint Rice. He also coaches 2011 British Amateur Champion Bryden Macpherson, the first Australian to win the championship since Doug Bachli in 1954. As Head of the Titleist Performance Institute Junior Advisory Board, McDade is also passionate about researching and improving the way junior golf programs are structured and delivered – a topic he presented to his peers at the Srixon PGA Coaching Summit. “On behalf of the PGA and all my fellow Members, I congratulate Denis on this his latest achievement in what has already been an outstanding career,” said Mark

Gibson, Chairman of the PGA of Australia. “Denis has always represented our Association with great passion, and his dedication to the game of golf at all levels commands great respect. I’m sure we will continue to see many more achievements from Denis and his players for many years to come.” The Ross Herbert Teacher of the Year accolade is awarded every two years to coincide with the Srixon PGA Coaching Summit, the pinnacle educational opportunity for Australian PGA Professionals. Former winners of the award include Steve Bann, Ian Triggs, Gary Edwin, David Milne, Mark Gibson, Gary Barter and Dale Lynch.

Malaysia Golf Tourism Association Seeks To Expand Membership Newly-elected Malaysia Golf Tourism Association (MGTA) President Paul Gibbons has called on all parties involved in the golf industry to use the association as a conduit towards closer co-operation to boost inbound golf tourism. Speaking after the MGTA’s first annual general meeting (AGM), Gibbons noted that the association’s close ties with Tourism Malaysia and the International Association

of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO) make it the ideal avenue to promote Malaysian golf to the world.

being returned unopposed as president during the AGM at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Gibbons, who will feature on a high-powered golf tourism panel at December’s Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Brunei, said: “Being a member of the MGTA will open a host of benefits to anyone who has an interest in the golf travel industry, from golf clubs and resorts to golf tour operators and even the media,” he said after

“Through the MGTA, we can speak as a strong collective voice to bring up issues that affect the golf travel industry to the relevant authorities. Our close ties with Tourism Malaysia and other government agencies can also help speed up proceedings and cut through red tape.

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


Industry News Malaysia Golf Tourism Association Seeks To Expand Membership “Furthermore, membership of MGTA means automatic membership of the IAGTO, which has a membership of 1,948 consisting of golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, airlines, tourist boards and other golf travel-related bodies in 89 countries. That creates immense networking opportunities and opens up avenues to build business relationships with hundreds of golf tourism buyers worldwide.” Gibbons, who is attached to MST

Golf Vacations, had served as the pro-tem President of the MGTA since its formation in March 2011 and will continue to lead the association for the next two years. Ng Eu Shen of Liberty Golf Travel was elected as Vice President in the ballot voting. While the President and Vice President’s posts are held by individuals, the seven council members consist of companies from the golf travel industry with at least one from each of the four categories

of ordinary members of the MGTA – golf resorts, golf clubs, ground handlers and media specialists. From nine nominations received, seven companies were elected to the council – Genting Malaysia Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club, Liberty Travel & Tours (M) Sdn Bhd, MST Golf Vacations Sdn Bhd, Write Track Publishing & Communications Sdn Bhd and Golf (Malaysia) Publications Sdn Bhd.

...If you are looking for a quality finish to your golf course that is fair and playable, gives pleasure and enjoyment to players and they come off the field in a good mood, then we highly recommend Kristine to be your next course designer. Bob Robertson, Client – Pegasus Golf and Sports Club

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2012 OFFER 50% OFF Initial Course Review* Course Layout * Strategy * Length * Playability * Drainage * Maintenance * limited to first 5 clubs to confirm; for details and options contact Kristine Kerr

Industry News

Spring 2012 9 Contact Australasian representative Mike Orloff from Golf Industry Central. M. (+61) (0)415 Golf 682 Industry 259 or Central morloff@golfindustrycentral.

Urban Golf Australia Takes players to the street

World Urban Golf Day #6 was held in the inner city streets of Cooks Hill in Newcastle NSW. Players also tee’d of around the world in the first days of a now week-long festival of Urban Golf. The culmination of which is the PPTMC (Paris Pro Tour) event being held. ( World Urban Golf Day (Australia) began at around 9 am when the crew from Urban Golf Australia hosted a bus load of disadvantaged kids from the Father Chris Riley program. There were a few wild swings and a lot of balls lost in roof gutters! The kids all had a great time and walked away with brand new World Urban Golf Day t-shirts and pockets full of balls. By midday the bar had been opened and the first of the players had started to turn up. Thanks to Newcastle City Council the street was closed to traffic and players were free to be as creative as they wanted with no danger of cars. Congratulations to everyone who dressed up on the day to embrace the spirit of Urban Golfing. Local State MP Tim Owen found time during a busy election day in Newcastle to drop past and have a


few swings. He definitely received extra attention from The Picture model Carmen, who was on hand during the day to keep the guys motivated.... The event was a huge success with almost everyone walking away with a prize from our sponsors and keen to play again. Special thanks to the team at Vision Golf for their support and donations. The girls from RedBull were busy throughout the day keeping the players energy levels up and having a few shots themselves. World Urban Golf Day #6 raised $2000 which will be donated to Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets program although putting smiles on the faces of the people involved was priceless. The event culminated at 4pm with the drawing of the raffle where due to the generosity of players and sponsors we were able to raise another $500. Special thanks to the Oriental Hotel in Newcastle for taking the chance on a Street Golf tournament and making this all possible.

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Central Spring 2012 11 Contact Australasian representative Mike Orloff from Golf Industry Central. M. (+61) (0)415 682 259Golf or Industry

INDUSTRY MUST CHANGE TO PROSPER By David Newbery I’d like a dollar for every time I have heard someone say, “What the golf industry needs in Australia is another Greg Norman”. Most pundits agree Norman did wonders for the golf industry in the 1980s and early 1990s but the chances of finding another Great White Shark soon is about as remote as NASA’s Curiosity rover finding a golf course on Mars.

But when the Shark started to fade from the scene and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) arrived things started to go a little pear shaped. Less people were joining golf clubs and clubs struggled to hang on to members. Still, it’s not all doom and gloom according to former and respected Royal Queensland Golf Club’s general manager Ted Coker and manufacturer Wayne Bosley.

Back then, Norman was the face of golf in this country and the game powered along faster than Usain Bolt.

Both men have spent a lifetime in and around the golf industry and agreed to share their thoughts with Golf Industry Central readers.

New golf clubs and resorts popped up like mushrooms and club professionals had permanent smiles on their faces listening to the sound money falling in their tills.

Some of the topics covered in this article include juniors, women, membership, marketing of equipment and committees – once the bane of all golf club managers.

Manufacturers, too, laughed all the way to the bank as enthusiastic golfers regularly swapped old gear for the latest technology money could buy.

“I am impressed with the way golf clubs are looking after juniors now,” said Coker, who spent 38 years in golf club management. “Forty years ago golf and tennis fought each other for getting people to play their sport. “A bloke called Greg Norman changed all that in Australia.

Gone were the days when you bought a set of golf clubs and kept them for 10 years or more. Golfing and non-golfing parents alike encouraged their offspring to pick up a club and have a go.


“Within 10 years suburban tennis courts were closing and golf clubs were being built. I know Greg wasn’t responsible for all of it, but he started it.”

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Bosley, the one-time Acushnet Australia and NZ distributor who now runs Vision Golf, backed up Coker’s sentiments. “Greg Norman did do a lot, but there is confusion as to what he did,” Bosley offered. “If you have an elite player at the top of the tree it draws a lot of players, which has been the case in a lot of sports. “Golf’s got its own place in the world because it’s a lifetime activity, but it’s never been explained to people that it is something you should learn when you are young. “It’s like riding a bike – it’s so much easier if you pick it up early.” Coker is a case in point – he took up the game early and is still going strong at 83 years young. “I play three times a week,” Coker said. “Golf is the only sport I know that allows you to play all your life. “I think the future is bright because of the junior coaching. If we only get 10 per cent of the kids into golf, it will be a big help in the future. “There will be a lot more people playing golf. There won’t be that many people playing at

“I also remember some of my old doctor members at RQ saying ‘what are those kids doing on the course, they should be out playing rugby’. “I think it’s changing, even at RQ. We now have young 16- and 17-year-olds playing in the members’ field. That was unheard of years ago.” Bosley said he would like to see a shorter version of the game introduced properly. “Golf doesn’t have to be 18 holes or playing competitions,” he said. “Golf needs to be a shorter, quicker game, but it doesn’t need to be excessively shorter. We do need to see a change, but it won’t happen overnight. “Nine-hole golf, which I have been promoting, hasn’t been embraced yet. “There have been all sorts of odd marketing approaches to the nine-hole concept, especially in summer when people shouldn’t be playing in the middle of the day. “I also like the idea of having two holes on a green – a big hole and a standard hole. The big hole is for the social players because you want to make putting as easy as possible. “You need to get people playing a reasonable

game of golf quicker. “When a person starts out in golf, I don’t know why they need 14 golf clubs. “They need seven very good golf clubs, which is much better than buying 14 very average golf clubs. They are half the weight, which makes it more convenient to walk. “Then if you play for 90 minutes it’s cost competitive with going to the gym. “Somewhere along the line we forgot about the fact that participation in any sport is the best thing for our society.”

RQ, but there will be at clubs like Wantima. “I remember when golf was at its peak and all our good golfers practically came from the country. In the country kids played golf – in the city they didn’t.

“Greg Norman did do a lot, but there is confusion as to what he did,”


Women’s golf, says Coker, is another untapped market. “The biggest change in golf now is there are a lot more women that work compared to when I started in golf. “This will annoy a lot of people, but clubs have got to allow more women time to play golf,” he said. “It might be a camel’s nose under the tent, but I think the time has come.”

COURSE MAINTENANCE Another issue that needs addressing is golf course maintenance, says Bosley, who believes it is going to be a major area of concern for many struggle clubs going forward. “Currently, we have a large number of courses available where the infrastructure is in place,” he said. “The problem we are going to have is maintaining that infrastructure while we work on regrowth in general participation. “The biggest fear I have for the game right now is the sheer expense of running a golf course – not the golf club, but the golf course. “It’s incredibly expensive to maintain 18 holes and keep them at a reasonable level. “The GFC really change everything for golf because golf is an elite sport. It shouldn’t have been structured that way – it should have had a much wider base long before the GFC came along. “We know a lot of clubs are having trouble with their membership base. “At the back end of Greg Norman’s career no one really picking up the mantle for marketing the game, which is what golf’s governing bodies should have done. “They should have pushed it in schools then and programs like Go Go Golf should have hugely invested in.”

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING Manufacturing of golf equipment is another area that has come under scrutiny. Golf aficionados believe the market is flooded with product. Clever marketing, they say, is luring social players and high handicappers into purchasing gear more suited to professionals. One golf club operator, who asked not to be named, said manufacturers were bringing out new models every year. “People want to keep up with the latest trends and feel obligated to buy the latest driver or set of clubs. “There was a time when a set of golf clubs would last 10-15 years.” I ask Bosley his thoughts on the subject. “In the last 25 years it’s been about the growth in hardware sales,” he said. “Once it was about equipment sales, but it’s become big corporate business. “So when did we lose track of players?’ he asked “When did they become unimportant and the making of a sale important? “In Australia, and America to an extent, we have gone through tour validation of equipment we should buy.

“If it’s on TV and the pros validate it that should be good enough for you. “But amateurs don’t play the professional game. “When did we get away from products that were game improving and proven to actually help your game to make it more fun so you can get better quicker?” Bosley said golfers in country like Korea pay a premium for game improvement products. “Mostly we are average golfers and we are looking for things that give us some sort of help,” he said. “So, you’d like to see products out there that really help rather than smoke and mirrors.”

COMMITTEES AND BOARDS I ask Coker what were some of the challenges golf club managers of his era faced and he was quick to say “catering and committees”. The former still hinders many managers, however, since clubs moved from formal committees to well-structured boards things have improved. “When I started working at Virginia we had a committee of 13 and they allowed retired presidents to come back on committee,” Coker explained.

“We had the president, vice-president, captain, vice-captain, treasurer, two or three past-presidents and five or six other blokes on committee. “There was continual friction from the past-presidents and it became one of the main reasons why I left and went to RQ. “The committee at RQ wasn’t too bad because they were made up of businessmen and they knew what they were doing.” Perhaps there is some truth in the phrase “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”. “I remember coming home from a golf conference in Perth where they said the trend was to do away with committees and go with a smaller board,” Coker said. “The committee will look down their nose at me, but that is one of the biggest changes in golf now. “Now most golf clubs are governed by a board and the committee has been reduced to 8 or 9. “I think golf clubs today are doing a pretty good job.” The golf industry must give up the idea of finding another Greg Norman and focus on the things they can control like juniors, women, more attractive membership options, six- and nine-hole golf.

Visit 14

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NZ clubs told to change approach By David Newbery

leadership but were too afraid to ask.

New Zealand golf clubs have been told they must change their approach to doing business and start to “think outside the square” if they are to survive.

GMANZ president Steve Wallace said he was impressed with the quality of speakers and presenters.

That was the message delivered at the biennial Golf Managers’ Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) conference at Russley Golf Club in Christchurch recently. “The conference’s theme was Survival of the Fittest and those clubs who are going to survive are those that don’t keep on doing what they have always been doing,” said conference organiser Rod Latham, who is also the general manager at Harewood Golf Club in Christchurch. “We (golf clubs) need to think outside the square a little bit. “One of the presenters talked about rationalisation and mergers and I think there needs more of that happening. “The question is; do some of the clubs make it attractive to come to the golf club for reasons other than golf?” Also Mike Orloff from Golf Industry Central spoke about the changes needed in membership structure to fit to the differing needs of young and old members. Latham said keynote speaker Mike Leemhuis, the Chief Operations Officer at the Congressional Country Club in the US, had the 90 golf club managers and delegates sit up and taking notice. His spoke about the Emerging Trends Gauging the Impact of National Trends and the ABC of Leadership – all you need to know about

“We had speakers from the United States, Australia and New Zealand and it certainly was a step up from the conference two years earlier,” he said. “Most of the speakers addressed the topic (Survival of the Fittest) although it was a little heavily weighted with the presentations on leadership and communications. At least two speakers spoke on leadership and that would be my only detracting comment. “But the (GMANZ) board thought the conference was a very well-staged event. “The board was delighted with the product given especially for what it cost to attend.’ Wallace said those who attended certainly received excellent value for money. “It cost $175 for a three-day conference for speakers from the US, Australia and New Zealand and included a golf tournament food and a dinner. “All they had to pick up was a couple of nights of accommodation. I thought it was excellent value.” Latham said the gabfest was the perfect opportunity for golf club managers and delegates to get together and discuss serious issues facing the golf clubs. “It was a good opportunity to catch up with your peers and others in the golf industry,” he said. “We were very happy with attendance levels and we had good numbers for the trade show that ran for the two days rather than a couple of hours.

“The trade exhibitors were very happy with that format. “We had all of our morning and after teas and lunches in the trade marquee so it gave our delegates the opportunity to get around on a more informal basis and with less time constraints.” Wallace said plans were already under way for the 2014 conference. “I can’t tell you where that is, but I can tell you it will be on the North Island,” he said. “There are two regions, Central and Auckland, bidding to host it.” Whoever hosts the 2014 conference will have the opportunity to set the theme and decide whether to make the conference more inclusive. Some golf industry members believe the conference should include the course superintendents’ association, the PGA and the country’s ruling amateur body, New Zealand Golf. “There are those who think the conference should be a little more workshop orientated,” Latham told Golf Industry Central. “Our feedback is that our delegates don’t want workshops. “Whoever is doing the conference next time will certainly have all the information and it will up to them to decide what they want to do. “It will be either Central or Auckland who set the theme for the next conference.”

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012



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Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


WAIMAIRI REMODELLING UPDATE With 3 new holes complete, giving golfers a glimpse of what is to come, the club has signed up 7 new members in the past two weeks.

Located by the pro-shop and course entrance, the new holes provide a showcase for the fresh character of the course and new turf grass varieties.

As featured in the GIC Winter edition, New Zealand’s Waimairi Beach Golf Course in Christchurch is undergoing some major remodelling following the series of devastating earthquakes in 2010- 2011. With a new clubhouse location, the project involves re-routing of the course, construction of 13 new holes, and renovations to the remaining 5 holes. Course architect Kristine Kerr of Kura Golf Course Design reports that great progress is being made.

The removal of large tracts of pine, that were nearing the end of their life cycle, had exposed dune formations that have now been incorporated into the design. The new style of the course is more ‘open’, previously narrow fairways have been widened, and instead of holes being separated by dense pine plantings, lower sandy waste areas have been incorporated into the design.

Three new holes (new 7, 8, and 9) have been grassed and will be open for play in a few weeks to keep 9 holes open while construction moves around the course. 9 holes have remained open since the earthquakes and the sequence of construction means that at least 9 holes will be open at any one time during the process.

The new grasses are a fine fescue mix on the fairways, with drought tolerant hard fescues in the out of play / unmaintained rough areas. “These grasses are particularly well suited to our environment; they are hardy and provide a great playing surface.” says Kerr.

being prepared for seeding, and the crew is currently prepping holes 14-16. Hydro-seeding of green and bunker surrounds has been completed and green and fairway seeding will be undertaken over the next ten days. Weather-wise the conditions have been largely favourable through the winter, with ground temperatures staying warm enough to encourage strong grass growth, and only one week of weather delay due to heavy snowfall. Spring in Canterbury however, is characterised by strong, warm North-Westerly winds, which are a hindrance to both preparing the smooth, debris free surface for seeding, as well as the act of seeding. The construction is being undertaken by GRASS, headed by Adam Jones, who worked with Kerr on the construction of the Pegasus course in Christchurch also.

Further to the completion of holes 7, 8, 9, new holes: 12-18 have been shaped, and drainage and installation of the irrigation system is continuing. Three holes at a time are

New Hole 7 Green


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1. Before - Holes 15 & 16

3. New wetland area

5. Before - Hole 16

2. Marking out new holes

4. New hole 15

6. New hole 16 - Fairway

New Hole 9 Growing in

Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


Venue Fit For

KinGS The 2012 Asia Pacific Golf Summit will be staged in the Sultanate of Brunei, home to the most caring monarch. The region’s movers and shakers will meet over three days to examine the health of the golf industry in the Asia Pacific. Golf super-star Colin Montgomerie will head the stellar list of more than 40 speakers and panellists drawn from the four

corners of the globe.

The Summit dates are December 11 – 13 and the host venue is the award-winning, luxurious The Empire Hotel and Country Club. Brunei will kick off a week of golf activities that will include Campus on the Greens and the Intellectual Property Rights Symposium.

Just imagine – a world class golf business summit staged in conjunction with major knowledge events. A truly compelling reason for you to mark up your calendar and keep the week from December 11-13 open for the best golf experience in the world!

Asi a PA ci fic Gol f Sum mit – Le ading the Gro w th of Golf


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Act now. Book your seat on line at Golf Industry Central Spring 2012


A whole new range In Sydney, what was once one man’s quarry is now another man’s state-of-the-art golfing facility. By David Newbery PGA Golf professional Steve Aisbett’s eye for opportunity has come to fruition with the recent opening of the two-level, 56 driving hitting bays Thornleigh Golf Centre. A proactive, entrepreneurial AAA-rated golf professional, Aisbett has had his eye on the quarry cum brick works site on Pennant Hills Road for more than 20 years.

“we are trying to make it a family-friendly environment”

“I first looked at this site in 1989, but when I approached the Hornsby Shire Council they said they wanted to fill it in,” Aisbett said. “It was an old quarry, which serviced the area for 90 years. They made bricks for all of the northern suburbs from this site.”

Aisbett still wanted to acquire the site, but he needed to earn a living and took on the head pro’s job at Dubbo Golf Club. “I was there for 15 years and moved back here in 2007,” he

said. “I started negotiating with the council again and it took me two years to get them to the tender process. “We went through the tender process, which I won and then it took another year to design the complex. “I renegotiated with the council for a better deal and then there was 18 months of construction.” In many ways, Aisbett has come full circle. In the late 1980s, he and Mike Kelly owned and operated a golf driving range at Cherrybrook in Sydney. It was a typically older-style driving range that required hard work, oftentimes in difficult conditions. “We used to go and pick up golf balls late at night in the rain and mud,” Aisbett explained. “One night Mike and I looked at each other while picking up golf balls at midnight and said ‘surely we can do it better’. “We did a lot of things wrong with that one and I swore then that if I had another golf range I would do it like this – with synthetic grass and automated.” The Thornleigh Golf Centre certainly has all the bells and whistles. The range has been designed in such a way that no golf ball retriever is required. “It’s completely landscaped with synthetic turf so that all the golf balls funnel into channels that return to the hitting area,” he said.

For Aisbett, there are no more midnight walks in the mud picking up golf balls thanks to his new high-tech facility. According to Aisbett, the $5m complex has the highest fence in the Southern Hemisphere. The $1.4m 36-metre tall barrier is there to protect cars and pedestrians on Pennant Hills Road. “The fence is totally suspended,” Aisbett said. “Because 130,000 tonnes of soil was brought in everything we have built is floating on top of the ground. “The hitting bay is all on separate rafts in case of any ground slippage. “You can jack it up and down. In fact, we won a construction award for that. “We spent a fortune on engineering and construction, more than what I wanted to but we wanted to make sure we are here for 21 years (term of lease) and have no dramas.” The Thornleigh Golf Centre has 20 automated hitting bays, which means at the press of a button a golf ball will pop up every six seconds. With stage one completed, plans are in place for a 36-hole mini golf course due to open later this year. “Once that is finished the council will put a bike track around the complex,” Aisbett said. “There has never been a practice facility in this area before so we are trying to make it a family-friendly environment. We have a fullystocked golf shop and a café on site so we cater for everyone’s needs. “We have seven AAA-rated professionals here so if there’s anything anyone needs a professional is here to assist. “We are keen on promoting the game of golf, which is the PGA’s motto. “We have the best facility, great mats to hit off, great golf balls and great staff.” Aisbett believes it won’t be long before members or the public are queuing up to have a hit. When that happens the staff will certainly have their work cut out. “If I can’t get seven guys teaching full-time there is something wrong,” Aisbett said.


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Golf Industry Central Spring 2012



The Golf Marketing Professionals

GIC Spring 2012