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The leading business magazine for the pan-European golf industry

Golf Management E u ro p e

golf’s financial dilemma The introduction of the Euro will almost certainly increase competition across Europe for those clubs seeking financial assistance. GME examines the market-place. page 27

First Class Honours

Barrelfield’s construction debut built to the highest degree UK £5.00 Eur €8.25 US $7.25

February 2002

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Cautious approach a sound bet

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When Hale Irwin approached his three-inch shot on the 14th at the 1983 Open at Royal Birkdale, he was confident a little tap would wrap up the hole but as we all remember, he famously played an air shot which ultimately cost him the title. Complacency can catch up with even the most professional of us which is why we should continue to be financially wary during 2002.

issue 23 credits;

Many people at BTME 2002, held at Harrogate recently were extremely optimistic for the year ahead, saying in effect : “Recession? What recession?”

editor John Vinicombe contributors David Bowers Alister Marshall Rob Wright publisher Michael Lenihan administration Sharon O’Connell print Colourspeed

Now we are all for looking ahead with optimism; but it should always be cautious optimism.

locker rooms 15

Just because the ‘recession’ has not hit the industry too hard so far is no indication it won’t come back for a second attempt. Take golf-mad Japan as an example. A record number of courses went bust in 2001, with some 50 golf course operators filing for bankruptcy as the number of players continued to fall during the year - and things aren’t looking any brighter in 2002.

Golf Management Europe Suffolk Studios 284 Ravenswood Avenue Ipswich IP3 9TQ United Kingdom telephone 0870 241 4678 (overseas +44 1473 274956)

facsimile 01473 274874 email internet All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher. Whist due care to detail is taken to ensure that the content of Golf Management Europe is accurate, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors.

Some analysts estimate that only five to six per cent of more than 2,400 Japanese golf courses are profitable while the rest are loaded with huge debts - in November, Keina Kanko Kaihatsu went under with debts totalling €228m (£140m).

jimmy kidd 19

And when one of the country's biggest clubs, Hatano Country Club, filed for bankruptcy in June, its debt burden was estimated at over half a billion dollars. Across the pond in the US there are several reports of scheduled openings and planned courses being put on hold. If the Far East and the USA is feeling the pinch it would be arrogant and parochial of the European golf industry to ignore the warnings.

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Many clubs have reported a fall in memberships and the downturn in the global economy since the terrible events of September 11 will hit major industries initially before moving on to the leisure sector. Golf is one of the final ripples on the economic pond when the pebble drops - but it is the final ripple that reaches the largest area.

© Portman Publishing and Communications Ltd 2002

Optimistic certainly - but let that be cautious and not blind optimism.

Golf Management Europe February 2002

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News Golf Course Owners’ take a European Stance Lead Story BTME 2002 witnessed the birth of yet another golf trade organisation as the European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) was formed. Due to be officially ratified on April 1, the new organisation has been formed by the national golf course owners associations’ within the UK, Holland, Germany and Ireland. Affiliate membership to the EGCOA will be available to all proprietary-owned clubs from within the four founder countries, and associate status will be extended to clubs located elsewhere in Europe who currently do not have the support of a national association. Four directors will make up the founding board of the European Association; Bob Simmons (UK), Frank Scheer (Holland), Dr Falk Billion (Germany) and Donal Flinn (Ireland). The aims of the new association will include lobbying for tax and vat changes

across Europe, inter-country communication, the development of increased revenues through travel packages and inter-club communication for owners. The handicapping system across Europe will also be looked into at depth. Commenting on the new association, Bob Simmons said: “It is evident across Europe that golf course owners do not get a fair representation in the industry, nor do they get the recognition for the important part that they play in today’s golf industry. “With the development of golf being in the hands of golf course owners, in providing new facilities and making existing facilities available for new golfers, golf course owners deserve to be recognised as a group and have a say in the way golf is developed and run.” The EGCOA will be operating initially from the UK, and currently has over 300 members throughout Europe.

Gleneagles leads the way Textron and their distributor, Scottish Grass Machinery, have signed a new four-year agreement with The Gleneagles Hotel to provide a range of turf maintenance equipment to keep the internationally-renowned courses in immaculate condition. Support for major tournaments forms part of the package together with technical and operator training at Textron’s Ipswich head office or on-site at Gleneagles. Reciprocal arrangements will see the greenkeeping team at Gleneagles trialing and evaluating new products, including the Jacobsen E-Plex II, the all-electric ride-on greens mower. Commenting on the new agreement, Jimmy Kidd, golf courses and estate director at The Gleneagles Hotel said: “I am delighted with this new agreement as it provides our golf course superintendent, Scott Fenwick and his team with a raft of top quality equipment to ensure that the golf courses will continue to remain in superb condition allyear long.” Page 4

New blood at Clubhaus Clubhaus, the troubled golf operator, has announced the appointment of Paul Davidson as a non-executive director. Davidson is the inventor and entrepreneur behind Oystertec plc, a company that he founded in 1996 and listed on the Alternative Investment Market in February 2001. Mr Davidson is also the founder and major shareholder of Galileo Innovation plc, Cyprotex plc and Sense-Sonic Ltd. Clubhaus is continuing its negotiations with its bankers and its preference shareholders, in order to try and achieve an agreed position which the Board believes is in the best interests of its ordinary shareholders. The proposal will then be put to the ordinary shareholders for their consideration. Commenting on his appointment as a non-executive director of Clubhaus plc, Paul Davidson, said: “I am extremely pleased to take up this board position in what I believe is a company with significant potential. “My arrival comes at a time when the company requires stability. The board is set to focus on a clear strategy to deliver value to shareholders.” Robert Bourne, chairman of Clubhaus plc, added: “These are challenging times for Clubhaus, but we are determined to find an outcome that is satisfactory to all stakeholders and that gives the company a good footing for the future. “We are delighted to welcome Paul Davidson to our board. Assuming the financial negotiations with our stakeholders can be resolved satisfactorily, we believe that the Company has a strong future and having a significant shareholder on board who is able to help drive the strategy will be beneficial. “We look forward to seeking Paul’s counsel and support.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

Barenbrug publish new Bible Barenbrug UK’s Amenity Grass Seed catalogue is a valuable reference work for all groundscare professionals, and the 2002 edition is no exception. The 40-page publication gives an update on the latest sports and amenity turf cultivars and mixtures from the Suffolk-based breeders. New for 2002 are two exciting Barenbrug perennial ryegrasses, namely BARGOLD which can be used on golf greens, and BARLOUISE, a medium-fine variety featuring outstanding disease resistance.

Boavista opens for play The Emerson Group’s new flagship golf course, at the Boavista resort near Lagos in the Algarve, Portugal opened for play in January. The 6,070 metre par-71 course, which was designed by Swan Golf Designs, was built and established in less than two years and could be destined to become one of Europe’s best new courses. Attention has been paid to conserving the site’s natural features and indigenous tress have been retained wherever possible. Rainwater is farmed for maximum retention and recycling, significant areas of rough will not be irrigated so as to promote local natural vegetation and irrigation to greens, tees and fairways is by the use of treated effluent from the local municipality.

McEvoy backs Golf England campaign Golf clubs throughout England will soon get a chance to join Golf England. Invitation packs will be distributed soon to 1,900 clubs along with a preview of the first of many offers available through the group buying scheme. Clubs are being offered 15 per cent off the cost of a range of fertiliser and ground-care treatment products, as well as catering equipment items at less than half price. English Golf captain, Peter McEvoy said: “I believe Golf England is one of the greatest developments in English golf and benefits everyone. “At national level, it will strengthen and fund the future of the game. Clubs will enjoy major savings through the power of group purchasing, and members can take advantage of a host of discounts and benefits - including centralised handicapping.”


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Golf Management Europe February 2002




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News Let Humberts do the talking Humberts Leisure has been instructed by Home Farm Shirenewton Ltd to offer Shirenewton Golf and Country Club, Chepstow, to let on the open market. Annual rental offers are invited for the property. Shirenewton G&CC is situated on the Welsh borders, approximately mid-way between Bristol and Newport. The club comprises an 18-hole, 6,607 yard (par 72) course, practice ground, clubhouse and residential accommodation. The club is set in attractive parkland on the outskirts of Shirenewton village and enjoys far reaching views over the Severn Estuary. The club is currently operated as a proprietary members’ golf club, with a membership in the region of 370. The business is well suited to society and green-fee trade and offers great potential for development and expansion. The club is fully fitted and equipped and is offered to let on a 25-year lease. Ben Allen, who is handling the sale for Humberts Leisure said: “Since our letting of Chirk Golf Club near Wrexham last year, we are pleased to be offering another Welsh golf club to the market. “We received considerable interest in Chirk Golf Club, which was finally let to Jack Barker’s Golf Company, and anticipate a similar response for Shirenewton G&CC. “This is a fine opportunity, offering great potential for the successful tenant.”

Chesfield Downs acquired by Leisure Links International Leisure Links International has acquired Chesfield Downs Golf Club from Clubhaus plc for a total consideration of €6.38m (£3.9m). Located at Jacks Hill, Graveley, Hertfordshire, the acquisition follows on from the companies acquisition of Test Valley Golf Club in Hampshire last year and confirms LLI’s commitment to developing its golf club business interests. LLI directors were formerly senior executives with Family Golf Ltd (a previous owner of Chesfield Downs Golf Club) and CCA International Ltd. Between them they have over 45 years experience in the management, operation and marketing of golf clubs.

“We are delighted to have acquired Chesfield Downs, it represents a significant step in the development of our business which proposes to own additional golf course properties in southern England. “The property, which is situated on fast draining chalk sub-soil, ensures that golfers can play all-year round,” stated joint md, Geoffrey Legouix. “Combining club sales and marketing with club and course retail operations, we believe that under LLI’s direction, Chesfield Downs can be developed into a property that meets and hopefully exceeds members and visitors expectations,” added Jonathan Talbot-Weiss.

Municipal’s offered financial advantage

New Britain; Old Golf Clubs

Debt Finance Collections (DFC) has launched a tailor-made package for golf clubs which it claims could reduce the decline of municipal golf clubs. Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Centre adopted DFC’s debit service when private members clubs in the north-east sought to increase competition by relaxing entrance criteria. The centre was forced to introduce a self-operated monthly membership service, but found the cheque-based system very time consuming. The introduction of the DFC service increased monthly membership payments from 40 to 287, allowing the centre to forecast membership income more reliably over the year.

Elitism remains rampant in UK golf clubs, according to a new online survey by, an online resource for golf fanatics. The report shows that 56 per cent of those surveyed believed elitism was the worst problem in UK golf clubs, with many golfers angry at the snobbery they face from clubhouse cliques who are more Rule Britannia than Cool Britannia. Site manager Tom Corcoran said: “Our report is shocking. Young players such as Tiger Woods have done a great deal to help golf shed its stuffy image and broaden its appeal. “Yet it seems a few rotten apples in the barrel are still spoiling it for everyone else.”

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Maurice Gormley, manager at Middlesbrough’s Municipal Golf Centre said: “Monthly membership payments have to be an option in this day and age if municipal leisure services are to compete with private clubs. “We were seeing a decline in use of the course when private clubs were made more accessible and we needed to offer golfers an equalled service.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe


Barrelfield Golf Limited 302 Ewell Road, Surbiton Surrey KT6 7AQ England Telephone: 020 8390 6566 Facsimile: 020 8390 8830

Natural progression for Barrelfield Golf

Cover Story The exclusive Queenwood GC in Ottershaw, Surrey, is yet another course which has been touched by the hand of Barrelfield Golf. But this aesthetically-delightful sporting venue is the first project to be solely constructed by Barrelfield who claim to ‘offer a complete range of services to the golf industry’ in the UK. The Barrelfield network of clubs, offering members a range of unequalled benefits across the whole group of affiliated courses, proved a huge success, and the people behind the idea then lent their experience and skills to improving the fortunes of clubs that were forwardthinking enough to grasp the nettle.

Previously the company had overseen construction projects or managed the clubs after completion - a natural choice, given that, as a company, it has sold more golf club memberships that any other organisation in the UK. Barrelfield now offers the complete package - finance and feasibility, design and construction, marketing and membership sales, management and maintenance in addition to the group benefits - in short everything you could need bar top soil and a head greenkeeper. And managing director Mel Thomas could probably come up trumps in that area if you asked him. Thomas explained how the Queenwood project has helped increase an already burgeoning reputation. “The man behind Queenwood is Fred Green, who specialises in high-quality, exclusive golf clubs. His last two in the US were Nantucket and Eagle Springs, Colorado,” said Thomas.

“He could have had anybody he wanted for this project - and he chose us on the back of what we had achieved elsewhere. The club has not been advertised and membership is by invitation only.” Queenwood is an equity-share golf club and remarkably - given the amount of debt currently swilling around the industry - all capital expenditure has already been covered. But Barrelfield has not lost sight of the reasons for its success - practical solutions, hard work, experience and expertise in all fields. Indeed this winter has been spent refurbishing bunkers and building new greens across the UK. The company has the expertise to be responsible for the most exclusive and expensive golf project in Europe - but it retains the flexibility to advise, manage or maintain the smallest of nine-hole venues. And that is what makes Barrelfield special.


The Elliott Group was formed in 1963 and for over 35 years we have provided building systems to meet our customer requirements. Our success in matching customer needs to products and services has resulted in Elliott directly employing over 700 people operating from over twenty locations around the United Kingdom. We are delighted to have supplied the developers with a temporary clubhouse during construction of the Queenwood Golf Club, Surrey, and we look forward to being of equal service to other golf clubs throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Golf Management Europe February 2002

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University Challenge The inaugural European Institute of Golf Course Architects conference held in December 2001 has been hailed as a great success by those that attended. Ross McMurray reports from Queens College in Cambridge.

hy are integrated golf course and residential community developments so rare in Northern Europe and particularly the United Kingdom? In the United States and Southern Europe golf and housing have successfully co-existed for decades yet in the United Kingdom such projects are rare and, where they do occur, tend not to meet the same high standards of planning, design and environmental awareness. This was just one of the questions to be addressed at a recent conference organised by the European Institute of Golf Course Architects. The conference entitled Golf, Housing and the Environment Planning Opportunities for the 21st Century was held at Queens College, Cambridge in December 2001 and succeeded in drawing 100 delegates from all around Europe who heard a number of fascinating discussions regarding the various aspects of developing golf alongside housing. Influence Martin Hawtree explained how in the 1920’s and 30’s Britain led the way in the creation of golf and housing communities and, in particular, how the Wentworth and St. Georges Hill estates in Surrey influenced the development of similar projects in the United States and, from there, most of the successful golf resort developments around the world. Hawtree went on to explain that in a similar way the ‘Garden City’ movement


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was created to guarantee affordable housing within a greener environment. Today, golf courses next to housing provide the same opportunity for maintained, recreational green space to break up the urbanisation so typical of modern housing estates as well as providing improved ecological habitats for native flora and fauna. Given these benefits why are joint golf and housing developments so rare? Surely estates like Wentworth can influence the design and planning of other residential communities today. Questioned Many delegates questioned the inflexibility of planning authorities and the formal boundaries they use to separate building, leisure and agricultural landuse. EIGCA president Simon Gidman said he would like to see greater integration, particularly between housing and leisure, in order to soften the impact of development and support the social infrastructure. “Other countries are far more relaxed about the relationship between housing and leisure activities and particularly golf. They see the advantages of golf for improving both the quality of the environment and the community. There really need not be such a hard line between the two. “Unfortunately some housing and golf developments in recent years have lacked the sensitivity in design that is required to provide the right quality, but I am sure that by working together, developers, planners and architects can develop exciting new opportunities in the future.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

Planning consultant Phillip RussellVick of Enplan asked the attendees to remove their rose tinted glasses and prepare for the worst. UK government policy is to restrict new development on green space with a view to regenerating brown land and there is simply not the space for golf in these areas. Capacity Current housing policy looks to attain a capacity of between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare and any housing project proposed on a greenfield site larger than five hectares or 150 dwellings is likely to be called in by the Government. While planning authorities have no particular objection to golf and realise that golf can have a useful planning role in improving the urban fringe and environmental enhancement, they are unlikely to support a scheme which includes housing. Mr Russell-Vick continued that the best hope for golf development was as part of large scale local amenity allocation where golf could be part of a mixed use economic and regeneration project. He predicted that the most likely locations for this sort of project would be in the north and west of the UK.

The subject of self-sustainable development for golf course communities in Southern Europe was expanded by Mike Barton of the Maciot Golf Resort, Lanzarote. He outlined how modern golf and housing developments can lead the way in the development of important environmental benefits. Examples included using treated sea water for all water supplies to the resort, combining the use of wind turbines and solar power to provide electricity and heating and using only electric vehicles within the development. Perhaps the highlight of the conference came on day two when the respected and sometimes controversial golf course architect Desmond Muirhead returned to Cambridge University where he had himself studied. Muirhead presented an enlightened and entertaining journey through the development of residential golf communities around the world since the 1960’s, highlighting both the good and the bad and showing some of his most interesting work along the way. Rob Day of Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo was another who provided a whistle stop tour of some of the best

“NOT ONLY DID THE CONFERENCE PROVE TO BE A SUCCESS IN ITS OWN RIGHT BUT IT BROUGHT ELEMENTS OF THE INDUSTRY TOGETHER TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES OF THE DAY” Presentations of case studies by Institute members Ken Moodie (Wychwood Park), and Rainer Preißman (Seddiner See) showed that there are occasions when golf and housing can be developed together in northern Europe although their styles differed greatly from the more typical southern European development presented by David Krause at Pont Royale, Marseille, France. It certainly appears that the greatest opportunities for combining housing and golf development will remain in Southern Europe as evidenced by the large number of projects currently underway along the coastal stretch between Malaga and the Algarve. This was highlighted by Gilberto Jordan of the Lusotur group who spoke at length on the success of the Vilamora project in Portugal and the importance of environmental stewardship within their operation. This theme was continued by David Stubbs who outlined the ecological and environmental improvements that golf courses can provide when integrated with housing communities. He also looked to the future with an examination of self-sustainable housing projects and the lessons that can be learned from the ground breaking Sydney Olympic village development.

resort developments around the world discussing the changing face of development strategy and predicting the way future golf resorts will be developed. At the end of the conference Simon Gidman hailed the event as a great success. “We were absolutely delighted with the response to the conference from the delegates and with the wholesale interest in the subject matter. “To see so many of the delegates from other areas of the industry such as developers and managers was particularly pleasing. Expand “Certainly from the feedback we have received we will be planning another conference, probably for 2003, and we will perhaps look to expand on some of the subjects that we could only touch on in this two day conference. “Given the considerable interest from delegates from Continental Europe I think we will also be looking at venues on the Continent for the next time. “Not only did the conference prove to be a success in its own right but it brought elements of the industry together to discuss the issues of the day in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, especially during the gala dinner held in the glorious hall at Queens College.”

Golf Management Europe February 2002

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News Vandalism is reason for concern

Toro close St Andrews Deal St Andrews Links has chosen Toro greens and tees mowers to maintain its six historic courses at the world’s most famous golf complex. Toro irrigation products have been in use at St Andrews since 1998, but now St Andrews Links Trust has strengthened its relationship with Toro by entering into a five-year preferred supplier agreement. Links superintendent Gordon Moir, who heads a team of 51 staff, said: “We put the Toro mowers through an exhaustive evaluation programme alongside other manufacturer’s during the spring and summer of 2001. The feedback from a large majority of the greens staff was that the Toro tees and greens mowers were the best overall, for quality of cut and ease of operation. “The greens staff really looked forward to the arrival of the new mowers, and I am confident that working closely with Toro will bring success for both parties.”

Rushmere Golf Club has admitted that it is fighting a losing battle against vandalism which has already cost the Suffolk-based club hundreds of pounds to rectify. Secretary and manager of the Ipswich club, Tony Harris said: “Every week the greens are subject to some kind of damage, whether it be digging up the greens or breaking the flags and rakes. “Friday and Saturday nights is when most of the damage takes place and it is now common practice on a Monday morning for the greens staff to bring me a list of repairs that are needed.” Head greenkeeper Patrick Swinn added: “We try to make it nice for our golfers and the damage is more of an inconvenience than anything else. A month ago a motorbike was driven across one green and last summer a car was driven on to the course and set on fire. “The worrying fact is that we have found evidence that the grounds are being used for drug taking. We found a number of used needles and this could be extremely dangerous for our golfers.”

Golf clubs together in partnership with University

All bar none for Antone The Milton Group has appointed Antone Design to undertake the refurbishment of the bar and surrounding restaurant and lounge area at Belmont Lodge Golf Club, Hertfordshire. The project which is due to be completed imminently follows Antone’s refurbishment of the lockers and changing rooms last year. Guided by specialist research into the utilisation of the bar area, the concept includes doubling the length of the bar which in-turn will provide a comfortable area for customers and members. Page 10

After two years’ development through extensive consultation with the golfing industry, the School of Service Industries at Bournemouth University has launched a new degree programme in golf management. The BSc (Hons) in Sports Management (Golf), a four-year sandwich degree, commenced in October of last year with a first intake of 16 students. Commenting on the innovative degree which prepares students for managerial positions within the golfing industry, Philip Ryland, the programme manager said: “Despite an increase over the last year or so in the number of golf-based degrees offered across the country, this programme is unique in its close partnership with the industry. “Educational institutions across the country offer a range of courses in greenkeeping and, in more general terms, sports management. “The Bournemouth degree has a clear focus that aims to provide students with the educational and vocational experi-

ence necessary to take up the challenge of golf club management in the 21st century. “During the first two years, students on the degree spend one day a week working alongside local secretaries and managers at one of a number of local golf clubs in the Bournemouth area supporting the programme. “We have been very fortunate to enlist the full backing of golf clubs across the Bournemouth area and beyond,” said Ryland. “The support of the clubs themselves and the Dorset County Golf Union has been phenomenal.” Neil Hallam-Jones, general manager at Barton on Sea Golf Club said: “Having been instrumental in setting up the programme, it is very satisfying to see the degree progressing so well. “The local clubs are not only providing valuable work experience for the students, but also, because the high calibre of the students on the programme, benefiting from a useful extra pair of hands one day a week.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

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Golf Management Europe February 2002

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News New venture for Cowen Peter Cowen, one of the world’s most respected golf coaches, has joined forces with a group of business associates to form a new international company named Peter Cowen Golf. The company will offer services across many different areas of the golf industry and has created five initial business divisions: The Academies, Course Design, Course Construction, Event Management and Management Services. Each of the business divisions will be managed from the company’s current headquarters in Lichfield, Staffordshire. Peter Cowen commented: “Peter Cowen Golf gives me the opportunity to expand my business interests and capitalise on my experience of working with the world’s best. “With our initial focus on these five key business areas we are confident we can offer a valuable service and, more importantly, a fresh approach. “We are keen to build further relationships with key strategic partners in all of these areas and have ambitious expansion plans with a number of initiatives already in place. “We are very keen to introduce new people to the game in the best way possible and at the same time provide state-of-the-art facilities for the practising golfer.”

Illegal Chemical Use — Are you breaking the law? Simon Baraby, the technical manager for the Scotts Company, reports an increase in the number of enquiries received relating to the potential use of pesticides not approved for use on turf areas. Scotts took the opportunity at BTME to bring the facts relating to the issue to the attention of their customers, and to warn them of the possible consequences. Baraby said: “Pesticide manufacture, storage, supply and application are regulated by law. There are a number of Acts of Parliament and Regulations that cover the use of pesticides and the legislation requires that no product may be used unless it has government approval on the grounds of safety and efficacy. “Everyone must comply with the conditions of approval and only chemicals with a recommendation on the label for use on managed amenity turf can be legally advertised, supplied, stored and applied to managed turf situations. “It is illegal to use any other chemical that does not have approval.”

Guide Dogs get in the swing Enthusiastic golfers are being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a round of golf with celebrity golfers, whilst raising funds for a very special cause. Celebrity golfers will be teaming up with some of the UK’s best blind golfers for a charity tournament hosted by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Building on last year’s inaugural Foursight Challenge at Wentworth, this year the event will take place at Reading’s Wokefield Park on May 8. Nick Faldo led the way last year, alongside Gary Lineker, Steve Rider, Alan Hansen and Clare Balding. “This is a golden opportunity for golf enthusiasts to play alongside some sporting celebrities on a prestigious course,” said area fundraising manager Sue Garrott. “Last year’s event was one of the highlights in the golfing calendar with so many people enjoying a first class round Page 12

of golf with a fun group of people. We really hope that this year as many people as possible will get on board and tee-off with Guide Dogs.”

Zagreb latest stop for Swan Swan Golf Designs has been awarded the contract to design Croatia’s second golf course which will be built close to the centre of Zagreb on the banks of the River Sava. The project which comprises an 18hole club course and a nine-hole executive course will be known as the Golf and Country Club Zagreb. It will also feature some residential development, range and golf academy. Croatia’s first golf course, Dolina Kardinala Golf Club was also designed by Swan Golf Designs back in 1997. Work on the new Golf and Country Club Zagreb will commence in April 2002 with the construction of the range, academy and executive course. The 18-hole course will be constructed during 2003 and the entire complex is scheduled to open in the summer of 2004.

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

Dimply Golf hits the web Bryants of Leeds, Europe’s leading supplier of promotional golf merchandise, has launched its new 2002 website. Simply called, the site intends to keep customers informed of new products and special offers whilst offering news bulletins from companies and golf societies. Commenting on the launch, Peter Bryant said: “The site will continue to evolve during the year so what better excuse to take your mind off work for a moment and start planning your next golf day.”

Svenningsens number One Svenningsens Turfcare-Scandinavia, of Kastrup, Denmark and Lindkopping, Sweden, has won the coveted Textron Distributor of the Year Award for 2001. Managing director Niels Svenningsen and golf sales manager Niels Brems accepted the silver trophy and commemorative plaque from Glynn Patrick, Textron Golf, Turf and Specialty Products’ sales director, and former Olympic silver medallist, Roger Black, at an evening awards ceremony held at The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate at BTME.

New control system for Hoylake Contract work is presently under way at the Hoylake Municipal Golf Course as preparation continues in advance of the Open Championship returning to the adjacent Royal Liverpool at somepoint in the next ten years. One of the existing greens and tees will be used as a practice hole for the world’s leading players. The 14th green and tee is being rebuilt with bunker revetment work being carried out by Royal Liverpool course staff and J&E Ely. North Staffs Irrigation have been employed to install a new control sprinkler system around the green using Hunter valve-in-head sprinklers to the exisiting Toro SC3000 system. A new pumping plant is also being installed incorporating a variable speed system which will control and maintain pressure, reducing water hammer.





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Golf Management Europe February 2002


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Room with a View Aesthetics often drives the thinking on locker room design. Then comes the estimate and suddenly, Italian marble doesn’t seem like such a good idea after all. Rob Wright explores other criteria to consider before making that final decision on your changing room space.

“THINK THROUGH THE MAIN CRITERIA FOR SELECTING A SPECIFIC LOCKER ROOM DESIGN TO TAKE THROUGH COMMITTEE TO INSTALLATION - WHICH WILL NO DOUBT VARY FROM CLUB TO CLUB.” ’ve just been rifling through a large pile of press releases and brochures for several locker room furniture suppliers. There are some sumptuous solutions out there that are simply outstanding examples of ergonomic design and exquisite craftsmanship. If you’re in the market for a new changing room installation or looking to refresh your existing interior, then now’s a great time to buy, with choice, availability and price presently driving some outstanding options. However, you’ve still got to decide what the final result’s going to look like and for that, you’ll probably want to get some professional help. Interior designers, architects, consultants from locker manufacturers themselves and even some construction companies can all help you find a solution


Golf Management Europe February 2002

that sits within your budget and raises the impressions of your club in the eyes of your existing and prospective customers even if one or two consultants may have to graciously refer you to their less expensive colleagues down the road before you can actually start the process proper. As you think such things through, we’d like you to consider one thing you’re not likely to have thought of before. But more on that later. First thing’s first: think through the main criteria for selecting a specific locker room design to take through committee to installation - which will no doubt vary from club to club. For example, a pay-and-play club won’t be looking to install combination locks on their lockers, as their members won’t remember the numbers for lockers they rarely use. ! Page 15

In a member’s only club, maybe 40 per cent of members play regularly enough to merit having their own locker, which makes number-activated locks more of a practical possibility. But even more fundamental than detailed considerations such as these is the question, ‘what impression do you actually want to create?’ In the late ’80s, there was a surge of clubs upgrading their facilities in the wake of new clubs springing up with sparkling amenities, built to service the latent demand for golf everyone was talking about back then. Standard Fuelled even further by the advent of health and fitness clubs with their own take on decor and ambience, the standard of locker room facilities has never looked back. And now, with golfers playing on courses abroad as well as up and down the country, the standards are driven by venues much further afield than those a few miles down the road. So you need a prestigious look to your changing room to keep up with the Jones’, right? Well no, not really. There should be a lot more to the selection process than just me-too design. A more helpful outlook would involve considering what marketers call brand values - the essence of an organisation, a product or a service. To find that out, ask yourselves some searching questions: can you summarise your club’s most obvious qualities? What is it that makes your club what it is to so many different people? How does your own perspective differ from your customers? Find answers to that lot and you’ve found the benchmark you should be aiming at whether you need to challenge, manage or encourage those views.

Page 16

So you’ve done all that and now you know the messages you want to relay through your changing room environment (because we all appreciate how much a locker room can portray the respect, care and value a club holds for its patrons and how loudly it can project impressions of the quality of facilities available - favourable or otherwise). Whether it’s ‘prestige’, ‘exclusivity’, ‘convenience’, ‘luxury’, ‘warmth’, ‘family’ ‘environmentally friendly’ or otherwise, the question now is, ‘how best to say it?’ After all, in good design, form should always follow function. It seems to me though, as I wade through all the literature available from a wealth of companies offering expert services on locker room design, construction and installation, that there’s a danger no-one has yet considered. Let’s take a look at it now. Wood Largely unchallenged at the highest end of changing room design sits wood finishes. Sure, variations on a theme abound, including brass nameplates, logos inset into locker doors and panels, as well as stunning, intricate designs created by well-crafted inlays of contrasting wood veneers. Regardless of the permutations though, wood sits unassailably at the pinnacle of locker room aspirations. Asset Nothing wrong with that per se, but at what point does this predilection become a liability, rather than an asset? At what point will your audience become anaesthetised to the worthy messages wood is more than able to proclaim, because they’ve seen it all too often? When does your locker room suddenly lose its voice and no longer speaks favourably to your customers because everyone else is saying the same things?

The marketing manager for changing room furniture, locker and cubicle provider Helmsman, Charles Kitchin, didn’t disagree. “It’s true that wood is almost overused these days because the prestige locker room is traditionally made of wood. But there are lots you can do with it that give it an extra lift, including making better use of the wall space, the flooring or the lighting. “We’re now working with a few companies that are saying, ‘show us something different’. This might mean that we introduce new materials, such as plastics, glass and marble in new ways. “At the moment, stainless steel or aluminium with wood is a popular combination, which looks great together. “The challenge for us though, is to come up with innovations that people can afford. For example, using plastics and curves to build a 3D effect on locker doors - which are typically very flat and two-dimensional - to create additional interest without raising the price too much.” Nottingham-based Central Source offer a varied selection of lockers ranging from steel mesh for the greenkeeper to timber-veneered lockers that are available in oak and ash hardwood finishes. Managing director, Ken Miller said: “Locker design has come a long way from the functional grey steel boxes of yesteryear. Manufacturers have taken advantage of modern materials to develop models to suit specific environments and industries. “As a company, Central Source offers golf clubs a genuine choice for their members and staff which include visible steel mesh lockers for maintenance areas, personal steel and timber lockers for changing areas and even wet area lockers which will resists humidity.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe


Finding a combination of materials and design reflecting the heritage and spirit of a club can too easily become a pre-occupying challenge. Faced with a pre-Victorian building complete with marble fireplaces, a solid mahogany staircase and even its own chapel, it would have been all too easy for Belmont Lodge Golf Course to go down the traditional route when refurbishing their lockers and changing rooms. Contemporary But The Milton Group, which owns the Herefordshire complex, was keen to trade in the conventional dark oak panelled look for something more contemporary. The ladies’ changing room was practically an empty space providing a blank canvas for a new design, while the men’s area had several existing structures in place. (See pitures bottom right.) The Milton Group wanted to completely refurbish this space, and, armed with some initial ideas, sought a supplier who could achieve the transformation in just a few weeks. They brought Antone on board - a company that could offer not only quality and craftsmanship, but also an effective service from design through to installation. “We needed someone who would take away the hassle by providing a complete and seamless service,” said Terry Ockwell, group development and property manager for The Milton Group. Antone’s approach to the Belmont project was to work with the existing Victorian structures, incorporating them into the design as useful partitions to create an overall look in keeping with the building’s architecture. The partition walls have been used successfully to create separate shower rooms, vanity areas, toilet cubicles and changing areas. Finance Extensive refurbishment of your clubs changing facilities can soon add up to more than you budgeted, which is why financing your solution may be the only option available to you. As Craftsman Quality Lockers reputedly the largest manufacturer of changing room furniture in the UK say in their literature, “the trouble with quality is that it looks expensive!”

CQL apply traditional craftsmanship to locker room development and are able to take a job from design and planning, through production to installation. Like several changing room manufacturers, they use the latest in computer aided design to help a client visualise their options and offer supporting services, such as the latest in electronic locking mechanisms, a full range of accessories (such as mirrors, vanity units, seating, TV cabinets, etc.) as well as a wide range of finishes. However, some member clubs don’t even get a quote on traditionally crafted changing room furniture for fear it’ll be too expensive. So companies like CQL now offer a range of flexible finance packages, which can be adapted to suit a club’s exact needs. Which is probably just as well, because some of the Tomorrow’s World ideas on the horizon sound like they could eat most of the way through the budget for sending a man to the moon and back. For example, did you know that the technology is already more-or-less in place to incorporate locking schemes which use retinal scans and fingerprints to let your customers get in and out of their lockers? It’s called biometrics and it works by registering a scan of a player’s fingerprints or retina on computer (every individual’s scan is completely unique) and linking it to a locker number. The data is then compared by the system with another scan from any person trying to access your locker. No match, no entry. Simple. Winner The advantages of course are that there are no broken or lost keys to replace, no card-controlled access keys to issue, no combinations to memorise - or forget and your customers get to feel like James Bond in the Secret Service. Sounds like a winning combination. Give it a few years and you should be able to have this technology installed reliably and seamlessly in your changing room. Impressive, isn’t it? And you thought all you wanted was somewhere nice for your golfers to put their holdalls, didn’t you?

Golf Management Europe February 2002

Page 17

When presentation counts Jacobsen delivers

With Jacobsen’s legendary superior quality of cut from a choice of three reels, on demand 4-wheel drive for increased traction and the patented FlashAttach reel mounting system, it’s no wonder that Jacobsen LF mowers are the greenkeeper’s preferred choice for highly manicured presentation fairways. Add a working platform that’s designed to accommodate every operator, including fingertip controls, a tilt adjustable steering wheel and a sliding seat with graduated height adjustment, plus easily accessible service points and an onboard electronics monitoring and diagnostic system and you have highly productive machines that perform day in, day out. Links courses will prefer the LF-3400 with its five 7-blade, 127mm diameter reels that hug ground contours (just ask Gordon Moir at St Andrews), while courses with wider fairways will choose the 9 - or 11-blade, 178mm diameter reels that turn prolific growth into a manicured finish, (ask the greenkeeping team at Gleneagles). Call today for a demonstration: +44 (0)1473 270000.

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The Ambassador Jimmy Kidd is renowned the world over as one of the industries most knowledgeable and respected individuals - a genuine Ambassador for the game of golf. John Vinicombe met up with the jovial Scot recently to find out what really makes him tick.

riting over 70 years ago, Tom Simpson referred to the, “science of greenkeeping.” Remembered not only for his design and construction of courses, but also for his authoritative and lucid treatises on architecture, Simpson was the first to recognise two different types of greenkeeper. They fell into the following categories: the one who had acquired his knowledge at the village pump rather than the laboratory and the other who preferred to work on more scientific lines.


He advised clubs to leave the experts to get on with the job without interference and, by raising the profile of the greenkeeper, but not necessarily their pitifully low wages, he performed a noble and not overdue service. Today the greenkeeper is known by a variety of terms commensurate with qualifications and when it comes to titles and stature in the game there are few to enjoy and deserve such a happy lot as Jimmy Kidd. He is golf courses and estates director at Gleneagles, a job Kidd says is beyond comparison in the whole wide world of golf.

He is an executive and, as such, commands an annual budget of just under €1.64m (£1m) in which Scott Fenwick, golf courses superintendent, also has a say. During winter there are 36 staff under Kidd rising to 50 in summer looking after 63 holes of golf plus 13 gardeners. The world-famous complex stretching over wild and heathery moorland with a hotel of great splendour epitomises the glories of Scotland and the man with fingers on all its many pulses hints the day may not be far off when he may widen his scope.

HE IS GOLF COURSES AND ESTATES DIRECTOR AT GLENEAGLES, A JOB KIDD SAYS IS BEYOND COMPARISON IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD OF GOLF. “IF THERE IS A BETTER ONE, THERE CAN ONLY BE VERY, VERY FEW.” Tom Simpson’s views were being expressed roughly about the same time as steel shafts appeared in Britain when, for the most part, greenkeepers were regarded by golf club members as horny-handed toilers and expected to touch their caps at the sight of their betters. That greenkeeping is a refined art is beyond dispute and the estimable Simpson, who travelled everywhere in a chauffeur-driven Rolls, knew just how important it was to recognise the fact.

“If there is a better one, there can only be very, very few.” Retirement At 56 thoughts of retirement are not far distant; indeed he is starting to reduce his working week to four days. That is not to say Kidd needs a rest. On the contrary, there are new horizons beckoning for the man who left school at 16 and worked his way up the greasy pole without coming unstuck. At the top of his profession, Kidd knows full well it is largely upon his expertise that the reputation of Gleneagles rests.

Golf Management Europe February 2002

“I don’t want to wait until I’m 65 to retire. I want to retire at the next stage of my career and teach the young guys underneath.” This iconic figure has successfully striven to raise the status of the greenkeeper by sheer personal dynamism. “When I came into the job I learned as best I could. It’s all about evolution. You continue to evolve. You don’t just stay, if you like, as a junior lawyer all your life. You go on to be a barrister and then a partner. I don’t see why greenkeeping should be any different. ! Page 19

“When I came into this business there were too many people who just wanted to stay put. There was the comfort factor that prevented them seeing any kind of progression. I can understand the need for security but I was determined not to stay a greenkeeper all my life. I had ambition.” Appointment Whoever appointed Kidd to the vacancy at Gleneagles in 1983 had to sift through 96 applications over three and a half months. When Kidd interviewed well and his cv stood up to intense scrutiny Gleneagles had found the right man who, once settled, went on to diversify as a consultant working on a global scale. This was sometimes with his son David McLay Kidd, 34, whose reputation was established for his course design at Brandon Dunes, Oregon and Queenwood in Surrey. Jimmy’s travels have taken him to such remote spots as Katmandu with his development company embracing designing, building, managing and providing a comprehensive service to clients on all four continents. This activity spanned 11 years from 1990 until when it was time for a directorial break. Nicklaus Closer to home, Kidd has worked with Jack Nicklaus in creating the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles. “I’d never met Jack before and was impressed with the good grasp he had of the natural land mass. Page 20

“I came to realise that he is a very talented guy and not just a wonderful golfer but also a good architect and designer. “I think Gleneagles was the start of a new era for Jack. Before that he was involved in engineering his courses but we gave him a very natural parcel of land and he was very sympathetic with it. I think since then a lot of his work has become extremely sympathetic.” Added to his professional skills, Kidd is a born raconteur and has become a much sought-after dinner speaker and is also in demand at seminars and conferences. He cuts an impressive figure and might have made a career in the police. When wondering what to do on leaving high school without any academic qualifications, this son of a pig farmer from Bridge of Weir on Scotland’s west coast, sat the police entrance examination and passed. By that time he had gone off the idea of pounding the beat and feeling collars and, with no inclination to follow father on the land, entered the leather trade. That didn’t satisfy and he turned his attention to golf and became an apprentice greenkeeper at Ranfurly Castle. A diligent learner, Kidd benefited from the greenkeeper apprentice scheme and, when the time was right, secured the position of deputy head greenkeeper at Glasgow’s Killermont club. Thus Kidd entered a world steeped in tradition. Founded in 1787 and the fifth oldest club in the world,

Killermont admitted only male members. Young Jimmy soaked up knowledge and experience there for 12 years during which time he became the youngest head greenkeeper in Scotland. Now he was getting a reputation and a further rung on the ladder beckoned when he was made course manager at Kilmacolm. Four years there and the Gleneagles job came up which found Kidd, who had married in 1967, a proud father of a son and daughter. Overjoyed “I was on my way. Who could want for a better place to work than Gleneagles? I was overjoyed to get the job. All the courses are great and there is so much more besides with the clay shooting school, equestrian centre; you name it, Gleneagles has got it. “No wonder thousands of visitors come each year. They are like pilgrims to Mecca. But, for me, the appeal of the job is its absolute diversity.” In his golfing prime Jimmy played to a handicap of five. He doesn’t get all that free time to play now and has gone up to 11. “That makes me a bit of a Stableford bandit. I can still walk away from the game for a couple of months and win. “I play most of my golf away from Gleneagles and have probably played less courses in Scotland than anywhere else in the world.” A member at Machrihanish, Jimmy rates the first there as the finest opening hole in the world.

February 2002 Golf Management Europe


He lives at Auchterarder and is a member there but is unyielding in his opinion of an all-time favourite. It is Turnberry. Ask him to name his personal best of Gleneagles’ three and he unhesitatingly comes up with the Queens Course. “It is magnificent and proves that a course doesn’t have to be 7,000 yards to necessarily be great.” It comes as no surprise to learn that one of Kidd’s relaxations is painting in oils. He makes no claim to be a Landseer

but the artist in him long ago found means of expression. “When I retire, and I mean really retire, I’ll do what I want to do; play golf, paint and some consulting work. I’m just about to start cutting back at Gleneagles and, who knows, I may still be around when the Ryder Cup goes there in 2014.” Old greenkeepers, like soldiers, never die. But the Jimmy Kidd’s of this world don’t fade away... they become consultants and walk the sunny side of the street.

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Golf Management Europe February 2002


62,384 14,216 68,660 17,824 19,496 18,284 30,024 15,924 34,108 18,340 43,620 54,080 17,584 16,428 38,584 13,112 34,852 17,960 16,680 24,028 36,704


15,928 22,644 30,380 27,264 14,168 12,156 15,616 39,452 10,600 16,360 13,576 708 59,132 15,404 29,052 18,080 15,768 56,692 27,108 47,764 16,636


11,684 7,460 28,804 8,284 852 18,328 6,292 11,192 26,268 20,452 29,860 33,028 4,092 32,708 50,648 16,624 2,192 38,056 26,560 14,760 32,668


17,328 33,660 31,548 24,464 19,840 14,764 50,356 49,524 30,728 20,828 31,704 8,980 16,800 26,408 17,488 42,084 16,464 28,748 42,420 23,960 47,136


30,884 19,848 57,336 28,888 22,088 22,796 28,848 22,176 11,820 22,908 35,616 9,756 8,652 25,280 26,164 23,084 15,040 15,480 7,412 8,860 37,300


14,700 14,816 26,000 19,528 11,532 11,484 27,476 424 13,112 19,820 12,260 13,352 17,436 14,108 25,780 884

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Page 21

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Page 22

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February 2002 Golf Management Europe


The Way Forward The often controversial subject of combined golf and housing development has been brought to the fore recently, but as John Vinicombe discovered, if you are seeking a viable modern example of how both can co-exist, look no further than Kings Hill.


here is nothing new about the creation of a golf course tiedin with the development of housing; each complements the other and makes economic sense. Those who prefer their golf in the rugged grandeur of the great outdoors may not opt for the €650m (£400m) project at Kings Hill in Kent, but there is much to admire about this remarkable concept now in its sixth year on the 1,000 acre site of a former RAF station. When, in 1985 the Ministry of Defence handed the West Malling airfield back to Kent County Council, the way was open for a varied number of uses. The council could make no headway with commercial aviation so looked for other commercial uses. Enter two Americans: Bill Rouse and Dave Hammers of Liberty Property Trust whose plans with KCC for a business park and community village starting with a golf course were agreed by the planning authority. Having business outlets, houses and leisure facilities all in the same environment not only made sense but the idea appealed to all parties. It was the way forward. !


Golf Management Europe February 2002

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Growth has been steady and has a projected completion date of 2010, by which time the business and residential population is expected to be 10,000. At present 4,000 people live or work at Kings Hill and 10 per cent are members of the golf club which is the hoped-for figure when all is done and dusted. Distinctive Kings Hill, which lies just four miles off the M20 is emphatically not to be compared with Legoland. The architectural variations ensure a distinctive character by all the nine house building companies who have participated so far. Not one design is the same. Properties vary from two to six bedrooms and the up market tone is very much part of the golf clubhouse fashioned in colonial style with a predominantly green colour scheme. The building sits directly on a line of the old runway and a few hundred yards distant flutters one of two original RAF windsocks that now serve as course markers. Kings Hill is, in effect, a series of small villages interlinked by a road system and even boasts a village green. There is a school, nursery, a supermarket and a pub appropriately named The Spitfire from the days when night fighter ace Cats Eyes Cunningham operated from West Malling. Eye-catching sculpture forms part of the landscape and harking back nearly 60 years is the control tower of West Malling which, happily to an old RAF type, is a listed building. This is not some sort of beefed-up immediate post-war austerity new town. The appearance of Kings Hill as a community and business park, together with the golf club, is enhanced by a feeling of space and it was, therefore no surprise to learn that the golf club is pivotal to the entire development. Page 24

My tour was conducted by Duncan Kelso, the course manager who lives at Kings Hill and is a key member of the team assembled by Messrs Hammers and Rouse. “At the very beginning there was just the golf course. When I arrived seeding had just begun. When a start was made to the course it wasn't with the idea of being an American course in England but to take out the best elements of the English golfing scene and some of the best elements of the American scene and incorporate it into a club somewhere in the middle ground. “David Williams, the architect, and Barrelfield, the project managers have achieved just that,” said Kelso. “Kings Hill is very much a course to satisfy all abilities,” added Kelso who is far removed from the popular conception of a greenkeeper although that is what he calls himself despite the job title. “There are elements in the course to make it a challenge and our main aspirations are to predominately encourage the amateur side of the game. “The course is a major part of Kings Hill and we are competitive with our nearest rivals at West Malling and Chart Hills a little further away. Future “Our membership currently stands at 575 in all categories with a target of 650. We have an option on another piece of land for a second course but that is looking some way into the future and no decision has yet been made. “While this is a proprietary club very much concerned with the commercial market, we treat our members as special priority and don’t allow visitors at weekends. “We hold one meeting a year with the members to get their views and try to make one improvement to the course and clubhouse every month.

“In the six years we have been going we can honestly say we have improved year on year which is quite a good record. “The course is a major part of Kings Hill and, in some respects, we are able to influence things. We have an input with the orientation of houses overlooking the course so, not only do we get the best view we want but the house builders get the best aspect they want. “Obviously a lot of the residential landscape hasn’t matured but in ten to 15 years time, the harsh lines of the houses will become softer as trees obscure them.” Budget Kings Hill is not the result of lavish spending from a bottomless American pit. The annual maintenance budget is just under €325,000 (£200,000) and that covers everything from staff costs to machinery procurement. The course drains well as it is 360ft above sea level on ragstone and may be described as undulating heathland with woods. It measures out at 6,622 yards from the white tees and Kelso is head of eight maintenance staff with the club employing 30 in all. With Maidstone only six miles distant the catchment area is considerable and many of the residents at Kings Hill moved there from London and the suburbs. The golfers among them show no sign of exchanging their scene with anything else for here they have a par 72 test on their doorstep and one that commands much respect. So far the lowest round is 67 and that was by David Gilford in the opening pro-am. To join Kings Hill costs €1,625 (£1,000) with a seven day sub working out at €1,380 (£850). There is no joining fee for under-18s and juniors are very much encouraged.

February 2002 Golf Management Europe


Dave Hammers, who lives at Sawgrass, Florida and is managing director, and Philadelphian Bill Rouse, visit, on average, about three times a year leaving the day-to-day running of the club to Kelso, manager Margaret Gilbert and pro David Hudspith. The arrangement works perfectly. “At previous clubs all the staff were usually fighting each other. You cannot do that with a commercial operation if it is to be successful. We are a golf business and yes, you can make money out of golf, but only if you are good," said Kelso. “Kings Hill is a different mindset and by that I mean the entire development. It was designed with an integral transport policy in mind in that people who lived and worked in the same place would be less reliant on the car and would have other forms of getting to work such as cycling, walking or the community bus. “And that’s what Kings Hill people are doing now. They have confidence in Kings Hill and enjoy living there and playing golf there.

“The project was bold at the outset and the owners wisely allowed for recessions in the time scale. When Tony Blair visited he was much impressed with it as a blueprint for the future.” Barrelfield Kings Hill is a member of the Barrelfield Golf Network which allows free midweek golf at other participating clubs. First time visitors to Kings Hill are bowled over by the property layout and the number of high profile business’s that have chosen to make this leafy part of Kent their headquarters. “I am just proud to be associated with something as exciting as Kings Hill,” said Kelso who, although once playing off five, rarely plays the course. On the odd occasions he can get away he plays elsewhere. “I do that to keep an eye on what other golf courses are doing and for relaxation, for a golf course never sleeps; nature never stops and there is so much to do.”

Fact File Club:

Course Info:

Kings Hill Golf Club Kings Hill, West Malling Kent ME19 4AG England Telephone: Facsimile: Email: Website:

01732 875040 01732 875019

Manager: Pro:

Duncan Kelso (pictured right) David Hudspith

18-holes Par:

Par 72, 6655 yards (Opened 1996)

Members: Green Fee:

575 £20 (Winter); £30 (Summer)

Golf Management Europe February 2002

Page 25

ERIC HEPWORTH golf course photographer 72 Apley Road, Hyde Park, Doncaster DN1 2AY United Kingdom Telephone: +44 1302 322 674 Facsimile: +44 1302 343 610



rely on me, I rely on


Peter Broadbent, Head Greenkeeper Effingham Golf Club, Effingham, Surrey.

If you’re planning improvements to your business, you should talk to ING. As one of the world’s major financial organisations, we have a major presence in the groundscare market enabling us to bring a flexible approach to funding new developments and equipment. ING offer agreements with a range of flexible and innovative features:

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Cash flow matched repayments including VAT Contract hire to match contracts Credit lines to support financial budgeting

Call: 01932 359290 For one of our national finance specialists to call on you.

Page 26

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

European Union? So, the Euro has finally embraced mainland Europe, but how much impact – if any – will it have within the United Kingdom? David Bowers reports, and at the same time, investigates which finance packages offer the best value in today’s economic climate.

f you enjoy a round of golf and fancy purchasing a new set of clubs, the options are easy - you look around, swing a few and then either get out the plastic or arrange a finance deal. If, however, it’s just one club you want - and you plan on building it from scratch or financing major improvements, your flexible friend is unlikely to be that pliable. So where do you start? Well not with your credit card that’s for sure. Specialist You could turn to a major clearing bank - or you could utilise the services of a specialist lender such as Farming & Agricultural Finance, a company with decades of experience in the rural economy. The company has been involved with the golf industry for around fifteen years and while it does not finance new ventures, equipment or machinery purchases, it can arrange finance for the purchase of land, courses or improvements.


Golf Management Europe February 2002

The major banks will generally only offer short-to-medium term arrangements in the golf industry because of its reputation for boom and bust - but the majority of FAF’s business deals are long term, 15 to 25 years. Phil Coysh, the company’s national business manager, explained how FAF’s finance can run alongside an existing banking arrangement. He said: “I suggest customers continue their mortgage or overdraft as before, but arrange their major purchases through FAF. “Many individuals or clubs wish to purchase additional land or take on the freehold when the council decide to offload and for that sort of deal you need a long-term arrangement. “If for example, the club chose to look to the membership to foot the cost by charging 400 members a one-off fee of €1,625 (£1,000) to raise funds that is unfairly weighted in favour of the new member who comes along, knocks on the door and gains all the benefit of new facilities without having to pay for it. ! Page 27

“We suggest a longer-term view which is then underwritten by both existing and future members.” With an 18-hole course and full membership there is a value on the club and FAF can lend up to 65 per cent of that value. It recently financed a new €1.97m (£1.2m) state-of-the-art clubhouse in the north-west of England, and, at the other end of the country, the longest golf hole in the world - the 860-yard, par six 18th at Crondon Park, in Essex. Like FAF, Textron Financial’s major advantage in the market is their understanding of golf investment. The company has been actively lending into the industry in the US since the late 1980s and success ‘over there’ is breeding customer benefits in Europe. Andrew Snook, the company’s director of international business development, pinpointed a recent editorial in Golf Management Europe to make a valid point.

“The annual financial burden on the customer is reduced and he or she can feel an immediate benefit, they certainly have fewer sleepless nights. “In a broader context, with more appropriately structured debt, the financial woes of the industry highlighted by the Plimsoll Report might not be so prevalent.” Textron Financial’s sister company, Textron Turf Care, extends the industry specific relationship further by offering hire-purchase agreements for Textron products such as Jacobsen, Ransomes and EZGO - a further example of how the company’s special skills are focused to help the customer. Humberclyde Groundscare Finance is the specialist groundscare finance division of BNP Paribas Lease Group PLC - with over 30 years experience of providing equipment finance to businesses in the UK, from tractors through to major projects like irrigation, drainage or clubhouse refurbishment.

“IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE DEBT THAT IS THE PROBLEM BUT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE POORLY STRUCTURED DEBT.” He explained: “The editorial concentrated on the Plimsoll Report and the financial problems caused by debt financing that many golf courses are facing. “It is not always the debt that is the problem but is more likely to be poorly structured debt. Banks “Clearing banks do not have the necessary golf industry specific knowledge to offer their client the most appropriate financing product. Short amortisations, inflexible repayment schedules and hidden exit fees can jeopardise operating success or reduce management flexibility. “As a specialist lender with experience of the market we are in a much better position to help our clients manage their debt properly.” He added: “Generally our agreements amortise over a 20-year period, whereas a high-street bank would be ten years. This allows clients to make a greater annual profit which viewed another way, increases their annual return on investment. “A golf course should be seen as an investment vehicle and should always be judged on its merits as an investment. “Given that the whole premise of going into the golf industry - like any other industry - is to make a profit, to make money, our customer keeps more of his money over the annual period than he would do if he was paying over ten years. Page 28

And like Coysh and Snook, Humberclyde’s John Westrope believes a specialist lender has so much more to offer the customer. He said: “If you use up your valuable cash reserves to fund capital investment, then it reduces your liquidity and restricts further investment opportunities. “Consequently, more and more investments in equipment and projects are funded by using other sources of finance - and the right finance product can help your cashflow in relation to VAT. Cashflow “And it makes sense to match repayments so they coincide with income. Consequently, we construct our finance packages so repayments are made at the time which best suits the client’s cashflow.” Melvin Thomas of Barrelfield Golf has great experience in fincancing projects, so who better to give an opinion on the current high-street view of the market. He explained: “Many developments have tried to recover the up-front capital expenditure from selling memberships; indeed at Barrelfield we have had great success since 1992 in just this market. “However, entrance fees are, in general, either reducing or disappearing all together. We are finding that we are having to be flexible in attracting new and replacement memberships.”

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

Whether approaching a high-street bank or a specialist lender, the prospective borrower must have a thoroughly researched project with an in-depth business plan - and Thomas believes the involvement of reputable management and contractors with a good track record in the golf industry helps. He added: “These days banks are wise to the marketplace. They will possess all the information and statistics on the industry. “But if your business plans, based on your research, pass their criteria, then you can expect to obtain 60 to 70 per cent of the value of the land - and most commonly 50 per cent of the development costs including interest. “Rates will depend on the individual’s ability to negotiate and the strength and track record of the development team, but expect to pay between 2.5 and

four per cent above base rate for development finance. Banks vary slightly in their formulae, but most are in general looking for debt to be amortised over a maximum of 15 years - with interest and capital being repaid from profit after tax and depreciation, leaving a 25 to 30 per cent surplus.” Thomas feels that securing worthwhile finance whether from a high-street bank or from a specialist lender totally depends on establishing and proving viability. Research For this to be achieved there needs to be extensive market research which identifies your market place; predicts achievable income and justifies the product. The borrower also needs to establish reliable development and operating costings; produce the right management team and possess sufficient capital.

When purchasing capital equipment such as mowers and buggies, the question of hiring or buying often arrises. Whether you’re considering the purchase of a single €41,000 (£25,000) greens mower for your golf course, or a fleet of ride-on mowers for commercial grass cutting worth ten times that amount, either way you’re going to see a large hole in your capital budget. You may believe that you have no option other than to accept the cost and risks of owning your own machinery, with the high initial outlay and additional effects of depreciation. However, there are other solutions available that enable you to receive all the benefits of ownership, while passing all the associated risks and costs to a third party as Chris Broadhurst, sales development manager at John Deere Credit explained. !

Building a new clubhouse? Buying extra land? Purchasing your club’s freehold? Restructuring your borrowing?

Talk to the golf club mortgage specialists first! For more information on straightforward, tailor-made and competitive solutions for your Golf Club capital requirements contact FAF

Freephone 0800 225567

‘One Step Ahead in Golf Club Mortgages’ Farming & Agricultural Finance Ltd, PO Box 4115, Hornchurch RM12 4DF. Tel: 01708 464023 Fax: 01708 464109

Golf Management Europe February 2002

Page 29

“All finance schemes are designed to reflect the customer’s attitude to these risks. These range from straightforward hire purchase with a balloon payment at the end of the hire period, that might reflect the customer’s opinion of the equipment’s residual value, through to contract hire with no residual risk at the other end of the scale. Disposal “If you are looking for a low initial outlay, low fixed costs (possibly to include maintenance), seasonal payments to suit income and fixed equipment replacement schedules, and you have no desire to be involved in the equipment’s ultimate disposal, then the operating lease option could be the right choice for your business.

you choose the equipment you want and negotiate the price as usual with your local dealer; at the same time you may wish to discuss including maintenance in the lease. “The dealer then obtains a quotation from his finance provider, which will include maintenance if he is prepared to provide this. After the relevant documents have been signed, payments are direct debited on the agreed dates. Simple “At the end of the lease period, you take out a new agreement for replacement machines, or arrange a continuation of the existing agreement - it’s that simple. The advantage of the ‘with maintenance’ option is that the equipment will

“OPERATING LEASE, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS CONTRACT HIRE, IS ONE OF THE MOST SIMPLE AND ECONOMICAL METHODS OF ACQUIRING THE USE OF AN ASSET” “Operating lease, otherwise known as contract hire, is one of the most simple and economical methods of acquiring the use of an asset, based on the principle that business profits are derived from the asset’s use rather than its ownership. “This enables the user to move away from the initial cost of a machine and concentrate on the actual cost of using it. To set up an operating lease,

be serviced by a dedicated dealer on a regular basis, using approved parts, so that you can be confident your machines will always be in peak condition for the jobs you want them to do. “An established maintenance programme can also provide substantial savings in running costs.” The avenues are out there - it’s just a case of ensuring you don’t enter a culde-sac.

Quinta da Boavista


Swan Golf Designs Limited

Everything Inturf

International Golf Course Architects Telfords Barn, Willingale, Ongar, Essex CM5 0QF, England

t f e w

INTURF The Chestnuts, Wilberfoss, York YO4 5NT Telephone 01759 321000 • Facsimile: 01759 380130 E-mail: • Web page:

Page 30

+44 (0) 1277 896229 +44 (0) 1277 896300

Master Planning of New Courses Detailed Designs Renovation of Existing Courses Design and Establishment Management Restoration of Historic Courses February 2002 Golf Management Europe


Firm Focus Antone impress at Belmont Lodge aced with a pre-Victorian building complete with marble fireplaces, a solid mahogany staircase and even its own chapel, it would have been all too easy for Belmont Lodge and Golf Course to go down the traditional route when refurbishing their lockers and changing rooms. But The Milton Group, which owns the Herefordshire complex, was keen to trade in the conventional dark oak panelled look for something more contemporary. The ladies’ changing room was practically an empty space providing a blank canvas for a new design, while the men's area had several existing structures in place. The Milton Group wanted to completely refurbish this space, and, armed with some initial ideas, sought a supplier who could achieve the transformation in just a few weeks.


Alongside secure lockers for valuables are hanging rails, compartments for shoes and ample bench seating. The plain, streamlined, almost minimalist design makes use of the very latest materials, including corian surfaces and specialist ‘spike-resistant’ carpets and tiled flooring which combine practicality with aesthetics. Space Glass, mirrors, carefully positioned lighting and the use of pale fresh colours maximise the feeling of space and light in the previously dim part of the building. Both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s changing rooms use pale Chelsea birch with lilacs, purples and blues. Within the simplicity of the design, Antone has created areas of interest in key areas of the changing rooms. The vanity corner, for example, combines a suspended curved ceiling raft with large mirrors and spotlights.

“WE WERE IMMEDIATELY IMPRESSED BY ANTONE'S FAST RESPONSE AND BECAUSE THEY QUICKLY UNDERSTOOD OUR OBJECTIVES.” They brought Antone on board - a company that could offer not only quality and craftsmanship, but also an effective service from design through to installation. “We needed someone who would take away the hassle by providing a complete and seamless service,” said Terry Ockwell, group development and property manager for The Milton Group. “We were immediately impressed by Antone’s fast response and because they quickly understood our objectives.” This understanding is a key factor for Antone in creating solutions which successfully meet individual client’s needs. Antone’s approach to the Belmont project was to work with the existing Victorian structures, incorporating them into the design as useful partitions to create an overall look in keeping with the building’s architecture. The partition walls have been used successfully to create separate shower rooms, vanity areas, toilet cubicles and changing areas.

“The new design could not be more different from the old changing room area,” says Terry Ockwell. “Everyone's reaction on seeing the new changing rooms is ‘wow’. The Milton Group is certainly glad that we teamed up with Antone.” Service Antone offer a complete service incorporating design, manufacturing, structural work and overall project management. Their co-ordination of a team of inhouse specialists with a broad range of skills was essential in adapting to obstacles always encountered when work begins and in seeing The Milton Group’s project through to a successful completion. Following the success of the changing room transformation at Belmont Lodge, Antone is currently working on a reception for another business within The Milton Group and plans are underway for refurbishing the bar area at Belmont.

Golf Management Europe February 2002

A N TO N E design

Key House, Wanstead Road Leicester LE3 1TR Telephone 0116 232 4700 Facsimile 0116 287 8012 Page 31


Blurred Vision Bob Simmons candidly discusses his concerns and fears over the recent decision by the English Golf Union to withdraw the Association of Golf Course Owners representation from within the EGU’s executive council.

olf Course Owners in England, find themselves once again being ignored by the English Golf Union. In a move to alienate golf course owners from representation to their governing body, the English Golf Union have included in their list of Constitution amendments, the withdrawal of the seat that The Association of Golf Course Owners (AGCO) held on the executive committee as well as the two seats on the Council. The golf course industry has grown dramatically over the last 15 years so much so that from only having a tenth of the market, golf course owners now have over one third market share. Club owners also contribute hugely to the advancement of the game, by providing coaching facilities and opportunities for new golfers to come into the game, as well as contributing large sums to EGU and county funds. A letter from the chairman of the EGU stated that AGCO did not represent the majority of proprietors and that proprietors can obtain representation through the county system. The underlying reason is I am sure that they don’t like people who upset their apple cart and question what they are doing. Other organisations such as the Artisans Association and the National Association of Public Golf Courses, both have representation on the EGU executive committee.


Page 32

Both these organisations represent less courses than the AGCO and have much less influence than golf course owners when it comes to providing the facilities to move the game forward with new players. Gaining representation for golf course owners via the county system cannot be acceptable. As golf course owners are well aware, they and their businesses are not affiliated to the EGU. Representation It is the male members of the club that play on the owner’s course that are affiliated to the county and the EGU. The only way that a golf course owner can obtain representation at county level is to be a member of their own course and paying the affiliation fees. Indeed in a recent case the county advised a golf course owner that they could not attend county meetings because they were not a member of the club and the elected representative to attend county meetings! The PGA had to change to move forward and develop. The breakaway by the players to form the PGA European Tour many years ago led to the establishment of the organisation as an entity controlled by the players. The PGA itself survived to become the organisation it is today looking after its members. These changes were brought about by the changing circumstances in the market and the way their sport had developed.

Change is inevitable whether it is voluntary or forced, it happens, eventually. The EGU have to remember that the only reason it exists is through financing by its individual members. Without that it would not exist. The individual members had to pay up each year, a €3.28 (£2) levy, for ten years to undertake the Woodhall Spa purchase and development. No one asked them if they wanted it or if they felt it was needed. The individual member receives nothing for this levy, other than a discounted green fee rate if he is lucky enough to live close enough to get their in time to play a round without having at least one over night stay. There has been a lot of criticism of the EGU for this venture, and indeed some have dubbed it a ‘white elephant’ and ‘unnecessary’. It is also unprofitable and a drain on the EGU funds. Change Change will come if the EGU like it or not. Individual members are not fools. The only reason they have to stay a member of the EGU is to keep their handicap. It is a well know statistic that out of an average male membership of a club with 500 members only around 150 will play in competitions on a regular basis, so why do the other 350 need handicaps and why do they have to be forced to belong to the EGU?

February 2002 Golf Management Europe

GOLF COURSE OWNERS ARE THE KEY TO THE CONTINUING FINANCES OF THE EGU. THE INDIVIDUAL GOLFER SHOULD BE GIVEN THE OPTION AS TO WHETHER HE WISHES TO BELONG TO THE EGU OR NOT. The average club golfer is neither aware of or indeed even interested in what the EGU do or are doing. All they know is that if they do not pay their dues they will loose their handicap. Many of the AGCO members have expressed their dissatisfaction of the EGU and they have indicated support for a number of ideas. The AGCO has obtained legal Counsel’s opinion on the issue of the EGU, The Competition Act and the Human Rights Act and the opinion suggests that the EGU could be in breach of both acts. The main area is that of handicapping. It could be argued that the EGU are abusing their dominant position by making people pay to keep a handicap and without that hold over golfers the EGU would find funding very difficult. Golf course owners are the key to the continuing finances of the EGU. The individual golfer should be given the option as to whether he wishes to belong to the EGU or not.

The AGCO will be working with golf course owners on a number of initiatives to relieve them of the burden of collecting affiliation fees, as well as a number of other ideas, which will eventually make it unnecessary for golfers to pay for a handicap. Overdue With the formation of a European Golf Course Owners Association a new way forward will come for golfers and owners alike. The EGU may have made the move that will eventually bring the house down or force the change that is long overdue. Our message to the EGU and all governing bodies is that it could be fatal to ignore golf course owners and that they do so at their peril. If they continue the way they are, there will undoubtedly be a situation for a new organisation to take up the mantel and use the funds previously paid to the EGU for more productive things. This could happen sooner than many people may think.

Are you missing out on golf’s leading business magazine? Golf Management Europe is the leading business magazine for the pan-European golf industry — the undisputed market leader! For subscriptions and back issues call 0870 241 4678 or visit our website at




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Page 33

Portfolio Netlon paves the way Netlon, the leading producer of turf protection solutions, enjoyed a positive response at BTME recently where it showcased its newest turf protection system. Netpave 25 was demonstrated to be the perfect solution to the common problem of turf erosion and surface damage to grassed areas used as pathways, access routes and overspill car parks.

01254 262431 Marlborough’s star system

Morgan is the new Champion Huw Morgan, course manager of Wildernesse Golf Club in Sevenoaks, has become the 2001 champion greenkeeper after winning the prestigious Toro Award for Excellence in Greenkeeping. Morgan’s prize was an all-expenses paid trip to the GCSAA show in Orlando and visits to the Minneapolis headquarters of sponsors Toro.

01480 226800 Barrelfield link-up with Textron

As part of an innovative strategy for club management, Marlborough Golf Club has implemented a ‘cashless bar’ solution based on the use of smart card technology from Star Micronics. Club members use the card for all subsequent purchases and with each transaction, club management are able to evaluate members individual spending patterns.

Barrelfield Golf, the management company for three golf courses in the UK and a further 25 in the Barrelfield Golf Network, has extended for a further three years their exclusive agreement with Textron, which includes operational and technical greenkeeping training to ensure that Barrelfield obtain the maximum benefit from the equipment.

01494 471111

01473 270000

New pretender to the crown Andrew Pledger, first assistant greenkeeper at the Hertfordshire Golf Club has become the 2001 champion student greenkeeper, after winning the Toro student greenkeeper of the year award. Pledger’s achievement is all the more remarkable as he has worked in greenkeeping for only two years having swapped a promising career in retail management.

01480 226800 Guernsey clubs choose Textron

Greater flexibility for clubs An interior design consultancy from the West Midlands is developing a niche market within the golfing world. George Interiors has recently completed a three-month refurbishment of the clubhouse at Burford Golf Club in Oxfordshire which was just the latest in a series of commissions to refit or refurbish golf clubhouses.

01902 712350 Johnsons launch new range

L’Ancresse Golf Club and Royal Guernsey Golf Club have selected Textron as their preferred supplier of course maintenance equipment. Textron won the contract when Golf Course Management requested bids from all the major equipment manufacturers after they took over the maintenance of the course from the State of Guernsey Works Department.

Johnsons new 2002 catalogue includes the launch of True Putt, (poa reptans) the revolutionary new grass for golf greens. True Putt offers the greenkeeper a sward that will out-compete poa annua while providing a dense, fast sward for the golfer. True Putt is available as a straight or in the new Premier Greenmaster renovation mixture.

01473 270000

01386 793135

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February 2002 Golf Management Europe

Golf’s Driving Force.

Golf Cars A fleet of golf cars will bring in substantial revenue for investment in significantly improved facilities at your course or club. Golf cars will speed up play on your course, increasing the number of players at peak times. They let golfers concentrate on the game. Cars take the strain of transporting heavy clubs, particularly for older players and encourage them to play more and longer rounds. Cars do all of this with the minimum impact on the course. They have been developed over the last 50 years to be almost silent and have minimum impact on carefully tended turf.

Club Car Golf Cars

Club Car is a recognised leader in Golf Car innovation. We are at the forefront in technology that maximises the

income you can get from a fleet of golf cars. Our revolutionary new IQ system provides you with a safer, more reliable car that is fun for your members to use. The system provides you with a flexible solution that can be tailored to suit your needs. This impressive vehicle runs on a unique light-weight aluminum chassis which means that our cars don’t rust and they’re the lightest cars on the market.

Club Car Service

Club Car knows you need the best product, backed up with the best service. We have selected the industry’s most

experienced golf car professionals and backed them up with our sales, service and parts support so that you’ll know that your Club Car vehicle will always be ready to deliver — wherever you are.

Club Car Track Record

The acid test of any player is the league they play in. It should come as no surprise that Club Car golf cars

are used by some of the world’s premier golf courses and we are official golf car suppliers to the European and US Ryder Cup teams, as well as the European Tour. We would like you to join this illustrious company. If you would like to know more about our golf car solutions please contact your nearest Club Car representative.

Club Car, Inc. Paragon Business Park, Chorley New Road, Horwich, Bolton BL6 6JN UK Martin Lucas +44 (0)7880 780695

FRANCE Benoit Robert +33 (0)686 481914

NORTHERN EUROPE Steen Scherf +45 (0)242 39170

SOUTHERN EUROPE Alvaro Trueba +34 (0)620 207172

IRELAND/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA Kevin Hart +44 (0)7769 742612

the power of to one Dealing with the UK’s Number 1 golf car and utility vehicle distributor combines all the benefits of medium and long-term operational leases with freedom of choice on market leading brand names.

Competitive Terms Supplying and maintaining a rental fleet in excess of 2000 golf cars confirms our ability to offer the most comprehensive and flexible finance packages.

Immediate Delivery Currently holding the largest stock of both new and refurbished petrol and electric golf cars - including utility vehicles, anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Freedom of Choice Market leading brand names including Club Car and EZGO. The choice is yours!

Service and Parts Guaranteed nationwide call-out service including maintenance programmes supported with the largest stock of spare parts in the UK.

Immediate Decision No delay credit facilities and assessment for rental contracts, hire-purchase and lease buy back. Our dedicated sales team ensure that they offer a personalised service with the impartial advice necessary to maintain a smooth and functional operation. The newly established Technical Service Platform administers all aspects of sales, service, parts, aftercare and support programmes through ONE central telephone number 01235 867550.

Mox Golf Car UK A

International Company

Cobweb Farm Building, Manor Farm, Lyford, Wantage Oxfordshire OX12 0EE

GMé | February 2002  

Golf Management Europe issuu 23

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