The leading business magazine for the pan-European golf industry
Golf Management E u ro p e
the liver bird returns The long wait is finally over for Royal Liverpool, as the famous links will once again stage an Open Championship in 2006. John Vinicombe delves into the history surrounding the club. page 23
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Harrogate’03; A tale of two exhibitions
cover story 7
There is little doubt that BTME 2003 was a success for the organisers and the majority of exhibitors. However, as reported on page 15 of this edition, exhibitors at the Clubhouse exhibition weren’t quite so enamoured with their end result. Surely the time has come for the name Clubhouse to be dropped. If it is the ‘ultimate’ golf trade experience, the waters shouldn’t be muddied by the use of another name for part of the exhibition.
issue 29 credits; editor John Vinicombe contributors David Bowers Alister Marshall Rob Wright publisher Michael Lenihan administration Sharon O’Connell print Colourspeed
Greenkeepers and turf professionals throughout the UK and Europe will always want to attend BTME but there is a need to attract more secretaries, proprietors and budget holders to the ‘Clubhouse’ side of things.
Admittedly, the exhibition is in its infancy at Harrogate and as it becomes a more familiar fixture on the calendar so more visitors will be attracted. But organisers should not rest on their laurels.
Golf Management Europe Suffolk Studios 284 Ravenswood Avenue Ipswich IP3 9TQ United Kingdom telephone 0870 241 4678
They need to market the non-turf side of the exhibition more aggressively; it should be signposted more thoroughly; and - a particular bug-bear of many in 2003 - it should not be stuck out on a limb, where it is unlikely to attract passing trade.
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In short, they cannot risk exhibitors in that part of the exhibition to drop out next year. It must also be asked if the timing is right.
This year’s show made it practically impossible to exhibit at both BTME and the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, unless your exhibition budget was huge, and you fancied leaving Harrogate on the Thursday and flying straight to the United States. Likewise, it would be hard for visitors to reach both - and there are plenty who would appreciate being able to do so. And finally, is it really necessary for the show to run over three days?
glynn patrick 32
On Thursday afternoon, the halls were like the Marie Celeste - and while that may be ideal for those who want to wind down after a hectic few days, it should be remembered that the majority of exhibitors will be unable to carry on their business as normal while they are at Harrogate. These are just minor gripes in what, on the whole, was a successful and enjoyable week.
© Portman Publishing and Communications Ltd 2003
But when organisers next get round a table, it might be worth putting one or two of these moans on the agenda.
Golf Management Europe February 2003
News Irish French Alliance
Duke challenges decision Lead Story The Duke of Roxburghe, pictured above with Colin Montgomerie, Gavin Hastings, the Duke of York and Nick Faldo, is to challenge a decision by Borders councillors to limit the number of mansions and manor houses he can build alongside his championship golf course near Kelso, Scotland. A planning appeal has been lodged after planners ruled only 60 luxury homes could be developed at Sunlaws.
The original plan was for 180 properties creating a new settlement on 500 acres of the Duke’s estate, which also includes the Roxburghe course. Objectors from nearby villages of Roxburgh and Helton claimed the project ‘drives a coach and horses’ through the council’s regulations. The council is expected to debate the appeal in the coming months.
Golf clubs in Ireland have formed an alliance with their counterparts in south west France. Golf clubs and tourism chiefs in the Bordeaux region have developed a golf pass which is essentially an easy-to-use way of discovering six premium golf clubs in the area. And as a result of meetings with clubs such as Tullamore, Esker Hills, Glasson, Mount Temple, the K Club, Lutrellstown, Rathsallagh and Royal Dublin an exchange programme has been set up for golfers and club managers. The first Irish group to travel to Bordeaux will do so in April and the French delegation hope a similar programme will soon be organised for the Dublin region. The Bordeaux golf pass, which costs €125, entitles the holder to four rounds of golf at a choice of six courses - Golf de Pessac, Golf de Bordeaux Lac, Golf du Medoc, Golf de Lacanau, Golf de Gujan Mestras and Golf de Bordeaux Cameyrac. The price of the pass does not vary throughout the year. The French delegation see Ireland as an attractive market given its unfavourable climate and because Air France now operates direct, daily flights between Dublin and Bordeaux.
Ransomes Jacobsen sell German Subsidiary
Six for Swan Swan Golf Designs has been awarded its sixth commission in Germany, adding to a portfolio of clients that already include Hubbelrath GC, Dusseldorf and Koln G&LC (pictured). Commenting on the addition of Club Zur Vahr in Bremen, principal Howard Swan said: “We are privileged to have been chosen as architects at such a list of fine clubs and courses, and to be able to recreate and restore some traditional architectural qualities to the layouts.” Page 4
Ransomes Jacobsen have sold their German subsidiary company, Ransomes Jacobsen GmbH to Thomas Reiter, shareholder of their Austrian distributor, Zimmer Handels GmbH and the Golf Tech Golfartikelvertriebs GmbH, based in Vienna. The sale was effective December 23, 2002 and the company has been acquired by a small consortia of companies owned by Thomas Reiter together with a small shareholding from Alfons Gottemeyer, the managing director of Ransomes Jacobsen GmbH. The trading title of the new company will be The Turf Care Company and it will continue to operate from the former Ransomes Jacobsen premises in Munster. Speaking during a recent visit to Ransomes Jacobsen’s head office and manufacturing plant in Ipswich, Thomas Reiter said: “The Ransomes and Jacobsen turf maintenance product lines are global
brands in the turf care sector and I am naturally delighted with the opportunity to expand my business into other areas of Europe.” Commenting on the sale, David Withers, sales and marketing director said: “The sale of our German company is in line with our plan to rationalise our European operations following the review of our business last summer. “I am very pleased that all staff have been retained by The Turf Care Company and that our customers will continue to deal with the same people and have access to the same product lines. “The company has been the Jacobsen distributor in Austria for nine years now and we have an excellent relationship with Thomas Reiter. Along with the new business he now gains an extended territory that encompasses Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and Croatia, as well as his existing business area in Austria.”
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Three in a row for John Deere John Deere have announced that local dealer Godfreys from Sevenoaks, has secured a three-year preferred supplier agreement with The Royal St George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, venue of this years Open Championship. The agreement means that John Deere will have supplied course maintenance equipment for three consecutive Opens. Neil Metcalf, course manager at Royal St George’s said: “We have been most impressed by the reliability of the John Deere machines, and their high quality of cut.”
Ashworth to head up GCA At the AGM of the Golf Consultants Association, John Ashworth of John Ashworth Associates was elected chairman, replacing Stephen Proctor of Sports Marketing Surveys who stood down. The GCA is an independent association of professionals who aim to deliver solutions for golf developers and operators across the world in all areas required to launch and run a golf business. The new chairman said: “Last year was a successful year for the Association and its members, but we are looking for even more success in 2003. “Many golf businesses in the UK need expert outside help in areas such as marketing, operations and funding, following a difficult 12 month trading period. “Yet there are still opportunities for new golf developments, particularly in Europe and Asia, and for initiatives that respond to the growing demand for golf tourism.”
Lastec look toward Europe Lastec, the American manufacturers of the Articulator range of rotary mowers, chose BTME to officially launch their new European division. John Millen (pictured right), operations manager for Lastec UK said that extra staff will be appointed to allow him more time to devote to the European market: “As we are not independent dealers, we can keep consumer prices down, as well as offering customers a direct link to the manufacturer. Golf courses, especially new ones, often want a complete machinery package. There are advantages in being able to supply everything from one outlet, and we are working along these lines.”
Construction Remodelling Reservoir Works Tel: 01604 468908 Fax: 01604 474853 www.deltagolf2000.co.uk 180 Ruskin Road, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 7TA
Golf Management Europe February 2003
News Scottish club in plea over parking spaces
Company lifts Enterprise Oscar The Chancellor Gordon Brown has praised South Tyneside-based Bill Goff Golf Tours after it was named one of the fastest growing businesses in inner city Britain. The successful firm was among 100 companies honoured by the New Economics Foundation, a leading thinktank on neighbourhood renewal, which puts together the annual Inner City 100 index of companies that are thriving in inner city areas. Paul Challen (pictured above), md of Bill Goff Golf Tours received his honour at an awards ceremony in London where Gordon Brown, said: “The achievements of the entrepreneurs of the Inner City 100 show that we should see our inner cities as areas of opportunity for business: new markets where firms can thrive because they offer a strategic location, untapped markets and a dedicated workforce.” Former Royal Navy officer Paul Challen, 49, bought the travel firm seven years ago from Bill Goff who retired to the south coast. Since then Challen, from Tynemouth, has built the company into the second largest golf tour company in the country with a turnover of £5.5m. When he took over, the firm was organising 200 holidays a year and now the organisation sends 10,000 golfers a year to destinations around the globe and employs 22 staff. Challen said: “The growth in recent years has been phenomenal and this year has been the best yet with turnover leaping by 20 per cent. “I had no knowledge of this industry when I came in to it and approached things from what I as a golfer would expect out of a golf tour.” Page 6
One of Edinburgh’s oldest golf clubs has turned to lawyers in an effort to halt road safety work which officials claim could put it out of business. Officials at the 109-year-old Lothianburn GC are trying to curb work on a notorious accident blackspot which will swallow up roadside parking used by visiting golfers. They have hired lawyers in a bid to stop the expansion of the A702 Biggar Road close to the Edinburgh city bypass. The plans were drawn up after seven accidents on the road in the past four years. But officials claim golfers will be driven away and the club will lose thousands of pounds of valuable revenue from social functions.
Club secretary Bill Jardine refused to comment on the plans in advance of his meeting with Scottish transport minister Iain Grey, when the club’s concerns will be aired. However, in a letter sent to club members, captain Frank Gray said: “The golf club’s council fully appreciates the serious implications this could have for the club. “The council will continue to take whatever action it can to protect members’ interests.” If the safety measures go ahead around half of the available 120 parking spaces would be swallowed up and the club has enlisted the help of some local councillors in its plea to the authorities.
Guides’ Fairway to Success A Rugby-based company are teeing up to target overseas markets after gaining a foothold in mainland Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. Already established in the UK, Pro-Play who produce yardage books, claim to be busier than ever and are even considering the possibility of expanding into the South African and American markets. Owner Kevin Randall (above right), who is an 18-handicap golfer, said: “Within the UK, probably no more than 25 per cent of all golf clubs actually have a yardage book, so there was a massive opportunity. “But even so, you still approach publishing with trepidation. There is no guarantee of success.
“The key has been creating a unique publication which reflects the quality and prestige of a club’s course and facilities. The Canaries is now probably our top overseas market. “The tourist authority is promoting the islands, Tenerife in particular, as a golfing destination and private hotel groups are investing a tremendous amount of money building golf courses. “Pro-Play planners are certainly not an off-the-shelf product,” added Randall. “Each guide takes about two months to produce with a graphic for each hole, either two or three dimensional, with colour coded tee information to each hazard.”
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Golf Plus 31 Amersham Hill, High Wycombe HP13 6NU England Telephone: 01494 795111 Facsimile: 01494 795199 www.e-golfplus.com
GolfPlus offers increased revenue from buggy sales
An exciting new development is promising golf clubs new revenue opportunities from their buggy fleets. With golfers wanting every possible technology that promises to reduce their score, a GPS system called GolfPlus promises to fulfil both players and clubs expectations. By harnessing GPS technology, GolfPlus provides consistently accurate distance measurements from ball to green, enabling golfers to know an exact yardage from their ball to the centre of the green at all times. Developed and manufactured in High Wycombe, GolfPlus brings state of the art technology to your golf course,
adding a new dimension to a golfers’ round and, in turn, creating new revenue streams for your club. Already in use at Magnolia Park, Buckinghamshire, head professional Jeremy Dale commented: “We’ve never had so much demand for buggies from our members and guests. “GolfPlus has created new revenue streams from our buggy fleet that we previously never thought possible, and we are now looking to expand our fleet as a result,” he confirmed. “Previously available GPS systems have been imported from the USA and have been expensive and overly complicated,” explained GolfPlus managing director, Colin Surman. “By being developed, manufactured and supported within the UK, we are extremely confident that our customers will receive excellent service and reliability from their GolfPlus GPS.”
A six-month long program involving rigorous on-course testing has ensured that GolfPlus is reliable and robust, leaving nothing for the professional to worry about other than the queue of golfers wanting a GolfPlus equipped buggy for their round. The system consists of a high-resolution colour display monitor, which is unobtrusively mounted at the front of the golf buggy and is also powered by the buggy. As the buggy approaches each tee, the relevant information is automatically displayed on the monitor: providing hole number, length, par and stroke index as well as a brief description of the hole and points to note. After teeing-off, GolfPlus provides an image of the hole being played, together with the yardage from your ball to the green, an electronic course guide in effect.
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Golf Management Europe February 2003
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News Overhaul complete at Dore A major irrigation programme, lasting six months, has been finished at Dore and Totley GC, near Sheffield. Formerly built on agricultural land, the course has seen a complete re-instatement of its irrigation system. The contract - which was completed in December of last year - involved five new holes being constructed. North Staffs Irrigation were awarded the contract following exploratory discussions with Robin Hume Associates who acted as irrigation consultants. As service contractors for the previous irrigation system, North Staffs were asked to again tender against the specified design.
STRI receive award The Sports Turf Research Institute has been awarded the Investors in People Standard. The formal assessment included a full review of STRI’s planning processes and training and development systems. Positive feedback highlighted details of good practice within the STRI across the entire range of principles set by the IIP standard. The IIP Assessor praised STRI’s strong commitment to staff development and its policy of equal opportunities: “People within the organisation feel that their contribution to the STRI is recognised and that they are valued; during interviews I was told many times that people enjoyed working at STRI.”
STRI was commended on their comprehensive business plan, and good relationships between the management and the staff association. Managers were generally identified as strong role models who had high standards of professional expertise, experience and qualifications. Chief executive, Gordon McKillop, praised all STRI staff for their contributions and sustained commitment over the last few years in working towards achieving the IIP award. He also expressed his considerable gratitude to Linda Howell of Business Link for West Yorkshire for her guidance, support and encouragement throughout the entire process.
Yorkshire club to appeal over bridleway ruling
Bonus for Wicklow
A Yorkshire golf club is to appeal against a ruling which decided a bridleway can run straight down the middle of its new 13th hole. A public inquiry was held last year to determine if Dorman’s Path should run alongside, or straight down, the 13th fairway at Redcar’s Cleveland GC. The club diverted part of the path away from the fairway to keep walkers safe and prevent them from holding up play. However, some locals objected, claiming the path had always taken the more direct route. Planning inspector Michael Gibbons subsequently agreed historical evidence showed the path should be further to the left, running down the fairway.
Members at an Irish golf club got more than they bargained for at their clubs annual general meeting - news that the new clubhouse was built for €600,000 fewer than expected. The clubhouse at Wicklow GC, which was opened in December of last year, was expected to cost IR £2.4m (€3m). Instead, it cost just IR £1.9m (€2.4m), a rare bonus in these days of rising construction costs. The club has also taken another major step forward in embracing equality for lady members - and 31 of the 150 lady members have taken up full membership. Any lady who was a member before 1993, when the club extended to 18 holes, could upgrade to full membership without a fee.
He determined Dorman’s Path and Fisherman’s Crossing, which traverses the course between Coatham and the beach, should both be designated bridleways and have their historical routes confirmed. The club must now apply to Redcar and Cleveland Council if it wants Dorman’s Path to remain where it is. Club captain Barney Woff said: “The path is to the right of the fairway and everyone is using it without any problems, so I don’t really know what the inspector was thinking. “He has listened to a few objectors who, in all honesty, have hardly walked that path in years. “We just hope common sense will prevail.”
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
PGA signs up with the PA The Press Association has signed a deal with the PGA to supply www.pga.info with daily updates and live news feeds from around the world. The PA’s global network of reporters will provide in-depth coverage of the USPGA and European tours, the four majors and all other tournaments. PGA commercial director, Mike Gray said: “Given the global nature of golf and the ever-growing number of tournaments, we decided it was essential to provide visitors to our site with the best possible news coverage.”
PGA Design offer advice Golf course and driving range safety is fast becoming a key issue of concern with an increasing number of high value claims from players and course neighbours who are encouraged to resort to the law for settlement of claims and disputes. Insurance underwriters now look for proof that clubs and owners are diligent and careful in the safe management of their course or driving range. Following numerous accidents, PGA Design Consulting have published two guides; Design Guide for Golf Driving Ranges and Safety Guidelines for Golf Courses. It is important for clubs to realise that the committee members, directors, golf professionals and course designers are all targets for the victim’s insurers, and PGA Design Consulting have therefore launched a safety audit scheme to help clubs ensure that they stay on the right side of the law.
New clubhouse to benefit all The £2.6m phase one clubhouse development at Surrey National GC (formerly Happy Valley) is now open. The new clubhouse has all the benefits you would expect from a new build, plus the added bonus of a function suite with dining for up to 200 guests including feature fireplaces, air-conditioning, a sprung dance-floor and a private bar area. The new clubhouse has a sense of exclusivity about it, which is confirmed by the large balcony with futuristic aluminium railings with views over the 18th green and surrounding water features.
Golf Management Europe February 2003
News Huge losses force London GC to sell
Sir Michael takes an interest in GolfPlus GPS system
The London GC, in Kent, has been put up for sale by its Japanese owners. The club, near Brands Hatch, was built ten years ago at a cost of £40m. It has two championship courses - one of which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, who is also honorary captain. It attracted the rich and famous - Clint Eastwood, Sir Sean Connery and even Barings trader Nick Leeson - but it may go down as one of the sport’s great financial disasters after estimated trading losses of around £10m over the past ten years. Chesterton HMH, the specialist property agent, has been appointed to sell the business on behalf of Masao Nagahara and Hiroshi and Toru Nishoyama, the golf-mad Japanese businessmen who own the club. To become a share-owning member of the London GC costs a staggering £27,708 and a non-share member costs £8,900. Corporate membership costs £52,793 as a share member or £9,400 as a nonshare member. Share-owning members enjoy lower annual fees. The company’s latest annual accounts have been delayed by three months, according to Companies House records.
GolfPlus have been swamped with enquiries following their launch at January’s BTME Clubhouse Exhibition, including Sir Michael Bonallack who stopped by to have a demonstration. “We are delighted by the levels of enquiries we had at the show,” commented Colin Surman of GolfPlus, “particularly as it was the first time we had exhibited. “We were also encouraged by how many clubs were planning to expand their buggy fleets for the coming season, and how they are increasingly seeing golf buggies as a source of profits.” GolfPlus’s buggy GPS system adds a new dimension to a golfers buggy round, and in the process drives greater demand for buggies promising golf professionals exciting new revenue opportunities from their buggy fleets.
“Being a British designed and manufactured product, we are able to guarantee our customers the very best in service and support,” added Surman. “We work closely with regional and national buggy distributors to make sure that we can offer the same or next day part replacements, and in doing so, minimising the impact on the golf operation.” Already in use at courses across the UK and Europe, GolfPlus is fast establishing itself as the professional’s choice. Buckinghamshire’s Magnolia Park head pro Jeremy Dale commented: “We’ve never had so much demand for buggies from our members and guests. “GolfPlus has created new revenue streams from our buggy fleet and we have now expanded our fleet from seven buggies to 17 as a result.”
North-east set to benefit
De Savary acquires Manor House Hotel
Northern Racing’s plans to revamp Newcastle racecourse into an all-weather track also include improvement and expanison of the adjacent Parklands GC. The company hopes to spend in excess of £10m on the overall improvement project. Also in the north-east, picturesque Northumberland course Hexham has been awarded this year’s NE and NW PGA Championship. The event will take place on July 31 August 1 while the NE and NW PGA Matchplay Championship will be at De Vere Slaley Hall later in August.
The Manor House Hotel, near Moretonhampstead in Devon, has been purchased by Peter de Savary from Meridien Hotels, who had acquired the property when they took over Principal Hotels two years ago. The price paid was believed to be in the region of £7m, and de Savary expects to spend a further £8m on improvements to the property. The 18 hole course, which was designed by JF Abercromby and Herbert Fowler and opened in 1929, measures just over 6,000 yards.
Donald Steel has been commissioned to carry out improvements to the course while maintaining its character and authenticity. The only hole where major changes are expected is the 18th, described by de Savary as “being in need of significant improvement.” There will be a new drainage scheme to improve playability throughout the year, a state-of-the-art full irrigation system and new equipment to maintain the golf course. “Investment at the property has been lacking for the past thirty or forty years,” said de Savary.
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
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Building the Future of Golf Barrelfield Golf Limited has probably developed more golf clubs on behalf of clients and landowners than any other company in the last ten years. We pride ourselves on developing golf courses to time, to budget and which are the right product for the right marketplace. Barrelfield Golf Limited assembles the right team of experts for each project and manages all planning aspects, design, construction and growing-in. We can be appointed as project managers, contractors or consultants. Barrelfield Golf Limited has wide experience of the latest design, construction, drainage and irrigation methods. We can offer expert advice and service for new built projects, clubhouse construction, alterations and course improvements.
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Golf Management Europe February 2003
News Floratine International announce new distributors Floratine International chose BTME to announce two new distributorships. Turfcare Solutions, the recently formed English division of the Turfcare Group which has been trading in Ireland under the Turfcare banner for the last 12 years, will represent Floratine in the south of England. Pro Grass, based in Harderwijk, central Netherlands, will take sole distribution rights for Floratine in Holland. Pat Galavan (pictured left), Turfcare’s managing director, who has been a distributor for Floratine in Ireland for the last three years says that he has found their technology to be second to none. “Turfcare and Floratine are continuing to move forward, and we are pleased to build on our association,” he said.
David Snowden (pictured right), Floratine’s marketing manager added: “Irish Turfcare are very successful distributors for us in Southern Ireland, and once the decision was made for their expansion onto these shores, we knew they would be ideal to increase our presence in this important golfing area.” The appointment of Pro Grass comes as a result of the Dutch company’s good market penetration and technically strong sales staff. Jan van Mondfrans, md of Pro Grass said: “Dutch greenkeepers are very keen fine-grass managers and they like justin-time management. Floratine represents a step forward in fine turf maintenance and we expect to be a solid partner for the Floratine group.”
Investment pays off for Park Hill Park Hill Golf Club, Seagrave, have been working with Sudbury-based AFT Trenchers to eradicate drainage problems on the clubs practice area. The course, which was opened in 1994, was built on a very high clay content, which has caused problems over the years. In an effort to keep the course open all year round, head greenkeeper Dean Cooper turned to AFT Trenchers, who together, produced a capital investment programme to drain not only the practice area but also the entire course. The AFT45 chain and boom trencher with slitting wheel was selected as the most suitable equipment for the job, with trenches up to 1.2m deep being cut and drainage pipes being laid. Work is also being undertaken on a new reservoir to save water and the anticipated savings will then be utilised within the course’s pop-up tees and greens irrigation system.
Hills denies Ryder claims
Park and ride will drive away members, claim club
The director of the European Ryder Cup has denied suggestions the European PGA Tour wanted financial aid from the US PGA following the need for extra security at last year’s event. Richard Hills strenuously denied reports claiming the European Tour wanted a $1.6m contribution towards the security arrangements at The Belfry. He said: “We are not asking for one pound, let alone one million.” The extra security had been asked for by US officials because of the continuing threat of terrorist attacks and that request increased five-fold the initial investment set aside for such matters, taking it to $4.4m
Members at a Durham golf club are up in arms over plans to build a park-andride scheme on their 17th hole. They fear the local authority will put a compulsory purchase order on the land at Mount Oswald Manor GC to clear the way for buses and cars. And they claim that would drive away potential new members and severely damage the club’s reputation. The plans would mean tearing up the par-four, 283-yard hole and could affect other holes which border the 17th. General manager Nigel Galvin said: “No golf course wants to be reducing its yardage on holes and I don’t think any golfer wants to play a shorter hole.
He added: “It would threaten our credibility. We would have to cut the course to nine holes, which players would go round twice. But I think that would mean a loss of members.” Golf course consultant John Nicholson who has been a member of the club for five years said: “This is a good course to play on. Not only is it attractive, it’s also an important community resource. “For the council to completely disregard people’s views like this is an absolute disgrace.” A Durham County Council spokesman said the authority was looking at several options and had not yet made a final decision on the scheme’s location.
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Prince takes golfing advice HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has been learning how to improve his golfing skills following a visit to Bristol-based Institute of Physics Publishing. During his visit, the Prince was shown articles from the Institute’s on-line archive, his favourite being The physics of golf. This article highlights many ways in which physics is applied to golf - for instance how you can tell the difference between skilled and unskilled golfers by taking measurements of their downswings.
Cobalt and Epani team up Cobalt Concepts has been appointed to distribute OnCourse throughout Europe. Following a successful period of marketing the greenkeeping software in the UK, Swedish software developers Epani decided that Cobalt’s network of European contacts and its offices in France and Italy made it the ideal partner for expansion into these new markets. Cobalt’s European business development director, Claire Coombe, explained: “We are working with experienced teams in each region of Europe to market and distribute OnCourse to greenkeepers and course managers. “They will be providing local training and support thus minimising the effect of language differences. The European golf market is one of the fastest growing golf markets in the world. Our entry will further consolidate OnCourse as one of the global leaders in course management software.”
Club Car offer a Free Ride Club Car has launched Free Ride, a programme that aims to make Club Car fleets accessible and affordable for clubs of all sizes. Robert Drewery marketing director of Club Car Europe explains: “Our aim is simply to make the acquisition of golf cars as easy and convenient as possible. “Free Ride is specifically designed to meet the demands of golf clubs of all sizes. Whether clubs have some cars already or are exploring the benefits of cars for the first time we want them to gain first hand experience of the advantages of using a Club Car fleet with minimum initial commitment.”
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PHONE: 01359 259424 FAX: 01359 258073 www.milesdrainage.co.uk e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org GREAT ASHFIELD, BURY ST. EDMUNDS SUFFOLK IP31 3HB Golf Management Europe February 2003
TEL: (01993) 811976 FAX: (01993) 812448 E-Mail: email@example.com Web site: www.hawtree.co.uk Martin Hawtree Fellow of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects
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OR DOWNRIGHT OBSESSIVE?
Poor Relations David Bowers visited the BTME and Clubhouse exhibitions at Harrogate last month - and while there was little doubt the event, organised by BIGGA was a success, he found it wasn’t without one or two problems.
society wedding took place downstairs.” It was hard to argue with that view. Visitors to the exhibition are familiar with its layout - it’s all on one level. So if a hall is upstairs and not well sign-posted, they are unlikely to stumble across it, particularly if to get there you need to walk a hospital-style corridor only to be confronted by a set of closed double doors. I walked this route at least half-adozen times during the three days and met just one other person - and he was a member of HIC staff. Grumbles And to get exhibitors’ grumbles out of the way in one fell swoop, it should also go on record that one Hall D exhibitor felt the Clubhouse exhibition was inappropriately named now it was part of BTME - a view supported by a member of HIC staff who was only too aware of the lack of numbers meandering through Hall D. Many, she felt, thought the Clubhouse exhibition contained nothing more than fittings and furniture for the bar area. One has to feel some sympathy, however, with organiser Pauline Thompson. She explained: “Last year people in the Clubhouse exhibition complained that, as people had to walk through it to get to the BIGGA section it was nothing more than a corridor.’ Pauline discovered, to her cost, that an exhibitor is never satisfied. "
Golf Management Europe February 2003
here is a renowned lap-dancing club in Harrogate called Spearmint Rhino. A spokesman for the club admits that its busiest time of the year is the week the BTME is at the Harrogate Centre. And if you were a greenkeeper intent on a good night out with your mates, you would not have had too much difficulty finding the venue. Its location in Oxford Street is well documented and even publicised via flyers at the BTME itself. If, however, you wanted to visit any of the 53 exhibitors in the Clubhouse exhibition located if you were unaware in Hall D you may have struggled to find them. Many of those exhibitors were disappointed with the number of visitors to the hall on what was, we are reliably informed by the organisers, a record attendance for the event. As if to support their view, one of the few signposts pointing visitors to the Clubhouse exhibition, was still the subject of discussion at lunchtime on the second day, with organisers in heated debate as to which was the best location for it. Christened ‘the morgue’ by one wag, Hall D was out on a limb. While business appeared brisk at all the stands elsewhere, some Clubhouse exhibitors were forced to talk to each other in an attempt to relieve the boredom. One felt moved to comment: “It felt like we were holding a small family gathering in an upstairs room while the
Retrospectively, most expressed an opinion that given a choice, they would rather be ‘a corridor’ - at least people passed through. But those with a gripe in the Clubhouse area of the exhibition were, it must be said, in a minority. Most exhibitors were located, as per usual, on the ground floor. And most exhibitors, as per usual, enjoyed a beneficial few days. Record A record number of visitors, 5,693, registered over the three days - and a fair few more may have made their way in unregistered via the car park. So for the majority of companies, exhibiting at Harrogate was once again money well spent. After all, you don’t get giants like John Deere, Ransomes Jacobsen and Toro spending lots of money on impressive stands if it’s just a pr exercise. Bretton King, of Ecosolve was one who was delighted with the results of his trek north. He explained: “From Ecosolve’s perspective, it was a very good three days. “We had a broad spectrum of visitors to the stand, both new customers and clients we have worked with in the past two years either asking for more work or providing feedback on work already done.
“We also discovered one or two golf clubs who visited not just with the greenkeeper, but also with the secretary or general manager. He was then able to show them the machine he had been talking about. “I believe that was probably a result of the Clubhouse exhibition being there as well. We will certainly be returning next year.’ BIGGA’s Scott MacCallum echoed the views of King when he said: “We were delighted with the entire week. The feedback we have had so far from some exhibitors is that they did record business at the show. And we had record figures for attendance too.” So another successful year for the BTME - and probably for Spearmint Rhino as well - but it will be interesting to see how and where the Clubhouse part of the exhibition is marketed and positioned in 2004. David Bowers visited BTME the easy way. He flew to Leeds/Bradford Airport - just 12 miles from the Harrogate International Centre - from Heathrow with British Midland. Oneway flights start at just £35 including taxes. See www.flybmi.com for details.
BTME 2004; A plea to the organisers The BTME is a must for members of the trade media in the turf, horticultural, amenity, golf and sundry other industries. Companies choose January in Harrogate to officially launch many new products or talk of their plans for expansion. A captive media is essential - after all, many pay pr companies a decent wedge for hosting a briefing or press conference. It is therefore extremely galling for both media and exhibitor if the press briefing facilities do not meet the required standard. There is absolutely no problem with the hospitality shown to members of the media. The press room is comfortable and well laid out. It is regularly topped up with media packs, tea, coffee and biscuits. The occasional Danish pastry even surfaces, much to the delight of the assembled throng. No, it is when the actual briefings started that problems ensued this year. The people delivering the briefings are not actors. They have not been trained to throw their voice to the rear of an auditorium.
And while the gathered hack pack paid due respect and remained silent in interest, the same can not be said of those in the adjacent exhibitors’ lounge. The rooms are not separate. They were split merely by wall dividers ensuring that any noise in one transferred easily to the other, and that is particularly unhelpful when one is trying to hear a speech. In addition, I witnessed poor Jane Leyland, of Barenbrug, call a halt to her briefing on two occasions as somebody - a member of centre bar staff presumably - emptied a selection of glass containers into a skip located outside, near the emergency exit doors. She bravely soldiered on but it was clear she was ever-conscious of the likelihood of further interruptions. So please, for the benefit of the media - and more so out of courtesy to the paying exhibitors - would it be possible to have an enclosed venue for such briefings? Or even could BIGGA invest in a small clip-on radio microphone to aid us ageing scribes in our vital quest?
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
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February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Loose Change Continuous changes to the golfing industry have not only transformed the way the game is played, but also the ways in which decision-makers need finance to acquire and sustain their clubs. Rob Wright tugs at the purse strings of the financiers.
he game of golf just ain’t what it used to be. With the advent of greater exposure, golf is being played with an entirely different perspective on how a course should perform from hole-tohole and across the seasons to those prevalent just 20 years ago at grassroots level. And changing demographics have revolutionised the business model for the majority of clubs, who are now working towards incorporating other leisure pursuits alongside their core business, as well as more family-focused facilities. So for the sport’s rank-andfile operators, it does indeed look like ‘constant change is here to stay’. The financiers we spoke to who are funding all the adjustments and improvements golf’s incumbents have to make to compete today all seem to think so. Take Peter Banister of Debit Finance Collections plc, for example.
He believes DFC’s business is growing because the profile of golf members isn’t what it was. “The old brigade of golf club membership made up of senior executives and retired gentlemen is changing for the younger, working man,” he observed. DFC’s debit finance service collects and passes on the fees they collect monthly. The transaction between them, the club and the golfer is regulated in the UK by the Consumer Credit Act, which means that the clubs’ members are tied into an enforceable agreement. Should they default on the payments, DFC handles all the chasing, above and beyond administering each agreement. For a company that collects membership fees on behalf of the leisure industry, this change has clearly had a significant effect on the number of clubs responding to their offer. “It can only grow and grow,” continued Banister, “because a direct debit arrangement is more suitable for the working man who would rather not pay their green fees in one lump sum. "
Golf Management Europe February 2003
This finance model appears to be convenient for both clubs and their customers. “Clubs might not be able to get a direct debit facility themselves,” said Banister. “Usually they resort to a standing order and have to raise the paperwork themselves.” And the scheme makes membership more attractive to the golfer. So with competition among golf clubs as it is, this can mean that clubs are less likely to lose their members to other clubs offering monthly payments. To offer the facility to their members in the UK, clubs need a consumer credit licence to be able to extend regulated and enforceable credit agreements. Completing a straightforward application form and submitting it with a fee of £275.00 is all it takes to secure the necessary paperwork.
subscriptions, this effectively meant that everything a club bought could only have 25 per cent claimed in VAT in relation to income.” Westrope explained that this meant that VAT bills for clubs suddenly skyrocketed and to even-out their cash flow, several clubs started to consider finance for the first time “as a means of spreading or deferring VAT payments.” Capital “I also think there’s a continuous move among clubs looking to present their courses to members in better shape, so they’re needing to minimise capital expenditure and release revenue to fund ongoing costs. “We’ve seen quite a demand for updating and refurbishing irrigation systems for golf courses and we’re happy to lend finance for that kind of development, too.”
“SO WHEN BUYING EQUIPMENT, CONSIDER WHAT THE OBJECTIVE IS. HOW MUCH WILL THE PURCHASE EARN OR SAVE THE BUSINESS? IS THE COST JUSTIFIED? AND CONSIDERING THE CASH FLOW ELEMENT WHEN PURCHASING THE MACHINE IS VITAL. IT MAKES ENORMOUS SENSE TO BUDGET ACCURATELY.”
Then, once the service has been arranged with DFC, “we’d provide enough credit pre-printed credit agreements, complete with the club’s details and figures to send out to all their members to sign and send back. Once in, the job’s done.” Downside Sounds ideal. Any disadvantages? “The only downside for the club is cash flow,” acknowledged Banister, “as they don’t receive the huge injection of cash which typically comes with a pile of membership fees coming in each year. “But we can advance sums on monies coming in the form of development loans for clubs already up-andrunning.” This kind of lending - asset-based finance, where a lender loans a sum based on receivables or inventory comes in various forms. And sometimes, a change in the law has driven the market for golf finance. “In 1994, the European Union ruled that private members clubs couldn’t charge VAT on subs,” recalled John Westrope, groundscare manager for Humberclyde Groundscare Finance. Humberclyde have been financing groundscare equipment since 1989, and as Westrope added: “As three-quarters of a club’s income comes through Page 20
Humberclyde have several financial products available for both groundscare and farm operators to choose from. These include hire purchase, which gives outright ownership and carries the option of guaranteeing interest charges on a fixed base rate. Operating lease products take into account ongoing maintenance costs throughout the life of the asset, while the finance lease option is more akin to rental. However, at the end of the finance lease agreement, the borrower can either continue to use the equipment at a nominal rent, or sell it and use the proceeds as a deposit on their next purchase. Advantages Each of these options offers varying advantages over the others. Some can bring tax efficiencies, while others don’t affect the ratio to which a company is financed by debt capital in relation to its equity - known as gearing. Healthier businesses are often perceived as having lower gearing. So how do you choose a finance solution that’s best for your business? “Take a good look at what you’ve got,” outlined Westrope. “Assess. Is it adequate for your current and future needs? What’s a sensible life cycle for it?
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
“ALL FINANCE COMPANIES HAVE TO BE COMPETITIVE AND WE’RE ALL BUYING MONEY AT THE SAME RATE, SO YOU SHOULDN’T FIND A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US.” “Is your existing kit about to be superseded with newer and better models? If it’ll need updating regularly, consider putting it on a 4-5 year replacement cycle.” “And get professional advice,” recommended Sean Jones, sales manager for ING Lease UK Ltd. “As you pay for an accountant who probably has a good understanding of your business, why not get their advice?” ING Lease are also involved in agriculture, groundscare and machinery finance, as well as specialist office equipment - but predominantly sales aid asset finance, that is, financing equipment purchases at the point of sale. Factor “The biggest single factor to consider is the cost of the purchase, rather than the price,” Jones continued. “The biggest discount on a machine isn’t necessarily the best deal. The true cost is only uncovered when you have to get rid of it. “It’s important therefore to consider your purchase in terms of your annual expenditure and budget. “If you’re using it for several years, why not pay for it over the same period of time? You don’t pay the staff ’s salaries two to three years in advance. And no piece of kit works harder because you pay cash for it. “So when buying equipment, consider what the objective is. How much will the purchase earn or save the business? Is the cost justified? And considering the cash flow element when purchasing the machine is vital. It makes enormous sense to budget accurately.” ING Lease have a number of tie-ups with manufacturers and some are exclusive, such as with Ransomes Jacobsen.
By working closely with the producers of equipment, “we’ve been able to address specific needs of their customers.” As a result of such symbiotic relationships, new ideas can emerge. “We’ve just completed a multimillion pound investment to provide ecommerce trading via internet access,” Jones announced. “Essentially this will mean a groundscare machinery dealer can provide quotations right through to signing a contract very quickly on-line.” Launched initially in the UK, ING Lease plan to roll the scheme out across Europe over the next few years. “We very much see this as how the business will develop in the future,” exclaimed Jones. “All finance companies have to be competitive and we’re all buying money at the same rate, so you shouldn’t find a massive difference between us. Yes, you can negotiate on interest rates, but where you’ll see the most difference is in service. “This initiative will allow dealers to very quickly transact business from quotation through to documentation. “And once the internet comes into its own, the costs of transactions will also come down dramatically. The parameters of our business could come down to as little as £500, as opposed to a minimum of around £2,000 at the moment.” Large sums of money can change hands using finance companies. ING Lease have just completed a £3m finance deal for a landscaping project. Other financiers are prepared to deal with even bigger sums. Farming and Agricultural Finance is part of NatWest Bank and are essentially mortgage lenders offering long-term loans for rural and leisure projects.
Golf Management Europe February 2003
“Where we differ form a bank, though,” explained Philip Coysh, their national business manager, “is that we have no annual fees, so the borrower saves on bank charges and there’s no annual review, so the club won’t hear from us once the loan’s been agreed if they don’t want to. We find that they don’t want a bank manager telling them how to run their business. “We’re also prepared to lend over the long term; banks will typically only go for ten years or so. This helps keep the payments down and therefore lowers the risk. So if it’s for major capital expenditure, it makes sense to borrow over a longer term.” FAF see their future largely serving expanding businesses, developing their existing facilities, putting in better ones or restructuring borrowing. For example, FAF have just leant £1m restructuring existing borrowing at Crondon Park in Essex, home to the world’s longest hole - an 860 yard par six! Advice “Our advice is to look at alternatives to the traditional lending channels,” offered Coysh. “You don’t have to go with your existing bank, neither do we attach strings as to where your other borrowings lie, so customers don’t have to have all their eggs in one basket.” FAF like to keep the entire process towards securing a loan as straightforward as possible. “We like to see 2-3 years’ accounts and obviously a business plan. The important thing is for a club to develop a relationship with us so that they understand what we can offer.” Which makes sense, because if you’re going in to such a strategically important relationship, you’d do well to understand who it is you’re ringing the changes with. Page 21
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February 2003 Golf Management Europe
By Royal Appointment After considerable re-development and years of campaigning, Royal Liverpool has won its place back on the Royal and Ancient rota. John Vinicombe examines the historic club, which will once again host an Open Championship in 2006.
ithout doubt absence makes the heart grow fonder. After a break of 39 years, the Open Championship returns to Royal Liverpool in 2006. Already hotels are taking bookings, and it is estimated that during the week at least £50m will be spent. There are confident expectations that the championship will attract at least a quarter of a million people to the Wirral with 40,000 visiting Hoylake each day. The average spend per person will be a minimum of £300. These are just some of the forecasts made by the Borough of Wirral. The council statisticians say the vast influx of money will be spent on accommodation, travel, souvenirs, gifts, meals and entertainment. It is impossible to estimate the amount, but the Wirral Press and Public Relations office have had a very good try. And they could well be short of the mark. The Open Championship is believed to be the third largest event in the world in terms of international media coverage.
Golf Management Europe February 2003
Over 1,000 print journalists from around the globe use the press service supporting the championship and this does not include the TV and radio contributors. The value of such huge exposure for an area with Wirral’s aims is incalculable. The decision of the Royal & Ancient to select Hoylake in three years time is vital to Wirral’s Economic Regeneration Strategy. This ten year programme identifies the peninsula’s coastline, sporting opportunities and heritage as crucial assets with immense potential as a resource for tourism development. Timing has been of the essence. It is widely accepted that the venue which hosts the championship in the year following a St Andrews Open gains considerably as the interest generated by the previous year’s flagship event is still very high. The younger breed of golfing fans may not be that familiar with Hoylake and the Wirral. It is an area six miles by nine and there sits a magnificent championship course that has hosted ten Opens, the first in 1897. " Page 23
The local authority runs four courses on which 170,000 rounds were played last year. With 20 miles of coastline the Wirral attracts visitors in its thousands. The 457,713 who stayed locally in 2001 spent £31.7m. Of that figure, overseas visitors splashed out £7,007,285. The total tourism spend was £98.5m. And yet Hoylake itself is no beauty spot. As a spectacle of golfing architecture there is nothing to go wild about... until it comes down to card and pencil. Few clubs in the British Isles are steeped in as much history but since 1967 when the last Open was staged there, Hoylake has lagged behind the top venues.
which is justly regarded as one of Britain’s outstanding links, will again be put to the test by the world’s top golfers.” Already the R&A have taken all 47 rooms at the Leasowe Castle hotel as their headquarters and it won’t be long before all hotel accommodation and private houses near the course will have been snapped-up. No wonder Steve Maddox, chief executive of Wirral Council, is bubbling: “Both Wirral and Sefton boast some of the finest golf courses in the world. Now we are also celebrating the fact that we will have an annual Merseyside Festival of Golf in the region.
course of the Liverpool Hunt Club had existed since 1849. Since amateur Harold Hilton became the first Open winner at Hoylake 106 years ago some of the greatest names in the game have triumphed there in a wide range of events. And a fair number were witnessed by Bernard Darwin whose reputation as a golfing man of letters placed him in a class of his own. He played Hoylake in the Amateur Championship in 1898 and just before the Great War watched J.H. Taylor’s greatest achievement in winning the Open there in, “such wind and rain as has seldom been seen.” As the years passed it was clear that Darwin fell in love with the course.
“ROYAL LIVERPOOL IS A CLUB WITH A LONG AND DISTINGUISHED HISTORY AND WE ARE DELIGHTED THAT WE ARE NOW ABLE TO BRING THE OPEN BACK TO THIS WONDERFUL COURSE AT HOYLAKE.” In the years since the elegant and beautifully mannered Argentinian Roberto de Vicenzo pipped Jack Nicklaus by two strokes to lift the trophy the demands of the Open in terms of infrastructure, space and traffic management ruled Royal Liverpool out. Now, however, with plans in place as a result of the three-way agreement signed by the R&A, Royal Liverpool and Wirral Council, the Open is on the way back. One essential catalyst in the return was the purchase by the club of ten acres of land adjacent to the course plus the commitment to build a new practice ground close to Meols Drive on the municipal course. Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A said: “Royal Liverpool is a club with a long and distinguished history and we are delighted that we are now able to bring the Open back to this wonderful course at Hoylake. Many people have contributed to the agreements that underpin the decision and it is right that Royal Liverpool, Page 24
Hopefully this festival will go some way to both enthusing local people more about the sport and putting the region on the map as a major international golfing tourist destination.” Between now and 2007 the festival is expected to generate an additional tourist expenditure of around £3.3m attracting 43,000 tourist visits and encourage 8,600 to stay overnight in local hotels. The Wirral has a total of 16 golf courses and driving ranges, an extraordinary number for an area of its size. The main attraction will see the newly sanctioned English Seniors Open. It will be played for five years based alternately at courses in Sefton and Wirral. It is when you learn of such enterprise that the question has to be asked why all too often we Brits tend to hide our golfing lights under a bushel. It wasn’t always so. Let’s turn the pages of history back to 1869 when a number of exiled Scots met at the Royal Hotel, Hoylake and decided to construct a course on the warren where the race-
“Give me Hoylake. It looks flat, open, dull, almost ugly, with its rectangular turf walls and the houses stretching out further and further along its edges; but what a golf course! Its greatness inevitably grows upon us the better we know it. “There is one hole there beyond all others which illustrates this quality and that is the seventh, always known as the Dowie. Here is a little three-cornered green tucked under a turf wall, with an out of bounds cabbage field on the other side. “In front of the green is a rather scanty, straggling patch of rushes, and round the edge of the green runs the shallowest, most insignificant grassy dip; and that, except for some new bunkers a little way to the right, is all. “Yet this is a magnificent one-shot hole, demanding the highest golfing qualities, whether of heart or head or of technical skill. The same may be said of that wonderful first hole which at first sight may seem to consist only in tacking round two sides of a field with nothing in the way.”
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
“ON THE FIRST TEE YOU ARE IMMEDIATELY CONFRONTED WITH A TYPICAL HOYLAKE PROBLEM, THE INTERNAL OUT OF BOUNDS AND IT IS NOT TOO DIFFICULT TO KNOCK ONE OFF THE COURSE AT 17 OF THE HOLES.”
The great chronicler knew nothing, of course, about yardage charts or technology that helps propel a ball vast distances. He only just came to terms with steel shafts in the early 1930s and then reluctantly. But he had the eye and heart of a grand old golfer and put down on paper what he saw. “In some respects Hoylake is like St Andrews. It is essentially not the heroic golf of big mountains and spectacular carries. No man has ever said Hoylake is too short - the last five holes - the Field, the Lake, the Dun, the Royal, the Stand - make up the most strenuous and punishing finish in all the world of golf. “This clear flat historic expanse of Hoylake blown upon by mighty winds, has been a breeder of mighty champions.” Who might prevail there in 2006? Of the 10 Hoylake winners, only two have been Americans; Walter Hagen in 1924 and Bobby Jones in his Grand Slam Year, 1930. And what drama attended Jones’ final round when, cruising to victory, he took five strokes to get down from 20 yards on the eighth and then had a stern battle to win by two. The next Hoylake champion, Alf Padgham had to commit burglary along the way. On the last day he had an early tee-off time but had left his clubs in the professional’s shop overnight.
He found it locked and broke in before going on to win his only Championship. Hoylake has hosted more major championships than anywhere except St Andrews and Prestwick. Peter Alliss, who played his first Open there in 1947, knows it better than most. The greatest difficulty, he says, is distance judging. Even with yardage charts players have been know to dither between a seven iron or three wood. “On the first tee you are immediately confronted with a typical Hoylake problem, the internal out of bounds and it is not too difficult to knock one off the course at 17 of the holes,” he says in his, Good Golf Course Guide. “The practice ground is out of bounds and threatens both your drive and second shot to this 428-yd hole. If you should happen to hit your drive into it, you may be comforted by the thought that one Victorian Open champion, having done just that, said, ‘Mon, it’s like driving up a spout!’” Come July 20-23, 2006 the golfing world will descend on Hoylake, the first timers among spectators a trifle nonplussed at the sight of the Victorian clubhouse and wondering where the danger lies on what seems a flat and seemingly uninteresting landscape. By late afternoon on the Sunday they will have had their answer and Hoylake will, assuredly, have another great champion.
Fact File Club:
Royal Liverpool Golf Club Meols Drive, Hoylake, Merseyside L47 4AL England Telephone: Facsimile: Email: Website:
0151 632 3101 0151 632 6737 firstname.lastname@example.org www.royal-liverpool-golf.com
Secretary: Links Manager:
Group Captain Christopher Moore CBE Derek Green
18-holes Red Course:
Par 70, 7165 yards (Opened 1869)
Members: Green Fee:
810 On Application
Golf Management Europe February 2003
All things Green Fresh from his annual jaunt to Harrogate, David Bowers (pictured) investigates what’s new for 2003 within the fine turf sector. His discoveries include some oil-digesting bugs for use on contaminated soil, and a radically new perennial rye-grass.
ith the majority of the UK’s turf professionals at BTME in January it came as no surprise to see many leading companies launching new products. From cultivars to ride-on mowers, they were all introduced to the industry in Harrogate - and if you missed any of the launches, hopefully this round-up will sate your appetite for all things turf. Essex-based Headland Amenity Products introduced its new Liquid Turf Hardener - a sulphur-free formulation, high on calcium with added magnesium.
Visitors may have been attracted to the Johnsons stand because its occupants were in full waiting regalia - complete with trays of champagne. But once the shock had worn off their attention would have been taken by the company’s new cultivar Manor, Agrostis Tenuis. The company claims it is a ‘topclass variety with an exceptional pedigree from the market-leading breeding company in Europe, DLF Trifolium A/S’. It offers a superb combination of both high-shoot density and tolerance to close mowing, thus reducing weed invasion.
Travelling at the end of the final air blast and carried by dried milled seaweed, the bugs - which need air to breathe - rise upwards into the fissures, settle at different levels and begin to digest the problem. As the machine moves on to a new section, more bugs are spread on to the surface of the original area. These bugs migrate downwards through the newlycreated fissures, towards those already feeding. And once the area is decontaminated, the creatures die. Director Lynda Green explained: “The service is economical and ecofriendly with no mess.
WHILE MANY GREENKEEPERS ARE INTERESTED IN KEEPING BUGS AWAY FROM THEIR TURF, SUFFOLK-BASED TERRAIN AERATION SERVICES WAS ACTUALLY RECOMMENDING THEM. Nitrates produce a rapid uptake of the two elements, which in turn reduces stress on grass plants, increases strength and enhances disease resistance. Low application rates of up to 40 litres per hectare mean cost-effective treatment, applied as and when required, regardless of season. When additional nitrogen sources are added, application rates shrink to 20 litres per hectare in 300 to 600 gallons of water. Trials held throughout the winter indicated the product is excellent at maintaining a strong, hard grass plant and aiding disease resistance. Page 26
And ideally for the golf industry: “Manor provides a true putting surface as well as attractive year-round darkgreen colour.” While many greenkeepers are interested in keeping bugs away from their turf, Suffolk-based Terrain Aeration Services was actually recommending them. Using the company’s Airforce machine, which penetrates to a depth of one metre and employs compressed air to create underground fissures, TAS was extolling the virtues of its new service which injects oil-digesting bugs into contaminated soil.
“At the moment the only alternative is the dig-and-dump method which entails using a specially registered land-fill site. Even then, the turf manager is left with an unsightly hole in the ground.” At a product briefing, specialist seed breeders Barenbrug UK advocated a radical re-think in the use of perennial ryegrass. Astonishingly fine-leafed varieties, purpose-bred after years of research mean perennial ryegrass can now be used in fine turf situations in addition to the traditional role as the main component of mixtures for winter games pitches. "
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Greens mower precision with fairway mower productivity: the NEW Jacobsen LF-1880 The Jacobsen LF-1880 is the lightest 5-gang fairway mower on the market, weighing in at under a tonne. Patented, articulating 46cm (18") reels precisely follow ground contours delivering a smooth, uniform finish on undulating fairways, approaches and surrounds. Call today on + 44 (0)1473 270000 to find out about the Jacobsen LF-1880, LF-3400, LF-3800 and LF-4677.
www.ransomesjacobsen.com Central Avenue, Ransomes Europark, Ipswich IP3 9QG England. Tel: +44 (0)1473 270000 Fax: +44 (0)1473 276300
Cultivars like the new Bargold and Bareine perennial ryegrasses are unlike their older counterparts, in that they are fine-leafed and tolerant of mowing down as low as 5mm. The company insists the new cultivars establish well with other fine species like fescues and bents to give a uniform, aesthetically-pleasing sward, with a true playing surface. Northern sales manager Jayne Leyland explained: “Their fast establishment and resistance to invasion from annual meadow grass allows early or late overseeding to take place, thereby extending the ‘renovation window’. “Their high-wear tolerance increases usage potential and maximises revenue.” Rondo Surrey-based Charterhouse Turf Machinery introduced the Rondo utility unit as an all-round workhorse for groundstaff wanting to stay at the forefront of technology and health and safety requirements. Made by the Italian company Antonio Carraro, the slim 1m-wide Rondo can accept dedicated implements for rotary mowing with grass collection, sweeping, gritting, snow clearance and litter gathering. Permanent four-wheel drive and high ground clearance allow it to tackle rough terrain and obstacles like kerbs, while an articulating body means the rear wheels follow the path of the front. Power comes from a 22hp or 30hp Yanmar diesel engine designed for low noise levels and emissions. Charterhouse also showcased their ‘mower for all seasons’ - the new Bunton walk-behind rotary mower. Made in the USA by Bunton, and distributed in the UK by Charterhouse, the machine features a rugged design to cope with the intensive and rough handling typical of general everyday use. Page 28
Lastec was delighted to announce that Blairgowrie GC course manager Alan Holmes has taken delivery of his second Articulator in four years. The club, situated approx 50 miles north of Edinburgh at the foot of Glen Shee - known for its ski resort - has three courses: Rosemount (18 holes); Lansdowne (18 holes); and The Wee Course (nine holes). “We are on a glacial deposit of gravel and stones with only four or five inches of topsoil,” explained Holmes. “The club is over 100 years old, and originally hosted Rosemount and The Wee Course, both of which would have been cut from the heathland and pine forest mostly by hand. “As a consequence, these two courses have very acute undulations on the fairways and semi-rough, but any large scale smoothing out would mean importing topsoil from elsewhere, and threatening the unique character of this heathland environment. “We only undertake minor renovations, and in each case are careful to backfill with identical material from elsewhere on the course and use a matching rootzone.” He added: “We found the Articulator could cut at a height of one and three quarter inches without scalping. “One machine can deal with the semi-rough on all our courses, and the articulators work comfortably with our 35 hp. tractor. Nothing else could give quite the quality of cut and performance.” Campey Turf Care Systems, from Macclesfield, officially launched its new Koro deep verti-cutting rotor attachment, offering the opportunity to combat thatch problems mechanically rather than chemically. Fitting on to the Koro Field Topmaker instead of the standard rotary blades, the attachment cuts through and removes fibrous thatch, encouraging water, air and nutrient permeation.
It also deals with troublesome lateral grass growth that can lead to weak, shallow-rooting turf. The company also revealed a useful ally in materials handling - the heavyduty Super Scub Hydra motorised tipping wheelbarrow. Drive Powered by a 6.5hp Honda petrol engine, the machine features hydrostatic drive for easy control of speed. Its inherent strength renders it suitable for the carrying of excavator buckets, concrete, store, hard-core, soil and sand, with a maximum laden carrying weight of 750kg. Hayter was promoting its Harrier 56 and stressing its ability to cope with long grass while still leaving a finish as good as a cylinder mower. Used mainly by commercial customers from grounds maintenance organisations, the Harrier is now used increasingly for the maintenance of tees as well as other areas around the course. With a 56 cm width of cut, the ability to cut as low as 13mm and height of cut adjustment without the need for tools, the Harrier can maintain a wide variety of areas around the course. The split rear roller allows the Harrier to be used easily in the most confined areas and will also stripe the turf if required. Being a rotary, divots present no problem to the machine. Ideal A spokesman for the company said: “The Hayter Harrier 56 is the ideal machine for any golf course requiring a machine that is capable of cutting a wide variety of areas yet still leaving the grass to the high standards demanded by golf club members.” One of the most eagerly-awaited launches was the new fungicide from the Scotts Company and a large crowd was drawn in by promises of a reversal of pesticide withdrawal trends.
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
“WE WERE ONE OF THE FIRST UK COURSES TO TRY OUT HERITAGE DURING THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS AND WE AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH THE SCOTTS TEAM HERITAGE IS A SUPERB FUNGICIDE.”
Heritage, which contains a new active ingredient to offer ‘unparalleled control of fusarium disease’, belongs top a new class of highly-effective, environmentally-sound fungicides developed from naturally-occurring chemicals found in saprophytic woodland fungi. In UK development trials, and in commercial use throughout the USA, Canada and Japan, the product has proved superior to other available treatments on every level. Heritage disrupts the mitochondrial respiration of target fungi and prevents the pathogen from transferring energy, leading to the death of the fungal cells.
It is then absorbed through the leaf blade, crown, root and stem, before moving throughout the plant, via the xylem vessels, to providing total protection. Advocate One advocate of the new product was head greenkeeper, Chris Kennedy of Wentworth. He said: “We were one of the first UK courses to try out Heritage during the development process and we agree wholeheartedly with the Scotts team Heritage is a superb fungicide. “We will certainly be using it as our primary protection against fusarium from now on.”
The Hayter Harrier 56 is a quick, yet precise, solution to your tee problems. The classic Hayter Harrier 56 roller rotary mower is capable of picking up tees and divots quickly and effortlessly. The split ribbed roller with a differential aids manoeuvrability around the tee, and gives the traditional striped finish. No tools are needed to adjust the height of cut, which can go as low as 13mm (1/2”) giving you total control over each tee. Built in front fins on the deck noticeably improve the cutting quality and collection ability and the large capacity grassbag is easy to remove and fit. The Harrier 56 can be used all year round and will minimise compaction of tees particularly during the winter months. So versatile, the Harrier 56 can be used in so many areas around the club, you’ll wonder how you managed without one.
Sorts divots, tees, cuts and stripes in one go Golf Management Europe February 2003
For more information, call 01279 723444, email email@example.com or visit our website: www.hayter.co.uk.
Golf & Turf Maintenance Products Wholesale Distributor for Export PARTS & EQUIPMENT
TURF GROWERS AND INNOVATORS OF TURFGRASS SYSTEMS
IRRIGATION & DRAINAGE SUPPLIES TURF SUPPLIES & ACCESSORIES Supplying golf courses and contractors worldwide. We’re handling shipments as small as one box of parts to complete irrigation packages, with many finance options available.
9960 Indiana Avenue, Suite 12 Riverside, California 92503 USA Phone 001 (909) 343-2100 Fax 001 (909) 343-2110 Visit us at www.agripacific.com
INTURF The Chestnuts, Wilberfoss, York YO4 5NT Telephone 01759 321000 • Facsimile: 01759 380130 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • Web page: www.inturf.co.uk
Almost 100 years of experience in grass. Annual production of over 80,000 tons of seed, grown in 25 carefully chosen countries. Sold through an efficient marketing organization, spread across the world. Our own breeding stations in various climate zones on 5 continents. A staff of 550 dedicated people, satisfying demanding clients in almost 100 countries all over the world. Proud of these figures? Of course we are. But far more important we believe, is how we became so successful.The answer to that is Quality. The Quality of our bred varieties, our seeds, our packaging, our service, our people. So, if you want the best seed under the sun, call 01359 272000 and we will be pleased to advise you.
THE BEST SEED UNDER THE SUN Barenbrug UK Ltd., 33 Perkins Road, Rougham Industrial Estate, Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9ND Tel:01359 272000 Fax:01359 272001 E-mail:email@example.com www.barenbrug.co.uk
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
Executive Membership; The Future of Golf Club Membership n October 2002, the English Golf Union estimated that there were 40,000 spare membership places in golf clubs throughout the UK. Reasons were varied, but possibly the most significant cause being that in today’s busy society, many golfers simply don’t have the time to play enough golf to justify expenditure on the annual membership and entrance fees required to join a club. Executive Membership is an innovative scheme with an accompanying software package that allows golf clubs to offer potential and existing members a more flexible and low cost approach to membership without weakening the cashflow of the club. When a member joins a club, opting to purchase an Executive Membership, they buy a number of ‘units’ which gives them limited use of the course. For example, a round of golf on a Saturday morning may cost ten units, while during the week it may cost four units. Points are available in varying size bundles, with a sliding scale discount ensuring that the more a member purchases, the more points per pound they receive. Members have the option to buy additional units throughout the year if they want to play regularly. This entitles them to full playing privileges and a handicap at the club and offers greater value for money as unused units can be redeemed for guest play or carried over to the following membership year.
The club retains financial control by setting the price per unit and the minimum number of units purchased per year, as well as the number of points redeemed per round of golf. The Executive Membership scheme removes the need for golfers to pay upfront annual subscriptions, only to end up playing a handful of rounds per year and subsequently questioning whether to stay a member of a club or to resign. Like any business, retaining customers costs less than gaining new ones, and this principle is at the heart of the scheme. With differing levels of affordability and different social pressures across the broad spread of members within any club, Executive Membership enables a club to spread its tee-time demand across the week. Peaks and troughs in demand are levelled-out as the more price sensitive members chose to play at times of day that afford them best value for money from their points balance. Members obtain greater value for money from their membership, prompting them to more easily justify their expenditure and retain their membership on a longer-term basis, regardless of how much or how little golf they play annually. Perhaps the days of having vacancies within a golf club’s membership can now be put behind us, with the Executive Membership scheme holding the key to full membership lists and long term custom.
Golf Management Europe February 2003
Executive Membership is managed by a software package which controls the purchase and redemption of members’ point balances. The scheme revolves around a membership card which all members use to check-in at the club prior to their round of golf. The software and the scheme are inclusive, and provide club management with powerful reports of course utilisation, points redemption patterns, financial performance and the like. Case Studies Hemsted Forest GC in Kent has been acting as a pioneer for the scheme with great success; it now boasts a membership of over 1,700 with capacity for a further 300 members Rye Hill GC is averaging 22 new members per month, and Golf de Ganay in France has been overwhelmed by the schemes success.
Cobalt Concepts Wimpole House, London Road, Sunningdale SL5 0DP Tel: 01344 870067 Fax: 01344 872312 www.cobaltconcepts.com Page 31
The Hired Linguist Not so long ago, Glynn Patrick was one of the main movers and shakers at Ipswich-based Textron. Fluent in four languages, the 56-year-old is now general manager of Mox UK. David Bowers shared a cup of coffee with the story-telling charmer at Harrogate recently.
eople have told me I should write a book,” smiled Glynn Patrick, when asked if he had any funny stories from his globetrotting career. And if the two he told are any gauge of the merit of such a project, publishers should be queuing up with their chequebooks in the near future. What would also come over in a book of Patrick’s life is his warmth, amiability and an ability to succeed. Ability The latter is certainly engendered by his ability to ensure customers receive the best possible service from his company - whichever company it is he is working for. Glynn Patrick, 56, is now general manager (UK) of Mox. Just a few months ago he was sales and marketing director for Ipswich-based Textron. “We parted on good terms” he insisted, when asked about his unexpected departure. He evidently did not want to talk about the reasons for his sudden decision to leave the Suffolk company, and whatever the reasons for his departure, to his credit they remain a closely guarded secret. Within a few weeks, Mox came calling and Patrick was only too delighted to hitch his wagon to the expanding
contract hire company. And the top brass at Mox knew they had landed one of the industry’s biggest fish. Patrick has been involved in the industry with Textron for the best part of a decade, coming from Massey where he had been employed around the world for more than 25 years. At Jacobsen he helped set up the European operation and having left he rejoined Textron two years ago. “I came back to sort out the European situation again,” he explained. “I will be working with Textron again in the future. The whole Mox concept is to work with all leading brands to offer finance for their equipment.” A father of three grown-up children, Patrick made good use of his time between jobs. He was working on his 91-year-old mother’s farm in Lincoln - where he himself was brought up - and has overseen conversion of some outbuildings into living accommodation to ease her mobility. Busy “She’s on her own and has refused to leave. She never wanted to go anywhere else, so I converted some of the barns into single-level accommodation. That’s kept me more than busy,” he smiled. Mind you, he hasn’t yet sold her a buggy to aid her movement around the farm’s land.
Fittingly for a man whose business acumen is now employed largely in the golf industry, Patrick enjoys a round in his spare time - when he has some. “My handicap has gone from a good low handicap to high teens which proves I’m not playing enough. When I was at Massey we always said if anybody joined the company with a single-figure handicap we’d fire them on the basis they weren’t working hard enough. “I also engage in sports in the winter which are probably politically not acceptable any more. I shoot and bring lots of pheasants out of the sky. I’m in a small syndicate in Suffolk within the farming community. “But I look forward to getting this thing running well and maybe helping with the European side at a later date. While I’m in the UK I’m not using most of my languages.” Patrick is almost too modest to admit to fluently speaking French, Spanish, German and ‘some Italian’. He is a man who is comfortable and confident in his business. His expertise with languages comes from reading German, French and Economics at Surrey University. “I came out of university not knowing what I wanted to do. I was a farm boy in London so I did a post-grad qualification in engineering. And then I joined Massey to work on sugar-cane harvesters - and toured the world.
February 2003 Golf Management Europe
“In the 70s I filled two of those famous 70-page passports,” he added with what was fast becoming a trademark, self-effacing smile. He has settled down in the UK again after living during his time with Massey and Textron - in 12 different countries. Now, in his new position at Mox, he will be settling in the slightly less cosmopolitan surroundings of Northampton. And he is firmly aware of what he wants to bring to the business. He said: “I have a brief to help with overall supplier relationships and assisting the French head office in that area. And also in the strategic direction of what we want to do and where we want to do it - the geographical coverage, maybe even the product range and the type of finance. “The main area we concentrate on is long-term contract hire and our main area of expertise is in golf buggies. Across Europe there are more than 10,000 owned by Mox. “We will take the same multi-brand concept into turf equipment and work with the appointed dealers of the different brands and we provide, through them, the contract-hire service to individual course, multi-course owners or local authorities.
“The market has been prostituted in a way, but I would say that it is because people haven’t offered a good service to their customers and have had to compensate by dropping their price. Demand “I genuinely believe that there is a strong demand in the market for high quality, comprehensive services from a contract hire company. “What has spurred the golf market in the UK is mobility and allowing access to courses for people who cannot walk the whole layout. That has persuaded lots of courses they should have buggies on course and then they realise it’s a means to increasing revenue.’ It hasn’t taken Patrick long to get up to scratch with Mox, but he also knows what he can bring to the table. “When I was at Jacobsen EZGO I was the person who brought Mox - or SEPS as they were then - and EZGO together. That relationship has developed and Mox is by far EZGO’s biggest customer in Europe. “I want to make sure all our services are co-ordinated and focussed on those who use our equipment. The customer is still right. He pays the bills at the end of the day.”
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www.portman.uk.com Golf Management Europe February 2003
Portfolio Closer to home for Bartram Ipswich GC has signed an exclusive five-year agreement with Bartram Mowers, which will see the Ipswichbased dealers supply the club with a range of Ransomes Jacobsen equipment. Club secretary Neill Ellice said: “The quality of the equipment coupled with value for money, were among the main reasons that we turned to Bartram Mowers.”
01473 270000 Hayter Dealer Awards At the annual dealer dinner held during BTME, Hayter awarded the prestigious Top Professional Dealer Award to Jon and Ben Morgan (right) of Keith Morgan Mowers. The Outstanding Dealer of the Year Award went to Mitchell Industries, while the Special Achievement Award went to Trevor Howard and Mick Livingston of Gibson’s Garden Machinery.
01279 723444 Mono swings it at Burhill Mono Pumps has installed two Murtrator pumping systems at Burhill GC, which are efficiently and effectively disposing of raw sewage from the club’s facilities. The contract included the removal of all the exisiting equipment and installation of two new Mutrator systems, together with all necessary pipework, valves and wall mounted control panels.
0161 339 9000 Versatile or What? DED has launched the high-speed Star SP500 printer that prints at up to 7.5 lines per second - more than 15% faster than its nearest competitor. Ideal for ticketing applications, its splashproof design protects the unit against accidents associated with many hospitality environments, as do the protective covers for power supplies.
01797 320636 Page 34
Disability no Barrier A revolutionary new portable ramping system has just been launched offering an economically priced and highly versatile solution to a great many problems. Roll-a-Ramp enables quick, comfortable and safe entry for clientele with mobility problems who may previously not have been able to participate in a wide range of leisure and sporting pursuits.
020 8341 6767 Celtic Manor prepare Celtic Manor has signed a unique Toro deal to provide course machinery equipment on a rolling replacement programme until 2010, when it will host the Ryder Cup. Valued at over £200,000, the kit includes Toro’s innovative Flex 21 greensmowers, Groundmaster 4000-D rough mowers, Workman utility vehicles and Reelmaster 3100-D mowers.
01480 226800 In the swing with Tri-Golf Hawkstone Park in Shropshire is backing the PGA and Golf Foundation’s Tri-Golf initiative and encouraging youngsters in its region to swap their pencils and rulers for golf clubs. Traditionally not a school sports, the programme aims to introduce primary school children to the long-term health and social benefits of golf at an early age.
01939 200611 Toro look North Chester-le-Street Golf Club, has entered into a five-year agreement with Toro for turf maintenance equipment. As part of the deal, the club has taken delivery of five new mowers including two Greensmaster 3250-D ride-ons, a Reelmaster 6500-D for fairways, a Reelmaster 4000-D rough-cutter and a Reelmaster 2300-D for tees.
01480 226800 February 2003 Golf Management Europe
ÂŠ 2003 The Toro Company
From the front nine to the backyard, you can count on us.
With over 88 years of experience, Toro is the most trusted supplier of turf equipment and irrigation systems to golf courses, parks and individual lawns around the world. Our commitment to providing innovative, high quality products and systems to help grow and maintain turf is legendary. We care about preserving the tradition of golf. We also care about providing the right solution to you. Make Toro the preferred name at your home today. www.toro.com
Count on it.
THE DAY GRASS STOPS GROWING, we will stop renting.
Do you need quality turf and grounds care equipment? With long-term contract hire there is no initial investment and your equipment is insured and kept in perfect condition. You can also benefit from our Full Maintenance Service option. Go to the European leader: click on www.mox-iint.com
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MOX UK - Member of LeasePlan Group - Tel : 0870 1646 004 - Fax : 0870 1646 009