On the cover...
The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool was an unqualified success, thanks to course manager Craig Gilholm and Toro
£6.50 golfmanagement.eu.com Issue 97 | August 2014
Golf Management éurope is the essential business magazine for golf course owners, operators, managers and directors of golf
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is continuing to build for its future, with a second phase in its real estate plan set to offer luxury properties
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On the agenda august 2014 18
Las Colinas bucks the trend
In an age of austerity, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club remains a shining example for new golf resorts, especially when it comes to real estate.
Colin Mayes, CEO of Burhill
As CEO of Burhill Golf and Leisure, as well as the current chairman of the UKGCOA, Colin Mayes talks openly and candidly about the state of the industry.
Ben is living life to the Maxx
Ben Lovett, course superintendant at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, Turkey, discusses preparing the course for the Turkish Airlines Open.
Kristoff enjoying best of Both
Mahoney the Adventurer
Kristoff Both’s meticulous attention to detail as director of golf at the stunning Club de Golf Alcanada in Mallorca has not gone unrecognised.
How a young and energetic New Zealander, by the name of Oliver Mahoney is setting the standard for Florida-style adventure golf courses in the UK.
GMé is published and distributed six times per year by Portman Publishing and Communications Limited Deben House, Main Road, Martlesham, Woodbridge IP12 4SE Telephone (44) 01394 380800 | www.portman.uk.com
Publisher Executive editor Contributors
Michael Lenihan David Bowers Catherine Burke, Samuel Frederick, Andy Hiseman, Scott MacCallum, Colin Mayes, Steve Mitchell, Roseanne Niven, Aidan Patrick, Charmian Robson, Peter Simm
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from the publisher
“All anybody will see there, if they tune in now, is elitism, stuffiness, and white, male toffs in blazers. I thought golf was trying to get rid of its staid image?”
Blazer wearing committee not the best image for Open prize giving Sometimes it takes the view of somebody not so close to something to tell you what’s wrong with it. As I was at watching the presentation of the Claret Jug to this year’s winner, Rory McIlroy, my wife – a non-golfer – made an apposite comment: “Everything that’s wrong with golf is encapsulated right there,” she said, pointing at the TV screen. “All anybody will see there, if they tune in now, is elitism, stuffiness, and white, male toffs in blazers. I thought golf was trying to get rid of its staid image?” I was about to jump to the sport’s defence with a reasoned argument when I realised that, other than saying that it was ‘traditional’, there wasn’t one. If somebody had placed a barrel in our lounge at that moment, you would have heard me scraping the bottom of it. I floundered for a response and, ultimately, decided that a polite nod and no words would at least leave me with a bed to sleep in that night. But it got me thinking. Surely golf was trying to change its image in order to bring more people into the game. I’d like to dedicate this issue of GMé to the memory of my father, Thomas Patrick Michael, who passed away on August 16 after a short battle with cancer. Production of this edition was delayed as a result, for which I apologise.
4 | GMé August 2014
TRAIL BLAZING Rory McIlroy accepting the Claret Jug from the Championship Committee at Royal Liverpool
But what were we presented with? An all-male committee, all wearing blazers, presenting the trophy to their ‘champion golfer of the year’. Anyone who was tuning in to watch the back nine on Sunday, as they felt they’d like to try golf because they’d heard it had thrown off the stereotypical image of private men-only clubs run by old Etonians, would have been greeted with that exact stereotype. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not expecting Peter Dawson to wear a pair of Bermuda shorts and an Hawaiian shirt and deliver his presentation speech like Tim Westwood, but given the image that golf has – an image that many clubs are working
hard to try to shake-off – surely the R&A would be better served coming up with a less formal method. Here’s an idea: how about getting a former champion to present it each year? Who wouldn’t want to see Jack Nicklaus hand over the old jug at St Andrews next year? GMé
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Hold the front page The condition of the course at Royal Liverpool for last month’s Open Championship was simply superb, thanks to course manager Craig Gilholm and his support team at Toro.
“It’s really important to us to be greener, but we also want to keep moving forward by investing in the latest machinery and technology”
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6 | GMé August 2014
As Rory McIlroy won his third major at the 143rd Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club last month, Toro equipment worked seamlessly behind the scenes to help the grounds crew create the best course conditions – with support from Toro distributor, Lely UK. The 18-hole Hoylake course has been an exclusive Toro customer for the past ten years, while prior to that its fleet included a mix of machinery that was 50 per cent Toro equipment. Course manager Craig Gilholm says the fact that Toro equipment never let him down in the eight years he’s been with the club convinced him, with the support of his greens chairman, to sign with Toro for another five years. With Royal Liverpool’s purchase last year of new Toro equipment, many of the new arrivals reflect the club’s commitment to more sustainable course management, including Toro’s advanced hybrid and electric greensmower models to help cut fuel costs and become greener. As Gilholm explains: “It’s really important to us to be greener, but we also want to keep moving forward by investing in the latest machinery and technology. Fortunately, models like Toro’s new TriFlex™ and eFlex™ greensmowers
allow us to do both because they’re the newest, greenest and best machines available on the market today.” Royal Liverpool was one of the first clubs in the UK to demo Toro’s TriFlex Hybrid 3420 riding greensmower when it first launched in 2011, and Gilholm was so impressed that he now counts four among his new arrivals. “The TriFlex mowers are very impressive,” said Gilholm. “I prefer the new riding position, the onboard diagnostics are very useful for our mechanics, and I like the whole concept of removing the hydraulics from the cutting units, which virtually eliminates hydraulic leaks. We’ve got two for our greens, plus another two for cutting our tees and surrounds.” Another key purchase was Toro’s eFlex, which is the industry’s first lithium ion battery-powered walk greensmower. “We’ve got six eFlex mowers with grooming brush attachments,” Gilholm continues. “These are a new concept to us, being all-electric. We had three machines out cutting the other day and can do seven greens on a single charge per machine. “According to Toro, we should be able to do up to nine greens without the attachment, so that’s impressive for a battery-powered machine.” GMé
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England Golf raises its game with a new strategy for the next three years England Golf has launched its new strategy to create a bright future for the sport. Entitled Raising Our Game: The Strategic Plan for 2014-17 the plan sets out a vision of England Golf at the heart of a network of partners, taking action together to tackle the challenges facing the game. The strategy aims to tackle the decline in golf club membership and participation and create more players and more club members, stronger golf clubs, winning golfers and outstanding championships for golfers of all abilities. The strategy also intends to improve the image of the game whilst creating an excellence in governance. The plan sets out frameworks for action at club, county and national level and England Golf chief executive, David Joy said: “What we are planning to do certainly isn’t easy, but it is important and by working together, by raising our game, we have a real chance of success. “We have much to do over the next three years, but we will be rewarded with a much better understanding of what golfers really want, whether they are club golfers or independent golfers, men or women, young or not so young. That knowledge will help us, collectively, to offer golf in the way golfers want it. “This plan provides us with the opportunity to really work together, to combine our efforts for the good of the game.”
The strategy was introduced by TV sports personality Di Dougherty, who told the audience: “I really believe in the work of England Golf, the importance of this plan and in us all working together to promote and develop the game, which offers so much to so many people of all ages and abilities.” The event highlighted a host of success stories from clubs across the country including Cookridge Hall Golf Club in Leeds, which has links with 50 local schools and gives taster lessons to around 1,000 youngsters each year.
Theft proves costly at club
Kiely has major plans for Burgham Park
Burglars stole thousands of pounds worth of members’ equipment during a raid on a Rutland golf club. Thieves forced their way into the trolley shed at Luffenham Heath Golf Club and took more than £10,000-worth of equipment, mainly golf clubs. Club manager Tim Stephens said: “It has been distressing for everyone. We are very upset that so many of our members have been affected. Some have lost more than others and we are working hard to help them and get past this. “In the main it was golf clubs that they took – they were really selective about what they wanted. We are still going through the process of identifying what was taken. It would appear a fair few people have been affected, but to what extent we can’t be sure yet. Some members had individual clubs stolen and others lost a full set.” A spokesman for the Police said officers were investigating the burglary that happened on August 9.
8 | GMé August 2014
Presenter Di Dougherty listens as England Golf chief executive David Joy introduces the new strategy
An artist impression of the development
Burgham Park Golf Club in Northumberland has announced that it is developing a four-star holiday resort. The luxury development, Northumbrian Hills, includes 50 stone built cottages, a pavilion, restaurants, bars, a spa and a golf academy. Owner of Burgham Park, William Kiely, said: “We’re delighted to have been finally given the green light for Northumbrian Hills. This has been years in the making, so to see our first holiday homes getting built in the near future will be fantastic.”
Gaudet Luce in Worcestershire was also one of the clubs featured in video footage, highlighting how they attract beginner golfers with the complete family environment, including a nursery, gym, hairdresser and beauty salon. The club’s memberships includes a point-based package, with over 160 juniors attending the golf academy each week. In addition, 120 people have so far been introduced to the game in the last six months through Get into Golf, whilst PGA pro Russell Adams works with blind golfers and a local special school.
Kiely continued: “We are very proud of the course, which is one of the best in the North East, and believe Northumbrian Hills will be a great addition to our existing offering. The first stage is to build the three-bedroom stone holiday cottages which will be situated between the 10th and 18th holes. “The holiday home site offers breathtaking views of the Northumberland countryside, and as it is so close to the golf course, clubhouse and restaurant, there’s plenty to do on your doorstep as well as exploring the Northumberland coastline and countryside. “Once the first 50 plots have been sold, the next phase is to start working on the two-storey pavilion which will provide homeowners with a spa, swimming pool, bars, restaurants and much more to really get you into that relaxed frame of mind. The final stage will be the creation of a world-class golf academy with teaching bays and a driving range along with other sports facilities.”
Brilliant new partnership for Material Matters
In brief... BGL Golf, one of the UK’s leading course owner and operators, has responded to growing consumer demand with a renewed and expanded fleet of Club Car vehicles. In addition to 135 new Precedent 2 vehicles, BGL Golf, which is owned by Lord Iveagh and members of the Guinness family, has taken delivery of a number of utility vehicles including two of the new Carryall 500, which will serve a dual purpose as both marshal and refreshment vehicles. David Jenkins, managing director of DJ Turfcare, will celebrate 43 years of attending IOG SALTEX with the last show at Windsor Racecourse before it moves to the NEC in Birmingham in 2015. “It’s sad to see SALTEX moving indoors,” said Jenkins, “but I have seen a lot of changes in this industry and wish the IOG every success. SALTEX has always been a place for colleagues to meet and it is very much a social event where old friends catch up.” Troon has been selected to manage an all-new facility near Astana, Kazakhstan. With the country’s hosting of Expo in 2017, the creation of The Burabay Golf Resort is part of the country’s touristic development to coincide with this prestigious event. The Resort becomes the 41st venue within the ever-growing Troon international division and, significantly, the 29th country globally with an active Troon presence. Jumeirah Golf Estates has signed an exclusive two-year partnership with world number two golfer, Henrik Stenson, to become an Official Ambassador for the golf and residential development. Stenson will support the venue’s domestic and global marketing activity, and his Tour apparel will now feature the Jumeirah Golf Estates logo on the left-hand sleeve of his shirt.
Following its decades of experience supplying quality linen and laundry services to some of the UK’s highestprofile sporting events and venues, Brilliant Laundry Group has secured a new contract with the UK’s only independent golf course management organisation. The UK’s leading national network of independent laundries will initially be supplying three Material Matters golf club clients with table linen and chefswear during the three-year contract, with many more venues to follow. Having worked across a range of industries including automotive, hotel, leisure and food, this will be Brilliant’s first contract in the golf sector. Material Matters manages more than 200 golf courses nationwide, providing members with high standards of quality and customer service which can be matched at other clubs in the group. The organisation provides a turnkey solution from strategy creation to sourcing industry-leading suppliers and managing service delivery. Steve Clarke, managing director of Brilliant, commented: “This new contract is a terrific opportunity for us to build upon our extensive experience of supplying laundry services to the hospitality and sporting sectors,
tailoring our experience, knowledge and innovation to a new market. We’re thrilled to be working with Material Matters and look forward to supporting their business in the years ahead.” Paul Mould, founder of Material Matters, added: “The provision of laundry for golf clubs has always been a very challenging supply area to get right, and it is not often that we come across a golf club which is 100 per cent happy with its current provider. “With the Brilliant Laundry Group we believe we have found a true partner that will work with us on providing a unique combination of a golf specific contract, great quality of service, exceptionally competitive pricing and consistency of operation across national coverage.”
Steve Clarke, md of Brilliant
Peter Mansfield bids farewell to Lely after 32 years
One of the most well-known and respected names in the turf machinery industry, Peter Mansfield, has left Lely UK after 32 years with the company. Until recently, Mansfield headed up Lely’s turf division business, best known for the distribution of Toro products. It’s a job he carried out with distinction for 22 years, after first being appointed general manger, turf business, in 1992. The role embraced all aspects of distributor support for the Toro business with Mansfield overseeing everything
from parts, service, warranty, training, sales and marketing and Lely’s national dealer network. Mansfield was a familiar figure at events such as SALTEX and BTME. He also played a leading role as the link between Toro, BIGGA and Lely, as well as being a judge, for the annual Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards. “What I’ve most enjoyed is seeing Lely grow its business as a distributor for Toro to the extent we have,” says Mansfield. “It’s grown five-fold in my time and I always got a buzz when I looked at the plaques on the wall Toro presented us with as awards for what we achieved.” As to the future, he says he feels it’s the right time to leave for himself and for Lely’s succession planning. “Initially, I’m going to take a well-earned break and spend more time with my family and pursuing my hobbies.” Graham Dale, Lely UK managing director, says: “Peter has been a close friend and confidant of mine for 30 years and I’m personally sad to see him leave us.”
golfmanagement.eu.com | 9
Rhydian looking to build on past reputation at Durabunker The recent announcement by Envirosports Ltd that it had ceased trading following the separation of the partnership that owned the company, has led to former full-time director, Rhydian Lewis, founding Durabunker Ltd. “The new company has re-branded the product – formerly known as ‘Envirobunker’ – under the banner of ‘Durabunker’, and will continue to exploit patents granted to the construction method in the UK, Europe and USA,” explained Lewis. “Durabunker addresses the issue of bunker face and edge erosion. The unique construction method employed by Durabunker has been utilised at a wide variety of venues over the past five years, from many traditional members clubs, to some of the world’s most prestigious venues such as Trump National, Jupiter, Turnberry and St Andrews.” Hosts of the 2014 Brabazon Trophy, Seaton Carew Golf Club is one such club, originally undertaking a bunker renovation project with Envirosports, they are now continuing the work through Durabunker. Jim Cockburn, honorary treasurer commented: “We will be using the services of DuraBunker as we move forward with our bunker renovation program. “Our initial business relationship was formed through Rhydian at Envirosports and the same professional service has
been provided by Durabunker. Using Durabunker as a method of constructing bunkers offers impressive medium and long term financial savings.” Course manager, Tony Cartwright, added: “In my 40 years at this course, using the Durabunker method to build bunkers, is the most spectacular change made.” Lewis concluded: “Tony’s comments reflect the remarkable impact Durabunker can have on a golf course.
Nine-hole course closes
Golf le Saie the latest club to turn to Carousel Golfing
A nine-hole golf course near Cambridge has been placed into liquidation. Creative Leisure (Milton) Limited, trading as Milton Park Golf Club on the outskirts of the city, entered liquidation in August. Mary Currie-Smith and John Kelly, of Begbies Traynor, have been appointed as liquidators of the club, which had previously enjoyed a membership of around 300 members. Currie-Smith said: “Despite a significant level of investment from the directors and shareholders, the company was unable to meet its liabilities as and when they fell due. As a consequence, the company entered liquidation, which has resulted in six employees being made redundant.” She added that the business, which first opened in 2007, had failed due to a decline in the number of both casual golfers and members as a result of competition from other golf courses in the local area, in addition to the economic climate.
Just a short hop south of Catania International airport, along the sandy beaches of Sicily, Golf le Saie, designed by Italian architect Franco Piras, opened for play in April, and has become the latest club to install the revolving bag storage solution, designed and manufactured by Carousel Golfing. With Mount Etna as a backdrop, the par-72, 6,500 metre long course joins the likes of Penha Longa, Aphrodite Hills and Royal Óbidos in offering its members and guests the facility to store bags in the Carousel Golf Bag storage system. “I am absolutely delighted that Golf le Saie has become the latest club in Europe to install our bag storage system,” said Mike Waldron, managing director of Carousel Golfing. “Set against Mount Etna, Golf le Saie must be one of only a handful of golf courses in the world which has an active volcano as it’s backdrop, which makes the links-style championship course look even more spectacular.
10 | GMé August 2014
Rhydian Lewis, formerly of Envirobunker, now in control at Durabunker
“Grasping new technologies and alternative practices is critical to the evolution of the game. Durabunker is certainly a product that challenges traditional practices and enforces what most course managers accept; bunker construction methods employed for many decades are not financially or practicably sustainable. “Durabunker provides a viable alternative; as a product we know it delivers results and as a company we plan to do likewise.”
Discussing the revolving bag storage system, Waldron added: “Carousel Golfing has been in the business of supplying golf clubs and golf resorts with golf bag lockers and storage racking for the past ten years “The system is extremely flexible, and can be expanded as and when required. The Carousels can even be repositioned if necessary, and this flexibility in layout design is just one reason why more and more golf clubs are turning to Carousel Golfing bag storage.”
Golf le Saie with Mount Etna in the background
“In 40 Years at this course, using the Durabunker method to build bunkers is the most spectacular change made.” Tony Cartwright, course manager, Seaton Carew GC
A REVOLUTION IN GOLF BAG LOCKERS
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The solution to Bunker Face & Edge Erosion
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golfmanagement.eu.com | 11
Artificial Intelligence the key to costs according to ecobunker “Artificial turf has an important role to play in improving golf courses,” says Richard Allen, co-founder of ecobunker Ltd, the only company endorsed by the inventor of their patented bunker construction method. Jon Scott of Nicklaus Design, a leading agronomist, agrees: “I think synthetic turf will definitely find a place in areas of high erosion potential,” whilst Kevin Holinaty of Southwest Greens adds: “I predict that there will be a dramatic change, with a great majority of these changes stemming from the wide acceptance and integration of synthetic solutions.” Are there barriers to adoption? “It’s not appearance,” says Allen, a civil engineer and former greens chairman. ”At ecobunker, our construction team – led by Llewellyn Matthews – has unparalleled experience, building on over 50 courses in eight countries. Everywhere clients are delighted by the natural aesthetics.” Mike Harmon, director of golf at Secession Golf Club in South Carolina
who will be introducing ecobunker to its members said: “I was personally impressed with the product when I was at Southerndown for the Senior British Open Qualifier.” Allen adds: “Cost is key. Many clubs don’t yet fully appreciate the financial benefits offered by products like ecobunker.
It’s Material for Foremost
Riggott to head-up golf division at Burhill Golf
Foremost Golf has appointed Material Matters as its procurement partner to manage the group’s successful Golf Club Buying Group. Working together Foremost Golf and Material Matters will provide an unrivalled range and quality of service to all of the proprietary and private members golf clubs which are currently part of the Foremost Golf Club Buying Group. Paul Mould, managing director of Material Matters said: “I am excited by the new partnership with Foremost Golf and am confident that working together we can provide clubs with improved buying power and an unparalleled range of products and services.” Foremost, which has around 1,000 PGA members within its retail group, remains committed to delivering support and assistance to golf clubs during a difficult trading period in which participation is down and pressures on membership and green fee revenues have increased. Paul Hedges, CEO of Foremost Golf said: “I have been impressed with the quality and range of services provided by Material Matters and am confident that working together we can provide our existing golf club members with the help they need to cut costs and operate more efficiently. “We genuinely believe member clubs will benefit greatly as a result of this collaboration.”
Burhill Golf and Leisure (BGL) has appointed Guy Riggott as the new operations director of its golf division. Riggott, who has more than 20 years’ commercial experience in the leisure sector, including senior management roles at Crown Golf, Esporta Group and De Vere, will report directly to BGL chief executive Colin Mayes. Commenting on the new appointment, Mayes said: “Guy has a strong track record of opening, developing and running complex multi-site leisure busi-
12 | GMé August 2014
The 15th hole at Southerndown
‘At Southerndown, our cost benefit analysis ultimately demonstrated a fouryear payback period, and savings of £400,000 over 20 years. “We offer this service to any club interested in ecobunker. In many cases clubs will be surprised to learn that going artificial is the smart move.”
nesses and his experience of delivering sustainable growth in a challenging golf market stands out.” Riggott said: “BGL is a very strong business, with exciting growth plans, and I look forward to playing a significant role in making these plans come to life.” Riggott’s appointment follows the announcement that former BGL golf operations director, Hugh Knowles, has moved to the newly created role of operations and development director of BGL’s Adventure Leisure business.
Guy Riggott who joins BGL as the company’s new operations director, golf division
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golfmanagement.eu.com | 13
Two-tee start at Royal Liverpool no bother for BIGGA’s support team BIGGA’s Open support team joined the home greenkeeping team at Royal Liverpool Golf Club during a hectic, hard-working and ultimately proud and successful week for the turf management industry at the 143rd Open Championship. A mixture of experienced and youthful BIGGA members headed to the Wirral from a huge range of clubs far and wide – and dealt expertly with a number of challenges including an unprecedented two-tee start on Saturday. The week began with a briefing from the club’s Links manager Craig Gilholm, who generously gave up his time on the Wednesday evening to explain his team’s plans and outline the type of support he was anticipating alongside the R&A’s director of rules Grant Moir. A mere 12 hours before David Howell hit the first shot in anger, Gilholm was happy to answer questions in the evening sunshine as he gave details of the agronomic challenges involved in preparing a course for The Open. Then it was a case of setting early alarms with the first bus heading towards the course at 5am to ensure the first group of greenkeepers arrived in plenty of time before the tournament’s 6.25am start.
Their main duty was to rake the course’s 82 bunkers as play progressed – and they were kept busy as 335 required raking during the first round. By the time Rory McIlroy was crowned champion, they had raked a grand total of 945. The team also assisted with evening divot duty – so the combination of early starts and nearly six hours of raking in sweltering heat shows how dedicated and committed they have to be.
‘Riff Raff’ storm bubbles away
Leadbetter set to open new academy at La Manga Club
A Somerset golf course has come under fire for a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ sign which reads ‘No Riff Raff’. The owners of Cedar Falls Health Farm & Spa’s nine-hole golf course, in Bishop’s Lydeard, near Taunton, insist the sign is ‘tongue in cheek’ – but some visitors have claimed that it is inappropriate. The Daily Mail reported that one critic took to review site Tripadvisor to write: “Riff Raff? You cannot be serious?” Using the name Stormfever, a woman travel writer said: “The sign outside, which reads ‘No Riff Raff’ – honestly it does – should make you think twice about Cedar Falls. Are you welcome? “How do you know if you’re Riff Raff? If you’re 80 per cent posh and 20 per cent ordinary, might you be verging on ‘riffraffery’? Don’t worry. The prices will keep out the ‘riff raff’.” Richard Smith, manager of the venue, said: “The sign is in fun but the spa does have standards. Anyone who does visit the centre must behave in a reasonable manner. Absolutely no harm is meant by the sign and people really need to lighten up a little bit.”
Regarded by many as the leading golf instructor in the world, David Leadbetter will be on hand to officially open his new Leadbetter Golf Academy at Spain’s fivestar La Manga Club resort in September. Leadbetter, who is based in Florida, is set to fly in to perform the opening ceremony on Monday, September 15 at his latest academy, which provides the centrepiece of a €1million redevelopment of La Manga Club’s extensive teaching and practice centre. Among the new facilities on offer, the new academy – the only such facility in mainland Spain – will have two tuition rooms, both equipped with the latest technology including Trackman, SAM PuttLab and K-VEST. The first David Leadbetter Golf Academy was established in 1983 and the opening of the new La Manga Club facility means that there are now 28 fulltime David Leadbetter Golf Academies spread across 13 countries. Jose Asenjo, general manager at La Manga Club, said: “It’s a great honour and privilege for everyone at La Manga Club that David Leadbetter has interrupted his
14 | GMé August 2014
The BIGGA Open support team pictured in front of the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool
As Saturday approached, the decision to operate a two-tee start due to the forecast of thunderstorms meant that for the first time, bunker rakers joined play on both the first and 10th tees. BIGGA chairman Chris Sealey said: “It was great to see Craig Gilholm and his team praised for their efforts during the presentations at the end of the tournament, as the course was in absolutely stunning condition.”
busy schedule to open the new academy. His reputation precedes him as one of the world’s foremost golf coaches and I can’t think of a better and more fitting way to officially open our new worldclass teaching and practice facility.”
In words & Pictures A brief pictorial round-up of events from around the industry, including news of a major new appointment for Antony Scott of John Deere.
In brief... The world’s first Nike Performance Fitting Centre was opened last month by Rory McIlroy. The groundbreaking facility at Archerfield Links in Scotland was officially launched on July 7, 2014 by Rory McIlroy prior to the Irishman competing in the Scottish Open in Aberdeen, followed by his Open Championship win at Royal Liverpool. Troon has furthered its Middle East portfolio after being chosen to oversee the golf operations at Arabian Ranches Golf Club in Dubai. The announcement reinforces Troon’s reputation in delivering first-class services at the world’s most desirable golfing destinations through its unrivalled expertise in golf operations, service standards and agronomy. As part of their continued development strategy, SNAG Golf (Ireland) has appointed Philip Murphy as director of golf for the Irish region. Murphy joins SNAG Golf with a history steeped in junior coaching success, and was formerly National Junior Coach at the Irish Ladies Golf Union, where during his tenure, he was responsible for overseeing the progress of the National under-18 panel, many of whom went on to become professionals. De Vere has enhanced its partnership with Golf GameBook, the mobile scoring system and interactive golfing community, by introducing a new series of competitions for users across all De Vere Golf resorts. “We have been working hard with Golf GameBook to discover new interactive ways in which we can develop our partnership, and these competitions provide great incentives for members and visitors alike to come and experience the golfing excellence on offer at De Vere Hotels & Resorts,” said Keith Pickard, De Vere Group director of golf.
Antony Scott has been appointed managing director for John Deere Limited in the UK and Ireland, and replaces Richard Johnson, who has been appointed marketing director for the global tractor platform.
The greenkeeping team at Longhirst Hall Golf Club, near Morpeth in Northumberland, has recently upgraded its fleet, with a significant delivery of new equipment from local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Rickerby of Hexham.
England Golf and TaylorMadeadidas Golf have announced that they are to establish a new partnership to support the England national golf squads, with the exclusive four-year agreement commencing in January 2015.
Golf clubs in the Home of Golf are being encouraged to ‘go social’ as part of a new strategic partnership between the Scottish Golf Union and Silicon Valley based All Square, the social network for golf.
TrackMan has joined forces with asset finance specialist Academy Leasing to expand the market potential for its technology. TrackMan, which ranges in price from £10,000 to £16,000, is used by more than 200 top tour pro’s.
Ex-Premier League footballer and TV & radio pundit Mark Bright has issued a challenge – “come and take me on at FootGolf.” The first Challenge Brighty FootGolf event will take place at Addington Court Golf Centre next month.
golfmanagement.eu.com | 15
“The clubhouse heating has never felt so comfortable, and we have easily reached our aim of significantly lowering fuel costs. We have no hesitation in recommending Cookes Renewable Energy and Viessmann products to anyone”
ENERGY EFFICIENT Viessmann’s Vitoligno 300-P is one of a new generation of clean, efficient biomass boilers
Viessmann looking to cut energy costs As Catherine Burke reports, an English golf club has protected itself against rising LPG costs by adopting an efficient biomass system from Viessmann.
Company Profile sponsored by Viessmann (44) 01952 675000 firstname.lastname@example.org
16 | GMé August 2014
When the management of Bawburgh Golf Club in Norwich decided that the time had come to guard against rising LPG costs, it decided to investigate the possibility of installing a renewable system to provide the heating and hot water to its clubhouse. The rewards offered by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) encourage businesses to invest in renewable technologies. After consulting Cookes Renewable Energy Ltd of Norwich, the club made the decision to go ahead with the latest biomass wood burning technology to replace its ten year-old LPG system. Following the installation of a Viessmann Vitoligno 300-P pellet biomass boiler, with weather compensation and a state-of-the-art internet controller, the club has saved £2,448 on fuel bills to date, compared to its previous system. Situated on the outskirts of Norwich and set in more than 190 acres of beautiful undulating Norfolk countryside, Bawburgh offers an 18 hole, 6720
yard, par 72 course, two practice putting greens, a practice net and a small chipping area. The aptly named Glen Lodge stands high above the Yare valley, and is the focal point of the Bawburgh Golf Club. The biomass boiler specified for the lodge – a Vitoligno 300-P by German heating systems manufacturer Viessmann – was chosen due to its cheap running costs compared to LPG as well as the amount of money saved through RHI funding. The boiler burns wood pellets which are easily available from local suppliers and from sustainable sources. The heating system at Bawburgh Golf Club is split into two zones; one for radiator heating in the main 546 m2 clubhouse and the other for the heating of the 127 m2 conservatory area. The boiler also provides the heating for the hot water used in the changing rooms. The Vitocom 100 control fitted with the system gives the customer superior
VIEW FROM THE TOP The view of the 18th hole at Bawburgh Golf Club in Norfolk
control of the heating and hot water, as the maintenance manager can remotely access and adjust the time and temperature settings when he is off site. The control also allows him to check boiler status and operation 24 hours a day. The containerised plant room for the new system meant space for the Vitoligno was very tight, so preparation for the installation was essential to ensure it was carried out with millimetre accuracy. This location was also where the existing LPG tanks were kept, and as the golf club was in constant use, so the timing of the project was paramount. For this reason, the wiring and pipework was put in place before the Vitoligno was delivered. A bespoke container was designed that allowed for the boiler to be delivered to the site completely ready to be installed. Viessmann’s Vitoligno biomass boiler range is a simple, clean renewable heating option, which overcomes the reserva-
tions that home and business owners may have had about them in the past. The Vitoligno’s ash box size has recently been increased by 30 per cent meaning customers need only empty the ash box once per season, compared to up to three times previously. The boilers – available with outputs from 4 to 48 kW – also act to reduce fly ash, which can contaminate heating surfaces, reducing unit efficiency and forcing the need for more regular cleaning. Fly ash is eliminated in the updated range thanks to a reduced fan speed and lambda probe technology, all of which serve to improve ash circulation by helping the dust drop from the combustion chamber more readily. The Vitoligno 300-P range cleans itself automatically at least once a day to guarantee complete fuel utilisation and consistently high efficiency of up to 86 per cent. The Bawburgh system generates 72,000 kW per year and the savings
the facilities management team has already recorded have been significant, with £2,448 less spent on fuel so far. This means the payback through fuel savings alone, is just 12 years. As the system is MCS-approved, it is eligible to benefit from the RHI and £184,000 is expected to be received over a 20 year period from the scheme. In addition to the financial savings, the biomass system means that carbon emissions have been reduced by around 2,100 kg per year. The feedback from the golf club was also very positive, with maintenance and facilities co-ordinator Jamie Goose commenting: “The clubhouse heating has never felt so comfortable, and we have easily reached our aim of significantly lowering fuel costs. “We have no hesitation in recommending Cookes Renewable Energy and Viessmann products to anyone. This installation was carried out with textbook efficiency and professionalism.” GMé
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Donnafugata makes golfers an offer they can’t refuse The luxury five-star Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa is a heavenly place for anyone wishing to experience an unforgettable stay in one of the most enchanting places in Sicily, so GMé sent Peter Simm on a trip to paradise to find out for himself.
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donnafugatagolfresort.com WATER HAZARD The view from the picturesque swimming pool complex, overlooking the course (main picture) and right, the 13th hole on the Links Course
Fabulous culture, ancient history, fine cuisine, Mount Etna and the Mafia. They are all words and names that you’d quite rightly associate with Sicily, one of Europe’s leading holiday destinations for the last four decades. But, in recent years, the Mediterranean’s largest island has made a name for itself in a new field and cemented a reputation for itself as one of the new emerging stars in the golf travel market. The emergence of some of golf’s finest new resorts and an increase in travel options has combined with cheap flight routes and an ideal climate to make Sicily a popular alternative to more traditional overseas destinations like Spain and Portugal – and Europe’s travelling golfers are loving it. Leading the way is the five-star Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, a luxury resort situated in the heart of Baroque Sicily near the historical town of Ragusa. Opened in 2010, the 36-hole resort – which also boasts a new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence – has quickly risen to become one of the new stars of
Italian golf, winning widespread acclaim across the industry and attracting record numbers of golfers year-on-year. And such has been Donnafugata’s success story in the UK market alone that the award-winning venue has taken more bookings than ever before in a calendar year with bookings up by around an amazing 70 per cent in 2014. Latest figures revealed the resort is more than 20 per cent ahead of the total number of room nights booked by golfers for the whole of 2013 and, with numbers projected to grow at a similar rate for the remainder of the year, end-of-year bookings from the UK are expected to have increased by more than six-fold in the last two years, meaning the UK now ranks alongside Germany and Italy as one of Donnafugata’s three biggest markets. Guy Roberts, director of golf at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, said: “Donnafugata has made a real impact since opening and, in a relatively short space of time, has become one of the market leaders in the luxury golf resort sector in Europe.
“Donnafugata has made a real impact since opening and, in a relatively short space of time, has become one of the market leaders in the luxury golf resort sector in Europe” twitter.com/gme
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“Italy is one of Europe’s up-andcoming countries when it comes to golf after the success of Matteo Manassero and the Molinari brothers in recent years”
PARK LIFE The 15th hole on the Parkland Course
“The resort has enjoyed an outstanding last 18 months and, with its popularity continuing to grow, the signs are extremely encouraging for the years to come. “The UK market has been one of our biggest growth areas in that time and the booking numbers are a further illustration of how highly the resort and Sicily is regarded as a golf travel destination.” Taking pride of place at Donnafugata are its two 18-hole championship golf courses; the Parkland and the Links. The former, designed by South African legend Gary Player, hosted the Sicilian Open in 2011. Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin claimed the spoils three years ago with a 12-under-par winning score but didn’t have it all his own way on a testing course which wanders through carob and olive trees. Created by Italian Franco Piras, the Links Course runs up and down two valleys and offers a pleasant contrast, nestled between two nature reserves with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. The setting, along with wetland around the early holes and lakes at the end of the round, make the course a haven for migrating birds and other wildlife. With a new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence also having opened earlier this spring – the first facility of its kind in continental Europe offering expert teaching through individual and group lessons, and specially created two, three
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and seven-night tuition packages – it’s hardly surprising that Donnafugata has already collected a number of top awards in its relatively short lifespan. The first course in Italy to have been invited to join the IMG Prestige portfolio, an exclusive collection of worldwide golfing venues, the resort featured in the latest issue of Rolex World’s Top 1,000 Golf Courses while its position in European golf rose to new prominence recently after both its courses were included in Golf World’s Top 200 Courses in Continental Europe. Clarke, winner of 22 tournaments worldwide including, most memorably, the 2011 Open Championship, said: “Italy is one of Europe’s up-and-coming countries when it comes to golf after the success of Matteo Manassero and the Molinari brothers in recent years, so I’m particularly delighted to have opened this new coaching centre at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa. “The resort has some of the best facilities in Europe and, combined with the great climate that Sicily enjoys, is the ideal venue for players from all over Europe to learn from our expert team of coaches.” Set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical towns nearby to
visit. These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque: Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All of them are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status. In addition to its golf courses and extensive practice facilities, the awardwinning venue has 202 rooms, an awardwinning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour. The recent opening of a new airport at Comiso, just 20 minutes away, and the increasing number of airlines and flights routes operating into Sicily and the south-east area, has made Donnafugata more accessible than ever before, while the resort is also reaping the rewards from its decision to offer an improved club rental service. Having invested in a new range of TaylorMade men’s and ladies’ clubs at the start of the year, it has seen total hire revenues increase by more than 20 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. With the cost of transporting golf bags increasing each year, the fortunes of Donnafugata are poised to flourish even further as travelling golfers seek a costeffective alternative to paying for rising airline golf bag carriage charges, just the latest chapter that is set to be written in one of golf’s newest success stories in the years to come. GMé
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“It is true that Las Colinas first came into being during one of the most difficult periods for the golf property market, but these conditions have less of an impact when you are speaking of a destination like this”
Las Colinas bucks the property market In an age of austerity, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club remains a shining example for new golf resorts, especially when it comes to real estate as Roseanne Niven reports. BOXING CLEVER Offering a unique opportunity to live in the pine forest, the Abubilla Villas nestle gently in the landscape of the new Enebro community
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Beleaguered. This single word – possibly better than any other – best describes the nature of the housing markets in Europe, the USA and most of the developed world as the economic downturn strengthened its grip towards the end of 2008, its fingerprints still clearly visible to this day. In respect of its symbiotic relationship with the real estate sector, golf suffered. The necessary investment to create some of the world’s finest courses of the last 50 years has derived from the strategic sale of property. There were visible casualties as the boom turned to bust. Projects lay dormant, empty communities eagerly awaited occupants and the broken ground on new golf layouts was often offered back to nature.
Impossible, you may therefore think, it should have been for any fledgling development to survive, never mind succeed. More so for those whose ribbon wouldn’t be cut until the midst of that financial winter. However, two miles inland from the Mediterranean coast and an hour’s drive south of Alicante, there exists a very unique microclimate. In this area renowned for its year-round sunshine, lies Las Colinas Golf & Country Club; a resort which has bucked international trends since its opening in 2010. Each of the 137 luxury properties which constituted the first phase of construction were acquired by the turn of 2011. Despite the depth of the dip being experienced elsewhere at that time, plans were already afoot to set in
TWO-BY-TWO The 16th and 17th holes at Las Colinas, which were designed by Cabell B. Robinson
motion the next stage of Las Colinas’ strategy. Success breeds success and, indeed, the pace at which properties were acquired gathered. Winter 2013 marked the launch of the Olivo, Enebro and Palmera communities within the confines of the inland and elevated resort, set along the borders of the acclaimed Cabell B. Robinson-designed course. For those on the outside, uptake has undoubtedly surpassed expectations. Already more than 60 per cent of the properties originally available have been purchased. Some would call that an overachievement. Cristobal Guerrero is not among this number. His contentment notwithstanding, the managing director’s confidence in Las Colinas’ development plan and
the superior product it offers has never wavered, despite exterior conditions. “It is true that Las Colinas first came into being during one of the most difficult periods for the golf property market, but these conditions have less of an impact when you are speaking of a destination like this,” he said. “Here, we offer something very special. In many ways, Las Colinas is a world apart from other golf resorts. Not only do we possess a world-class course and outstanding facilities in a magnificent setting – which are absolutely critical to a development like this – we also offer a unique approach to construction, which has been key to our success. “As well as creating elegant apartments and villas for potential purchasers, we give individuals and property devel-
opers the opportunity to acquire their own plot of land on which to realise their dream home. “This has been a remarkably popular option for investors looking to create a bespoke home from home, and has helped position Las Colinas as one of the most successful developments in Europe.” Under expert guidance plot owners can tailor a bespoke property in keeping with the architectural style of the wider resort. Measures to protect the local environment, maintain a mandatory build standard and uphold a policy of low-density housing to enhance privacy have been met with strong approval. With the expectation that the remaining plots and villas will be snapped up before the year is out, a fourth estate
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ROOM WITH A VIEW The impressive living space of a Mirlo Villa, which foms part of the new development
“The volume of visitors we have attracted in recent years and the performance of our property portfolio are reward enough for all of our hard work”
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within the resort boundary has been introduced. To meet overwhelming demand, a further ten plots have been launched and will form the Adelfa Community, located at the heart of a 330-hectare area. Ranging from 1,240 to 1,480 square metres, each site will enjoy an elevated position looking across the surrounding landscape and framed by the natural beauty of the rolling countryside and the Mediterranean Sea. This will enable the creation of villas covering a buildable area of between 229 and 276 square metres. If recent figures give any indication of the appeal that the Adelfa Community is likely to achieve, a bright future beckons. For a third consecutive year, the Province of Alicante has led in sales of new builds and land plots to overseas buyers, driven by the fact that one in every five new apartments in the region is being constructed at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club. The Northern European market has served the resort well. Interest from Scandinavia and the Low Countries has been high, with an overwhelming majority of property owners indicating that the prospect of life at Las Colinas has been the rationale behind making their purchase. With the added benefits of the seafront beach club, dining options in the enso sushi bar and UNiK CAFÉ, the International School of Falconry, tennis and paddle tennis courts and more than 200,000 square metres of natural space that emphasise the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding region, it’s not difficult to understand why this is the case. Sales are but one way of judging success. Critical acclaim is often much
more difficult to come by, yet Las Colinas has found little trouble in attaining its fair share. Picking up the ‘Golf Resort’ accolade in this year’s International Hotel and Property Awards and its positioning easily within Golf World ‘s Top 100 Continental European golf courses are the latest in a long line of honours, all of which speak volumes to Guerrero and his staff. “We are absolutely delighted to be voted best Golf Resort by the general public; it is a fantastic endorsement for the Las Colinas brand, particularly within what was an enormously competitive category. “The volume of visitors we have attracted in recent years and the performance of our property portfolio are reward enough for all of our hard work, but it is also always fantastic to have that effort recognised in the industry. “But Las Colinas is so much more than a leading golf resort. We have established a stunning community, where holiday-makers and homemakers alike take pride in owning some of the finest modern residential property that can be found anywhere in Europe. “We are proud that our vision is being shared with so many people from far and wide, and look forward to seeing more of them realise their dreams of owning a property in one of Spain’s most desirable resort location. “This is a very exciting time for all of us, given that we are now nearing completion of the original blueprint. We have focussed on creating a naturefriendly community that has given property owners the freedom to develop the holiday home they have always wanted and the progress we have made at the most difficult of times points to how special Las Colinas really is.” GMé
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Ready Golf for John Deere Earlier this summer, John Deere unveiled its new product range for 2014, and Steve Mitchell was on-hand to take a closer look. John Deere dealers brushed up on their greenkeeping skills and knowledge at Morley Hayes Golf Club in Derbyshire, England this summer, prior to the European launch of the company’s new golf course maintenance product range for 2014. Deere’s Golf Ready training programme involved over 200 participants from six countries – France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in addition to the UK and Ireland. The dealership staff, along with key John Deere turfcare personnel from the US and Europe, spent most of May and June taking over responsibility for the daily maintenance of the nine-hole course, under the watchful eyes of Morley Hayes golf manager Dan Delaney and head greenkeeper David Bloore and his team. Weekly groups of dealer salesmen, golf & turf specialists and service technicians effectively simulated what a
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greenkeeping team would be doing on the course each day, alongside detailed product training on John Deere’s new greens, fairway and rough mowers and pedestrian aerators. “The Golf Ready programme gave us all the opportunity to look at the fundamentals of product operation and servicing, as well as introduce the new season’s products and do hands-on training in a real-life situation,” said John Deere’s turf division manager, Chris Meacock. “It also meant our dealers could really understand and appreciate the full range and importance of the greenkeeper’s roles and responsibilities, and the critical role they play in the successful management of any golf club. “We’re very grateful to the management and greenkeeping staff at Morley Hayes for providing us with the facilities and support to deliver this type of training,” added Meacock.
“John Deere continues to be fully committed to our established nationwide dealership network, in order to sell and support the complete professional golf & turf product range to customers and deliver a first-class service – this year’s Golf Ready programme proved to be a very effective and valuable way to reinforce the dealer’s existing expertise and knowledge.” The company’s subsequent Take Control roadshow – held on 17 golf courses throughout the UK and Ireland during July and August – introduced the new range of advanced technology A Model mowers and PrecisionCore aerators, which have been based on extensive feedback from greenkeepers and other golf and turf industry professionals. Common features across the new A Model mower range include a brand new TechControl display, LoadMatch from
johndeere.com STRAIGHT TO THE POINT The John Deere A40 PrecisionCore aerator (main picture and right) with the improved control panel below
“The Golf Ready programme gave us all the opportunity to look at the fundamentals of product operation and servicing” the John Deere compact tractor range, internal wet disc brakes and improved operator stations – all engineered to provide users with greater control of the machines, easier operator training and first class cut quality. All A Models also feature OnCourse Technology, which integrates electronic controls with the mowers’ mechanical features to deliver improved performance, better diagnostics, more uptime and increased reliability, productivity and operator comfort. The simple to use, password protected TechControl display enables the course manager, head greenkeeper or deputy to quickly set or change mowing, turning and transport speeds, for example, to limit variations in performance by different operators and provide a more consistent, quality finish. On-board visual diagnostics and the ability to set regular service times also help to maximise productive time. A popular feature adopted from the John Deere compact tractor range is LoadMatch, which automatically adjusts the speed of the machine to deliver consistent power to the cutting units during heavy load conditions. This is also designed to maximise productivity and maintain high levels of cut quality.
In addition to these key systems on every model, the new 7500A, 7700A and 8700A PrecisionCut and 7500AE hybrid electric fairway mowers feature an improved operator station, with multiple step locations making it easy to get on or off the mowers from either the front or rear. In addition, the new A Model E-Cut hybrid electric fairway mowers can be set to automatically deliver reduced engine speed during mowing, with fuel savings of up to 30 per cent. The new John Deere 7200A PrecisionCut, 7400A TerrainCut and 8800A TerrainCut tees & surrounds and rough mowers share many of the same features as the new fairway mowers. Both the 7200A and 7400A are equipped with a new larger eHydro transmission and redesigned wheel motors for improved traction performance, especially on slopes, while the 8800A is equipped with a new 55hp four-cylinder engine producing over 27 per cent more power. There have also been updates to the 2653B PrecisionCut tees & surrounds mower and the 2500B PrecisionCut and 2500E hybrid electric greens mowers for 2014. To improve operator comfort, particularly during long working hours, the 2653B now features a lower seating
position and increased leg room, while a new double-acting steering cylinder enables the operator to achieve straighter cut lines with less effort. In addition, the 2500B and 2500E greens mowers now incorporate electric controllers to provide increased diagnostic capabilities using the Control Area Network or CANbus system, as used since 2009 on John Deere’s E-Cut hybrid electric fairway mowers. The brand new A40 and V40 PrecisionCore pedestrian aerators for golf greens and other fine turf areas replace the previous Aercore 800 model. These latest machines have been designed from the ground up to provide increased productivity and efficiency compared to traditional aerators on the market. A patented articulating frame delivers more consistent hole depth on undulating terrain, and operators can now change hole spacing on the move. The aerators also feature a tighter turning circle, for sharper, quicker turns, and are available with an optional verticutter attachment for aerating and verticutting the turf in one pass. Finally, a redesigned operator station provides easier control of the machines, as well as reduced levels of handlebar vibration. GMé
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Go Keyless. Go KitLock.
Simple, smart locker management without keys. KitLock gives customers convenience and staff easy day-to-day control with a number of programmable options and features. For more information on selecting the smart choice for you, please contact:
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Codelocks Inc T: +1 714 979 2900 Toll free: 1.877.codelock firstname.lastname@example.org
Codelocks (Australia) Pty Ltd T: +61 2 9882 1009 Toll free: 1800 052 131 email@example.com
www.kitlock.com KitLock is a Codelocks Ltd brand
locker rooms Living in a digital age, it is still surprising just how many locks still require the use of a key. Scott MacCallum unlocks the secret of modern locker room security, without the need for a traditional, metal key.
Coded Lockers; The key to success
“I know of some sports facilities or golf clubs where a large number of lockers end up inactive because no one knows where the keys are”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS The reception desk ay Heythrop Park Resort
“I’ve seen them... I know I’ve seen them... Do you know where they are? I don’t have time for this... I hope there’s someone in the secretary’s office.” That is a verbatim transcription of the one-sided conversation conducted in many a household, minutes after the disappointing realisation that locker keys are not where they were assumed to be. Knowing that everything you need for an enjoyable few hours on the course is stuck behind that little door, and that access to it will have to be by the master key held by the club, with the inevitable £5 charge for a replacement, is enough to add a few more kinks to that swing when you do get to the 1st tee. And that is just the frustration from the member’s perspective. Think about it from the golf club’s point of view. Each time a key is lost it creates more work
for someone. The master, or the duplicate, has to be tracked down and then returned, hopefully before an impending tee time has meant that the member has rushed off with the one remaining key in his pocket. Another has to be cut. They all have to be stored in a manner which doesn’t require a trial and error approach to matching key with lock. So much potential stress. But, in this day and age there must be an answer. Well there is – coded locks! “The advantage of coded locks over keys is that people are only human and do have problems with the management of keys,” said Steve Newman, sales manager for KitLocks, “People regularly lose keys and once they have lost a key they have to get a replacement or, in some cases, get a replacement barrel for the lock.
“Often what happens is that visitors take a key home and forget about it and it means that the locker is then out of commission for other users. “I know of some sports facilities or golf clubs where a large number of lockers end up inactive because no one knows where the keys are. And all because what is effectively a 30p lump of metal.” And a secure locker is extremely important. A rough tot up of the value of what can be held in the average locker is a sobering thought, with clubs, bag, shoes, distance measuring devices, not to mention waterproofs coming in at well over £1,500, and that’s a conservative estimate. KitLocks are produced by Codelocks, a family-owned British company based in Newbury, Berkshire, which employs over 120 people internationally and which
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“For anyone looking to change the appearance and security of their locker rooms, I would definitely recommend Kitlocks”
MANSION HOUSE The Grade II listed Mansion House
CLEAN LINES Sleek and professional... the new keyless lockers at Heythrop Park
has developed four digit code locks for the school, university, hospital, gym and leisure centre market and which has begun to make in-roads into the potentially lucrative golf club market. The sophisticated locks offer up to 10,000 potential codes and powered by two AAA batteries, which will give between 15,000 and 50,000 openings. “There is a technician’s six digit code which allows the locks to be opened without wiping out the original four digit code while some of our locks enable us to see when each lock has been opened and with which code so the security level is extremely high,” said Newman, who has recently completed a contact with The Grove. If a visitor is using a locker, a one-day code can be applied, while for members’ lockers an annual code can be put in place and renewed when the fees are paid each year. For those who fall into the camp of ‘I’ve got enough numbers to remember already’ there is also a little bit of hope on the horizon. “We have found that four digits works quite well and that people do tend to use their birthdays or anniversaries to make them more memorable but we are working with the same technology which
gives us contactless payment with our bank cards while our mobile phones will increasingly be used to give us access to doors and lockers,” revealed Newman. As for the golf market Codelocks sees a very strong market ready to be untapped. “We are working closely with many of the locker manufacturers including, Craftsmen Lockers, while we are finding a lot of success with retrofitting,” he explained. “Golf clubs may have spent a lot of money on their lockers but found, through time, that they do need to upgrade their locker mechanisms and rather than spend even more money, when they’d rather be investing in the golf course itself, they find that retrofitting our locks means that even with a smaller budget they can improve their security.” One golf club which has recently gone down this route is Heythrop Park, in Oxfordshire, which had found that locker keys had gone missing through time and that 250, otherwise excellent, lockers were being rendered unusable. “Over recent months at Heythrop Park we have been working hard to enhance our guests experience through the service and standards that we provide.
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“We take pride in what fantastic facilities we have to offer but we are always looking to improve nonetheless,” explained Ben Glover, golf operations manager at Heythrop Park. “Traditionally, we have operated keys and pound coins within our locker rooms but we found that on occasions this could be quite frustrating to the customer; some not having a pound coin and not to mention losing keys – easily done. “So we approached Kitlocks with the vision to improve dramatically our lockers which we have done with great success,” said Glover. “Kitlocks were very helpful from the start in terms of customer service and the product is fantastic. Not only do the locks look professional, they are customer friendly and add security to our guest possessions. “For anyone looking to change the appearance and security of their locker rooms, I would definitely recommend Kitlocks,” added Glover. The new KitLocks ensure that the lockers are given a new lease of life and that the security of the personal belongings of the members and visitors is enhanced. It is also achieved at a fraction of the cost of a complete locker replacement programme. GMé
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“I am afraid more clubs will close – it is inevitable, as we have too many clubs for the number of people who want to play”
In conversation with Colin Mayes As CEO of Burhill Golf and Leisure, and also the chairman of the UKGCOA, Colin Mayes is well placed to discuss the state of the golf industry as we head towards winter. RAISING THE STANDARD Colin Mayes (left) and financial director Jim Conlan at Burhill Golf Club, the group’s head office
GMé Your career started in the hospitality industry, working for hotel groups such as Forte and Holiday Inn, so what attracted you to this particular sector? CM My first career aspiration was to be a fighter pilot following my father’s RAF career, but sadly my eyesight was not up to the task. After my father left the RAF he went into engineering and my mother’s side of the family who were all Irish owned or worked in hotels, pubs and catering so they persuaded him to go into business in that sector. So I was brought up in the hospitality business since the age of five and I didn’t really consider anything else after knowing I could not be in the front seat of a fighter jet. GMé Later in your career, you moved into the pub sector, a natural progression from working in the hotel sector. Comparing the two, what sector would you say was more challenging and why? CM Very difficult to answer. To be successful you need to offer high standards, value for money – no matter what
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scale of the market you operate in – and provide excellence in service standards. If I was pushed it would probably be hotels due to the complexity of some of the operations I have been involved in. Running a major hotel is like any big business, turnover is in the tens of millions, you have to oversee departments such as sales, marketing, housekeeping, food & beverage (room service, kitchens, restaurants, banqueting, bars, butler service), maintenance, property, IT, accounts, front office, concierge etc. Pubs albeit often pretty big now, are just simpler operations. GMé You joined Burhill Golf and Leisure (BGL) in June 2006 after leaving the pub business so why the change of career at that particular point, and do you have any regrets? CM No regrets at all, albeit it is a very tough business to be in. I have been very lucky, and the hospitality business has been very good to me. After selling Old English Inns to Greene King I just felt the need to change, to take some time off and travel and then decide what to do
PROUD AS PUNCH Colin Mayes in-front of the clubhouse at Burhill
FINISHING IN STYLE The view from the 18th tee, with the impressive Burhill clubhouse in the background
afterwards. The BGL opportunity came up and I knew of the family who own the business and I had always wanted to learn to play golf, it was all pretty simple really. I have never planned out my career too much, and have just done what I felt was right for the family and I at the time. Thankfully I have got it more right than wrong, which has enabled me to work in different parts of the world, keep learning and experience different cultures and have a lot of fun with the family at the same time.
in most cases salaries and wages have not kept track. Thankfully for today’s consumer they regard their leisure time as very important so I am confident things will get better, but it is going to be a slow process.
GMé Golf is still facing some challenging trading conditions, so do you believe that we are over the worst of it, or will there be more clubs set to close their doors over the winter? CM I am afraid more clubs will close – it is inevitable, as we have too many clubs for the number of people who want to play. There must be hundreds just operating on an absolute shoestring, managing on a day-to-day basis, exactly the same as the pub business twenty odd years ago. Market forces will prevail and while uncomfortable, it is a fact of life. I do believe the economy is getting stronger but the important thing for us in the golf industry is that people’s disposable income is still under pressure particularly for their leisure time. It’s not rocket science; their other household costs have gone up, we have all seen our domestic bills continue to rise and
GMé Where do you see the main area for growth for BGL, and do you have any intensions to add to your existing golf course portfolio? CM We are very fortunate that we own and operate clubs in good strategic locations with excellent demographics so I see our existing businesses growing and getting bigger and stronger. We are always investing in our sites and I am a great believer in making sure you maximise your key assets before using valuable capital resources on new riskier ventures. It is a great deal easier to make money by making what you know bigger, better and stronger. That doesn’t mean we will not take on more courses, but we are extremely selective and we know what we want. When I first entered the sector, I could not get my head around the values being asked for businesses – in 2006 it just didn’t make sense. Values have now come down and are getting more sensible. If we think we can get a reasonable return on the capital employed we will buy, if not we will use the money in areas where we can. Golf will always attract people that let their heart rule their heads as buyers. The UK attracts wealthy
foreign investors who often dream of owning their own estate in this country. Special trophy asset buyers will always exist as they do in the hotel business, but at BGL sound commercial sense is what matters and providing value for our shareholders. It may not be exciting, but being profitable is pretty fundamental to me and our shareholders. GMé BGL clearly believe that there is a big growth potential in Adventure Golf. Can you really see the day when golf clubs will welcome adventure golf courses on their course? CM Adventure Golf is not an answer for everybody, let’s be clear on that. To do it well takes knowledge and capital investment and it can only be done successfully on a limited number of courses where the demographic profile is right, in my view. And importantly it will not upset the existing business model, but add to the facility, making it more attractive as a whole, both from the customer’s viewpoint and a commercial one. GMé In your role as chairman of the UKGCOA, how closely do you work with your European equivalent, and what are relations like currently with the AGCO? CM We have had a very strong and positive relationship with the EGCOA and Lodewijk Klootwijk, their CEO, was very helpful in giving us guidance and advice in the UKGCOA’s early years and we
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NEW ADVENTURE The course at Hoebridge Adventure Golf, which is a new venture for Burhill
“we feel that AGCO’s combative approach and refusal to work with the UK’s recognised golf industry authorities has not helped the fair tax campaign to acquire the support and recognition it deserves”
speak on a regular basis regarding issues that face the industry. The UK golf market differs from the European market in a number of ways, particularly in terms of the number of golf courses and the ownership structures, i.e. there are significantly more single course proprietors in the UK than in the rest of Europe, however there are also many similarities and challenges such as tax distortions that make collaboration with our colleagues in Europe an important part of our activities. AGCO, chaired by Vivien Saunders, is a tax-lobbying group that has worked tirelessly for many years on the unjustifiable tax distortions that seriously impact our members. However, relatively little has been achieved to date and we feel that AGCO’s combative approach and refusal to work with the UK’s recognised golf industry authorities has not helped the fair tax campaign to acquire the support and recognition it deserves. Our relationship with AGCO, therefore, can be best described as feisty but collaborative, particularly because of the shared objective of achieving a fair taxation regime for our members, but also for golf generally. GMé Do you ever see the day when all golf clubs, regardless of membership status, will all pay the same rate of VAT? CM Under current EU VAT law, it will not be possible for golf’s proprietary sector to benefit from the VAT exemption, and as the UK Government complied with the obligations under Article 132 of the EU VAT Directive back in the early 1990’s by applying the VAT exemption to “non-profit making” clubs, it cannot be removed. Having said this, EU Member States have a duty to consider “fiscal neutrality” between non-profit making and commercial bodies when applying a VAT exemption and, in our opinion, the UK
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Government did not do this when implementing the exemption and compounded this failure by introducing legislation in 1999 which effectively prevented commercial bodies from establishing “non-profit making” divisions or subsidiaries – we have expert advice that suggests such action by a Member State is “beyond their remit.” The UKGCOA is working on a project with KPMG to persuade HMRC and the Treasury that applying a reduced rate of VAT at five per cent for golf’s proprietary sector is the most acceptable way that the UK Government can correct its earlier errors of failing to consider fiscal neutrality when applying the exemption in the early 1990’s to private members clubs and the introduction of the 1999 Sports Order. We believe that this is the best route to achieving some form of near equality going forward. Once this has been achieved, it may be appropriate to start to consider how to correct the damage done to the UK Golf Course proprietary sector by the tax inequality created by the UK Government since the early 1990’s and believe that AGCO’s legal challenges have merit and may deserve our support and the support of the UK’s golfing authorities. GMé How often do you get the opportunity to play golf, and what handicap are you playing off of at the moment? CM I try and play once a week usually early on a Sunday morning with friends and my son and whenever possible during the summer. I will try and get another round in during the week either as part of business or after work. My handicap is currently 15, and I would ideally like to get into single figures, but for me, that probably means playing two or three times a week which, with a busy business and family life is just not possible. GMé
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montgomerie maxx royal
Ben is living life to the Maxx with Monty Aidan Patrick talks with Ben Lovett, course superintendant at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek, on preparing the course for the Turkish Airlines Open, whilst also perfecting the Colin Montgomerie design.
“I have grown up on links and heathland courses so I have got a soft spot for Trevose and Ferndown, my two home courses in the UK”
BUNKERED-IN The 15th hole is well guarded by fairway and greenside bunkers
The establishment of the European Tour Final Series represented an ambitious venture to attract the world’s best players and golf’s most generous sponsors to invest in the sport’s second most lucrative circuit. The prize funds offered, along with the fields assembled during the month-long series, spoke volumes of its immediate success. Drawing golfers of pedigree, as well as public attention, however, requires one other vital component: a golf course of high regard. Opened for play in 2008, and designed by Colin Montgomerie and European Golf Design, The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, located at the heart of Turkey’s emerging golfing centre, Belek, could not have been better placed. Supported by the national carrier and government, the Turkish Airlines Open
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served as the final piece in the jigsaw of Turkey’s golfing infrastructure, which now vies with Spain and Portugal as the British golfers’ overseas destination of choice. For many of those previously unaware, seeing images of Tiger Woods et al beamed back from the pristine Belek coastline was encouragement enough to make the trip, or so a substantial increase in bookings over the last year would suggest. For course superintendant, Ben Lovett, however, the first ever European Tour event on Turkish soil posed as great an opportunity to impress as it did a risk to disenchant. Describing the weight of expectation imposed by the prospect of readying The Montgomerie Maxx Royal to the exacting
standards of elite tour professionals, he said: “You always worry that someone is going to criticise the course,” said Lovett. “When you have the level of player that we had here last year, you always worry that someone is going to say the rough is too thick or the fairways are too short or too weak, or that the greens are too soft or too hard. “Although you know the course is pristine, you never know what reaction you are going to get but we generally got really good comments. “Even with a couple of inches of rainfall immediately before the tournament – which is very rare in this area – we were ready to play within two hours. The course is sand-based, so it drains like a sieve, making it the perfect venue for tournament golf.”
PUSHING IT TO THE MAXX A view of the third green at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal
With a background inextricably tied to the game, it was always likely golf would provide Lovett with a career path to track. His father, Michael, as general manager, helped to establish Valderrama as a venue worthy of hosting the 1997 Ryder Cup. He also presided over the prestigious Ferndown and Mijas golf clubs during a long and illustrious career. Ben’s was, therefore, a childhood immersed in golf, acquiring an appreciation of the sport and, more importantly, an awareness of golf course set-up, management and maintenance from an early age. Having inherited his father’s eye for detail, Lovett chose to follow in his footsteps by undertaking a degree in Turf Grass at The Pennsylvania State University. Following a stint at Atlanta’s
East Lake, home of the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship, upon graduation, a role with Troon Golf awaited. His association with the Arizona-based company saw him travel far and wide. Positions at Settler’s Run Golf & Country Club in Australia, Spain’s Las Colinas Golf & Country Club and The Grove preceded a bold step to relocate to Belek. The breadth of experience gained during his time working across Troon’s world-class portfolio gave Lovett a clear indication about the necessary characteristics required to cement The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in its current position as one of Turkey’s best golf course for years to come. “I have grown up on links and heathland courses so I have got a soft spot for Trevose and Ferndown, my two home
courses in the UK,” added Lovett. “My favourite set-up, generally, would be in Australia where they have to manage water very well and create firm and fast courses. “Wherever I go, the most important thing I look for is detailing and course furniture. From the tees to the pins, I want to see everything in a minimalistic style. That includes everything from tee markers and flags to fencing and ball washers. I’m not really concerned about the type of grass but always like to see the course running firm and fast.” With summer temperatures peaking at 50°C, firm hardly poses a challenge. It is, however, the extreme discrepancy in temperatures between the winter and summer seasons that presents the biggest test for Lovett and his team.
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montgomerie maxx royal
“It is down to Gary Johnson for EGD and Colin Montgomerie to ensure we keep everything in the style that Colin wants”
THE THREE AMIGOS! (L-R) Colin Montgomerie, Gary Johnston and Cahit Sahin, general manager of The Montgomerie Maxx
CUTTING EDGE Course superintendant, Ben Lovett (right) pictured with his assistant, Fatih Sonus
Most will be surprised to learn temperatures drop as low as -6°C in the dead of Belek’s winter. Such variation, and the requirement to host visiting golfers yearround, requires a unique approach. “Golfers expect things to be very green, so we overseed heavily every year. Obviously we try and keep it as dry and water efficient as possible but we do go for the Augusta look with white bunkers and green grass. “We are growing in a golf course twice a year because we change grass twice whereas, in the UK, they keep the same grass year-in year-out. We overseed rye grass in September and close the course for two weeks. “We then have around eight weeks until the tournament and straight after that, we start thinning the rough and making the course more playable. When the temperature gets up again in March, we weaken off the rye grass and get the bermudas to come back through. “During the tournament we let the rough grow up to 90-100mm and it
takes a lot of work to get that grass back under control and give the Bermuda a bit of space to breathe and come through again.” Despite widespread appreciation, further improvements to The Montgomerie Maxx Royal have been acknowledged and plans set in place. Lovett, working alongside Montgomerie and European Golf Design’s Gary Johnson, ensure any course developments remain in keeping with the original vision for what was always intended to be one of the continent’s finest layouts. “We work closely with EGD and the tour on all of the changes we’ve made to make sure everyone is happy,” he continued. “It is down to Gary Johnson for EGD and Colin Montgomerie to ensure we keep everything in the style that Colin wants. “There are always improvements or little things that you want to tinker with. We will sit down again after the tournament this year and look at things. We
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built two new tees this year and I’m sure there will be a few more tweaks.” With a bright future ahead, and the second edition of the Turkish Airlines Open in the offing, Lovett’s star is on the rise. A one-time dream of preparing Major or Ryder Cup layouts is now a realistic possibility. For the time being, however, his feet remain firmly planted in Belek. As interest in The Montgomerie Maxx Royal intensifies, so does the ambition of all involved to see the final vision for the course achieved, if not surpassed. “It’s always a dream to be in charge of a course during a Major but we have still got projects here that I would like to see out and I would like to carry out to finish the course off,” added Lovett. “It’s already an incredibly special place but I really want to settle all of the landscaping projects we have for the future. The Open and The Ryder Cup are nice things to think about for the future, but my focus for the time being is fully on The Montgomerie Maxx Royal.” GMé
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course renovation GOING BACK TO YOUR ROOTS The Koro Field Top Maker in action, which was used to renovate the fairway at Naas Golf Club in Ireland
Bare Lies as Naas is stripped naked In June, Naas Golf Club in Ireland took the unusual step of renovating a complete fairway, as Charmian Robson reports. Greenkeepers from all over Ireland turned out to see a dramatic transformation of a fairway at Naas Golf Club, County Kildare, using the Campey Koro Field Top Maker in June. Almost 2,000 square metres of fairway was renovated, with thatch and other surface debris removed from the turf down to a depth of 40mm using the Koro with Universe and Terraplane rotors. This was followed with sand spread using a Dakota 410 on a John Deere Gator. A Raycam recycling dresser re-incorporated all of the existing nutrients in the soil and a Shockwave 2.2m relieved any compaction to improve aeration. David Behan, course superintendent explains why he has taken such a radical approach to turf maintenance: “Only six years ago, ‘koro-ing’ was considered a ground-breaking technique in sports turf management terms, now it’s become standard practise for pitch renovation,” he said. “I have watched with interest and have felt strongly that this is something that golf courses could really benefit from.” A recent article on the success of koroing on a Swiss golf course at Blumisberg Golf and Country Club Course undertaken by course manager Ritchie Glynn, confirmed Behan’s belief that this is the way forward for effective golf course renovation and course management.
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“We have a 60-year-old fairway which suffers from severe thatch,” added Behan. “We installed new drainage lines using a trencher which has alleviated the surface water and improved the overall aeration and drainage, but I wanted to reclaim the quality of the playing surface.” Behan discussed possible options including koro-ing with Brian O’Shaughnessy, product specialist for Campey Turf Care. “By removing the thatch completely you are taking the fairway back to its original natural state. We can then overseed into perfect growing conditions and create a new top quality fairway,” said O’Shaughnessy. “For me, it’s all about the results,” added Behan. “We have gone-ahead with an initial 2000 metres of fairway using the Koro FTM with Terraplane® rotor and in the space of a day it was completely renovated. It’s now 12 days on and I am preparing to give the grass its first light cut. That is an impressive feat.” Finishing touches of the fairway renovation were completed with speed harrows and dragmats to create a perfect level surface for seeding. Overseeding was done with the new Vredo 1.8m Super Compact, using its unique double disc system which ensures maximum germination.
“By removing the thatch completely you are taking the fairway back to its original natural state. We can then overseed into perfect growing conditions and create a new top quality fairway”
BARE LIES The fairway is stripped of its playing surface
LOOK, LISTEN AND LEARN Students look on with interest
TEAM EFFORT The team responsible for the renovation work
“We have also used the Koro FTM with Universe® rotor on three additional strips of the practice area and I am looking forward to see how effective this proves to be in a few weeks’ time.” The Raycam Recycling Dresser treated another tee box to demonstrate how you can rejuvenate small areas without expensive applications of turf treatments. O’Shaughnessy was delighted with how the day went: “Not only did many professional greenkeepers take time out from their busy schedules to come and see the work we were doing, we had a large number of FAS/SOLAS students visit on set-up day, while we koro’d, recycled, levelled and re-seeded a tee box.
“This gave us an opportunity to spend time with interested youngsters and to explain why these practices are so important to anyone involved with, or wanting to become involved with, turf management.” The Naas Greens Committee were very impressed with the work declaring that they had never seen such dramatic undertakings on a fairway and were eagerly anticipating the finished results. By only koro-ing parts of the fairway at a time it is possible to keep the course in play during the work. “It’s been a fascinating exercise,” said Behan after completion of the work. “If the results prove as conclusive as I think they will, we will be looking to introduce
an on-going rejuvenation programme across the course in general.” Jim and Noel Sutton from Landcraft and Mark Harris Turf Improvements assisted Campey in the project, whilst professional advice from John Kiloran of Cropcare on the seed cultivars that were used – a 70 per cent rye grass and 30 per cent fescue mix, was also appreciated. Naas Golf Course will now benefit from a newly-renovated fairway with the turf in prime condition. With the professional care and maintenance of the Naas greens staff it will remain in top condition for years to come. “We will continue monitoring the renovation and update you over the coming months,” concluded Behan. GMé
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Kristoff enjoys the Best of Both Worlds Trained in hotel management, Kristoff Both’s meticulous attention to detail as director of golf at Club de Golf Alcanada in Mallorca has not gone unrecognised, as Samuel Frederick recently discovered on a visit to the sun-drenched Spanish holiday island.
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golf-alcanada.com TEA TIME Time for a late afternoon round on the first tee at Club de Golf at Alcanada (main picture) and right, a table is dressed, complete with the club’s logo embroidered on to the seat cushions
In the seemingly endless stream of awards ceremonies which plague our TV screens in the spring, the majority of winners know they have been shortlisted. Therefore, they turn up in their specially purchased awards ‘togs’ – capturing perfectly that season’s fashion – clutching a ghost-written acceptance speech, just in case. It was a slightly different experience for Kristoff Both, the German director of golf at Club de Golf Alcanada, when he received the Mallorca Golf Card Award, at this year’s Rheingolf, in Düsseldorf – a special honour in recognition of his work in promoting Mallorcan golf tourism in his home country. Both, 39, received the unexpected special token of appreciation from the show’s organiser, Michael Jacoby. The honour was afforded the affable Hamburg-born graduate of South Carolina’s Golf Academy of America, as a result of his 13 years’ work on the sunshine island – firstly at the Marriott Son Antem and, since 2003, at the multiaward-winning Alcanada. At the time of the presentation, Jacoby said: “Germany is a large catchment area for Mallorcan golf tourism and Kristoff has worked tirelessly for nearly 14 years on the island to ensure that golfers have access to only the very best facilities at both of the venues. And he’s been very active in promoting Mallorcan golf back here in Germany.
“Small wonder then, that Alcanada is such a popular destination for German golfers these days, as shown by its string of awards.” The Robert Trent Jones II-designed course, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013, is indeed a popular destination for golfers from Both’s country of origin. Last year, users of the popular website 1golf.eu voted Alcanada their ‘favourite European course’ for the third successive year, while readers of the leading German magazine Golf Journal, chose the venue as their favourite course in Europe... for an unprecedented fifth successive year. But it’s not just Germans who love the set-up there. Spend an hour on the terrace, supping a cerveza, and you’ll realise it’s quite a cosmopolitan crowd. Both, a member of the Association of Spanish Golf Managers, said: “It is very nice to be recognised for the work the team here in Alcanada is doing. At the same time, these awards motivate and push us to strive continuously for better quality and service.” Fluent in English and Spanish as well as his native tongue, Both undertook a two-and-a-half-year internship in hotel management at the then Marriott Hamburg Treudelberg Golf & Country Club, now the Steigenberger Hotel Treudelberg, in the mid-1990s. He then spent a year working in Mallorca before moving to the US for a
“Small wonder then, that Alcanda is such a popular destination for German golfers these days, as shown by its string of awards” twitter.com/gme
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“Studying and working in the US – to be more precise, in Myrtle Beach, which calls itself the golf capital of the world – was a real privilege”
LOOKING BOTH WAYS Kristoff Both, the German director of golf at Club de Golf Alcanada
further two-and-a-half years to study golf management at Myrtle Beach, achieving a diploma as an honour student in ‘golf complex operations and management’. He added: “Studying and working in the US – to be more precise, in Myrtle Beach, which calls itself the golf capital of the world – was a real privilege. I was able to experience golf tourism at a very high service level and quality standard. “Any trip I undertake I try to play some golf and ideally on the best golf course in the area to which I am travelling. Apart from my own pleasure, this is a great way to see what other successful golf operations are doing and, eventually, you find some ideas to implement in the future at your own course.” Alcanada is situated in the north region of Mallorca in a breathtaking location overlooking the Bay of Alcudia – the only course next to the sea on the island – and Both is effusive when talking about his job. Sitting on the sun-drenched terrace, eating a light tapas lunch and looking out across the azure sea, Both smiled and said: “I know I’m fortunate to have this job. It’s a glorious place to work, with year-round sunshine and owners who allow me a certain degree of autonomy. “But I have very high standards and the fact I have some latitude does not mean that I – nor the staff here – are able to adopt a laissez-faire approach to our operation. We are very proud of the high standards we attain and are constantly working to maintain and improve those levels of service; we have to – golf is a very competitive industry.
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“Like most people in my role within the industry, I work long hours and there is the pressure to perform; but, let’s be honest, where would you rather fulfil that function: on a sun-drenched island in the Mediterranean, or somewhere in northern Europe that is subject to the vagaries of an unpredictable climate,” smiled Both. Alcanada does not possess an on-site hotel and often partners with venues on the island to offer packages to visiting golfers. The market is primarily tourist golfers though there are a large number of ex-pats, predominantly Germans, to be found on any given day, enjoying golf, vino, tapas and a very sociable atmosphere. Both explained: “We do offer annual memberships to those who spend a couple of months on the island but our core business is the ‘tourist golfer’. Not having our own hotel has both advantages and disadvantages. “The number-one advantage probably is that I can keep a very open and trustful relation with all the hotels here on the island without anybody having to be afraid that we ‘steal’ their customers,” added Both. “On the other hand, not having a hotel on site makes it difficult at times to convince larger groups or business outings to come to our course as we can’t cater for their need in accommodation. “Usually, once the players visit Alcanada and experiences the great setting in front of the bay, plus the yearround excellent course quality and the service we offer, they usually want to
come back even if they have to drive an hour from their hotel.” Alcanada’s 6,499m course blends naturally into the typical Mallorcan terrain and takes its name from an island with a lighthouse, situated just offshore, which can be seen from most of the holes. Magnificent mountain and sea views and a mixture of pine and olive groves provide the splendid setting for a round at Alcanada and the course is recognised by the golf industry as one of the finest venues in Spain and Europe and is a founder member of The Leading Golf Courses of Spain collection. In addition, it boasts a centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse which offers guests the opportunity to sample regional specialities in its first-class dining facilities on the sun-baked terrace. But despite being lauded in a series of features across Europe, there are no plans to sit still and admire the handiwork. Both added: “A golf course is a ‘living animal’, so the number of projects for the future is endless, as there is always something to improve, redesign or modernise. “Indeed, we are currently building a stone bridge going from the ninth green to the 10th tee and have just installed the new video-recording system, meatgolf.com, on the course as well; that should be good fun for our players to use.” Fun, sun, and professional satisfaction – at Club de Golf Alcanada, on a Spanish holiday island, German Kristoff has the best of Both worlds. GMé
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Mahoney the Adventurer Andy Hiseman of Magic Hour Media catches up with a young New Zealander who is setting the standard for Florida-style adventure golf courses in the UK.
“You have to blow their socks off.” With a captive daily audience of 55,000 cars stopping at nearby traffic lights on the A12, Golf Kingdom’s Simon Preston put a big white whale on an adventure golf course, and proceeded to blow people’s socks off in May 2014. Moby Golf opened this year to stake a claim as the UK’s premier ‘Florida-style’ adventure golf attraction. With floodlights, a giant lagoon, colour-changing waterfalls, a huge three-masted schooner, and a terrifying putt into the gaping maw of Moby Dick himself, the citizens of Chadwell Heath, Romford and East London have been queuing to play Moby Golf all summer long. Golf Kingdom’s latest attraction is a contender for 2014’s most successful launch in the UK golf market. It begs the question: with participation stagnant, are £500,000 Florida-style adventure golf courses the answer to the industry-wide search for ‘Fast, Friendly, Family Golf’? Should UK golf and leisure operators, particularly those near the UK’s major conurbations, invest in these emphatically non-traditional golf facilities?
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There is no question as to the breadth of appeal. Just seven per cent of the UK population plays conventional golf, but almost everybody enjoys a round of adventure golf. The assumption makes sense if you look at the demographic on an average Saturday at Moby Golf: toddlers, great grandparents, teenagers, mums and dads, couples out on a date. Nobody worrying about what to wear, how to grip the club, or looking inept. Sounds of laughter and excitement fill the air – and this is golf, remember. “We have had thousands of first-time visitors since June,” added Preston proudly. “How many other golf businesses in the UK can say that? Scott Cranfield and I have six other ways to sample golf here at Golf Kingdom: Moby Golf is channelling people into the mainstream sport.” Moby Golf is one of around a dozen spectacular such facilities to open in the UK since 2008. “They’re typically built to the principles of a US$2 million Orlando-style adventure golf course, but to a £500,000 British budget,” says New Zealander Oliver Mahoney.
HOLING OUT Friends, young and old, enjoying an adventure golf experience at Chichester Golf Club
He should know: he’s built nine of them. 29-year old Mahoney was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and in 1996, his PGA professional father opened the country’s first major adventure golf course, and over the following years the Mahoneys opened two more successful attractions. After completing a degree in Marketing & Management, Mahoney emigrated to
the UK in 2008 where he helped World of Golf in New Malden establish Jurassic Encounter – widely regarded as the UK’s first true ‘Florida-style’ adventure golf course. Eight more projects have followed since then, and the Kiwi’s company Mahoney Adventure Golf (MAG) has become a specialist in the field. The names given to these spectacular attractions read like a small boy’s dream.
In chronological order, MAG’s creations include: Lost Island Encounter; Pirate Cove; Dinosaur Safari; Dragon’s Lair; Jungle Island; Moby Golf and, in July 2014, Jungle Paradise. “As the names imply, you have to take people on an adventure” says Mahoney. “Pirates, Dinosaurs and Jungle are the big three themes, but as long as people are exploring, climbing and playing
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adventure golf IT’S FUN TIME! Left, the Jungle Paradise adventure golf course at Chichester Golf Club, and opposite, Moby Golf in Essex, which has proved immensely popular since opening earlier this year.
“Jungle Paradise has transformed our clientele in that part of the facility: we have more than quadrupled the number of visitors this summer, and there has been no discernible reduction in driving range business”
through things, you can let your imagination run wild.” Mahoney’s firm goes well beyond the build. “We do the A to Z” says Mahoney. “We help you with the concept, the business plan and the local planning process. Our aim with all of our attractions is to design for maximum visibility, customer flow, interaction and revenue. “Of course we also build, install and open it, and we even advise on the pricing tariff. Each project is completely bespoke: this is not a cookie-cutter process. “We provide the total turnkey solution to Florida-style adventure golf courses, and are currently the only firm in the UK with this breadth and depth of experience.” The fact that adventure/miniature golf is a billion-dollar industry worldwide, with over 120 million annual customers
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in the USA alone – far in excess of the number of traditional golfers – is not lost on Mahoney and his clients. A growing number of British golf industry businessmen, like Richard Haygarth at Maple Leaf Golf, have invested in the fast-growing phenomenon. In 2013 Haygarth opened Jungle Island at Horton Park Golf Club in Epsom, and in late July 2014 opened Jungle Paradise at Chichester Golf Club. MAG designed and built both attractions. “Oliver is a typical Kiwi, very laid-back, unflappable, and he delivers what he says he will” says Haygarth. “He’s a problem-solver.” “Jungle Paradise came in at about £500,000 including planning costs and we’re basically looking for a 30 per cent ROI, which we hope we can achieve.” Like Moby Golf in Essex, Jungle Paradise aims its best visuals (a crashed
‘zebra plane’ on a waterfall) at a main road. It shares a car park with a pro shop and driving range, but Haygarth is building a dedicated coffee shop to cater for adventure golf customers. “People view these things like a garden centre – somewhere to relax, eat, and spend quality time with the family,” says Haygarth. “Jungle Paradise has transformed our clientele in that part of the facility: we have more than quadrupled the number of visitors this summer, and there has been no discernible reduction in driving range business, which was one of our initial concerns. “Your F&B business goes through the roof. Our par three course at Horton Park has seen a slight drop-off since we opened Jungle Island there, but so far at Chichester Golf Club our par three course takings haven’t been affected.”
Now is the time for Hiseman at Magic Hour
Adventure golf seems an ideal way to counter 100 years of tradition and negative publicity surrounding golf’s stuffy image, but the experts also have their caveats. “My advice to operators would be that the product and the location have to be exactly right for the concept to work,” says Mahoney. Preston agrees. “You have to be honest about where you are. If you’re a golf club hidden down a lane, only visible to traditional golfers, adventure golf may not be for you. “Also, don’t under-spec the build. £300,000 is okay, but a £600,000 attraction like Moby Golf will make you many times more money. Consumers recognise the difference, and word of mouth spreads rapidly.” As for the planning process, MAG’s advice to customers is that six months is the norm. “Having successfully worked
with many local councils in the UK so far, the tough two-year process to establish Jungle Island in Epsom was the exception, rather than the rule – there is simply no substitute for this experience,” added Mahoney. “We’re over the moon with how MAG went about creating and building Moby Golf,” said Preston. “They worked incredibly hard with us. Oliver’s biggest asset is that he is not just a builder, but also an experienced operator. We’re equally happy with the early financial returns, and also in how we have retained our previous customers.” With Moby Golf, Jungle Paradise and Dinosaur Escape at the West London Golf Centre the latest three to open this year in the UK, the successful case studies are building up in favour of Floridastyle adventure golf in the UK and Europe. GMé
Magic Hour Media has handled PR and media relations for over 100 golf clubs, operators, brands, manufacturers and golf industry suppliers since its formation by agency head Andy Hiseman in 2002. The agency also manages dozens of Facebook and Twitter accounts for clients in the golf industry, as well as supplying copywriting, marketing, business development, digital and media buying services. Andy Hiseman has also photographed over 40 golf clubs for their websites and other marketing materials, and frequently helps clients from all parts of the golf trade produce imagery for their press releases and special events. Magic Hour Media also has a database of approximately 9,000 current golf industry email addresses, and regularly helps clients to communicate their sales messages to the trade. “There are many ways to make an impact in the golf business” says Hiseman, “but sometimes the marketing workload gets too much to be handled internally. Or you just don’t have the specialist skills you need. “In these cases, Magic Hour takes on as much or as little as the client needs us to, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for the long term. Our golf freelancers all have over a decade’s experience in the golf and media industry, and our social media experts keep you up with the latest trends. “Our goal is to make headlines, and to get you noticed ahead of your competitors.”
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“he still brings a gravitas and, perversely, an element of mischievousness to the event that nobody has quite yet managed to match”
Our industry is indebted to the Voice of Golf I haven’t always been a golfer. Actually, let me phrase that in a more descriptive and accurate fashion. I haven’t always been interested in golf. As a boy growing up in an inner-city – yes, it could be argued it was ‘deprived’, and Portsmouth as you ask – I didn’t have much opportunity for golf. My dad was a lorry driver and my mum worked as a secretary at a primary school in one of the city’s most run-down areas. We were not, it has to be said, fertile golfing ground. But, in the 1980s, my mum and dad starting watching Pro-Celebrity Golf on the BBC, and, as I was just turning into my 20s at the time, I watched too. And lo, it came to pass, that I became interested in a sport I had previously associated with toffs. It showed that golf could actually be fun, and the reason it was fun was because of the guy doing the commentary. He showed you could have a joke; he didn’t talk down to people and, when I became interested enough to watch the Ryder Cup, he captured the excitement and drama in every word. And when, after they’d retired, mum and dad decided to give golf a try, it was largely down to the fact that Peter Alliss had made it sound so damned enjoyable. Which is why, when I read people criticising the Voice of Golf, I really get quite angry. Many of these people are able to earn a living out of golf now because of the path trodden by Alliss in the 70s and 80s. Without his avuncular tones many, myself included, would not even have taken an interest in the sport.
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Peter Alliss, widely regarded by many as the Voice of Golf
Unlike some of these outspoken critics we weren’t treated to a private education that came with golf lessons as an extracurricular activity – my extra-curricular activity stretched from fighting my way through to get a seat on the school bus to, a couple of hours later, kicking an old leather, laced football around our street with a couple of like-minded friends. Now, these critics have the audacity to say Alliss should go because he’s too ‘stuffy’ and ‘old school’. Well let me tell you, he’s still the Voice of Golf to me and, as far as I’m concerned, he should stay commentating as long as he wants. Sure, he makes mistakes occasionally, who doesn’t? But he still brings a gravitas and, perversely, an element of mischievousness to the event that
nobody has quite yet managed to match. He still makes it fun. He’s 83, give him some leeway. Yet, 83 he may be, but it didn’t stop him taking part in the ice-bucket challenge. And, as always, he made me laugh – it’s brilliant to hear the great man swear! Get rid of Alliss? You’ll have to fight me first! GMé
David Bowers firstname.lastname@example.org
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