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The leading business magazine for the pan-European golf industry

Golf Management E u ro p e

marking your card Scorecards have always have been an integral part of any round, but can the same be said for yardage books? GME examines the various types that are currently available. page 14

The Pitch Marque Lamborghini moves from the road to the course with a new buggy for the discerning golfer

UK ÂŁ5.00 Eur â‚Ź7.25 US $9.50

January 2005 www.portman.uk.com


© 2004 The Toro Company

Can you find what’s missing from this picture?

Introducing the Toro® ProCore® 648. Its unique design places the wheels inside the aeration path. So you won’t see tyre marks, ruts or smashed cores. And you won’t see all the extra work. To find out more, and learn about financing options, visit toro.com/procore648.

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Contents

So when is a professional not a professional?

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There is something of a backlash in the world of sports’ journalism currently. There are some who are unhappy at the ease with which former sports stars move into the media without the proper training. This leads to the gut-wrenchingly embarrassing situation where a former athlete, interviewing a British hopeful trackside after a race, failed to pick up on the fact the interviewee claimed: “There was an awful lot of cheating going on out there.”

issue 40 credits; editor John Vinicombe contributors Nick Bayly David Bowers Neville Johnson publisher Michael Lenihan administration Sharon O’Connell print Colourspeed

A trained journalist or broadcaster would have thought: Pulitzer Prize here I come, and stormed back with the telling questions: who what, where, when and how. Said ex-athlete simply said something along the lines of: “Shame. Better luck next time.” That’s not to say some can’t make the transition smoothly, but there is a feeling there should be some form of training or qualification involved. Then there can be no argument.

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

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Darren Clarke’s transition from professional golfer to course architect has started, see page eight. He is just the latest in a long line of successful pros to move into design. But once again, a few dissenting voices can be heard. “Just because he’s a great player doesn’t mean he can design a course,” you hear them say. Again, some have excelled in their new role: Nicklaus, Faldo, Woosnam, Norman, have all designed some great courses. Yet even the legendary Arnold Palmer has not escaped criticism for some of his. Football is littered with great players who failed at managing: Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Jimmy Dickinson, Geoff Hurst; golf should look to ensure it does not go down the same tortuous route.

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

© Portman Publishing and Communications Ltd 2005

Football is so cash rich it can afford to ride out the storm and pay off the contracts of failed managers. But golf clubs are unlikely to be able to cope financially with a plethora of dissatisfied customers refusing to play their course.

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the oxfordshire 23

btme 2005 26

Perhaps pros looking to move into design should undergo some form of apprenticeship in course architecture before going solo. There’s always room for talent, and these guys obviously have it on the course, but do they have it on the drawing board? One poorly-designed course can impinge on a large part of the industry and nobody wants that. Better to put something in place now than to wait until the damage is done.

Golf Management Europe January 2005

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News Five Alive for EIGCA bash at St Andrews

Sir Bobby opens new HQ

The European Institute of Golf Course Architects will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the coming together of the former British, French and European Societies by holding its Annual meeting and Conference at St Andrews between April 13-17, 2005. The venue will be The Old Course Hotel and the five day programme will feature golf on both the Old and the New Courses, Kingsbarns, Eden, Jubilee, St Andrews Bay, Crail and the Dukes Course together with a one day Conference to be held on Friday 15th. The delegates, members, graduates and students of the Institute will hear contributions from invited architects from USA, Japan and Australia as well as a workshop relating to golf course design and the environment led by The R&A and by two of the world’s most eminent consultant ecologists. EIGCA consider environmentally friendly and sensitive design to be the cornerstone of their professional work. The event at St Andrews is open to all interested in golf course architecture and it is hoped that delegates from Federations, Allied Associations - golfing and greenkeeping alike - will attend. The delegate rate of £339 per person includes golf on the New Course.

Lead Story Sir Bobby Robson, former manager of Ipswich Town Football Club and the man responsible for the club’s glory years in the 70s and early 80s, returned to his adopted town in November to perform the official opening of Ransomes Jacobsen’s new administration centre at the company’s international head office at Ransomes Europark. Before cutting the ceremonial ribbon he visited the new centre and then toured the manufacturing facilities where he met and was photographed with many members of staff. Jon Carlson, president of Jacobsen, Ransomes Jacobsen’s parent company, flew in from the USA to attend the event, which was jointly hosted by Steve Chicken, managing director of Jacobsen International and David Withers, managing director of Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd.

Speaking at the ceremony Withers said: “The Ransomes Jacobsen operation has gone from strength to strength in the past couple of years and we have improved our market share against quite stiff competition; our current financial situation reflects this. “Also, we have developed new products, which utilise the global co-operation within the Textron organisation and are built to the highest quality standards expected from a market leading organisation. We have been particularly successful and have won significant industry acclaim for recent product innovations. “When you look at the situation a few years ago and compare that to the success of today, it reflects the leadership that is inherent in a young and vibrant management team, supported by a workforce that is totally committed.”

UK launch of GolfCross

More improvements on the way at the Grove Golf Centre

GolfCross, the game within a game, is now being launched in the UK. This game is geared towards pay and play golf courses and will give all golfers an option from the traditional game yet also experience a new set of challenges. As the game is played into goals with a rugby style oval ‘golf’ ball, and off tees, it protects the fairways and the greens are never used.

A new nine hole course has opened at the Grove Golf Centre, Leominster. Following on from the original nine hole course at the Grove, the second course has been named Deer Run, and, at just under 6,200 yards, is a much longer course, with three par fives, three par fours, and three par threes. The course was designed by Robert Sandow, with greens and tees built to the

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same specification as the 2010 Ryder Cup venue, at Celtic Manor in Wales. Roger Helme, who with his wife Zena owns the Grove Golf Centre, said: “This course has taken two years to build, and it has been a fairly substantial project. It is built for the 21st century.” He said they were also looking to improve some of the other facilities at the centre.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Bryn Meadows look to Toro Bryn Meadows Golf and Country Hotel, in South Wales, is raising its game on the golf side of the business with a new fleet of Toro turf machinery. Their aim is to use Toro in a quest to develop a four-star course that matches the four-star treatment guests will receive when a new 22-bedroom extension to the hotel and leisure complex is completed by the year-end. Course manager David Jakeway said: “The Toro deal was the most cost-effective solution for us.”

Buggy Ban causes worry

Building for the future Hotel group Macdonald has unveiled plans for a £6.5 million investment at the Botley Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club, including creating one of the largest conference centres in Hampshire. Plans for the four star hotel, which stands in 176 acres at Botley, north of Southampton, include totally refurbishing the bar, restaurant and existing 100 bedrooms and suites, building 30 new rooms and doubling the size of the existing conference centre.

Golf Management Europe January 2005

Confusion seems to be rife about new rules affecting buggy and trolley bans on golf courses according to the National Golf Clubs Advisory Association. The Disability Discrimination Act means golf clubs must remove any physical barriers preventing a disabled person from using a course. Failing to do this will make the club liable for damages for unlawful discrimination. However, Michael Shaw, national secretary of the NGCAA says many clubs are confused about how the Act affects buggy and trolley bans that already exist: “We’ve had a surge of queries from clubs concerned about the legality of buggy and trolley bans on their courses. “There is definitely confusion. What is clear is that courts no longer approve a blanket ban. “However, clubs are entitled to impose a ban which restricts access to those parts of the course it is necessary to preserve,” he said.

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News Scottish Golf Union urges more clubs to work together The Scottish Golf Union wants golf clubs to work together to plug a growing gap in membership figures – before many of the historic clubs go to the wall. The number of members has increased slightly over the last ten years, but over that period there has been a huge growth in the number of new courses. More than 100 new courses have been built in Scotland since 1990 and there are 542 golf courses - but only 13 per cent are municipal and offer pay-as-youplay facilities. Hamish Grey, the chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union, said: “Clubs are now finding they need to get out and promote themselves like any other small business and compete for business. “Better-managed golf courses are critical. We are taking examples of clubs working to change their situation to regional roadshows. We are not exactly in dire straits but would prefer growing numbers of members.” Grey feels a fall in the number of young people in Scotland and an

increase in the number of courses, will lead to a serious imbalance over the next decade. “We will have ten per cent fewer 1015-year-olds by 2010, so standing still is a challenge, but the target is to grow a future generation of golfers. “The Ryder Cup bid gave us a fantastic opportunity to bring golf to children. By 2009, we’ll be in every primary school for a four-to six-week programme. “The pilot programme is running in 82 primary schools and the great thing is we thought we would get 20 per cent moving from school to club but the number is actually 50 per cent.” Scotland’s golfing industry is big business, bringing in £400m to the country’s economy each year. Courses joining forces to promote golf heritage is another area the SGU believes could help improve access to golf for everyone. Mr Grey said: “The answers are out there - we can’t re-invent the wheel but we need to support the golfing community.”

MOX report record sales MOX UK, specialists in operating leases for golf cars and turf care machinery, have announced their turf care business has exceeded all expectations with next year predicted to be even better. Glynn Patrick, general manager for MOX UK said: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made on turf care from a standing start less than three years ago. “This progress, coupled with the steady growth of our core business, the supply of golf cars and light industrial vehicles, means the company is going from strength to strength.”

INVgolfs Turkey date After the success of INVgolf’s 2003 European Golf and Real Estate Investment Conference and Exhibition in Athens, the 2005 event will be held at the Gloria Golf Resort, Turkey, between April 22-23. According to organiser Peter Heilmann, the event will have a higher profile than before. “We are determined to organise an even better high-level investment forum in Turkey’s beautiful Belek golf region in April next year,” he said. “The forum will focus on the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region plus the countries surrounding the Black and Mediterranean Seas and Central Asia. “Turkey, as well as many other countries in the EMEA region and beyond are now discovering golf and taking its development very seriously. Turkey is determined to have a total of 100 golf courses in four years’ time, which is a far cry from its nine courses today plus 11 that are currently under construction. “The opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe are also very promising, since this is a region where a number of countries are determined to converge to EU standards of living.” Page 6

Feel the fear mean business Feel the Fear is an exciting new range of golf club sets launched by a new player on the UK golf market which is set to spend over £500,000 on television advertising. Feel the Fear general manager Laurence Flynn said: “We have manufactured premium golf equipment, available to the consumer at affordable prices. That is our promise to the consumer, but it is the marketing support that will drive those consumers into the shops to buy the sets and that’s our promise to the retailer. “No other manufacturer has ever supported their starter sets with such a massive advertising campaign. That’s where we outperform lesser products,” he claimed. January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Lamborghini Golf Cars (UK) Ltd Dunmore Court, Wootton Road Abingdon OX13 6BH England Telephone: 01235 553899 Facsimile: 01235 540111 www.sportingadvisor.co.uk

Italian style and design on course with Lamborghini

Cover Story When you’re looking for something a little different, to make you stand out from the crowd, a Lamborghini always does the trick. And when you’re playing a round of golf it turns a few heads when people realise you’re driving the same sort of vehicle as the Pope. Yes, the Pontiff himself has a Lamborghini golf cart - and if it’s good enough for him. And then there’s the Athens Olympics of course. The new, rigorously tested and trialled 2004-05 Lamborghini golf buggy is being launched in the UK by Abingdon-based The Sporting Advisor.

Paul Male, John Makepeace and Geoffrey Heritage - the team who helped make Club Car the number one brand in the UK - have got back together again to form Lamborghini Golf Cars (UK) Ltd, a division of The Sporting Advisor. But this time they’re not out to shake up the big boys. Male explained: “We’re not out there to compete with Yamaha, EZGO or Club Car - this is an exclusive product. A limited edition. “When you want something a little special this is it. You’re paying for the name that sits atop one of the most luxurious and glamourous automotive models in the world. “And you’re getting some of the best engineering in the business.”

Golf Management Europe January 2005

Lamborghini’s first venture into the UK golf cart market in the mid-1990s was let down by problems encountered switching the voltage to the UK standard. But all that has been ironed out in the new model which has been tested to the point of overkill before being sent out to the UK market. Male, who spent three years out of the golf buggy market before being tempted back by Lamborghini, added: “It’s the most exciting new product on the market. “When you can drive around in a Lamborghini for just a few more pounds, you can indulge yourself. “And we provide the quality of service and after-sales service that was our trademark when we were in the industry previously. “People who have dealt with us before will know what they get when they sign up with us - a first-class product with exceptional service.”

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News Riddell aiming high at Botley

Darren Clarke has designs on golf course development

New general manager Gordon Riddell is aiming to make Botley Park Hotel, Golf and Country Club one of the finest hotels in Hampshire. Riddell, 39, has taken charge of the Macdonald owned hotel at Boorley Green, after 18 years in the industry, having joined from Donnington Valley Hotel and Golf Course at Newbury. Now Riddell has his sights set on enhancing every aspect of the hotel and country club, which stands in 176 acres of parkland with spa, golf club and conference centre. “I aim to reposition Botley Park in the market as one of the best hotels in the area,” said Riddell. I also plan to take our restaurants to at least two AA rosette standards. “I have always loved my work but now I am really enjoying the experience of working towards major business goals within a company which has a corporate vision,” he concluded.

Developers hoping to turn a Co Down landmark into a luxury hotel have turned to Darren Clarke to create a world class golf resort. GML Estates has agreed terms to buy privately-owned Gilford Castle, its grounds and outbuildings with a view to transforming them into an 18-hole golf course with purpose-built clubhouse and luxury accommodation. The company has a £30m development scheme to transform the historic mill into a 132-bedroom hotel and said it is to invest £25m in the golf resort project. GML, which is on course to submit a planning application for the project next spring, said it aims to provide a “first class clubhouse” with a restaurant, bar, golf shop and other facilities. It also intends as part of the planning application to renovate the castle and

outbuildings to provide “some high-quality residential accommodation.” Clarke plans to turn the picturesque estate into a 18-hole championship course and a golfing academy. He said: “I want to build a championship golf course that’s fit to stage one of the biggest tournaments in the world. I would also like a course that the amateur can enjoy as well. “We have two fantastic courses in Newcastle and Portrush which are known worldwide. My idea and concept is to make Gilford every bit as good as those two so Northern Ireland would have three of the top courses in the world. “Naturally, I’m very excited about doing my first course at home, especially somewhere as good as Gilford Castle. The landscape is beautiful and we will create a stunning course.”

High profile appointments

New Horizons for Class Act as SGM do the business

The National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association has recently appointed former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance and Conservative MP Tim Yeo as vice presidents. Michael Shaw, national secretary of the NGCAA said: “We are excited and delighted that Sam and Tim have accepted our invitation to become vice presidents of the Association.”

Three deals with major manufacturers have been signed by Scottish Grass Machinery in the past three weeks, adding to the strong list of companies it already represents in Scotland. A major coup for SGM is the renewal of an exclusive distribution deal for Scotland for amenity tractors from Claas UK Ltd, following their takeover of Renault Tractors.

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Trevor Tyrrell, sales and marketing manager, Claas UK Ltd said: “We have been tremendously impressed by the sales, service and support network that SGM has established across Scotland and we look forward to a long, mutually rewarding business relationship.” A new agreement has also been signed by SGM to distribute the Shibaura range of turf care machinery.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Hubbelrath Golf Club, Westphalia, Germany

Swan Golf Designs Limited

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

t f e w

+44 (0) 1277 896229 +44 (0) 1277 896300 swangolfdesigns@btinternet.com www.swangolfdesigns.com

Master Planning of New Courses Detailed Designs Renovation of Existing Courses Design and Establishment Management Restoration of Historic Courses

Golf Management Europe January 2005

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News Vandalism a serious issue

Scotsturf success for new Ransomes Jacobsen dealer Fairways GM, Ransomes Jacobsen’s new dealer with a territory encompassing most of Scotland, experienced a very successful Scotsturf recently. Coming just two days after they began trading as a Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Scotsturf provided the perfect launch for the Fairways team. Managing director David Rae said: “We were elated with the response from visitors to our stand. With the support of the manufacturer we had the biggest

stand at the show and we were busy throughout. “This was the perfect opportunity for us to introduce the company to Scottish turf professionals and the whole event was a great success. “The stand was superb and certainly made a statement. We had the opportunity to talk to many loyal Ransomes Jacobsen customers and possible future clients and were able to demonstrate that we’re here for the long term.”

Volvo Drive the Green

All in a week’s work

Volvo Cars UK, supported by The Wildlife Trusts, is running a nation-wide initiative to educate golfers on how they can make their game more environmentally friendly. The campaign, called Drive the Green, is working with ambassador golf clubs to raise awareness and interest amongst their members of the link between golf and the environment. Golf courses are home to a wealth of wildlife from deer to natterjack toads and from woodland to reed-beds. An awareness and understanding of the wildlife around your course is important not only in protecting local flora and fauna but can also make your game a more enjoyable experience.

Temple Golf Club’s new Terra Spike XF deep aerator has proved its versatility being used to improve the playing surfaces at the 100 year old club and at neighbouring polo clubs in Thames Valley area. Martin Gunn is the course manager at Temple, a traditional members club which features an 18-hole downland course situated on chalk and flint subsoil, within minutes of the M4 and M40 motorways to the north-west of Maidenhead in Berkshire. “We took delivery of the XF from our local Wiedenmann dealer, TH White, towards the end of August and immediately put it to work on the course,” he said.

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Officials at a Welsh golf club have offered a cash reward to help catch vandals who caused £10,000 damage racing golf buggies around the greens. The decision was taken following the second attack by yobs in less than 12 months at Hawarden Golf Club. Club spokesman Malcolm Coppack said the break-in was discovered by ground staff who found the badly damaged buggies abandoned on the course. The vandals broke into a locked compound and tore around the greens. Coppack said: “Serious damage was done to the carts which were then abandoned on the course and found next morning by the ground staff. A number of people must have been involved in the incident as the carts are very heavy and had to be lifted over the security posts. “The vandals must have some local knowledge of the course which is undulating and includes many marshy areas and water features. It’s a wonder they did not seriously injures themselves,” he added. “It’s sickening to think that this incident will affect a lot of senior golfers at the club and also those who due to illness or injury can no longer play golf without the aid of a golf cart. “A lot of money has been invested in paths around the course to make golf available to all throughout the year.” The club is offering a £250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

“We hadn’t undertaken any serious deep aeration for about 3-4 years, so we started with the greens, using 12mm diameter tines at 65mm spacing. The XF delivers so little disruption to the surface and that obviously delights the members.”

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


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News Saunders gets the green light at Great Orme A former Welsh football international’s dream of building a golf course on one of Wales’ best-known natural attractions has moved a step closer. Members of Conwy County Borough Council’s planning committee have approved in principle plans for an 18hole course on the summit of the Great Orme, in Llandudno. But before getting the final go-ahead, former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders (below right) must satisfy the authorities of his plans to protect wildlife habitats, ecology and manage traffic. Officers also want more details of his plans for a twostorey clubhouse and parking facilities. The land at Parc Farm on the summit, which is enclosed by stone walls, was a golf course from 1906 to 1942. Saunders, currently first-team coach at Newcastle United, bought the land three years ago at auction. He said: “Golf has always been one of my great passions and I found out through chance that there was a golf course there before the war.” In a statement supporting the application Saunders said he did not intend the

course to be a members’ club but a venue of “national, international and even world status.” The Countryside Council for Wales, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales raised no objections. Architect for the scheme, David Williams said: “The site is an extremely dramatic one, with water on three sides and giving dramatic views in all directions over the Conwy River, Estuary and the walled town of Conwy. “Northerly views are over the Irish Sea where, on clear days, the Isle of Man and looking to the north-east the hills of the Lake District can be seen. “The whole of the Great Orme, with the exception of the 150 acres of the Farm, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, consisting generally of dry heathland. “Our initial proposals are to re-create this heathland across the site, and create a dramatic heathland course, thereby enriching the wildlife and bio-diversity throughout the whole of The Orme,” Williams concluded.

No go on fees

US buyers lead the charge

Controversial plans forcing golf clubs to pay fees to allow them to continue serving alcohol have been slammed by the National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association. New rules come into force in 2005 that mean clubs will face charges to obtain a Club Premises Certificate allowing them to serve alcohol.

US buyers are expected to lead the chase now a Scottish golf course has been put on the market for £420,000. The 18-hole course Kinloss Country Golf Club, in Moray, was developed over the past seven years by farmer Gerald Verner. But as he is retiring, and his sons are not interested in continuing the business, he is willing to listen to offers.

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Funding for new trolley Bank of Scotland Corporate has provided Brighton-based golf trolley and mobility aid manufacturer Trolltech with six-figure funding, enabling the company to manufacture revolutionary golf buggies and mobility aids. Trolltech developed an innovative product which attaches to wheelchairs and can power them up hills, and has since looked at other commercial applications for the product, including the golf cart market. In addition to the finance deal with Bank of Scotland Corporate, Trolltech has also signed a distribution deal with electric bike manufacturer Powabike enabling its prototype products to be put into production, including Golf Chariot, an innovative new stand upright golf buggy. Trolltech was set up in 1999 by managing director David Jackson, who said: “The two new distribution deal are hopefully the start of something big so be prepared to see our products on pavements, roads and golf courses near you in the future.” He said: “The sale is unusual because most golf clubs are owned by members and are private. That makes it almost impossible for non-members to get a round. Here, we have season-ticket holders, but anyone can arrive, pay to play and walk on to the tees. “I will be sad to sell as my wife and I have developed the course from scratch.”

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Super Fast at The Essex The Essex Golf and Country Club, one of The Club Company’s premier country clubs, has taken delivery of a Terra Spike XF, the latest deep aerator from Wiedenmann UK. Chris Brook, area co-ordinator for The Club Company (formerly Clubhaus) said: “We’re committed to investment in all areas of the business, especially turf maintenance. Wiedenmann claim that the XF is three times faster than comparable machines and from our experience it is!”

New name at Palmerstown

PowaKaddy powers ahead Earlier this year PowaKaddy, the powered trolley brand, announced the introduction of a new rental initiative, which allows golfers to experience the benefits of using a PowaKaddy electric golf trolley. The PowaKaddy Rental Scheme was initially rolled out on a limited basis for 2004, but interest in the scheme has been conclusive, with 40 fleets already established nationwide this year. These range from small golf clubs with the minimum two carts, to 15 at Gleneagles, right up to the largest fleet in the UK of 50 carts at The London Club.

Construction Remodelling Water Features

‘Specialist in Golf Course Construction’ Wychwood Park, Royal Birkdale Rudding Park, Gog Magog Chilwell Manor, Goodwood

Tel: 01604 468908 Fax: 01604 474853 www.deltagolf2000.co.uk 180 Ruskin Road, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 7TA

The owner of one of Ireland’s newest golf courses has signed an agreement with the PGA, Irish Section, to give their name to the course. In an inspired marketing move, Jim Mansfield, the owner of the spectacular new Christy O’Connor Junior-designed Palmerstown House course has secured a new title for the venue: PGA National at Palmerstown House. As part of the deal, the PGA will also be heavily involved in setting up the first PGA Golf Academy in Ireland on the 800 acre estate. Due to be opened in 2005, it will be staffed by PGA members. While Palmerstown House will serve as the national HQ for the PGA, Michael McCumisky, secretary of the Irish Region, confirmed administrative staff would continue to be based at Dundalk Golf Club for the immediate future. Mansfield will have spent in the region of €60m on the project by the time it is completed.

BAGCC

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Golf Management Europe January 2005

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A Helping Hand The word ‘strokesaver’ has become a generic term for yardage books the world over, but as David Bowers investigates, there are other yardage books and course guides available to clubs of all descriptions to help members find their way around your course.

ollerblades. Tarmac. Hoover. Portaloo. Jubilee Clips. Strokesaver. No, it’s not the world’s oddest Christmas

R

wish list. All five names have become so successful in their own field that they have effectively become generic terms, which is a double-edged sword. Even if you own a Dyson, you can guarantee you're still asked to “do the hovering.” Nor would you asphalt your drive, you would tarmac it. You will note the lack of capital letters here, and that is a bit of a bugbear for the manufacturers. It must be nice to carry that sort of weight in your own industry, but annoying when competitors launch similar products and trade surreptitiously on the back of your success. The first five companies listed here are often involved in advising people, in the nicest possible way, not to use the term unless it is a genuine product. Whether or not Strokesaver is set to go down the same legal route I am unsure. Page 14

But what is certain is that in just 24 years, Strokesaver has established such a brand influence in golf that the term is becoming generic, whether by accident or design. Strictly speaking, when you nip off to the pro shop with the throwaway remark to your playing partner that you’ll “just get a strokesaver”, what you mean is a course guide or distance guide. Genuine It may well be a Strokesaver. But it might also be produced by any manner of companies, and legally it is worth bearing in mind the infringements you are committing if your pro shop advertises ‘strokesavers’ when it is not a genuine Strokesaver product. Which, by a pretty circuitous route brings us to the crux of the matter: guides, cards and the like. If you have a course guide for your club, how old is it? It is worth bearing in mind that all manner of things can render your course guide obsolete. As a course matures, trees grow, tees change and the putting surface may vary dramatically simply by the manner in which it is cut. Strokesaver is arguably the market leader, with more than 550 courses worldwide being covered by the Paisley-based company. !

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Each guide is based on a thorough topographical analysis which creates high-quality hole graphics exact to the nearest yard. Every slope and hazard whether sand, water, trees, ditches or worse - is shown. As well as details of each hole, every Strokesaver also comes with a scorecard, 18-hole course map and an in-depth history of the course. PremierPlan Golf Design provides an alternative with a design leaning more towards impressive graphics. Established in 1991, the company is the fastest growing specialist golf graphics company in Europe. Providing yardage books, scorecards, photography, brochures and websites, for over 400 golf clubs within the UK alone, the company claims it is the largest producer of yardage books in Scotland, the home of golf. Customised to clients’ specific requirements, the guides are designed to compliment existing styles or uniquely produced by the in-house designers. Each yardage book will be recognisably different, a true representation of the features of each golf course and facilities. A spokesman for the company said: “The customer is in full control of the production process through the proofs supplied. You tell our artists what you want and they will do the rest. Meticulous “PremierPlan’s artists are meticulous in collecting accurate, detailed information of your course and expressing through their designs the full beauty of your golf course for others to enjoy.” C o u r s e guides come in many shapes and guises, from the standard A6 size to the smaller compact versions. Ty p i c a l l y, the minimum print run is in the region of 2,500 books, although fewer numbers can be undertaken. Naturally, the more you print, the cheaper the unit cost becomes, but at a Page 16

typical retail price of say £5, it would not be unreasonable to expect a course guide to yield a profit in the region of £2 per book. On top of that income, advertising can play a important role, as well as generating another precious form of revenue. The way in which ad space is sold varies from one manufacturer to the other, although it is important to realise that any advertising space sold by a third party will almost certainly involve a commission of some description. When The Grove opened last year, Troon Golf who manage the exclusive London establishment, turned to Best Approach to produce their scorecards and yardage books. Based in Arizona, USA, the company prides itself on the unique nature of its graphics, which it claims presents your course in the most flattering light. The elements most critical to the golfer are emphasised while still portraying the beauty and uniqueness of your course. A new concept for clubs was launched in August at Wentworth. A brand new card system called, PinPoint, allows golfers to see exactly where the hole is cut on each green, together with the yardages from front and side of the green. Wentworth is currently issuing PinPoint cards everyday to golfers using their three courses.

PinPoint, a patent-applied-for product offering a world first in accurate daily pin positions on a card system, has been developed by Sports Analysis Ltd

to meet the needs of golfers and golf courses. “In our discussions with golf course operators it became clear that more and more golfers were requesting accurate pin locations,” said Simon Roper, director of Sports Analysis. “We have developed PinPoint to meet this need whilst also ensuring that the system is easy to operate.” Julian Small, managing director of Wentworth Club said: “We are always striving to deliver industry leading standards to both our members and visiting golfers. “PinPoint has allowed us to ensure that all golfers playing our courses will receive a quality product further enhancing their experience of playing at Wentworth. Refreshing “It is also refreshing to deal with a company so focussed on quality products backed with complete customer support. We were the first people to see PinPoint and are also the first, worldwide, to launch it to our golfers. “PinPoint is a simple solution that resolves the issue of where the hole is located on the green. I know many golf courses including ourselves have been waiting for a solution to this issue. Sports Analysis, in developing PinPoint, has come up with a fantastic innovation that will become the industry standard for pin placements,” Small said. PinPoint is currently being launched at 11 courses in the UK and Ireland, with other courses lining up to introduce the product. So, how does it work? Sports Analysis creates a highly accurate geo referenced map of the golf course. This is then combined with industry-leading patented software to create the PinPoint system. New hole location is identified on the green and a GPS handheld is held over the spot and within seconds a reading is taken and transmitted back to the host system. The new location can be seen on the screen and when all 18 holes have been

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


J & E. ELY LTD International Golf Course Construction

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Golf Management Europe January 2005

49 Woodlands Road, Sonning Common, Reading UK RG4 9TD Tel /Fax: +44 (0)118 972 2257 E-mail: Ely@BTinternet.com www.elygolfconstruction.com

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FEATURE

The Club Company The Club Company has risen from within Clubhaus with renewed expectations for the future. John Vinicombe recently met Thierry Delsol (below left), chief operating officer, and Charlie Parker, (below right) managing director to discuss the companies plans.

n the tried and tested principle that you cannot keep a good man down, Charlie Parker has led a successful management buy out enabling The Club Company to embark on a £12.5m expenditure programme. The deal was completed in the early summer of 2004 whereby Clubhaus, the golf, health and fitness operator, underwent not only a change of name but new direction. The Club Company currently owns and runs seven country clubs and four golf clubs totalling over 30,000 members. There is an optimistic feeling at the company base relegating recent memories to the bin. In the darkest days Clubhaus hovered on the brink of bankruptcy; the future of the company, once so bullish, hung by a thread. However, in March 2003 trading results of the country clubs were encouraging. The warning light was compelling development opportunities remaining at four other establishments where further financing was required. Turnover was up to £11.7m from £10.8m based on the continuing activities of the 11 core clubs and the net debt reduced to £57.7m. In 2002 it was an eye-popping £103.3m.

O

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Clubhaus directors pinned their faith on developing assets into country clubs and, in a strategic review, came a first mention that a management buy out was being considered. In September 2003 Clubhaus appointed Close Brothers Corporate Finance Ltd to assist the board in reviewing all the available operations. At the same time the company announced the successful disposal of all its non-core businesses. Selling Three Rivers and The Fox realised approximately £3.75m but warned that it was unlikely a profit would be announced at the end of the year. More likely it was a case of headaches in store. In May 2004 Clubhaus’ managing director Charlie Parker, via his bid vehicle, Park Lane Holdings, led the management buy out backed by Legal and General Ventures. Shareholders were set to receive only £1.5m with bond holders splitting £14.9m - a discount of 19 per cent on notes worth £18.4m. Including consolidated net debt of £39.9m, and the value of the issued share capital, the deal valued the Clubhaus business at £56.3m. The name of the business changed to The Club Company and Parker set out various programmes.

These included a new £3.4m investment at Chartham Park, the attractive Neil Coles designed course at East Grinstead, to transform the golf into a country club including state of the art health and fitness facilities to be completed in Spring 2005. Investment The Club Company has already begun a £7m major investment scheme at The Warwickshire, with construction work getting underway in September with the ground breaking ceremony at Leek Wootton. Dutch construction company Pelikaan Construction, who have built over 800 health and fitness clubs in Europe, are the movers and shakers and handed out traditional clogs to the suited and hard hatted executive team. There is also a £0.5m extension refurbishment at The Tytherington Club, Macclesfield and £0.25m facelift at Nizels, Hildenborough finishing December 2004. At Chartham Park and The Warwickshire are gyms featuring the latest Technogym equipment including the Excite range, indoor swimming pools, studios offering aerobic, holistic and spin classes, saunas, steam rooms, spas, tanning rooms, creches and everything for the golfer.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


At the company headquarters at Castle Royle between Maidenhead and Reading, Parker outlined plans for the future and also reviewed past events leading up to the buy out. Parker, a 40 year-old chartered accountant, was joined by Thierry Delsol, the company’s chief operating officer. The Club Company have three executive directors; Parker, Bruce Stephens, finance director, Delsol and four non-executive directors. The nonexecutive chairman is Gavin Simmonds, a City banker. Charlie Parker revealed that in the £65m buy out, Legal and General had 85 per cent of the shareholding and explained: “The bond holders were majority shareholders who wanted out in 2003 and the present management team was invited to make a bid. “There were also a few other people in the race although it was very difficult to find out who they were. “We are interested in increasing our portfolio but only to combine health and fitness with a golf and country club function. That is why we brought the business. Anything of a certain quality we will look at but only in the UK. “We have had our adventures. We are English-based although Clubhaus used to have four clubs in Germany, one in Spain and one in France. We did well out of El Bosque but Germany was a disaster. “The expenses at Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt were very high and, of course, these were golf only clubs and they don’t play in the winter. “While UK business was OK our cash was being drained overseas. We managed to avoid bankruptcy. We went through various re-structuring and refinancing and we ended up buying the business. Now we are seeking to create an outstanding portfolio of premium quality clubs.

“At the golf only clubs, Benton Hall in Essex and Seedy Mill, Staffordshire we have planning permission for health and fitness so there is a lot going on,” added Parker. Graduate Thierry Delsol, 40, and also an accountant, is the French connection on the board. A graduate from business school in Paris, he worked for Clubhaus throughout his seven years in the UK and became a director three years ago. He and Parker sing off the same hymn sheet. Both are based at Castle Royle and too busy to play much golf. Parker laughingly admits to an 18 handicap and Delsol says with a smile that he plays, “very badly.” They should worry. An address in such a luxurious and ultra modern setting is more than sufficient compensation for two noses on the grindstone of revitalising a business that nearly went under. Castle Royle is members only and guests with a joining fee of £10,000 and annual sub of £1,650. This includes all the health and fitness goodies. “This has been the company base these last two years,” said Parker. “We make more money from health and fitness; in fact we have more health and fitness members than golf, just under 20,000 in total. “The 200 acres and everything we have here was valued two years ago at £15.5m. This is surely one of the best clubs in the country and is our model. “It is in the right part of the country, the Royal County of Berkshire, and appeals to the middle and upper class. They have the money and are far more stable as customers with less financial worries. “We are one-fifth of the way through a £12.5m expenditure programme and yes, we are doing well and long may it continue.”

Golf Management Europe January 2005

Page 21


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Shire and Higher It’s fair to say that The Oxfordshire Golf Club has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. Formerly owned by the Japanese Nitto Kogyo Group, the club, which is now part of the Leaderboard portfolio, is back on track. Article by David Bowers.

t’s all relative of course, but membership at The Oxfordshire is currently a snip. When the course was opened in 1993 by the Nitto Kogyo Group, it cost a £25,000 debenture to become a member. Roll forward 11 years and the facilities at the club are even better - yet a full seven-day membership now costs just £3,500 plus an annual sub of £1,600. But as you would expect from a golf club built in the boom time, therein lies a tale - and one of those members who stumped up the £25,000 debenture was to play a crucial part in keeping the club alive. It was in 1990 that the Japanese development group decided to build a course on 360 acres of farmland near Thame in Oxfordshire. Rees Jones was contracted to design the course, though his original submission to the South Oxfordshire planning committee in November 1990 bears little resemblance to the layout today. In it, he stated the need for significant tree planting, and said: “…within the course itself, trees will be used in copses to screen, frame and spatially enclose the different areas of the course, notably tees, driving areas of the fairways, and of course the greens.”

I

Golf Management Europe January 2005

However, his later description of The Oxfordshire as an “inland links” sits more comfortably with the final appearance. Jones made the most of the linkslink by taking advantage of the prevailing winds in the Oxfordshire ‘microclimate’ and constructed each of the four par-threes and par fives in different directions to mix up the challenge. Criticism But the construction wasn’t without its problems, and the company was constantly up against criticism from the Ramblers Association. The Oxfordshire Way footpath ran right through the planned Spike Bar and locker room and the Ramblers Association organised walks along this particular stretch. The builders took the precaution of providing hard hats at either end for the ramblers - a nice touch in what could have been a sticky political situation. In 1995, just two years after its official opening, the course was chosen to host two professional events: the semifinals of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, and the Wilkinson Sword Ladies English Open. The following year, those two events returned, but were dwarfed in prestige terms by the arrival of the The Benson & Hedges European Open. ! Page 23


The weather was not kind but the crowds did see some of the biggest names of the day: Faldo, Woosnam, Parnevik and Montgomerie, though, ironically given the prevailing weather conditions, it was Trinidadian Steven Ames who took the trophy. Having enjoyed such success in its first three years everyone would have expected it to be onward and upward for The Oxfordshire. Yet although the B&H returned in 1997 - when it was won by Bernhard Langer - and 1998 (Darren Clarke), there were rumblings that not all was well back at the ranch. Rumours were circulating about the poor financial state of Nitto Kogyo with suggestions from Japan that the company was insolvent. And the rumours were not unfounded. On March 10, 1999, the Tokyo District Court gave Nitto Kogyo “authorisation to continue trading for a period while technically insolvent.” The B&H was won at the club by Colin Montgomerie, but the event was then lost to The Belfry at a cost of an estimated £5m to the local economy. Concerns Financial concerns still plagued the club and English-speaking members had to rely on the Japanese management for updates as the number crunchers kept their heads down in the far east. Finally in 2001, members received a letter advising them that investment bank Goldman Sachs had bought the parent company. And to nobody’s real surprise, a year later they were advised debentures would be unable to be repaid when they fell due in 2003. The company was placed in administration with Ernst & Young, who invited bids in excess of £6m. The successful bid was that of founder Oxfordshire member Paul Gibbons, who, with his wife Jennifer, runs Page 24

Leaderboard which already owned Chart Hills, Dale Hill and Sandford Springs golf clubs. In the last two-and-a-half years, under the guidance of Leaderboard, The Oxfordshire has steadied, improved facilities and is now starting to pick up once more. Situated just 40 minutes from London up the M40, The Oxfordshire is capable of competing for corporate City business with the likes of The Buckinghamshire, The Grove, Hanbury Manor and The London Club. Revenue And the task of increasing revenue in all streams has now befallen Martin Harris, who took over as the club’s general manager only in October. A 15-handicapper, Harris looks back on 30-odd years in hotel management including five with the Savoy Group. His most recent role saw him installed as general manager at Camberley Heath for two-and-a-half years. He explained: “Moving to The Oxfordshire was like stepping up to the Premiership from The Football League for me. It’s a very prestigious venue. And it’s a challenge. “I don’t think I’m breaking any confidences if I say that it is felt The Oxfordshire has underperformed. When you look at what is available here, with the infrastructure and the golf course, there is room for improvement. “For a start we need more members. We currently have 405 in all categories, whereas 600 would be a more realistic figure. That would be the right amount for us as a club and for the golf course. We’re currently working on an annual usage of around 18,000 rounds where we want to be around 24,000. “Corporate golf is obviously a large part of our business and we need to look to increase that as well.

“We have excellent conference facilities - as good as around 95 per cent of hotels - and we need to ensure we utilise those as well. It’s an ideal location plus it also offers a large degree of peace and tranquillity.” The two-tier clubhouse at The Oxfordshire is designed so the corporate side of the business does not impinge on the golfers. The Spike Bar, which was recently opened by Michael Parkinson, pro shop and locker rooms are all on the ground floor; the conference and banqueting facilities on the first floor. “We are also an ideal venue for weddings and parties because of the separate facilities. They’re just further avenues for revenue we will be exploring,” added Harris. But aside from the obvious aim of increasing revenue throughout the club, Harris has set his heart on hosting a Tour event once again. It’s been five years since Monty walked into the sunset clutching the B&H trophy and neither the men’s nor ladies’ tours have been seen since. “We’d love to host a major tournament here again,” explained Harris. “The course was originally designed for championship golf and it’s a great venue for competition. If you look down at the ninth and the 18th greens, they’re both natural amphitheatres and you can easily envisage crowds of 10,000 walking around the course’s elevated bunkering quite comfortably. “The infrastructure is here, there’s ample car parking and because of our close proximity to Oxford, there’s plenty of accommodation close by.” In many other areas of the UK the accommodation would already be on site. But South Oxfordshire is a notoriously difficult place to obtain planning permission.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


“FOR A START WE NEED MORE MEMBERS. WE CURRENTLY HAVE 405 IN ALL CATEGORIES, WHEREAS 600 WOULD BE A MORE REALISTIC FIGURE. THAT WOULD BE THE RIGHT AMOUNT FOR US AS A CLUB AND FOR THE GOLF COURSE. WE’RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON AN ANNUAL USAGE OF AROUND 18,000 ROUNDS WHERE WE WANT TO BE AROUND 24,000.”

What the Oxfordshire does have, however, is scope for expansion. Harris said: “We do own some land that is not currently utilised by the golf course, so there is potential for further expansion - possibly the development of a further nine or 18 holes. “That could enable us to rest nine holes of the existing course, as the USPGA spec greens take a lot of maintenance. We could have a different style of course for example, possibly parkland. But that’s all for future discussion. Our priority is the here and now.” There is still a large Japanese contingent in The Oxfordshire membership - including the new Japanese ambassador. “A lot of credit for that should go to the current owners,” added Harris. “They’ve retained much of the Japanese ambience including a Japanese chef. We still offer some Japanese dishes on the menus.

“And the Japanese clientele are good for us too. They do business on the golf course, but stay to eat and carry on their business over a meal. It’s all part of the ritual for them.” That of course, is a different ethos to most pay-and-players - but they’re just as important in the long term. And the parent company, Leaderboard, is still looking to attract them. It has launched its own ‘Passport’ to increase green fee take-up in the quiet months. Take three friends to any Leaderboard course for a round, present your ‘Passport’ and you play free, subject to certain conditions. Officials think it’s a winner as all four courses are located in the south and are accessible for anybody living there. Only time will tell if it leads to an increased take-up in memberships at The Oxfordshire - but anybody who does join will undoubtedly find they get a good deal for their dollar.

Fact File Club:

Course Info:

The Oxfordshire Golf Club Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Thame Oxfordshire OX9 2PU England Telephone: Facsimile: Email: Website:

01844 278300 01844 278003 info@theoxfordshiregolfclub.com www.theoxfordshiregolfclub.com

Proprietor: General Manager:

Paul Gibbons (pictured right) Martin Harris

18-holes Par:

Par 72, 7187 yards (Opened 1993)

Members: Green Fee:

405 £50 - £60

Golf Management Europe January 2005

Page 25


PREVIEW

BTME 2005 It seems like only yesterday that we were all in attendance at Harrogate for the combined BTME and Clubhouse exhibitions doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not, it’s showtime once again, so here’s Neville Johnson with a brief insight as to what’s on offer...

arrogate in January banish midwinter blues, polish up the greens, it’s time again for the great outdoors that’s indoors. That’s one way of describing golf greenkeeping’s annual big show. Seasoned pilgrims don’t need to be told how useful a January trip to Harrogate can be. For those yet to enjoy this midwinter sojourn, do go, it’s the perfect place to blow the cobwebs off what you thought was the best way to do things. There is plenty from the big kit names to catch the eye this year.

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On top of showing latest zero-turn mowers, Gator utility vehicles and unveiling a new hybrid greens mower John Deere has details of a two year/1000 hours warranty it’s just introduced for all its equipment. For major work the manufacturer’s 4WD 20 Series tractors with fresh styling for all five models in the range have beefed up power yet lower fuel consumption. Their built-in LoadMatch system apparently makes it impossible to stall the engine and the claim for the on board MotionMatch system is that it

makes it easier to switch between tasks like loading, mowing, spraying and aerating. Toro Toro launches the Multi Pro 5700-D sprayer which is based on its Workman utility vehicle and powered by Kubota diesel engine. The 18ft 6in boom fed by 300-gallon tank is meant for large scale work. It has the same Proportional drive spray-control system - the same as for the smaller 1250 model - is geared to the drive wheels so application rate adjusts proportionately to vehicle speed. !

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Golf Management Europe January 2005

Page 27


A computerised controller is fitted and that means calibration of chemical flow is easy. Other Toro newcomers are its Fairway Groomer for attachment to Reelmaster 5000 and 6000 mowers, and the Pro Sweep 5200 core collector which mounts on to a Workman for greens and tees duties. Tees and surrounds mowers from Jacobsen worth a look are the new AR3 69cm rotary which can be used in either mulching or rear discharge mode by simply moving a deflector and the TR-3 cylinder. Both machines use the same chassis. Also a newcomer is the LF3407 light fairway mower. Iseki Another Ipswich stable unveiling is a new range of Iseki compact tractors. There’s also a chance to get a close look at Ransomes’ acclaimed radiocontrolled 4WD and steer Spider mower for tackling steep banks slopes up to 40 degrees. This has a 50 metres range, cutting width of 80cm, and forward and reverse action. For aeration work Wiedenmann’s Terra Spike XF may raise a few eyebrows. Described as providing fast and deep treatment, it can apparently aerate a large golf green in just 20 minutes. The manufacturer says it is up to three times faster than conventional aerators and the Harrogate show will be many greenkeepers’ first chance to take a look at it. It won’t be long before clubs storing over 200 litres of oil will have to comply with the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations and with that in mind Course Care’s new 1450 litre capacity fuel station is worth a look, especially as there’s a special BTME price on offer. Page 28

Groundwater Regulations are also an issue and the company’s ClearWater washpad water recycling systems are a way of complying with them, so they merit investigating too. Barenbrug Seed producers keep coming up with new cultivars and Barenbrug is launching two specifically for fine turf. Its Barlady is described as one of the most extraordinary perennial ryegrasses of all time. Grown in the UK, fineness of leaf close mowing tolerance (5mm), salt tolerance and resistance to red thread are listed as characteristics. It’s available this spring as part of Barenbrug’s BAR Extreme mixture. Developed for what it calls superior winter performance on fine turf is BarKing, a browntop bent for greens. The company says this has superb winter colour and wear tolerance. It too is available this spring within the BAR All Bent mixture. Greenkeepers wanting tailor-made mixtures for their course should talk to seed agent Rigby Taylor which is working with French seed research set-up Top Green. Elan is one new cultivar, which in combination with fescues is said to produce a dense hardwearing sward for walk-on walk-off areas. Its low crown enables it to grow well with fescue and bent on fairway and semi-rough. Another is Greenfair. Fine-leafed and with a low crown, this has a high wind-chill capability which means it has a long growing season, according to Rigby Taylor.

DLF Trifolium promises new cultivars and mixtures within its three UK seed brands Johnson’s Sport and Amenity, Techni Turf and Pro Range. It is keen to impress with details of the extensive research work it is conducting as part of Danish parent company’s £8 million breeding programme with special emphasis on minimising pesticide usage. It is working for instance with the STRI on micro clovers and overseeding, As every year there are plenty of new turf treatments. Bayer Environmental Science has a new selective herbicide, Nocweed, which it says can even be used on very young turf. It also promises a new means of weed control for pathways, car parks and around storage and utility areas and says it will be confirming a launch date for the Chafer Grub treatment it has been developing. A new fertiliser for greens and tees is being launched by Headland Amenity. Its Greentec 6+5+18 is said to contain all required nutrients in one granule and can be used for autumn or spring feeding. !

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Must be the Floratine. Turf strength is our focus David Snowden dpsfpg@aol.com 01765 658021

That’s why we added powerful antioxidants to the best biostimulants available - to give your turf even more power to be stronger, longer. Floratine is committed to exceptional value and performance in products and service. Your turf will appreciate the difference.

WHAT’S ON YOUR COURSE? SEE US AT BTME STAND C25 Yamaha golf cars are recognised as market leaders in the industry for their build quality and reliability, and to this day still remains the only golf car in the market that is designed specifically for the golf course. To back that up we have a specialist direct UK sales and service network, offering petrol and electric options and an LPG dual fuel conversion. For further assistance in choosing the best golf car package to suit your golf course requirements please contact the sales team at Yamaha Motor (UK) Ltd.

For more information or a free demo or no obligation quotation contact Yamaha on

01932 358096

YAMAHA MOTOR (UK) LTD, SOPWITH DRIVE, BROOKLANDS, WEYBRIDGE, SURREY KT13 0UZ. www.golfcars.co.uk

Golf Management Europe January 2005

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Increased potassium content boosts winter hardiness says the producer, and the inclusion of potassium nitrate means it is lower in sulphur, which contributes to Black Layer in anaerobic soils. Aimed specifically at creeping bent greens grasses is Turgor, a protective silicon product being launched by Floratine. It apparently increases a green’s ability to withstand wear, hastens recovery, and reduces marks and the likelihood of devoting. Its introduction on to the golf market follows extensive testing on football pitches and the like, notably the Rasunda, Sweden’s National Stadium. Supaturf Products is introducing a surfactant called Revolution to the UK golf turf market. It’s been on the European scene for 12 months and its introduction here follows five years research and development in the US by another company Aquatrols. The manufacturer describes it as a new class of block copolymer chemistry that’s a safe and reliable way of maintaining quality turf. It says because increased traffic plus heat and water stress push turf beyond its physiological limitations control of the rootzone is essential. The claim is that this material does just that, helping turf withstand daily abuse better, use water more efficiently, and look spectacular even at the height of summer.

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Clubs considering updating course signage may find what Golf Tee Signs is launching a worthy investment. Its new Lakes range of tee signs produced entirely from natural granite offer a maintenance-free stylish new look, which says the company is also vandal and theft resistant. There are three choices: the Kendal, an upright granite boulder, the Keswick, a round granite boulder, and the Askam, an angled granite pedestal. RainBird If you want to make better sense of watering costs a look at RainBird’s latest weather station may be time well spent. The manufacturer says it’s very affordable and lets clubs cut out unnecessary watering, so saving money, especially where mains supplied is involved. The station is designed to be used with RainBird’s central control systems and evapotranspiration (ET) rates are automatically downloaded, automatically calculating new irrigation run times based on the amount of water lost through evaporation and transpiration. It’s state-of-the-art water management efficiency it seems. It is of course difficult to do everything justice in just a single day, so either go with a specific window shopping list or, if you can, make it a couple of days away from the course. You’ll be pleased you made the effort, as there’s so much to see.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Flexibility. Easily accommodates varying application requirements. • Part and Full circle adjustability in every sprinkler. • Back nozzle capable. • Trajectory adjustment from 7 to 30 degrees • Adjustable pressure regulation • Ratcheting riser for ease of installation Lowest cost of ownership. Improves your bottom line. • Fewer parts save time and money. • Operates at lower pressures and amperage to reduce power and wire costs. • Durable stainless steel valve seat and communication tube. Performance. Superior coverage. • Precise pressure regulation— the right amount of water, where you need it. • High pop-up clears tall grass. • Unidirectional rotation ensures uniform coverage.

Flexibility. Lowest cost of ownership. Performance. Durability. Reliability.

©2004 The Toro Company.

Introducing the 835S and 855S Series Sprinkler with TruJectory™. You know that bunker that’s always getting wet? Or that tree branch that’s always in the way? Now you can address trouble spots with Toro’s patented TruJectory feature. Simply adjust the trajectory of the spray from 7 to 30 degrees and get better head-to-head coverage. Plus there’s part- and fullcircle operation in one sprinkler. Add these new features to the great ones already standard on the 800S Series sprinklers and you’ll gain the flexibility you need for better results. And you’ll get it all for the same value as your current part-circle fixed trajectory sprinklers. For more information, contact your local authorized Toro distributor or visit www.toro.com.

Durability. Built to last in tough conditions. • Debris-resistant nozzles eliminate clogging. • Riser seal protects against debris contamination. • Debris traps prevent contamination and damage. Reliability. Works every time. • Smooth rotation for extended drive life. • Greater lightning protection keeps your system working. • Internal parts are protected to maintain sprinkler operation.


OPINION

The Driving Force It’s been a good year for Club Car. Following the highly successful launch of their new Precedent golf car, Neil Woodfin discusses the future, not just for Club Car, but the European buggy industry in general.

here is no doubt in Neil Woodfin’s mind that 2004 has been a special year for Club Car and the European golf car industry in general. Club Car’s sales director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa sees the introduction of Club Car’s Precedent golf car at the beginning of this year as one of the most significant and eagerly anticipated new product launches in the company’s 45-year history. If that wasn’t enough excitement for one year, Club Car continues to benefit from the increased use of golf cars by the European golf industry. Woodfin believes the industry has seen doubledigit sales growth this year that further builds on the dramatic growth of 2003. Embracing Courses in Northern Europe seem to be joining their Mediterranean counterparts in embracing golf cars in increasing numbers. The overall industry trends that Club Car has seen across Europe in the last few years have been confirmed with some independent research carried out on behalf of the company in the UK market during the second half of 2004. Although it has a long way to go before it matches the US in the use of golf cars, the UK remains Europe’s largest golf car market, with a third of all Europe’s courses within its shores.

T

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Woodfin believes trends in the UK provide a good litmus test for the development of the golf car market in the continent’s colder climes. “In 2002, less than half of UK courses were using golf cars,” he said. Conversions “By the end of 2004 this total had grown to nearly two thirds of the country’s clubs. Further conversions are likely in 2005 as nearly half of the remaining courses that don’t currently have cars are actively considering adopting them.” Not only has the number of courses with cars increased, but also the numbers of cars per course has jumped. In the last two years the number of cars per course more than doubled. Woodfin has no doubt that this dramatic growth has been driven in part by an increase in the number of proprietary courses and increased awareness of the financial benefits of cars. “Operators highlight the income that cars provide as the single most important factor in the club converting from ‘walking’ to ‘riding’. Not that money is the only rationale for taking cars on board. “The continued trend in the ageing of members and the rise of golf societies, which have increased competition for golfer’s hard earned cash, have been major drivers for change as well.

“The need for financial reward and the increased investment in golf car fleets is increasing focus in clubs on the choice of car and manufacturer. The purchase decision is no longer left to the club professional alone. “The long-term quality of golf car product and service are under increasing scrutiny. Club Car is determined to stay at the cutting edge in key customer product values and after sales service.” Over US$40m and five years of research, design and testing went into the development of Club Car’s new Precedent car. Woodfin believes the Precedent represents the industry’s first major shift in golf car design and engineering in more than 20 years. “The Club Car team focused on key customer priorities of reliability, durability and low cost of ownership. The Precedent is loaded with features which minimise operating costs and maximise service life. The innovations include a new AlumiCore chassis, which is the only automotive ladder-style corrosion resistant aluminium frame in the golf car industry and a unique 360 degree bumper system, which provides unparalleled wrap-around impact protection. The new car also carries DuPont Surlyn Reflections body panels with moulded-in colours that resist damage and eliminate maintenance.

January 2005 Golf Management Europe


Suryln’s strength is unquestioned as it is this material that is universally used to cover golf balls. Club Car have carried over a tried and tested power-train which has won independent recognition world wide as the most reliable in the industry. The company’s engineers have also relocated service items, improved access and introduced sealed for life componentry to dramatically reduce already limited service requirements. Club Car’s research also highlighted the marketing potential that a golf car offers any club that operates it. Precedent looks completely different from any other golf car on the market, has the response and feel of a car and features innovative design elements for golfers that Woodfin and the rest of the Club Car team believe make it stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Woodfin believes that Club Car’s approach to design has succeeded as it meets the specific needs of their customer. “These innovations bear testament to Club Car’s commitment to investing in the marketplace and using customer feedback to direct our design efforts. “When we designed this car we could have looked at ways to purely reduce our costs, but we didn’t. The driving force behind this project was to meet customer needs more effectively than anyone else in the market.”

Worldwide response to Precedent has been extremely positive with a very impressive 25 per cent increase in orders in the first quarter of this year versus the same period last year alone. This year has the makings of a record year for Club Car. After a year of sales success, Precedent fleets can be found at some of the most prestigious golfing venues across the globe including Quinta do Lago, The Emirates Golf Club, Tower Links and the De Vere Belfry. Woodfin sees 2005 as a year of building on these early successes and spreading the Precedent message further. Highlight A highlight of this year for Club Car was its involvement with the 35th Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Michigan. This involvement continues the company’s association with golf’s biggest event since 1997. Club Car’s commitment to customer service has seen it’s distributor network continue to grow. In recent year’s the company has invested heavily in expanding its European network and currently boasts the most comprehensive in the industry. Continued training and raising of standards remains a priority for Woodfin. Precedent will be exhibited at BTME again this year and Woodfin hopes it will continue to draw the crowds as it did at its European launch at last year’s event.

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Page 33


Portfolio A Card Printing Evolution

Investment at Gilnahirk

DED have announced the launch of the most powerful, reliable and flexible card printers in its class, the new Zebra P330i. Based upon the world’s most popular plastic card printer, the P310, the new P330i builds on the reliability and performance of the previous model whilst adding a host of new and exciting features.

Castlereagh Borough Council have invested a further £400,000 in new turf maintenance equipment at their golf club at Gilnahirk, Belfast, in readiness for the opening of 12 new holes next spring. This latest tranche included machinery valued at £120,000 which was purchased from local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Brodericks Northern Ireland.

01797 320636

01473 270000

Alex the new Champion Alex Shore, assistant greenkeeper at Woburn, has been crowned 2004 champion student greenkeeper, after winning the prestigious Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. The award is open to the 3,000-plus greenkeepers in the UK and Ireland currently studying for industry qualifications, who have to be nominated by their colleges.

01480 226800 Automated Surveillance DED have introduced FiveEyes, the new automated surveillance software now available from NFive. FiveEyes has the power to turn any USB Webcam into an intelligent surveillance system, without the use of a VCR. Featuring the capability to record automatically on sensing movement, images are only being recorded when necessary.

01797 320636 Benefits of Deep Aeration Lely UK, the Toro distributor for the UK, has appointed Daniel Spencer, 32, to the new position of business analyst. Spencer is currently working with the company’s IT systems to provide data and analyses that will help improve the quality and range of information available to support Lely’s Toro sales and after sales operations.

01480 226800 Page 34

The New TSP1000 The new Star Micronics TSP1000 thermal receipt and ticket printer is now available from DED. Featuring a unique receipt or ticket stacker as standard, this versatile low cost printer is ideal for all ticketing requirements. Featuring a high capacity paper roll of up to 180mm diameter, the TSP1000 printer is ideal for any environment.

01797 320636 Wiedenmann sign Palmers Palmers Groundcare Ltd of Selby, has been appointed as the Wiedenmann UK dealer for North Yorkshire. Commenting on the appointment managing director Dick Palmer said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as the Wiedenmann dealer for this area of the UK. The Terra Spike range of deep aerators is the best on the market.”

0141 814 3366 Security, Reliability and Value The new Magicard Avalon colour ID card printer from DED offers proven security and reliability in a great value package designed to make batch printing as trouble free as possible. Supplied with all the necessary Windows drivers, it is simple to install and use, providing you with reliable card printing and security for years to come.

01797 320636 January 2005 Golf Management Europe


The European Leader in Leasing for the Golf and Turf Industries

Tel: 0870 164 6004 Fax: 0870 164 6009 www.mox-iint.com


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