GMé | January 2019

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On the cover...

Education City in Doha, Qatar turns to E-Z-GO as the FIFA 2022 World Cup destination prepares to open for business


ÂŁ7.50 Issue 123 | January 2019

The essential business magazine for every golf course owner, director of golf, CEO and general manager operating a golf facility

Under the direction of general manager Blyth Reid, Erinvale Golf Club, set within the Cape Winelands of South Africa, is aiming to widen its appeal


On the agenda january 2019 20


The Cape of Good Golf

Located half-an-hour from Cape Town in South Africa, Erinvale Golf Estate is surrounded by world-famous winelands and includes the Erinvale Golf Club managed by Blyth Reid.


Walsh riding high at Farleigh

As general manager of Farleigh Golf Club, Adam Walsh is a PGA-qualified professional who has taken to management like a duck to water.


Transforming TaylorMade

TaylorMade Golf have ambitious plans to transform the way in which it conducts business since new owners, KPS took over control of the global brand.


The Essence of Anahita

On the east cost of Mauritius, where the blue lagoon of the Indian Ocean gently laps against the shores of the island, lies Anahita Golf & Spa Resort... majestic, refined and unique.



London Calling for Nicoll

After spending seven years working in the UAE, Callum Nicoll has returned to the UK to take up the position of director of golf at the London Golf Club.

GMé a shortened form of Golf Management Europe is published and distributed six times per year by Portman Publishing and Communications Limited Deben House, Main Road, Martlesham, Woodbridge IP12 4SE Telephone (44) 01394 380800 |


Publisher Executive editor Contributors

Michael Lenihan David Bowers Richard Allen, Helen Heady, Kelly Ip, Jacob SjÖman, James Smith, Yiannis Tsioukanis, Steve Wilson


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from the publisher

“if I were to produce my own top 20, chances are The Belfry wouldn’t sneak in”

Golf Awards & Rankings. The World has gone mad Awards – don’t you just love them? Venues do, clearly, because they love adding some sort of flash to their marketing materials boasting that they are in somebody’s top 20 for something and somebody else’s top 50 for something else. But do they really have any credibility these days? After all, there are now, seemingly, more awards – and ranking lists – than there are venues… For example, when was the last time you stayed anywhere that didn’t boast a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence? A whole industry has grown up around this in golf in the last decade or so – and some, clearly, have much more credibility than others. My exemplar is not a personal attack on winner, nor organiser – because I enjoy the venue and, in particular, one of its golf courses – but this is a very recent case. Who, among the many thousands of keen golf travellers out there, would ever claim that The Belfry is the world’s best golf hotel? Exactly, but that was the ‘honour’ bestowed upon the venue at the recent World Golf Awards. In my role as publisher of this organ I have been fortunate to stay in many top golf hotels around the world and, if I were to produce my own top 20, chances are The Belfry wouldn’t sneak in. It’s a great place for a golf break with a very historic course in the Brabazon, but it’s not even the best golf hotel in England which was won by Carden Park.

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS The Belfry, awarded the world’s best golf hotel

GMé has, in previous years, been a media partner to one or two of this style of event. We declined to continue the partnerships because we were not convinced by the validity of the winners. All golf awards and rankings are branding and marketing exercises first and foremost, which leads to an awful lot of PR puff, with five or six different venues all claiming to be top dog in a particular category. If all the awards were credible, then, surely apart from the odd deviation where personal preference over one element would change positions slightly, all the rankings and awards would, more or less, go to the same places?

The industry knows who, what or where outperforms competitors, so please stop trying to pull the wool over our collective eyes. As an industry, we need to ensure that we retain a degree of accountability – consumers might buy into it, but we’re a bit longer in the tooth than that. GMé

Michael Lenihan

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Hold the front page E-Z-GO recently delivered the final instalment of 80 RXV golf cars, plus a further 12 Cushman shuttles to Education City in Doha, Qatar which will open for play this month.

“E-Z-GO, part of the Textron Golf portfolio of brands, has a longestablished reputation for investing in education”

Cover sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen (44) 01473 270000

6 | GMé January 2019

Qatar is a country with a unique vision for the 21st century, and is one of the few countries in the world to have a dedicated public holiday each year for sport. Established in 2012, the Qatar National Sports Day is held every February, and is designed to introduce and educate sport to the local community, with golf no exception. The aptly named Education City Golf Club in Doha is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community and forms the centrepiece of the 14km2 campus. Officially due to open for play in March, general manager of Education City, Michael Braidwood, is keen to grow the game of golf in his adopted country, and as part of his ambitious plan to create a world-class golfing destination in Doha, recently took delivery of the final instalment of E-Z-GO RXV golf cars, numbering 80 in total. Selected after a competitive tender process and evaluation of the market, Braidwood said: “E-Z-GO, part of the Textron Golf portfolio of brands, has a long-established reputation for investing in education, so it seemed a perfect fit for Education City to partner with a global brand recognised the world over for the quality and reliability of its product.

“The RXV is a great golf car, and I especially like the IntelliBrake™ technology coupled with the AC drivetrain efficiency that helps to maintain a high charge level in the batteries.” In addition to the E-Z-GO fleet, Education City also took delivery of 12 Cushman shuttles to help maintain the 33-hole complex which comprises a nine-hole, six-hole and 18-hole layout all designed by José María Olazábel. Commenting on the partnership, Nick Brown, corporate accounts manager for Textron Golf said: “We are very proud to become a partner of Education City in Qatar. It’s an exciting new development, and we have been working hard to ensure that the facility has the very best vehicles and technology to match its dynamic vision. “We have recently appointed Al Nakheel as the distributor in the area. The company has very strong relationships with key customers and is known for the quality of its personal service and back-up support. “The future of sales and support in the region certainly looks bright. “Welcoming Education City as a core partner of E-Z-GO, and Textron Golf more broadly, is a proud moment for everyone involved and one of our major successes this year.” GMé

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Sir Nick Faldo breaks ground with first Signature Design in Pakistan Six-time Major Champion, Sir Nick Faldo, was the guest of honour as ground was broken on a new Sir Nick Faldo Signature design on the site of Rumanza Golf Course, Multan, the soon-to-be home of Pakistan’s first championship layout. The Rumanza course, located within the model Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Multan residential community in Pakistan’s 5th largest city, is set to open in 2020 and marks Faldo Design’s first venture into the country, and the most ambitious golf course construction project in Pakistan’s history. Over the next 18 months, lead golf course architect, Andrew Haggar and director of design & operations, Gareth Williams, will work with an extensive on-site team who will establish Faldo’s design philosophy, prioritising golf course strategy, memorability and embracing the existing natural environment. Throughout the construction phase, the golf course will also take the most advanced environmentally-friendly measures into consideration. Faldo will return to Multan during construction in order to survey progress of a design process which will require careful collaboration with the wider project team in order to deliver a high quality, sustainable golf course experience.

Once opened for play, Rumanza will become the 28th completed Faldo Design layout within an ever-growing portfolio. A central component of the high-end DHA Multan residential community, the golf course will build upon a comprehensive health and well-being experience for residents with a strong leisure component. Locals will enjoy a range of amenities, from theme parks and extensive green spaces to state-of-the-art education facilities and heath care services, making it one of Pakistan’s most advanced residential developments.

England Golf tie-up adidas

Modry Las enjoys best season ahead of tenth anniversary

England Golf has announced that adidas Golf will be a headline sponsor of its 2019 Awards. Nick Pink, England Golf chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to welcome adidas Golf. This is fantastic news and will help us to make the 2019 Awards even bigger and better – and to draw even more attention to our outstanding winners.” The England Golf Awards 2019 take place at the Royal Lancaster London on Thursday March 21, and will celebrate all that’s great about golf in England and has become a must-attend event for everyone who cares about the sport. Andrew Law, managing director adidas Golf EMEA, said: “It really is an honour to be a headline sponsor for such a special event in the England Golf calendar. “Both adidas Golf and England Golf have a shared vision on growing the game and recognising not just the best amateur talent but also all those who work so hard for our sport across England.”

8 | GMé January 2019

Sir Nick Faldo (right) and Faldo Design lead architect Andrew Haggar on-site at Rumanza

Modry Las in Poland

Modry Las Golf Club has rounded off an impressive record-breaking season that has laid the groundwork for a special anniversary year in 2019. With bookings up and new facilities taking shape, the Gary Player-designed course will celebrate its 10th anniversary in style when it opens a new clubhouse in the summer. The Polish resort, which was officially opened by Player in 2009, has collected a host of international awards during its first decade in operation.

Sir Nick Faldo said: “We are truly honoured to be creating our first Sir Nick Faldo Signature course in Pakistan and feel a great responsibility for taking full advantage of this parcel of land which has great potential for golf. “Rumanza will represent all of the characteristics I believe make for a memorable test of golf, and will utilise the most modern practices in order to ensure longlasting environmental sustainability. “Once completed, we hope that Rumanza and its superb facilities can serve as a source of inspiration for a new generation of golfers in Pakistan, helping to grow the game.”

Now in its ninth year, Poland’s only signature course recorded a 20 per cent increase in associated accommodation bookings and a similar hike in stay-andplay packages. According to Arthur Gromadzki, chairman of Modry Las, the success has been based on the meticulous development of the resort. “For the first ten years, we focused on creating the foundations of a great international golf resort. With a Gary Player-designed championship course combined with an ingenious second nine-hole layout, we have produced a world-class sporting facility for golfers of all abilities. “Since then we have added beautiful onsite accommodation in the form of our Cottages and Garden Suites which enable visiting golfers to stay and play at Modry Las. And I am pleased to report that we recorded our best occupancy levels ever in 2018 with a lot of business coming from outside Poland.”


Club Car maintains dominance in Egypt with fleet at NEWGIZA

In brief... Golf took on an entirely different form courtesy of a group of coaches from women’s coaching initiative,, at their annual conference in St. Pancras, London. In line with the initiative’s research-based methodology of creating an engaging and unintimidating introduction to golf, the coaches were tasked in one seminar to go out and make golf appeal to a younger female audience. The home of Scotland’s only Seve Ballesteros-designed golf course has joined one of Hilton’s 14 marketleading brands and will be known as DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Golf Resort. At its relaunch, Tom Castles, North Lanarkshire’s Depute Provost, cut the ribbon to declare the hotel – formerly the Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort – officially open under its new name. Expectations are soaring for the new Clive Clark-designed Dumbarnie Links in Fife, Scotland. The course was gifted warmer-than-average temperatures and minimal precipitation over the summer, which allowed construction and grassing crews to get slightly ahead of schedule, building even more excitement for the latest golf jewel on the eastern coastline of central Scotland, within ten miles of St. Andrews, the Home of Golf. Discover Madeira, the consumerfacing brand of the Madeira Promotion Bureau, has launched a three-year marketing campaign to highlight its growing reputation as an all-year-round golf destination. At just 57km long and with a maximum width of 22km, any part of Madeira can be reached from the capital, Funchal, in less than an hour-and-ahalf, meaning golf and myriad other attractions and environments may all be enjoyed at leisure.

Egypt’s most anticipated new golf course, NEWGIZA, as well as luxury hotel, Marriott Mena House, both located within sight of the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, have invested in new fleets from Club Car, the Official Supplier to The Ryder Cup. Club Car, which has enjoyed a 100 per cent share of the golf car market in Egypt since 2012, has supplied 70 of its Precedent vehicles to NEWGIZA – a 200-acre, 18-hole golf course designed by Lobb & Partners on the highly desirable NEWGIZA real estate development that overlooks the Giza Plateau. Official Club Car distributor, Hydroturf Egypt, delivered the cars, along with ten Carryall 500 utility vehicles, one Carryall 1700 and two Onward Lifted passenger vehicles to assist with the venue’s dayto-day operations, course maintenance and customer transport. “We evaluated several brands, really testing the vehicles and pushing them to their limits,” said Amr Khaled, CEO senior technical assistant at NEWGIZA Golf Course. “Club Car simply outclassed its competitors in both performance and reliability. “Club Car’s excellent range of golf, utility and passenger vehicles also meant we could get everything we needed from one supplier. Most importantly though, it is the service and after-sales care provid-

ed by Club Car and its local dealer that are unmatched in our experience.” A new fleet of Club Car utility vehicles was also installed by Marriott Mena House Hotel, one of the Egyptian capital’s most prestigious venues. Built in 1869 at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the historic establishment has played host to such noteworthy guests as Sir Winston Churchill, former American President Richard Nixon and the United Kingdom’s King George V. Following a major refurbishment of the hotel, Hydroturf Egypt delivered a fleet of Villager 4 vehicles powered by Club Car’s IQ Plus electric engine and a new Transporter 6 to escort guests around the lavish resort, as well as Carryall 2, Carryall 6 and Carryall 500 vehicles to assist staff with daily tasks.

Club Car at NEWGIZA

Discovery strikes agreement with European Tour

Race to Dubai winner, Francesco Molinari

Discovery and the European Tour have announced a new partnership that will see GOLFTV continue to expand its portfolio and move towards becoming the established ‘digital home of golf’ for fans around the world. The wide-ranging agreement includes international multi-platform live rights, in selected territories, to all European Tour events and the next two Ryder Cups, as well as Discovery collaborating to further grow the European Tour’s digital plat-

forms, showcasing the Tour’s innovative content worldwide. The partnership will bring coverage of the European Tour and Ryder Cup together under GOLFTV, the global live and on-demand video streaming service launching in January 2019. Fans will be able to follow all the world’s greatest players, week in and week out, with a growing portfolio of content that will make GOLFTV an unmissable destination for golf entertainment worldwide. Keith Pelley, CEO, European Tour, said: “Discovery has a very a strong vision for GOLFTV as a multi-platform destination for golf and we are delighted to be combining our global reach in 2019. “Our partnership with Discovery, combined with our other broadcast deals, means that every fan in every territory will now be able to watch the European Tour. This new partnership is therefore an exciting move for us, allowing us to showcase the stars of the European Tour and our innovative content to a new audience,” Pelley concluded. | 9




PGA Catalunya ready to transform its practice facilities with Toptracer Range installation PGA Catalunya Resort, is set to become the latest golf venue to revolutionise its practice facilities with the introduction of Toptracer Range technology. The venue’s €53 million investment programme, which kicked off in 2016, is set to take its practice facilities to the next level with the introduction of Toptracer Range; becoming the first Spanish destination to do so. Transforming driving ranges into bona fide entertainment destinations, Toptracer Range combines technology and fun to create a superior golf experience for players of all skill levels. Speaking about the decision to install Toptracer Range technology at PGA Catalunya Resort, David Plana, CEO, said: “PGA Catalunya Resort is renowned across Europe as a top-class golfing destination and we are always striving to ensure that we offer our members and guests the best possible experience when they visit us. “Introducing Toptracer Range technology brings a new level of enjoyment at our practice facilities for both golfers and non-golfers,” said Plana. “We’re convinced this technology will revolu-

tionise the way that golfers of all skill sets will practice and engage with us here and further afield.” Speaking about the company’s latest partnership, Toptracer president Ben Sharpe said: “We are honoured to be working with a European venue of the stature of PGA Catalunya Resort as we

PGA raises the bar in Thailand

Sports Impact given Global Role by Galvin Green

The second PGA Members’ International Conference proved to be bigger and better in 2018 following its return to the Laguna Phuket resort in Thailand. The Conference, held from November 11-14, brought together almost 50 PGA Members and delegates from 16 countries to Asia’s finest fully integrated resort and home of the first PGA branded facility in Thailand. Attendees heard from leading figures from the golf industry who shared their experiences and passed on invaluable advice. Highlights included a presentation by highly-respected performance coach Ian Peek, while Richard Hughes delivered an engaging workshop about the impact of using modern technology. In addition, Peter Downie, general manager at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, Hong Kong, spoke about how investing at his facility has led to an increase in member satisfaction and engagement. The conference was also an opportunity for PGA chief executive, Robert Maxfield, and his management team to outline their vision and future plans for the Association.

Leading golf clothing brand Galvin Green has appointed Sports Impact – its PR agency in the UK and Ireland for more than a decade – to promote the benefits of the premium high performance garments around the world. The agency based in Greater London will take on a global role, after helping the Swedish brand grow from six per cent of the outerwear sector in Europe’s biggest golf market in 2004, to more than 40 per cent in 2018. The Official Supplier of Weatherwear to this year’s winning European Ryder Cup Team has tasked the agency with giving the brand a greater share of voice in other key markets, especially the United States, where it set up a subsidiary operation five years ago. “This extension of Sports Impact’s role is based on the outstanding work of the agency over the past 14 years and, in particular the creativity it has shown more recently in building the brand profile across various media platforms,” commented brand manager Nicholai Stein. “The Galvin Green brand is accessible in around 70 per cent of the world’s top 100 golf courses and we’re looking to work with Sports Impact to engage with

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Toptracer technology in use on a range

enter the Spanish market for the first time. “The estate is breathtaking and iconic in equal measure, so we are thrilled that we will be a part of its continued quest for perfection by helping to offer a truly world-class practice facility that matches the quality of the destination as a whole.”

serious golfers wherever they choose to play the game,” he added. Agency CEO John Collard added: “This enhanced role on behalf of one of the most respected and innovative brand’s in golf is a challenge that we genuinely relish. “Along with established links with golf and lifestyle media across Europe and the Nordics, we’re adding contacts in other markets to help deliver the Galvin Green messages far and wide.”

Nicholai Stein (left) with John Collard

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Golf At Goodwood receive GEO sustainability certification Golf At Goodwood’s greenkeeping team has realised its ambition of gaining GEO Certification for its commitment to sustainability across both The Park and Downs courses. GEO Certified is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide, designating that a golf facility has met a credible standard in sustainability across six key areas. To be eligible for certification, the greenkeeping team had to submit an extensive application that evidenced work in Nature, Water, Energy, Supply chain, Pollution control and Community. The greenkeeping team, led by sports turf and grounds general manager Phil Helmn, set out to achieve the GEO Certification knowing that it would not just safeguard the environmental future of the courses, but also be of benefit to members and customers and the local community. After independent verification, the GEO concluded that Golf At Goodwood should receive certification because of its “outstanding work to minimise impact on the environment through the introduction of biomass heating, solar panels and enhanced monitoring on water consumption.” It continued, stating that “the club has also undertaken numerous natural

environment projects providing enhancements to habitat in line with the surveys and advice commissioned by the facility.” Russell Carr, deputy head greenkeeper on The Park course, was credited by Helmn as being the man who pulled all of the resources and information together to submit the application to the GEO. He said: “We’ve introduced a sustainability ethos into our thinking with our regular team meetings and it has been great seeing each team member embrace it. We’ve been proud to see the team working towards certification and they

Quellness up their PR game

Prince’s launches Foundation to mentor junior talent

Performance54 has been announced as the sales and marketing partner of Quellness Golf Resort in Bad Griesbach, Bavaria, Germany. Regarded as one of the world’s leading wellness destinations, Bavaria is rich in scenic views, historical landmarks and the thermal springs of the Rottal Valley, famed for their healing properties. Quellness is perfectly positioned to take advantage of Bavaria’s greatest attributes; boasting five championship golf courses and three luxury spa hotels, the venue has in recent years hosted several European Tour events. “Bad Griesbach is a unique setting, home to outstanding scenery and the famed Bavarian hospitality,” commented Jed Moore, managing director, Performance54. “Golf in Bad Griesbach has been shaped by the development of Quellness Golf Resort and with the expertise of Performance54’s global team, we will be able to integrate our brand and message more thoroughly with trade partners and shape consumer perception,” said Andy Gerleigner, CEO of Quellness Golf Resort.

Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich has announced the launch of a junior foundation with the aim of bringing through the next generation of local golfing talent to elite and professional level. The Prince’s Foundation provides scholars with club membership, coaching from the team of teaching professionals at Prince’s, clothing, equipment, tournament entry and mentoring to support their development. Rob McGuirk, general manager at Prince’s, commented: “As a club that has fantastic heritage of producing European Tour, Challenge Tour and elite amateur players, we feel that it is important to give our juniors the best opportunity possible to learn and develop their skills. “I believe that Prince’s is the ideal club to fulfil your ambitions as a talented young golfer with the facilities we are fortunate to have. We would also like to thank Callaway, who have very generously provided clubs, bags, apparel and accessories.” Prince’s Golf Club, home of the 1932 Open Championship won by Gene Sarazen, boasts 27 holes of champion-

12 | GMé January 2019

The greenkeeping team at Golf at Goodwood

have almost become competitive, bringing back photos of the wild flowers and animals that they spot while out on course.” Helmn was particularly proud of the work his team had put in and said: “Work towards this certification started fourand-a-half years ago. It’s about protecting the planet, looking after our local community and working with the supply chain to broaden this thinking. “We look after an awful lot of greenery and feel personally responsible for protecting theses spaces.”

Prince’s Foundation juniors

ship links golf as well as an extensive set of practice facilities. In addition to the large driving range – which has covered and uncovered bays – the club recently invested £50,000 to renovate the shortgame practice greens, providing a worldclass area to hone your game. Prince’s currently has six boys and girls in the development program, ranging from the age of five through to 15.

people news

Movers & Shakers A brief pictorial round-up of some of the individuals shaping the golf business, including news that director of golf, Callum Nicoll, has swapped Abu Dhabi for London.







In brief... Tewkesbury Park has scooped a prestigious award in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards For Excellence 2019. The 93-room luxury hotel, spa and golf course won Best UK & Ireland Hotel for Weddings, Parties or Special Occasions in the awards ceremony, which took place on November 5 at The Mayfair Hotel in central London. The ability to host high-quality golf days gave Tewkesbury Park the advantage over the other nominated venues in the category – Tylney Hall in Hampshire and Sopwell House in Hertfordshire. England Golf is working with new partner Factory Eleven to reach out to communities and create opportunities for more young people to play, learn and volunteer in golf. The sports business, based in North Yorkshire, is supplying GolfParc equipment to clubs in four counties which are involved in a project to grow participation among young people and their families. Golf club volunteers are buddyingup to get more people to love the game. Research shows that volunteer buddies are vital in creating a friendly atmosphere to welcome new members. And two East Anglian clubs are among those which are providing the evidence. Royal Norwich Golf Club and the Links, at Newmarket, have both enlisted volunteer buddies – and they’re reaping the rewards, by attracting and retaining members. Burhill Golf and Leisure venues claimed a host of accolades at the inaugural CEA Customer Experience Awards, including winning the prestigious title of Best Golf Club Experience for 2018. Launched this year, the annual TRP (The Retention People) CEA Customer Experience Awards recognise success within their client base of health and fitness club operators.


Callum Nicoll, the former director of golf at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, has returned to the UK to take up a similar position at The London Golf Club. Nicoll, who moved to the UAE in 2009, takes up his new role with immediate effect.


Horsley Lodge recently announced the appointment of Richard Odell to the position of general manager, who joins following similar positions at Sherwood Forest Golf Club and Branston Golf & Country Club.


La Manga Club has added to its new-look management team after Jesus Pinera was appointed as the new marketing director at the Spanish resort. Pinera previously worked for Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts in Mallorca.


Burhill Golf Club has appointed Ashley Northridge as its new head of golf operations. A highly skilled PGA professional, Northridge brings more than 25 years of knowledge and experience to Burhill.


A new general manager has taken the reins at the four-star Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, in Shropshire. Experienced hotelier Brett Davidge, 45, will head up the 128-strong team at the 114-bed countryside hotel.


Steve Brine, a UK Government minister and Member of Parliament for Winchester, has been named the Parliamentary Golfer of the Year at a House of Lords dinner after Brine championed the health benefits of golf. | 13


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14 | GMé January 2019

merchandising news

Pro Shop & Retail A brief pictorial round-up of events from the retail side of the industry, including news that golf legend Fred Couples has renewed his partnership with Danish shoemaker ECCO.







In brief... Wilson Golf has extended its line-up of European Tour players with the signing of Scottish player David Law on a multi-year deal. The 27-yearold from Aberdeen, with six professional wins to his name, enjoyed his best-ever season on this year’s Challenge Tour Order of Merit to earn his Tour card for next year. He had 12 top-25 finishes in 24 events in 2018, including winning the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in June. Glenmuir is set to embrace a new chapter in their long association with The PGA by becoming a Principal Partner. The Lanarkshire-based company has maintained close ties with The PGA, which have been fostered over three decades, by extending one of golf’s most enduring relationships to the end of 2020. As part of the new deal, Glenmuir will provide staff uniforms for the 2019 Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team to face the PGA of America at Barton Creek, Texas. My Club Group has announced the launch of My Club Money, which will specialise in personal finance services for sports people. My Club Money will offer pension, investment, mortgage and wealth protection for sports club members, whilst their sport’s club will also earn a share of any fees or commissions generated for every time any business is generated or a policy is taken out. Kingsbarns Golf Links has released details of a record-breaking year at the famed Fife course. During the 2018 season, the links welcomed more guests than ever before and rounded off the impressive year by collecting two Scottish Golf Tourism awards. According to Alan Hogg, chief executive at Kingsbarns, the remarkable year can be attributed in part to the extensive media coverage secured during the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open.


Danish shoemakers ECCO GOLF have announced the renewal of their partnership with Fred Couples. “I honestly can’t imagine competing in any other shoes,” commented Couples following the announcement.


Bettinardi Golf has signed Eddie Pepperell, who 20 months ago purchased a Studio Stock 8 putter from his local stockist in Oxfordshire and has since moved from 513 to 38 in the world rankings winning two European Tour titles.


Golfers heading to Malaga can benefit from new top-of-the-range rental clubs when staying at the five-star Kempinski Hotel Bahía, in Estepona as the luxurious hotel has struck a deal with Clubs to Lease.


Galvin Green is introducing a distinctive range of carbon-inspired garments with a technical look and subtle tone-on-tone patterns for the serious golfer wanting style both on and off the course this winter.


The SkyCaddie SX500, golf’s hottest new distance measuring device, claimed its latest professional victory when Five Lakes PGA pro Gary Carter and Club Captain Nigel Popper won the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge 2018.


European Captain Catriona Matthew has completed her back room staff by naming Dame Laura Davies as a Vice Captain for The 2019 Solheim Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, on September 13-15. | 15


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greenkeeping news

Machinery & Turf A brief pictorial round-up of course management related events including news that Campey Turf Care Systems has expanded its dealer network into South America.







In brief... ISEKI has signed as a corporate partner with Golf Business International. ISEKI has been manufacturing compact tractors and mowers in Japan for more than 90 years and has had a presence in Europe for more than five decades. David Withers, ISEKI UK & Ireland managing director, said: “Having known Howard Swan and the members of Golf Business International for many years, we felt this was an excellent opportunity to strengthen our links with influential leaders in golf.” Two new machinery mechanics courses have been added to Reesink Turfcare’s training offering for 2019. The courses, Air-cooled Engines and Basic Electrics and Hydraulics, have, says head of turfcare Neil Adams, been added according to demand: “There’s so much technology used in machinery maintenance now with diagnostics tools and the like and while that is incredibly helpful, our customers are telling us they want to learn the foundation of these subjects such as how to do a complete engine strip down.” Stuart Hall has recently joined Bernhard and Company as its customer care manager. Hall, who has moved from Toro distributor, Reesink Turfcare UK, was the service manager for East Anglia, and held previous roles as a service manager for P. Tuckwell, a John Deere dealership. “We are delighted to have Stuart on board,” said Steven Nixon, director of Bernhard and Company. Secret Valley Golf Resort, Cyprus has used PBS 150 from Aqua Aid Europe to combat a lack of water caused by climate change. Cyprus is one of the hottest countries in Europe and has average temperatures nearing 30�c from June to September. During this time the average rainfall is 0mm with a small reprieve in September when it rises to 3mm.


Campey Turf Care Systems has expanded its international dealership network into South America with the appointment of – C4 Turf Care and World Sports – who will give customers direct access to a range of Campey products.


Featuring the same advanced technology as John Deere’s award-winning A Model family of fairway, rough and trim & surrounds mowers, the new 6000A Series PrecisionCut fairway machines will be launched at BTME 2019.


The TYM T393 has been chosen by distributor Reesink Turfcare to headline its TYM tractors stand at BTME because of its perfect positioning to bridge the gap in the TYM line up, from the compact utility range into the mid-duty range.


Mid Kent Golf Club’s newly appointed course manager, Darryl Manion, has committed to increasing the club’s Toro fleet with a renewal agreement and four new machinery purchases in his first three months at the club in Gravesend.


Foley United, represented by UK distributor ProSport UK Ltd, will be demonstrating at BTME later this month the ideal grinding combination for a fully automated workshop, and can be located in Red Hall, Stand 248B.


BIGGA has announced that Balmers GM has become an Education Supporter of the association. Established in the turf machinery industry since 1979, the company has depots in Burnley and a second depot in Wakefield. | 17



stay prime

“I believe technology can have a significant positive impact on any golf facility”

A Smart Solution by StayPrime India-based golf technology company GolfLan has its sights set on the UK and Irish markets with a wave of innovative solutions. Aidan Patrick caught up with their CEO, Dhruv Verma, to find out more. STAYING PRIMED CEO of GolfLan, Dhruv Verma, who added StayPrime to his portfolio in 2016

18 | GMé January 2019

The key ingredients for building any successful business are essentially simple: operational efficiency, revenue growth, finding new customers – and keeping ‘old’ customers coming back for more! Now, no-one suggests this is ever easy, least of all when it comes to operating a golf facility. But GolfLan CEO Dhruv Verma does believe that technology has a critical role to play in the development and safeguarding of the game. “Golf clubs are becoming more techsavvy all the time, but there are still many who find it difficult to identify the right technology for their business and commit to using it,” says Verma. “And that should be a cause for concern. “This isn’t a sport you play in the street, or in a back field – you need a venue. So the game must ensure that facilities stay in plentiful supply and that those golf courses and clubs deliver high levels of enjoyment and satisfaction, while remaining profitable for their owners or operators.” As one would expect from the head of an ever-expanding tech start-up, Verma is passionate about the benefits of using 21st century technology to make golf fit for purpose in a fast-paced modern society.

“I believe technology can have a significant positive impact on any golf facility,” he says, “by improving operational efficiencies, by growing revenues, by improving customer experience and by helping to find new customers. “If any club or resort makes just small improvements in all those areas, the combined effect can be transformational.” GolfLan was founded in 2011 by avid golfer Verma, who’d previously managed and launched major customer service operations in telecoms and banking with Aircel and Standard Chartered. The startup offered a subscription-based service for golfers to book tee times at partner clubs without the requirements of having a club membership. As the company grew, it was backed with over US$2m funding from the YourNest Angel Fund and the ISON information technology group, and this created a launchpad for global expansion. In July 2016, GolfLan bought Dubaibased StayPrime Global, one of the leading developers of golf cart fleet management solutions. This was followed just months later by the acquisition of Golfgreedy, South-east Asia’s leading tee time market place and this also gave the company significant traction in South Africa.

ESTABLISHED The Faldo Course at The Emirates is a StayPrime customer

Then in January 2018, GolfLan made its third strategic acquisition – Delhibased start-up Golf Centra, a golf mobile platform that allows golf clubs to have their own customised mobile app. But it is StayPrime that spearheads GolfLan’s launch in the UK. Its TeeWalker product is a rugged 5” screen smart device which can be clipped to a golf bag or trolley, placed in a golf buggy or carried in the hands of a golfer during the game. The cart-mounted Elite Pro+ has an 8” screen and provides a full buggy/cart fleet management solution, complete with cart-kill and restricted zone management. Both products can be used by golf facilities to track and manage pace-ofplay and enhance customer experience by providing visiting golfers with fully GPS-enabled, touch-screen, devices compete with course maps and flyovers. They also provide multiple opportunities for golf facilities to generate additional revenue, as golfers can use StayPrime for one-click food and beverages orders while on the course, for example. Under GolfLan’s ownership, the product has been significantly redeveloped, with major improvements to both hardware and software. Customer service has also been improved. Said Verma: “We changed the product line to include new Android based devices that are one single unit of hardware with custom software inside. The earlier product line was bespoke and assembled

on demand, but growing global demand and sales effort, a single device was needed. “We made large chunks of the main operating system independent from the other operational modules, while the device functional modules were all moved to the cloud for quick and reliable communications. “Following feedback, we also looked at customer service and this is now offered 24/7 round the year. The support team has been increased and includes qualified engineers who know the product details in depth. “Support personnel operate in different time zones to extend the service hours to courses and the customer care team responds to the ticket within 24 hours.” With the global golf cart market growing annually, this particular sector remains a key focus for StayPrime. Its products are brand independent and can be fitted to any golf cart, including ClubCar, E-Z-GO, Yamaha, ProCar, Star, Marshell and LVTong. During installation, no cart wires are cut and there is no damage to the cart in any way. The architecture and wiring of the cart remains unchanged and StayPrime leverages the additional available connection ports in the cart to connect its devices for cart movement control and battery. Devices are latest generation Androidenabled with high contrast 3D flyover videos and 2D images of the hole – 2D images for getting yardages and 3D

flyovers used to see the full layout of the current hole, as a drone’s view from above. StayPrime alone fits the GolfLan philosophy perfectly – technology that enhances a golfer’s enjoyment of the game, while delivering maximum benefits to the club. Says Verma: “I think one of the main challenges for golf facilities has been that the tech market in their space is so fragmented. There are GPS suppliers, there are cart suppliers, there are teesheet suppliers, there are third-party tee time booking merchants, there are website and app developers – the choice, at times, must appear mind-boggling. “GolfLan is unique in our ability to work with a golf club in all those areas. The only way for us to truly grow as a business is to offer easy-to-use technology, in which courses see tremendous value, but make it available from one company. “We’re doing that through constant product development, the acquisition of tech providers, strengthening our geographic reach and growing our team. “The UK and Irish golf market is one of the biggest in the world, the home of golf and visited by golfers from around the world to experience the outstanding golf facilities here. “We are now perfectly positioned to work with facilities to deliver a worldclass golf service with technology at its core – so we very much view the UK and Irish market as a global showcase to our products and services.” GMé | 19




Erinvale Golf Estate... The Cape of Good Golf Located half-an-hour from Cape Town in South Africa, Erinvale Golf Estate is surrounded by world-famous winelands and includes the Erinvale Hotel & Spa as well as Erinvale Golf Club, managed by Blyth Reid. Article by Michael Lenihan.

20 | GMĂŠ January 2019 EAGLE-EYED The clubhouse at Erinvale Golf Club (right) with Helderberg mountains in the background, and main image, the four-star Erinvale Hotel & Spa

Set within the Cape Winelands of South Africa, surrounded by the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland mountains, sits the Erinvale Golf Estate in Somerset West, just 20-odd miles east of Cape Town. Erinvale neighbours the acclaimed wine estates of Vergelegen, Lourensford and Morgenster, with the region probably more famous for its wine than its golf. Located within a wine growing area commonly known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ stretching from the foothills of the Helderberg to the edge of the Stellenbosch Mountains, this wine making region accounts for over 60 per cent of all wine produced in South Africa. And not only is the wine superb, but the prices – by European standards – are ridiculously inexpensive, with a good quality bottle of Chenic Blanc costing less than €6. And with many northern Europeans flocking to Cape Town for the duration of their winter in order to take advantage not only of the low-priced food and drink but the climate, Erinvale Golf Estate is ideally placed to cater for their needs. Temperatures between November to April range between 30°c and 24°c with on average just two days rainfall each month, so when it comes to a winter sun destination, Erinvale has a lot to offer.

Besides a Gary Player-designed golf course which is regarded by many as one of the best tracks in South Africa, the course – which opened in 1995 – sits within a gated residential community and forms the centre-point of the development, whilst the hotel and spa is located at the entrance and is ideally placed to welcome golfers, and wine connoisseurs, from around the world. The four-star Erinvale Estate Hotel which is rich in history was a farmstead before being converted into a small, boutique hotel. Featuring 57 guest rooms, the hotel retains its charm and friendliness, and was recently accepted into the Historic Hotels of the World which is part of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts network. As one would expect, the hotel has a close working relationship with the golf club, which although independent of the hotel chooses to work together in order to promote both Erinvale, and the wider Cape Town area as an all-year round destination for the discerning golfer who appreciates fine wine, great golf and the diverse culture, and natural beauty that South Africa has to offer. And this close working relationship has blossomed in recent years since the appointment in May 2017 of Blyth Reid as general manager of Erinvale Golf Club.

“With my background in hotels and five-star resorts, these are the things that I feel confident I can add improve” | 21



erinvale SCENIC SURROUNDINGS Left, general manager of Erinvale Golf Club, Blyth Reid pictured with course superintendent Greg Leckie; below right the par 5, 7th; top right the Erinvale Hotel & Spa at night and bottom right the finishing hole

“I don’t know many golfers that don’t like a glass of wine”

Reid, who has worked at Turnberry, Fancourt, The Grove, Pezula and Four Seasons Anahita Mauritius, knows a thing or two about the synergy between golf operations and hotel management, and was the ideal candidate when the resort decided to elevate its status around the world, a decision that would be of benefit to both course and hotel. “My main brief was to try and add a new dynamic to the golf club, a younger profile, more family-orientated,” said Reid. “Also, they wanted more of the five-star approach to the business, the running of the business in general. “The golf course fits inside the residential estate. We have a hotel as part of the estate, and we want to try and see that it’s more of a resort, rather than just a golf club. We want to encompass all the non-golfers as well.” Reid has inherited a layout which has two distinctly different loops of nine, with the front part of the estate winding its way through narrow fairways flanked by exquisite properties, blended with the landscape and environment. The second nine flows beautifully into the foothills of the Helderberg Mountains and eventually offers reward-

22 | GMé January 2019

ing and magnificent views over False Bay, the surrounding vineyards, olive groves and the Heldeberg Nature Reserve. The signature hole is the par five, 13th, which is a downhill dogleg to a green positioned directly in front of the mountain range and for the big hitters can be reached in two. Erinvale must rank as one of Player’s finest designs, who said during construction: “When I first laid eyes on Erinvale, I was struck by the incredible beauty of the farm and the potential for a golf course of world-class standards.” And even Reid accepts that where he can add value is probably away from the course. “When I first arrived, this great designed golf course was in excellent condition,” he accepts. “Where I can add most value is probably in the non-golfing and clubhouse experience. “With my background in hotels and five-star resorts, these are the things that I feel confident I can improve. “We have big plans to improve the overall offering at Erinvale, including a relaxed feeling café which will offer a friendlier feel to the clubhouse and a dedicated restaurant suitable for both golfers and non-golfers.

“We are actively trying to attract homeowners and social members that may not be golfers and make them feel comfortable in being part of the club – I don’t want them to feel as if the golfers are in the way, or they’re in the golfers’ way. “In the past, there may have been the perception that Erinvale was a private members’ club, and we want to change that perception. We are open to the public. Someone can come up and have lunch and dinner at the club if they reserve in advance,” adds Reid. Besides the planned improvements to the clubhouse, Reid has also invested in the club’s infrastructure, adding: “We’ve improved our golf carts, and bought a whole new Club Car fleet with the latest Visage GPS system, and these have been well received. We’ve also recently upgraded our golf booking system which has helped to streamline tee-time bookings, and now have the ability to use dynamic pricing.” With so much to do and see in the surrounding area, one challenge that Reid is taking as a priority is to improve the utilisation in the quieter winter months between November to May.

Historic hotel has charm in abundance

“It’s not so easy to attract overseas guests for our winter, because the weather is typically their summertime in the Northern hemisphere. But in the shoulder months, there is great scope to grow the business.” Despite a 12-hour flight from Northern Europe, visitors who are willing to travel in June, July and August will still be greeted with temperatures around 18°c, which can often be better golfing weather than some traditional markets in Europe that often hit 35°c and above. And when you factor in the non-golfing activities that the surrounding Cape Town area has to offer – such as Table Mountain, Cape Point and Robben Island – southern Europe suddenly looks a tad ordinary by comparison. But it’s not just southern Europe which Reid sees as competition for his business, it’s the UAE as well as South America and the Caribbean. “One of the benefits of being in the southern hemisphere is certainly the weather, and that it fits in nicely with the northern hemisphere. Their winter is our summer, and vice versa. But as a golf destination, I think the Cape Town area is as good as any in the world, as

there’s so much to do. It is a perfect base with umpteen activities to experience. Golf fits well in the mix, coupled with the beautiful wine lands in the area.” And perhaps, Reid has touched upon a key ingredient of what Erinvale and Cape Town has to offer – it’s heritage and cultural experience – which has a rich history for wine making that dates back generations. And with places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi increasingly becoming more expensive to eat and drink – a glass of wine in the UAE will typically set you back €18 – perhaps, just perhaps, Erinvale can begin to compete, especially when the same glass of wine costs around €2. “I don’t know many golfers that don’t like a glass of wine,” concluded Reid. “We’re very fortunate at the golf club to have quite a few members that own wine estates in the area, and we have their wine on our list. It is clearly a passion for our members and a natural connection.” And it’s that natural connection, not only to the wine but also to the heritage that South Africa has to offer, that surely will attract many more visitors to Erinvale in the coming years. GMé

The historic Erinvale Estate Hotel and Spa Hotel is set in the peaceful heart of Helderberg surrounded by majestic mountains, neighbouring the acclaimed wine estates of Vergelegen, Lourensford and Morgenster. The boutique hotel boasts 56 en-suite rooms, set amidst tranquil gardens and cobbled walkways, all exquisitely furnished and fully equipped with all the necessary commodities expected of a four-star hotel. The exquisitely designed guest rooms provide an eclectic blend of traditional South African design and décor with contemporary amenities and style, and offer spectacular views of not only the courtyard filled with indigenous plants, but also the magnificent mountain landscape. Seventeen07 offers an intimate dining experience with a Table d’hôte Menu delicately prepared by executive chef Stefan Bekker and his dedicated team. The Irish-styled Skelligs Pub is open daily for lunches and light dinners, and offers a relaxed, informal setting in which to enjoy a pint of Guinness or a hearty meal. The Spa features four spacious treatment rooms, a steam room, indoor relaxation area with heated whirlpool, outdoor pool and patio. The Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa is perfectly located to explore the Cape Whale Coast, Winelands and the Garden Route, and is only 30 minutes from Cape Town International Airport, 45 minutes from Cape Town and 25 minutes from Stellenbosch. | 23



jacob sjöman

“I prefer to include people in the photos; it adds a value and in my opinion golf courses should not only be shown as empty scenes”

In conversation with Jacob Sjöman Rapidly earning a reputation as one of the most respected golf course photographers in the world, Jacob Sjöman talks about how he captures the perfect picture.

THROUGH THE LENS The Lost Farm course at Barnbougle in Australia that was photographed by Jacob SjÖman (above)

GMé How did you first get interested in photography and did you study the subject at college or university? JS I’ve been interested in cameras and high-tech gadgets ever since I was a kid. I guess the goal to become a full time photographer came quite early for me and it felt natural. I’ve studied photography in college and later at university level. I still study from time to time in order to improve my game – I try to live by the simple rule that I need to learn something new every day. GMé When did you decide to focus solely on photographing golf courses, and why? JS It might come as a surprise but I am not limited to just shooting golf courses, even if it’s a big part of what I do.

24 | GMé January 2019

For example, I recently did a big exclusive photo shoot in the Bahamas with Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Patrick Reed for my client Hublot. However, I am solely focused on golf as a subject and producing outstanding content in the golf business. GMé How much preparation work do you put in for a photoshoot, and how do you work around the weather? JS I spend a lot of time preparing and try to collect as much information as possible before starting the project, and sometimes will try to make contact with the designer of the golf course if it’s possible. The important thing for me is to take everything to the next level for everyone involved, and that also requires a lot of planning and the need to think out-ofthe-box a lot of the time.

NORTHERN LIGHTS The Aurora Borealis pictured at Lofoten Links, Norway

That whole process usually starts several weeks prior to my departure for the actual assignment. I put a lot of time in my research but it pays off in the end every single time. You will always see me out on location even if it’s bad weather, since I need to be at the right place if the sunlight appears against all the odds. It can happen quite quickly, in fact many of my greatest photos were captured directly after a rain shower. You need to remember that a lot of patience is required to work as a golf course photographer and you should never rely on bad weather forecasts. They can fail and they often do. GMé What time of the day generates the best images? JS In general, I would say the best light conditions normally appear from sunrise, and last for about 90 minutes. The same can then be said for sunset, although there is a larger window of opportunity.

GMé What’s your opinion on including golfers in your course photography? Do you prefer them in, or out of shot?

I would say that the circular polarizer would (nearly) improve all of your landscape photos if it’s used correctly.

JS If it’s correctly done, I prefer to include people in the photos; it adds a value and in my opinion golf courses should not only be shown as empty scenes. However, I need to add that many of my clients still prefer photos without any golfers in them, but this kind of mindset is luckily changing.

GMé Where are you based, and do you travel worldwide?

GMé Do you add any filters postproduction, and if so, for what reason? JS I usually use a filter mounted directly on my camera lenses, and my favourite filter is the high-end circular polarizer filter from B+W. You can achieve a lot with this filter such as better looking skies, the improved look of water transparency and also removing those unwanted reflections you often get in the picture.

JS I do travel worldwide and am based in Stockholm, Sweden. So far I’ve produced and delivered photos and videos from 41 countries covering golf courses in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceanic plus North America. GMé If you had to single out just one photoshoot, what would you say has been your best and for what reason? JS That’s a very hard question to answer! The iconic photo of Lofoten Links with the northern lights above an island green earned a lot of recognition worldwide for me, and keeping in mind that I only spent 16 hours on that site was quite remarkable. | 25



jacob sjöman

CHALLENGING Ballybunion in Ireland, which proved a tough challenge, especially on the back nine

I also remember the time when I went to Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Their general manager informed me just before I visited that they had never purchased any photos from any visiting photographer, so I was a bit surprised when they ended up buying 16 photos and one edited video. That was a game changer to me since I knew that most of the world renowned golf course photographers today had been to Cape Kidnappers trying to capture photos to sell. GMé Video footage is becoming increasingly popular these days, so have you witnessed a growth in this area? JS Videos can honestly tell so much more than one single picture if you do it right, so I love that the golf business is finally starting to adopt this. It’s still a bit slow compared to other markets though. GMé You also write for golf publications, so have you always had an interest in journalism? JS I guess it comes hand-in-hand to share experiences, and I’ve always been interested in writing and sharing stories with other golfers. If you can inspire other people to go somewhere I seriously believe you should try that.

26 | GMé January 2019

Currently I am writing articles and stories on from golf courses around the world, and am also working on my third book. I hope that I can continue to write a lot in the future as well. GMé For a typical 18-hole golf course, how long does it take you to photograph the facility? JS It all comes down to what kind of quality the club is looking to achieve. Depending on available light and weather conditions I normally recommend at least a three-day site visit. This time frame is set since I travel quite far for each assignment and to set high standards for the client. However, if I would receive one day of nice weather conditions on site I am confident I would be able to deliver great quality to my client. GMé Do you play golf, and if so, to what standard? JS I try to play as often as I can, and currently play off 4, and the best score I’ve ever had was 69 (-3). My worst? Probably when I lost eight balls on the back nine of Ballybunion Old Course. A real nightmare... it was windy as hell, but still so much fun and a good memory. GMé

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A powerful 65hp compact tractor capable of lifting 1500kg at 24�, whilst being gentle on your course | 27


golf operations BAG DROP The Caddymaster or golf reception is one of the many ‘touch points’ that clubs need to ensure they get right as part of the visitor experience

Touching on how to be the Best Operator In his second article, Yiannis Tsioukanis discusses ‘touch points’ for visiting golfers, and how crucial it is to ensure that this element of the experience is perfect. ‘Touch Points’ can help separate you from your competitors and make the golfer’s experience special. We all have the same goals – to try to make the client’s experience special from start to finish – and consistency is the aim of the game. In our profession we have all been trained or informed that the ‘client is always right’ and this is very true – there wouldn’t be any of us here that haven’t had to deal with perennial complainers or just difficult clients and this will always be the case. We have ways though of minimising these by using our message to prepare the client for what is to come and how this message is portrayed is key. These are controlled at the ‘Touch Points’, which typically can be located at: 1. Arrival (Bag Drop/Reception); 2. Pre-Course (Caddymaster/Driving Range/Starter); 3. On Course (Player’s Assistant/ Halfway House/On Course Beverage Buggy); 4. Bar/Restaurant; 5. Guest Relations/Hotel (if your facility is a resort with Hotel on site). Our goal here is to prepare the team where the information provided at each ‘Touch Point’ is the same or follows a distinct pattern and this takes training and some considerable effort from everyone involved. Don’t introduce anything if you haven’t spent the time in training so the team feels comfortable and confident to put it into practice – remember they are the key ingredient as always. Each facility/ golf course will have its philosophy,

28 | GMé January 2019

ideals and expectations and this is where we can begin to lay the seed to avoid future issues. The pace-of-play is one of the biggest issues we have in golf, especially in busy times. This issue defies the level of the facility as all golfers don’t like waiting or to be told they are slow. The message begins at the first ‘Touch Point’ (Bag Drop or Reception) after the greeting you can inform each client by telling them not to worry although it is a busy day/week a member of the team will always be there to assist them in ensuring they are at the first tee on time. The second ‘Touch Point’ (Caddymaster) can be elaborated on by informing the client that there is a team member at or coming to the Driving Range to inform you when it is time to move to the tee, so relax and enjoy your warm-up. The third ‘Touch Point’ (Driving Range) the team member will engage with the client upon arrival to greet them and in conversation they will inform them when it is ten minutes before their tee time. Also if there is availability to go a little earlier would they want to? After informing the client that it is time to move to the first tee it is important to assist in getting them there. The fourth ‘Touch Point’ (Starter) then goes through the day’s and courses R&R’s along with making a special mention about the pace-of-play and how it is monitored, and advice on how to avoid it, such as overall time to play; keeping up with the group ahead; how to move from one hole to the next if there are known difficult points on the course

“Don’t introduce anything if you haven’t spent the time in training so the team feels comfortable and confident to put it into practice”

golf operations

FOR STARTERS... Bars and restaurants are important areas

PERSONAL TOUCH Customer interaction is crucial

RETAILING Yiannis Tsioukanis at Costa Navarino

and ensuring that the Player’s Assistant on course will be there to assist. The fifth ‘Touch Point’ (Player’s Assistant) will greet the client with the normal information and explain what was already stated by the Starter regarding the policy of how pace-of-play is measured. By this stage the client is on the course and has all the knowledge needed to enjoy their round fully aware if the course is busy; the tee is on time or even ahead of time; how long is expected to play; what the Player’s Assistant is looking out for and how they can get assistance if they require it. With this information it makes the client feel comfortable, yet aware and also allows the Player’s Assistant to maximise their presence. From this point on the worm turns to gathering feedback on your actions. The on-course team begin this process

by positively reinforcing how well each group is moving and asking if they are enjoying the day and the course. Upon completion of the round the Caddymaster will engage in the after round chat and ask how they enjoyed the pace-of-play again positively reinforcing if they were on time. The Bar/Restaurant can follow you by asking how the golf was and mentioning how quickly they finished their round and finally the Bag Drop/Reception can do the same as they say goodbye. Finally the Guest Relations/Hotel can chat with the client to receive a final appraisal of their experience for the day/ week. From my experience, if this is followed consistently the clients seem to improve their pace-of-play to the level needed or very close to without negative feelings and on many occasions they even boast about how quickly they went. Some will

also thank you for concentrating on this issue. This consistent message from the ‘Touch Points’ can also help in raising awareness on other positive things going on around the golf club/course to the client.. some good examples are special offers in the shop, what F&B opportunities there are for the client both on and of the course, events happening during their stay/visit and so on. All these things can help you ensure that the client feels special, minimising complaints and increase repeat visits, which usually means more revenue and success for you. By paying close attention to the ‘Touch Points’ and the uniformity of each message can do wonders in making your client feel special. I have had great success with it in the past but it needs to be consistent and positive... try it as I’m sure you will be surprised. GMé | 29



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ecobunker A civil engineer by trade, Richard Allen is the founder of EcoBunker and is passionate about designing and building bunker solutions that maintain the test of time.

Allen’s Resilience Through Engineering

“I am a civil engineer who has more than a passing interest in golf and golf course design and construction”

MAN-MADE An EcoBunker during construction at Dumbarnie Links in Scotland

During the first few early years of my professional training in the early 1990’s, my colleagues and I all knew the definition of a civil engineer which had existed since Victorian Times: ‘The aim of a civil engineer is to direct the resources of nature for the benefit of mankind.’ We can all see why features like dams, roads, railways, bridges, sewers and the like, forged from natural materials and harnessing the laws of nature are the domain of the civil engineer. But what about the construction of golf courses?

Although there is not an obvious link, at their core, I believe golf courses are pure civil engineering features. Natural land is shaped, protected from erosion principally by applied agronomy, drained and maintained for the leisure of mankind. Ever since the early 19th century when golf became more popular – leading to the need to develop courses on less than perfect sites – engineers were essential. Originally, military engineers were involved as golf spread throughout the British Empire, and in the USA the

revered golf course designer, Seth Raynor was a civil engineer. And as golf course architecture started to turn to masters of the aesthetics and strategic design, the likes of Colt, Ross and Mackenzie always worked in tandem with perhaps slightly less heralded engineers. In more modern times, anyone who has had the pleasure to play a Pete Dye creation cannot fail to be impressed by the engineering input on show. As readers might have guessed, I am a civil engineer who has more than a passing interest in golf and golf course | 31



TYPHOON An undamaged bunker after Typhoon Mangkhut hit

KOWLOON PENINSULA An EcoBunker during construction at Shek O Golf Club in Hong Kong

design and construction. But it was an architect, the aforementioned Dr Alister Mackenzie, who changed the direction of my career after I read the following opening to his 1920 book: ‘Every golfer knows examples of courses which have been badly constructed and re-arranged over and over again, and the fact that all over the country thousands of pounds are frittered away in doing bad work which will ultimately have to be scrapped is particularly distressful to a true economist.’ On golf courses today, it is the bunkers where work is routinely re-done over and over again, frittering money that hardpressed golf courses today can ill-afford to lose. I’d like to now provide an example of how applying basic civil engineering skills to bunker construction can reduce the drain on resources, and deliver better, economic, more consistent bunkers for the paying golfer. By combining a resilient and erosion proof edge, with an understand liner, it is possible to engineer a sealed tank which keeps the sand cleaner for much longer, delivering more consistent playing conditions and protecting drainage outlets from silt contamination. But how do you deliver an erosionproof edge?

Many readers will now be familiar with the stacked synthetic edge solution which I introduced nearly ten years ago. Fewer readers will however know that EcoBunker Ltd has for several years used a combination of engineering techniques to deliver a stronger and more efficient patent pending edge design. The main step forward was to structurally link a truly engineered soil backfill and foundation with a slimmer fascia. The result is that the bunker edges are typically 30-40 per cent stronger against all modes of potential failure, and transportation costs (which are high due to the bulk nature of the product) are reduced by 35 per cent. By our understanding of engineering principles we were able to deliver a better product at a lower cost. Does it work? Emphatically yes – the system has already been tested by some of the most severe storms. Last year in Florida, our installations at Butch Harmon’s Floridian short course were hit by Hurricane Irma, suffering no damage. Then, in the autumn of 2018 our EcoBunkers at Shek O GC and Clearwater Bay in Hong Kong were hit by Super Typhoon Mangkhut. Again, there was no damage to the bunkers, much to the relief and surprise of the superintendents.

32 | GMé January 2019

The superior performance of our new system has been noticed. Tiburon GC, Naples, Florida recently hosted the PGA Tour QBE Classic. This Greg Norman designed course had renovated their revetted bunkers in 2015-2016, however damage caused by Hurricane Irma prompted the club to re-think. Following liaison with EcoBunker Ltd’s US Distributor (IVI-Golf), and an examination of the engineering advantages, Tiburon decided to switch to the EcoBunker ‘Advanced’ system (as we now brand it), replacing many of the revetments in the summer of 2018, to be followed by more in the coming months. I feel very lucky on several counts. In my profession, engineers must understandably design to very high factors of safety. In my field of specialism, flooding and drainage, for example, designs must accommodate a 100-year storm event, or even more. As a result, it is very rare to see a design truly tested to the limit. However, it is highly satisfying when designs, like those bunkers in Florida and Hong Kong tested by Category 5 hurricanes and typhoons emerge unscathed. It is definitely a highlight of my engineering career to date, and to combine my profession with the sport I have always held a strong passion for is a great thrill. GMé


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in person

YOUNG AT HEART 31-year-old general manager of Farleigh Golf Club, Adam Walsh

ALL CHANGE The recently renovated ladies changing rooms at Farleigh Golf Club

Walsh riding high as Farleigh GM As general manager of Farleigh Golf Club, Adam Walsh is a PGA-qualified professional who has taken to management like a duck to water, as Steve Wilson discovers. As a PGA-qualified golf professional, Adam Walsh doesn’t get his clubs out too often these days. “Around five times a year probably,” was the Farleigh Golf Club general manager’s response when he was asked the question. “On a good day, I can still knock it round in level par and then on other days, I will shoot ten or 12 over. I can still hit a good ball, but I’m just not as sharp and my short game is the worst part of it.” To others, ten or 12 over par is the stuff of dreams but it’s perhaps no surprise his priorities are elsewhere these days. After overseeing a staggering six-figure profit increase at the Surrey course in his first year at the helm, he has plans to continue Farleigh’s surge into 2019 and beyond. As golf courses up and down the land struggle to find the formula to turn a healthy profit, Farleigh – the sister course

34 | GMé January 2019

of Foxhills – appears to be bucking that trend. He said: “I would guess we were up there as one of the best-performing golf clubs in the UK last year, based on our percentage increase. I would certainly be confident in saying we are one of the fastest-growing golf courses in the country having increased by six figures in the past year. “We’ve got a large food and beverage business – worth more than £1m. That’s great but golf is far more profitable and we’ve increased the golf revenue enormously.” His ability as a golfer may have been overtaken in recent years after landing the appointment as general manager at the age of 29. Now 31 and with different career ambitions to those when he first started his association with the sport, he is focused on taking the Surrey venue to new heights.

HANDS-ON General manager of Farleigh Golf Club, Adam Walsh tries his had at driving a John Deere 5075E

With 27 holes designed by Ryder Cup legend John Jacobs, there is variety in abundance with three separate ninehole loops, which can be played as three different 18-hole layouts. The 350-acre venue is also set in a tranquil environment with deer and pheasants sharing the surroundings, although the view across to Canary Wharf underlines the close proximity to London. There is always a balance to be struck in attracting golfers to a club which is aiming for high standards, but without alienating visitors or prospective new members. But there is a middle ground and Walsh is determined to find it. He said: “I want Farleigh to stand for informal excellence.

“We want a relaxed atmosphere, but we still want the quality. “Some private members clubs are very formal and have the highest quality, while other venues are very informal but don’t have the quality we are looking for. I want to be able to spin both plates. “When I came here for the first time, I noticed straightaway that it’s a cool, modern place. But that doesn’t mean the golf course comes second – it is the absolute priority, but it can still be done in a relaxed way. “We are forward-thinking but with an absolute dedication to quality. We’re not cheap, but we are excellent value.” After success in his previous position at Batchworth Park in Hertfordshire, Walsh joined Farleigh in May 2015 after

realising his career path was more suited to management. He said: “Every single golfer, when they are 18 or 19 and starting their PGA qualification plans on playing as a professional. The reality is that if you have to work to keep your head above water, it’s very tough to find the time to practice as much as you need to get to that standard. “I don’t really think the playing thing was ever going to be an option. The vast majority of players on Tour had significant financial support to enable them to practice full-time. For many up-andcoming players, that is just not a reality. “Actually, I still miss it as I love to teach golf but I wanted to develop my managerial skills. | 35



in person

HOMEWARD BOUND The view towards the clubhouse at Farleigh Golf Club

“We will always look to be making marginal gains and we don’t want to get to a point and then stand still”

36 | GMé January 2019

“It was a better career opportunity and I felt I could influence more around the golf club. I felt I could make a bigger difference by becoming GM. “There can be tough days. But they are more than compensated for when you get great feedback on our offering, whether that is for the golf or in the clubhouse. “It’s a challenging role but I’m a very competitive person and I like to succeed.” A golfing background still continues to be an important asset as he puts his stamp on a club which has had several changes of ownership since its formation in 1997. And although he is undertaking course improvements from a general manager’s perspective, it’s a huge benefit to be able to look at it through a golfer’s eyes at the same time. He said: “I think it helps – 100 per cent. It gives me a little bit of credibility among golfers and members. I genuinely love the game and it really helps when it comes to setting up the golf course in terms of what you want to see and how the course plays. “The main thing is trying to make the club more member-focused. I want it to be playable but I also want there to be a high level of visual impact, presentation and to detail the course a lot more. “Golfers ‘eat with their eyes’ just as much as people do when they go to a restaurant,” continued Walsh. “If the course looks attractive, generally, I think they will have a better expe-

rience and of course, we want to make sure our playing surfaces are in top condition all of the time. “Architecturally, I think the course is very good already. We are not looking to redesign anything but we will always look for ways to progress. “The playing surfaces are fantastic and we have always had good greens. The fairways are getting better but it’s now the visual impact, which we have been working on for the past two years.” Walsh, who is set to complete his qualification from the CMAE, has also visited some high-profile venues to broaden his knowledge, including Sunningdale, The Wisley, Valderrama, Royal Adelaide and The Olympic Club in San Francisco in recent times. And he is also overseeing significant investment into the club’s progress with the driving range revamped in 2018 and the purchase of £550,000-worth of greenkeeping machinery set to increase the standards to an even higher level. He said: “We’ve made really good strides. We hosted the PGA Assistants Championship in 2018, which was our first national final. That is testament to what we’ve done with the course but we are still in the process of improving. “With £550,000 invested in new machinery, I think it really shows that we are very serious about trying to improve the quality of the course. “But I don’t think we will ever be satisfied. We will always look to be making marginal gains and we don’t want to get to a point and then stand still.” GMé


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“Being easy to do business with and getting orders right the first time are just as important as the marketing of the product”

TaylorMade aims to Transform Service As James Smith writes, TaylorMade Golf have ambitious plans to transform the way in which it conducts business, since new owners, KPS took over control of the global brand.

NEW IRONS The new P760 irons from TaylorMade

38 | GMé January 2019

TaylorMade Golf have been busy transforming their service operations at their Basingstoke head office as they assemble some fantastic new service initiatives which the company claims will improve the ease of how they do business with retailers. 2018 was a massive undertaking to reverse out of a huge machine like adidas and now under new owners, KPS, they will be using their specialist expertise to help transform their customer service. TaylorMade Europe managing director David Silvers said: “We’ve had a lot of support from our new owners KPS, and fantastic co-operation from adidas. Our sales are up in every region in the world, in every product category through the bag. “The positives are our retailers can see that we are still investing in innovation,” added Silvers.

“We’re still investing in launching new products in a big way, investing in driving people into store, and investing in making sure we’re validated by the best players in the world. Ultimately these are the things that help them sell more products at a greater margin. “But there have been a few teething problems. Operationally the biggest problems have been around the M3 and M4 launch. We underestimated the surge in demand when we lifted the embargo on Twist Face. “The embargo lifted early-January, the product released in February, and the order book went through the roof. The capacity we needed to ship product in that next six-week period was much greater than we had anticipated. “At the same time, adidas used to ship our soft goods for us. The plan was always for that to come into our Basingstoke warehouse but there were

INVESTMENT The impressive new manufacturing facility in Portsmouth

some practical challenges that we weren’t expecting. “The combination of the soft goods coming into the warehouse and the demand for the M3 and M4 meant we had to ship four times as much product in a four-week period than we ever had before – we were shipping 24/7 for a month. “We had delivery problems and the paperwork problems that came with that. This wasn’t acceptable to our retailer base. Then we quite rightly got a snowball effect of phone calls and it becomes hard to resolve everything for everyone at the same time. “Being easy to do business with and getting orders right the first time are just as important as the marketing of the product,” continued Silvers. “Ultimately, we hand the product over to retailers to sell and we want them to want to sell our product. To do that we need to be reliable, trustworthy and easy to do business with.

“We’ve invested a lot of money in to our service transformation. We want to flawlessly execute our launches next year, and I’m very confident we will do that. We know we’re going to grow again, and we’ve got great products coming next year. “We’ve been true to our mantra of relentlessly pursuing innovation and next year’s product is measurably better than the product it replaces in our ‘M’ metalwoods, irons and our premium golf ball. We know there will be a surge in demand and importantly we have to do a lot of our business in a short space of time.” Being easy to do business with is a key criteria for any modern business, so Silvers together with his team set out on a process of service transformation which involved investing in three key areas... custom orders, product availability and distribution. “We’ve embarked on a top-to-toe evaluation of our custom order process,”

explained Jesse Otis, operations director at TaylorMade. “Our efficiency has increased massively already and is providing a better quality of build than we’ve ever done before, while 70 per sent of iron sales this year have been custom. We want to surpass every other manufacturers custom order process in quality of build and speed of completing the order.” So how have TaylorMade achieved that? They’ve invested. Firstly, in a third new Bullseye digital loft and lie machine at the cost of a $250,000 which allows TaylorMade to open a further two production lines, making for six in total. As a result, TaylorMade’s custom order business grew 20 per cent in 2018, and are already forecasting a 35 per cent increase this year. “Golf is seasonal,” said Otis. “There is four times as much custom production in May as there would be in December, so we’re offsetting these fluctuating staff levels by bringing more of our stock | 39




ANGLED APPROACH An iron during the manufacturing process

“We are anticipating growth in the business next year, and this gives us flexibility”

40 | GMé January 2019

clubs in to the UK in component form, so that the production lines can be kept busy in the off season, and we can keep a bigger base of permanent staff. “You never know how hot a product is going to be until it is unveiled to the public,” explained Otis. “We have recently added a new stock procurement tool that recognises trends and will allow us to react much faster to changing demand for products. David talked about investment, and this single tool has cost $760,000. “We are providing our team with the information so they can predict what is going to happen, and to be proactive before any issue arises. We want to be able to have proactive conversations with our retailers and not reactive ones.” A team from KPS Consultants have helped TaylorMade shape and transform the distribution process. “They have helped unlock the potential of the people,” explained Otis. “The team have daily targets, and a single complaint about a custom order triggers an investigation into where in that production line that problem arose,

and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “One example would be a set of clubs that came out at the wrong length. The clubmakers no longer have to manually work out the maths, instead the order is automated. They are no longer able to cut the shafts unless the correct jig for the shaft cutter is scanned into the system. We’re removing human error wherever possible.” To further improve their service TaylorMade are opening a new 90,000ft2 warehouse in Portsmouth that will be four times the physical size and capacity of the Basingstoke warehouse. Hard goods will still ship out of Basingstoke, but soft goods, accessories and golf balls will ship out of the new warehouse. “We are anticipating growth in the business next year, and this gives us flexibility. For example, we are keeping deeper stock of shafts to make sure we don’t have problems arise with custom orders. We can now hold that stock without it causing capacity issues at Basingtoke,” concluded Otis. GMé

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Exceptional & Tantalising... The Essence of Anahita On the east coast of Mauritius, where the blue lagoon of the Indian Ocean gently laps against the shores of the island, lies Anahita Golf & Spa Resort... majestic, refined and unique. Words by Kelly Ip, sales and marketing manager at Anahita Golf & Spa Resort.

42 | GMĂŠ January 2019 MAJESTIC An aerial view of the Anahita Golf & Spa resort (main picture) and right, the Ernie Els-designed course at Anahita

Set amongst 213 hectares of tropical gardens and surrounded by an Ernie Els designed 18-hole golf course, Anahita Golf & Spa Resort is nestled on the east coast of Mauritius. Whether you stray from your stunning abode or choose to indulge in the numerous activities on offer – including two championship golf courses – Anahita offers an array of options, including strolling along the beach; enjoying a dip in the beautiful lagoon or exploring the rich underwater world of the Indian Ocean on an exploration dive. And if that wasn’t enough, why not nip over to the secluded Ile aux Cerfs island which is a mere paddle-boat away. Mauritius has a rich heritage and a cuisine unique to this part of the world, with visitors to Anahita invited to experience the authentic Mauritian charm with its unique accommodation, diverse culinary experience and dedicated service in a breathtaking natural environment. At Anahita Golf & Spa Resort, guests can enjoy a vast range of the most sought-after activities including two exceptional 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer respectively. Opened in 2007, and set between the land and the sea, the challenging Anahita golf course designed by Els is a 6,828-

metre, 18 hole, par-72 championship course with large fairways and five sets of tees. Built to USGA standards, it was the first golf course of its kind in Mauritius, and was host venue to the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open last month that was won by American Kurt Kitayama. Carefully woven into the tropical sanctuary of Anahita, the course is set against the lush Bamboo mountains and fringed by a vast crystal-clear lagoon. Featuring generous fairways and six stunning ocean front holes, the par-five, 18th hole culminates in a final shot that is among the most spectacular in the world. Weaving through rocky outcrops and trees, and punctuated by the red and orange foliage of native flame trees, designer Els said: “One of the strengths of this golf course is we were able to maximise the visual impact of the surrounding scenery, but at the same time preserve the coastline’s natural beauty. “The hole-routings move in and out of the trees, along the water, and back, giving players great variety and magnificent views of the ocean.” There is also the Anahita Golf Academy which specialises in improving the game of guests at all levels of ability, from complete beginners to scratch players.

“One of the strengths of this golf course is we were able to maximise the visual impact of the surrounding scenery” | 43



anahita GOLFERS PARADISE Left, the Ile aux Cerfs golf course with the Indian Ocean in the background; below left, the stylish Vu Bar & Jetty; right, a prestige villa complete with private swimming pool, and below right, the Origine Restaurant by night

“The hole-routings move in and out of the trees, along the water, and back, giving players great variety and magnificent views”

Whether your goal is to learn the game, lower your handicap or win a club championship, the Golf Academy can help you with your ambition. Opposite to Anahita Golf & Spa Resort and only a five-minutes by boat is Ile aux cerfs – an 18-hole golf course designed by Bernhard Langer. Often described as a wonder of the game, this par-72 championship golf course has natural undulating topography, volcanic rock outcrops, lakes and gullies, and a variety of tropical trees and plants. All the 18 holes have views of the ocean relevant to the most desired and highest international standards. The Ile aux Cerfs Golf Academy is dedicated to creating outstanding golf learning experiences. The Golf Academy Studio offers the finest outdoor and indoor academy facilities with a state-ofthe-art, air-conditioned learning studio featuring the most innovative golf-training technology available today. The facilities and programmes especially designed to improve your golf includes video and computer analysis of your swing, instructions on practice techniques and course management and free equipment evaluation.

44 | GMé January 2019

Golf is complimentary on both courses which includes the green fee and 55 practice balls, with golf cars available for a supplement. One hour golf initiation is also offered daily to resort guests. Besides the two world-class golf courses, Anahita offers an exclusive beach experience on its two beaches coupled with boutiques, a personal fitness centre, tennis courts, kid’s & teens club, water sports centre and clubhouse. A complimentary boat shuttle to Ile aux Cerfs is available daily every 30 minutes. The Anahita Spa by Thémaé Paris aims to bring a wealth of sensations, with nine private treatment rooms including one double with interior or exterior showers, steam room and two nail bars for manicure and pedicure. As one would expect of a five-star lifestyle resort, the accommodation at Anahita is stylish, comfortable and welcoming. Located alongside the opening hole of the Anahita golf course, the one-bedroomed Junior suites are elegantly decorated with a pinch of Mauritian warmth. Each suite has its own covered entrance, a kitchenette with dining coun-

ter, a cosy living area and a veranda with seating area offering a view across the beautifully landscaped garden and overlooking the first and ninth holes. Lavishly furnished Prestige suites – each featuring a spacious living area, deluxe kitchen and a large terrace with fabulous views – are also available. Suites have one, two or three bedrooms, luxury bathrooms and a private infinity-edge plunge pool, with views of either the golf course or ocean. Situated in front of wide golf fairways, the one to three bedroom Deluxe villas align elegance and intimacy. Each villa has bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a modern kitchen with breakfast counter which looks over a spacious living area. The floor to ceiling glass doors look out onto a covered dining veranda, seating area and landscaped garden with private swimming pool. Prestige Golf Villas of one and two bedrooms have been exquisitely conceived to provide a modern and enhanced living experience in a light and fresh setting. Inspired by our island beauties with coral and floral patterns, their earthy neutral decoration depicts the essence

Anahita is the essence of Mauritius

of tropical living. Each villa has its own entrance with an inner courtyard, a living space and an open kitchen with wet kitchen to the side, a veranda with comfortable seating and dining areas and a private swimming pool and private garden. Luxury Prestige Villas of three to five bedrooms featuring private swimming pool, contemporary fitted kitchen, outdoor patio or veranda with private garden. Situated on the golf course, the three and four bedroom villas offer a golf view whilst the five bedroom villas offer a sea view. Culinary delights are never far away at Anahita, with the main restaurant offering an interactive culinary experience with its open kitchen concept in an elegant and cosy atmosphere. In the morning, a sumptuous breakfast is offered with both international and local specialities and a delicious theme of the day during evenings. At Signature, the fine dining restaurant, the chef takes you on a discovery of his innovative Mauritian specialities, which have been inspired by the local produce and different cultural culinary influences.

At the beach restaurant Bliss, enjoy stylishly revisited Mediterranean and Mauritian cuisine which will delight all the senses. And Il Forno offers a romantic dining experience for lovers of Italian food, but ensure that you dress smartly as shorts and flip flops are not accepted in the evening. Sugar – the aptly-named coffee shop – serves a range of delicious pastries, cakes, coffees and teas throughout the day, or for something stronger, VU Bar offers a range of cocktails or light snacks. With the lagoon and Ile aux Cerfs in the background, the beach bar is the ideal meeting place where guests can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere during the day, and chill-out in the evening whilst listening to a DJ or live band. Just 15 minutes away, Domaine de l’Etoile offers a wide selection of activities including quad biking, horse riding, buggy rides, hiking and zip lining. Anahita’s offsite restaurant is also situated there to enjoy the taste of Mauritian cuisine (live cooking and à la carte) for lunch in a natural and gorgeous scenery. As a destination, Anahita has everything for the discerning golfer looking for a place to learn, rest and play. GMé

Set amongst 213 hectares of tropical gardens and surrounded by an Ernie Els designed 18-hole golf course, Anahita Golf & Spa Resort is one of the best five-star Mauritius hotels, and is nestled on the east coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Experience the authentic Mauritian charm with its unique accommodation, diverse culinary experience and dedicated service that has set Anahita apart from the competition. Enjoy a vast range of the most sought-after activities: two exceptional 18-hole championship golf courses designed by Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer, exclusive beach experience on its two beaches, boutiques, personal fitness centre, Anahita Spa by Thémaé Paris, tennis courts, kid’s & teens club, water sports centre, leisure parks at Domaine de l’Etoile and Ile aux Cerfs. For families, The Ourspace kids club welcomes children from eight months to 12 years and provides several activities with babysitting facilities. Furthermore, the Escape Teens club provides a selection of daily dynamic and fun activities to the teen guests. And if watersports is your thing, visit the Quayside Boathouse for a variety of motorized and non-motorized sports including snorkeling, hobbie cats, fun boats, lasers, windsurfs, kayaks, stand-up paddle, pedal boats and water-ski. Head to the exciting Adventure Park at Ile aux Cerfs and enjoy unique treetops attractions, accessible for both adults and children, with free boat shuttles available on an hourly basis. | 45




TRADITIONAL The interior of the London Golf Club

NEW DIRECTION The clubhouse at London Golf Club

London Calling for Scotsman Nicoll After spending seven years in the UAE working at The Els Club in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Callum Nicoll has returned to the UK to take up the role as director of golf at The London Golf Club. Article by Helen Heady. Scot Callum Nicoll joined the London Golf Club in west Kent as director of golf last October, following a couple of months on a temporary assignment to the club that boasts two Jack Nicklaus Design courses, The Heritage and The International. When asked to stay on a full-time basis at one of Kent’s finest golf clubs, Nicoll had no hesitation in taking up the position. “What attracted me to stay was the forward-thinking and the innovative nature of the club which ensures that there are no real barriers to anyone who would like to join as a member or come and enjoy the club, whether it be for golf or for social events,” says Nicoll. “Our plans for the club for 2019 will very much focus on continuing our ‘inclusive’ policy, encouraging the community and juniors from local clubs to come and play, increasing the

46 | GMé January 2019

number and the range of golf and social events on offer and further enhancing the service levels at the club which are already very high. “Our ultimate aim is to continue to provide a premium member and visitor golf experience.” A great deal of what Nicoll is seeking to implement was learned during a seven year stint in the UAE. Firstly in 2009 he worked at The Els Club in Dubai where he held three positions from retail manager to golf operations manager to head professional. More recently he was director of golf at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club where he was responsible for the golf and leisure operation at the club, which included 27 holes, night golf, and a membership of 600. At both venues, each and every touch point of the golf club experience was 100 per cent service-orientated.

HOMEWARD BOUND New director of golf at the London Golf Club, Callum Nicoll has returned to the UK following a seven-year stint working in Abu Dhabi

“Here at the London Golf Club we pride ourselves in the service we offer. We want to continue that and further improve, keeping our brand at the top level of industry leaders,” added Nicoll who is a qualified PGA professional and currently holds a CMAE Club Management Diploma. “We also want to be as inclusive and welcoming to the non-golfer as we are to the golfer, so I’m looking to translate my experiences in the UAE where the golf club can be the centre of the community

providing a very welcoming atmosphere,” continued Nicoll. “Whilst golf, and our membership is clearly our core business, the club has successfully created more non-golf activities such as kids’ clubs, family days and social events to attract a wider audience. We are already a successful corporate and wedding venue; however, we are always looking to complement these income streams.” Nicoll will also work closely with the team to enhance the retail offering in the

pro shop, although he admits that the current offering is already at a very high level. Nicoll’s experience working at the Turnberry Hotel on the west coast of Scotland early on in his 15-year career in the golf industry, as well as his time at The Els Club and at Abu Dhabi will no doubt prove useful in achieving both these aims. In addition, Nicoll is looking forward to working on the 2019 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship which returns to | 47




INTERNATIONAL The International Course

HERITAGE The Heritage Course at the London Golf Club

the London Golf Club next August after its successful 2018 debut at the Kent club. “My three years working alongside IMG on the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will hold me in good stead for the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship as the Abu Dhabi event provided an incredible off-course offering for non-golfers as well as for golfers. “I plan to translate this experience at the PGA Seniors and in particular will look to attract new grandparents and importantly their grandchildren to make it a fantastic day out for the whole family.” The second staging of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Golf Club will mark the start of a year-long period when Kent will be in the golfing spotlight as a number of notable golf tournaments head to the county that is fast becoming recognised as one of England’s premier golfing destinations. For Royal St George’s will of course host The Open Championship in July 2020 for an incredible 15th time whilst Littlestone will host The Junior Open a little further down the coast near Romney Marsh just the week before the Major returns to Kent on the 18th occasion. Just before the 149th Open Championship Prince’s Golf Club, adja-

cent to Royal St George’s, will play host to a field of golfers vying for the final spots in the only major outside the USA at Local Final Open Qualifying. “I am looking forward to being based at the London Golf Club over the next few years as there are going to be so many great golf events taking place in the county,” continues Nicoll. “Whilst Scotland is of course home to many fantastic golf courses, Kent’s strong tradition of staging prestigious tournaments, both amateur and professional, is testament to the quality of the layouts here in the Garden of England.” Royal St George’s has of course hosted The Open Championship an impressive 14 times, the first back in 1894, whilst neighbours Royal Cinque Ports was the venue to this prestigious major in 1909 and 1920 and Prince’s staged the event in 1932. The nearby courses at Littlestone and North Foreland were chosen by The R&A as Final Qualifying Courses for The 2011 Open Championship whilst Prince’s has been selected as a Local Final Open Qualifying venue from 2018 to 2022. Prince’s also co-hosted The Amateur Championship with Royal St George’s in 2013 and 2017. In order to build on the legacy of hosting the 2011 Open Championship, London Golf Club and a group of Kent’s finest golf courses linked up to form

48 | GMé January 2019

‘Golf in Kent’ to promote the destination to national and international golfers. “With my experience of golf tourism in the UAE, I am also keen to become involved in the ‘Golf in Kent’ Partnership and attract more visitors to our clubs. “Kent after all has one of the finest stretches of championship links in England with the trio of Royal St George’s, Royal Cinque Ports and Prince’s and also Littlestone a little further down the coast. “Then there are the clifftop gems at North Foreland and Walmer & Kingsdown – known as the Club on the Cliffs – and the parkland layouts at Hever Castle and Leeds Castle, Harry Colt’s course at Canterbury and of course our two Jack Nicklaus courses. Together we have created a strong golf offering for the travelling golfer. “Moreover the county is well placed for golfers arriving internationally via the London airports of Gatwick, Heathrow and City and can be easily accessed from Europe via the Eurotunnel and ferry port at Dover.” Golf in Kent is also eager to showcase the off-course attractions of the county that range from castles to cathedrals, gardens to historic dockyards, bustling seaside towns and medieval villages as well as a thriving restaurant scene and growing reputation as a producer of fine wines and local beer. GMé

P r e m i e r A l l - We a t h e r S u r f a c e s f o r G o l f

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signing off

“Golf commentary has always maintained a fairly amicable relationship with the English language”

Let’s try to not turn English into Manglish As a young lad facing my ‘options’ at school, I chose to pursue ‘typing and shorthand’, as I wanted to be a journalist. I was told in no uncertain terms that the course was for girls – my argument that it was a prerequisite for a journalist cut no ice. Growing up in Portsmouth my careers’ advice was limited to ‘have you thought about joining the Navy?’ – which, presumably, was why they still allowed me to do needlework, what with all those tall sailing ships in the 1970s. Despite being hampered at every turn by my local education authority I eventually achieved my ambition after wasting a number of years doing other jobs – though, to be fair, my socks were always darned wonderfully. So it’s no surprise that I love the English language, however difficult, inconsistent and frustrating it is on occasion. I’m not a language Luddite, though. Oh no. I have been known to split an infinitive; start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘because’; and even – whisper it quietly – finish a sentence with a preposition (though I do struggle to sleep for several nights afterwards). However, I do object to the current trend, prevalent among sports commentators, to make the language even more incomprehensible by mixing nouns and adjectives. For example: the definition of ‘range’ is ‘the area of variation between upper and lower limits on a particular scale’ – which means that, in football, ‘shooting from range’ tells the listener/viewer absolutely nothing.

50 | GMé January 2019

QUEEN’S ENGLISH Passionate about language

The same goes for ‘distance’ (the length of the space between two points). It needs an adjective to make any sense, eg, long range, close range etc … But these have apparently fallen out of favour with commentators, particularly in football – though it has been used in reference to putting. The same applies to ‘form’: a team is now apparently on ‘a run of form’ … well, if they’ve played more than one game I imagine they are. What we need to know is whether it’s ‘good form’, ‘poor form’, or merely ‘indifferent form’. My main concern is what seems to have originated in football seems to be spreading into other sports. Golf commentary has always maintained a fairly amicable relationship with the English language, but similar

mangling appears to be making an appearance. I don’t wish to appear curmudgeonly, but if golf reporters sink to the depths of their football contemporaries – who already have me pulling out my hair – I will personally burst into the commentary position and slap them round the back of the head with the largest available copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. GMé

David Bowers

The support from Jacobsen for The Ryder Cup was phenomenal. The course was put into the hands of experts, which showcased Le Golf National as one of the best courses in the world. Paul Armitage, General Manager,,

Le Golf National

To arrange a demo on your course, please contact your local dealer. Š 2018 Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc.

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