Page 1

The leading business magazine for the pan-European golf industry

Golf Management

performance driven As many golf clubs continue to struggle, GME seeks independent financial advice on how best to manage your operation, whilst increasing profitability and performance.

E u ro p e

Goodwood... UK £5.00 Eur €7.25 US $9.25

Ralph Lauren opens for business, as the launch of ‘Golf at Goodwood’ swings into action. July 2006

page 18

Preferred supplier to The 2006 Ryder Cup.

Š 2006 The Toro Company

They count on us... So can you.

Along with superb golf and tight competition, what makes the Ryder Cup Matches so memorable are the stunning landscapes where championships are contested. The dedicated teams of managers, superintendents and greenkeepers who create these lush, challenging courses count on Toro — and so can you. The same equipment, irrigation systems and support Toro provides to its partners on PGA European Tour sites is available to golf courses everywhere. Whether large or small, new or old, every golf course with the desire to provide memorable golf experiences has a willing partner in this pursuit: Toro. Count on it.


World Cup fever the way forward for Ryder Cup OK we admit it – this edition of Golf Management Europe is late. There were no badgers eating junction boxes at Byfleet East – those were Reggie Perrin’s excuses. Ours is quite simple: the FIFA World Cup. We were caught up in the emotion and tension of the whole affair. And so were many millions of people all across the world, but especially, of course, when it came to the semi-finals, the Europeans. Four European nations; one goal – and it was Italy who triumphed in memorable circumstances: memorable if not particularly auspicious issue 49 circumstances for Zinedine Zidane. credits; Millions of people watched the World Cup final play out its drama editor on tv in the UK. But sadly, when the Ryder Cup comes around – John Vinicombe one of the few sporting events which can rival the World Cup for contributors drama – a large percentage of those same sporting fanatics will David Bowers Neville Johnson miss out on the action. The reason of course is that Sky Sports Trevor Ledger has the rights to golf’s blue riband event. Rob Wright The FA Cup Final and the World Cup final are just two events that the UK Government deemed worthy of safeguarding to ensure they could be enjoyed by the masses and not merely the privileged. Millions can not afford the luxury of Sky TV – they are priced out of the market. Golf Management Europe And that may not bother them every day of the year, for Suffolk Studios it is possible to live without Blackburn v Portsmouth 284 Ravenswood Avenue on a cold and wet November Sunday. But when it Ipswich IP3 9TQ United Kingdom comes to national – and in this case continental – telephone sporting pride, is it right that so few should witness 0870 241 4678 the spectacle? (overseas +44 1473 274956) facsimile The arguments put forward by the satellite broadcast01473 274874 ers have been heard a thousand times and, to be fair, email they hold water on most occasions. However, the Ryder Cup is a one-off – it should be protected like internet the FA Cup Final and the World Cup final. And while it may not be appreciated by some, Test All rights reserved. match cricket is not in the same league, not even No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any the Ashes series. There are five or six Tests every form without written permission season; the Ryder Cup comes round every other from the publisher. year, the World Cup final every four years. Whilst due care to detail is taken

cover story 7

steve jolliffe 14

publisher Michael Lenihan administration Sharon O’Connell print Colourspeed

to ensure that the content of GME is accurate, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors.

© Portman Publishing and Communications Ltd 2006

czech republic 16

royal liverpool 23

Perhaps when the Government first sat down to decide which events should remain in the ‘public domain’ the Ryder Cup wasn’t quite as prominent on the radar. But now it’s a huge, global event – and the next time it comes up for discussion the powers that be should think seriously about protecting it, not just for the nation, but for the continent.

Golf Management Europe July 2006

Page 3

News KPMG predict more growth

The Club Company acquired by Boundary in £96m deal

KPMG predicts steady growth in the golf industry in Europe, with over 3,000 new golf courses to be built in the next 15 years, with Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries displaying the most spectacular expansion. This was revealed at the third annual KPMG Golf Business Forum, held at the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel in Cyprus last month. The two-day event, which brought together 210 delegates from 31 countries, awarded Gary Player the first ‘Golf Business Forum Lifetime Achievement Award’. A KPMG analysis revealed that Europe, Middle East and Africa have over 4.2 million registered golfers and approximately 6,750 golf courses, with Europe having an obvious dominance. In recent years, approximately 1,000 new golf courses have been established annually worldwide. Europe has seen continuous growth in the past twenty years – the average annual growth of demand was six per cent, and the average annual growth of supply four per cent. Based on projected domestic and golf tourism demand, KPMG estimates that by 2020 the number of golf courses in Europe will grow from the current 6,292 to approximately 10,000 and the number of registered golfers will reach 7 million, from the current 4.1 million.

Lead Story Legal and General Ventures (LGV) have announced the sale of The Club Company Limited for £96m to Boundary. The Club Company operates 11 golf and country clubs in the UK, including The Warwickshire, Castle Royle and Nizels, near Sevenoaks. The clubs are predominantly freehold or long leasehold. The country club format offers members a full range of facilities including golf courses, gyms, swimming pools, spas, sauna, health and beauty, crèche and function rooms LGV acquired The Club Company for £57m in a public-to-private transaction, when it took Clubhaus plc off the market in May 2004, backing the incumbent management team. Since then LGV has supported the business in the development of new health and fitness facilities at Chartham Park, The Warwickshire and Benton Hall. Commenting on the deal, Bill Priestley, managing director of LGV said: “We are delighted with our investment in The Club Company.

“When we acquired the business, we were attracted by its high quality asset base, its differentiated product and the opportunity to undertake new developments at several of its sites. “Working with a first class management team, we have successfully developed the business along these lines and we wish them and Boundary every success in the future.” Thierry Delsol, managing director of The Club Company said: “Based on the solid foundations we have established under the period of Legal and General Ventures ownership, we are looking forward to continuing to develop our business with Boundary. “Our aim has always been to offer our members wonderful facilities and an excellent experience in our clubs. Boundary is committed to supporting the Company in this quest. “The combination of high quality assets, a fully dedicated team and the financial support of a new investor will enhance the success of The Club Company.”

Oulton Park make-over

Child’s play the way to go at Hermitage Family Golf Centre

De Vere Hotels and Resorts has announced a £7.5m revamp of Oulton Park Golf Course in Yorkshire. The 12-month redevelopment will include a new two-storey clubhouse featuring a restaurant, a golf retail outlet, new changing rooms and new golf services including a bag drop and a golf concierge.

The UK’s first golf course built specifically for children opened officially in June. The 12-hole Hermitage Family Golf Centre in Edinburgh was built with the aid of a £200,000 Lottery award. It is part of the Scottish Executive’s drive to encourage more youngsters to play golf, a project to which 129 clubs have already signed up.

Page 4

Lying on 14 acres of converted grazing land, the course is also aimed at beginners and disabled people, and offers free club hire and no dress code. The 12 holes range from 60 to 250 yards and snake around a clubhouse. Construction of the complex began in September 2003 and cost £600,000 by the time it was complete.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Terra Spike the one for Purdy Scott Purdy, head greenkeeper at Ashbourne Golf Club in the Peak District, has recently purchased a Wiedenmann Terra Spike XP6 to help with his turf maintenance regime at the 120-year old club. The new machine will be used extensively on greens, tees, fairways and approaches to help improve drainage and relieve compaction. Purdy, who heads a team of four, has worked at the club for 16 years, the last seven as head greenkeeper.

It’s no yoke for members at Kames

Otocec opens for play Slovenia’s ninth golf course, designed by Ljubica Jovetic of Swan Golf Designs, is scheduled to open its first nine holes later this month. Located close to the Croatian border, Otocec Golf Club features large greens, exciting carries over valleys, stunning mountain views and varied tee locations. Jovetic, a Croatian national and the only woman in the membership of the EIGCA said: “I am proud to see the region of south Central Europe recognising and

now realising the potential of the game. In Slovenia, our renovation and restoration work at Golf and Country Club Bled, perhaps our most famous and prestigious Club, will set alongside the new course at Otocec very well. “I look forward to returning to my country to design the three golf resorts and communities being planned there.” The opening of the nine holes at Otocec this year will be followed by the building of the second nine in 2007.

Members have been forced to delay the opening of their new course after a bird laid four eggs in the first bunker. They were looking forward to a round at Kames Country Club, Lanarkshire, which has been extended from nine to 18 holes. A planned opening ceremony was delayed after greenkeepers discovered an oystercatcher had nested in the first sand trap. As the bird is a protected species, the eggs cannot be moved. Helen Howitt, from the club, said: “We have no idea what to do about this bird because we’re not allowed to move it and we don’t want people hitting it when they play the course. In the meantime we’ll just have to put off the opening until this bird decides it’s time to take off.” Oystercatchers are wading birds which usually nest on shingle and rocky beaches, dunes, salt marshes or shingle banks of rivers and lochs.

Why do it 18 times, when once is enough? ! The World’s Number One Battery Filling System is now available in Europe. Kits made to order for any Electric Mower, Golf Car or Turf Vehicle.


Easy to Install Simple to Use Saves Time, Money, Risk

First impressions count, so make the right one with our new range of designer scorecards.

Call Buggy Protection Systems on 44 (0)7940 505969 or find us at

The Battery Filling System in operation at The London Golf Club

Golf Management Europe July 2006

0870 241 4678 Page 5

News NGCCA backs changes to Right-To-Roam legislation The National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association (NGCAA) is backing the Scottish Golf Union’s call to change right-of-way legislation so that nongolfers stick to footpaths and off course fairways and greens. NGCAA support follows discussions in May between the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on golf and club secretaries focusing on the 2003 Land Reform Act. Since the Act was passed, ramblers have had enhanced rights-of-way across Scotland’s courses. National secretary for the NGCAA, Michael Shaw, said: “We are now living in a ‘blame and claim’ culture and cannot simply allow people to roam freely across golf courses. “Despite the provisions of the Act making ‘acting responsible’ mandatory and the Codes of Practice introduced to reinforce this, nevertheless golf courses remain surprisingly dangerous places. “There are many health and safety issues associated with giving unrestricted access to non-golfers, not least the risk of serious injury caused by a golf ball being mis-hit or driven off line. “There are other issues including the potential for serious damage being done to the course, which could cause a person to trip or fall, and for example,

the unpleasant issue of dog mess left behind by irresponsible dog walkers - a known health and safety issue.” The NGCAA is in agreement with the SGU and proposes that non-golfer access is managed, rather than completely restricted. “Designated access points for nongolfers should be determined and safe pathways clearly marked,” continued Shaw. “Simple measures such as these would enhance safety for both golfers and non-golfers. “Proper risk management is the key, and considering that the vast majority of courses throughout the UK are subject to public rights-of-way, golf clubs and their managers are experts in effectively managing these health and safety issues, thus making a comfortable and safe environment for all entitled to be there. They deserve to be heard. “Proposing changes to the current right-of-way legislation is not based on people disturbing the game of golf. It is much more important than that. It is about reducing the risk of needless accidents and ensuring that Scotland’s courses continue to attract golfers from around the world and generate hundreds of millions of pounds each year towards the country’s economy.”

Top expert at Roadshows World-renown turf expert Dr Karl Danneberger, of Ohio State University, was the keynote speaker at a series of Turf Management Roadshows organised recently by Scotts. The events were held at Alwoodley Golf Club, Leeds; Wentworth; Celtic Manor; and Marriott Dalmahoy, Edinburgh. During his presentations, Dr Danneberger revealed the latest information and research findings on Scotts’ revolutionary new turf growth regulator Primo MAXX. This included work at Ohio State University, which he said has shown cytokinin levels in turf increase with successive applications of the product possibly as a result of increased root mass through the summer. Cytokinin has been shown to help with drought tolerance.

Mid Suffolk approve plan Mid Suffolk district councillors have voted unanimously to grant permission for a new nine-hole pitch and putt course and driving range in Onehouse, near Stowmarket - despite substantial opposition from residents. The development will create a new driving range building and landscaping, and the committee was advised landscaping would be created, which could include new trees and hedgerows. Residents opposed to the expansion told councillors it would be unsuitable and that the beautiful area of agricultural land should be preserved. Villagers also feared the local minor road already had problems with speeding traffic, and this would add more traffic. But Mid Suffolk district councillors approved the plans, subject to string of conditions including landscaping to be provided, no floodlighting installed and the hours of operation to be agreed. Page 6

Glenmuir extend relationship Golf leisurewear manufacturer Glenmuir has extended its sponsorship of the PGA Club Professional Championship to a record 15th year. The Scottish company, already the PGA’s longest running championship sponsor, have also been the preferred supplier of shirts and knitwear to Europe’s Ryder Cup team since 1987, enjoy a strong relationship with many of the PGA’s 7,000 club pros, both in Britain and Europe. July 2006 Golf Management Europe


Goodwood Estate Co Ltd Goodwood House, Goodwood Chichester PO18 0PX England Telephone: 01243 755000 Facsimile: 01243 755005

Goodwood launches its unique golfing experience

Cover Story Goodwood is delighted to announce the official opening of “The Kennels”, “Ralph Lauren at The Kennels” and “Golf At Goodwood.” The opening marks the conclusion of a two-year-long project on The Kennels building and new Ralph Lauren shop, and a three-year project to launch Golf at Goodwood - a new style of golf club membership which has been launched at the Sussex club. Originally designed in 1787 by leading architect James Wyatt and built to house the 3rd Duke of Richmond’s hounds, The Kennels is the new year-round ‘home from home’ for all Goodwood Members horseracing, motor racing, golf and flying. It is a beautiful Grade I listed gem that has been totally renovated and restored to mix classical Georgian architecture with a modern interior. Within The Kennels there is a restaurant with outdoor terraces, bar, drawing room, a large meeting room with state of the art equipment and private dining room, as well as locker and changing rooms, shoe cleaning facilities and buggy hire for the golf members. Open all year round, the emphasis in the restaurant is on locally produced, seasonal food and natural ingredients with the beef, lamb and pork from Goodwood’s organic “Home Farm.”

Also launched is a new Goodwood club called The Kennels and membership (£150 annually) is available to anyone who would like to enjoy this year-round facility and is not already a member of one of the other Goodwood clubs. Adjacent to the original building and created using the same traditional Sussex flint exterior, Ralph Lauren has opened a unique lifestyle store called “Ralph Lauren at The Kennels.” Open to all Goodwood Members and their guests all year round this 1,000 sq.ft new space houses the designer’s high-end luxury sporting lifestyle attire across the golf and sports collections for both men and women. The store’s interior reflects the structure’s exterior materials including the pale earth tones. A feeling of luxury is retained through a commitment to leathers, woods, carpeting and case lining of the highest quality. Oversized chairs in sumptuous leather, finely woven raffia case lining, stunning photography and elegant props all convey the luxury synonymous with Ralph Lauren and complement the surroundings and culture of Goodwood. “Golf At Goodwood” is also now officially launched. A traditional downland golf course designed by five-times Open winner, James Braid, in 1914, the course has been considerably enhanced and

Golf Management Europe July 2006

upgraded with new holes, bunkers, an irrigation and drainage system, new buggy tracks and landscaping, and in 2006 has been awarded a rating in the top 100 courses of the UK and Ireland by the definitive Golf World Guide. Although continuing to be a Members’ Club, it now offers a new style of membership with far more flexibility. There is no traditional joining fee, only a nominal annual membership cost (£150) and a minimum number of “Goodwood Club Credits” (50 for £200). Fifty Goodwood Golf Credits gives you ten rounds at “Peaceful” times or five rounds at “Peak” times with the calendar split into three different periods depending on the time of day, day of the week, and time of year. These are known as “Peak”, “Popular” and “Peaceful” times and each costs a different amount of credits. Credits can be purchased in bundles of 50, 100 or 300 and are only available to Members. The more golf a member plays, the less the rounds cost. When members want more they will simply top up, enabling them to be part of an exceptional golf environment at whatever level best suits them. Finally, watch out for the new Goodwood “Woody Buggies”. Never one to do the expected, Lord March has taken the traditional golf course buggy and transformed it into a one-off Goodwood Woody Buggy, complete with side wood panels, convertible roof, wicker champagne basket and floral seat covers, all modelled on an original car designed by his grandfather, the 9th Duke of Richmond, in the 1930s.

Page 7

News Express Dual for De Vere

Knowles looks to Toro for complete package at Burhill

Bernhard and Company, manufacturers of Express Dual and Anglemaster, have been chosen as the preferred supplier of grinders for the De Vere Group courses. Leading facilities such as Dunston Hall, Carden Park and Cameron House will use the range of Bernhard products including the new Rotamaster 4000, Rapid Facer and Rapid Thinner. Kevin McColm, golf course manager at De Vere Dunston Hall, said: “We are well impressed with the quality of cut since using Express Dual and Anglemaster. “When you don’t have grinders you don’t know what they can do for you. The presentation and playing quality is greatly improved and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the members or our guests either.” Sam McLean, director of sales and marketing at Bernhard, said: “We are delighted to sign a new agreement with the De Vere Group. This relationship has delivered excellent results in the past and we know that this further development of the partnership will prove beneficial for both parties.”

Toro has secured a five-year preferred supplier agreement with the Burhill Group for both course machinery and irrigation. The deal includes eight of the group’s golf courses in the UK, which range from private members’ clubs to pay-and-play golf centres. Group courses superintendent Hugh Knowles says: “We chose Toro for the high quality of its equipment, and we wanted to bring in both machinery and irrigation under one agreement.” All sites have taken delivery of their course machinery, which comprises mainly fairway and greens mowers and utility

vehicles. “We’ve had some very positive feedback about the power rollers which fit on the fairway mowers,” adds Knowles. “They distribute the grass clippings to avoid clumping in damp conditions.” Irrigation installation is also well underway. “A Toro system for tees, greens and approaches, with Toro Trident controller, has been successfully completed at Hoebridge Golf Centre, in Surrey,” commented Knowles. “We’re confident that installation at the other clubs will proceed as smoothly.”

Flags stolen from course

LykiaGolf Antalya starts to take shape in Turkey

Thieves have stolen flags worth more than £300 from two Scarborough courses following an overnight raid. A total of 12 flags were found to be missing by greenkeepers when they arrived at work at both South Cliff and North Cliff golf clubs. Seven flags on the cliff-top holes, worth £245, were taken from South Cliff, while in two separate incidents five flags to the value of £175 were stolen from the North Cliff course. North Cliff club secretary Jean Lloyd said the course had been vandalised on several occasions and flags went missing all the time. “It’s an ongoing thing that has just become routine,” she said.

LykiaGolf Antalya, which will be the first Links Course in Turkey, is currently under construction and is scheduled to open for play in May 2007. Built on a 100 hectare site, LykiaGolf will have two courses, including an 18 hole Championship Course which will be 6,527 metres long (par 72) and a ninehole Academy course which will be 1,254 metres (par 27). Both courses have been designed by Perry Dye who along with his father has designed over 300 golf courses worldwide including San Roque. There will be no water hazards on the Championship course but on the short Academy course hole seven will have an island green.

Page 8

The Championship course will have Links style bunkering and big waste bunkers. LykiaGolf will be situated near the River Köprüçay alongside the Mediterranean coast within the province of Antalya, the seventh biggest province of Turkey with a population over 1.5 million. Attila Silahtaroglu, board member of LykiaGroup and in charge of the LykiaGolf project said: “This is a huge investment for LykiaGroup and by designing and building a world first in Turkey we want to push both Turkey and the resort to the top in the world of Golf as well as placing LykiaGroup amongst the leaders in tourism in this country.“

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

More investment at Don Valley As part of their five-year rolling replacement programme Sheffield International Venues has taken delivery of a further £300,000 worth of golf course maintenance equipment supplied by local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Palmers Groundcare. This latest equipment includes turf utility vehicles, fairway mowers, ride-on aerators, wide area semi-rough and rough mowers, and tees and surrounds mowers. A selection of machines were assembled at the Don Valley Stadium recently.

Young Buck takes over at Knole Park

Links course may need to move inland

Knole Park Golf Club is located within 1,000 acres of outstanding ancient parkland, which is also home to the finest deer herd in the southeast of England. Maintaining the playing surface is always a difficult task, but it was with some reluctance that head greenkeeper Gavin Kyle decided it was time for his ageing Wiedenmann P160 deep aerator, after 12 years of sterling service, to take a backseat. Kyle saw no reason to change manufacturer as the P160 had provided over a decade of exemplary service performing the onerous task of aerating and relieving compaction on the course. “The P160 has been superb; although we haven’t retired it, we have replaced it with the most modern version, a Terra Spike XP160, to perform most of the aeration tasks on the greens, tees and fairways,” he said.

Bosses at one of Scotland’s oldest golf courses have been asked to move it inland, because of coastal erosion fears. Angus councillors said part of Montrose Golf Course has to be realigned because of increased sand dune erosion. Officials warned the issue at Montrose beach was posing a public safety risk and that increasing tides would make the dunes more unstable. The local authority has now decided that their officials should ask the golf course operator Montrose Golf Links, the world’s fifth oldest course, to relocate its second and third tees. A major coastal protection scheme for Angus area has already been ruled out, as it would not qualify for government funding. Such a move has also been opposed by Scottish Natural Heritage on the grounds that it could affect a protected coastal site at St Cyrus.

“We are now into our second season with the XP and it’s performing very well. To set it up is quick, it’s easy to use and together with a New Holland tractor it makes a great combination.” Kyle believes that aeration is a much undervalued task, which is seen by some golfers as an unnecessary disturbance of their playing surface. “However, it’s a vital element of my turf maintenance regime”, he added. “It keeps the surface open, encourages root development and relieves compaction to help create a better surface. “The P160 will only be used for fairway work in future, but by using both machines I can get the task done quicker.”

Per “4” Max: Chlorophyll and vegetative reproduction

Carbon N: Moderate and consistent growth

Renaissance: Rooting, colour and cold tolerance

P.K. Flight: Stress Tolerance and energy

ProteSyn: Strength Building David Snowden +44 7799 036996

Golf Management Europe July 2006



t +44 (0) 1277 896229

f +44 (0) 1277 896300

Page 9

News GPS course mapping without permission deemed ‘lawful’ The National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association (NGCAA) is advising that course mapping without permission for use on new golfing GPS devices is lawful, but clubs should be aware that manufacturers appear willing to negotiate fees for the privilege. Since the launch of the new devices, concern has risen that club revenue generated through the sale of yardage books may be significantly reduced and eventually, lost altogether. Michael Shaw, national secretary at the NGCAA, comments: “The satellite measuring technology is relatively new and still has a period of trial and error to go through. “During this time, manufacturers will be keen to ensure that their technology evolves to offer the greatest accuracy possible. This can be achieved by working closely with clubs and sharing their knowledge,” he added. “Taking this approach could provide clubs with an alternative source of income to compensate that lost through reduced yardage book sales.” Growing in popularity, the new GPS measuring devices have provoked mixed response across UK courses. Shaw said: “The Royal and Ancient have approved the use of GPS devices, however it is subject to appropriate local rule being made permitting their use. “There has been much speculation as to whether the gadgets infringe any rights protected by law.

“In particular, clubs where the course has been mapped and made available to users of the GPS devices are questioning whether their rights have been violated. “Argument has been made, that similar to unauthorised photography, measurements of a course cannot be taken without the owner/club’s permission. “There is now no law to prohibit the taking of aerial photographs of property and therefore, taking the measurements of a course from an aerial photograph falls into the same category.” There are approximately 1,266 UK GPS course maps now available and claims that the technology can help improve a golfers’ game and speed up play. Shaw continues: “It is early days and the devices have attracted mixed reviews. Golfers have criticised the accuracy, speed and price of the technology, whilst others are questioning how the devices will affect the grassroots skills and professionalism of the game. “Clubs do have the right to impose a local rule banning or restricting the use of GPS devices. However, before taking any such action, we recommend that clubs consider member opinion and balance their views with how a ban or restriction may impact on revenues.”

Ballards Gore snapped up

Environmental concerns cause re-think for Trump

The corporate team of Berg Legal has advised Southend-based Julian Innell on his recent £2 million acquisition of Ballards Gore Golf and Country Club near Rochford, Essex. The deal, which was funded by Halifax Bank of Scotland, sees Innell expand his portfolio of leisure businesses to include the 110 acre golf club, which employs over 50 people and is one of the longest courses in Essex having opened for play originally in 1980.

Donald Trump’s plans for the “world’s best golf course” to be built in Aberdeenshire have been put back. The US billionaire’s proposals for the Menie Estate were due to be submitted by the end of May, but they have been held back because the late winter delayed work by his environmental team. Donald Trump’s right hand man, Ashley Cooper, said they are determined to get the project right, so they are not concerned about the delay.

Page 10

End of an era for White The British Association of Golf Course Constructors has announced the retirement of David White, its long-serving secretary cum public relations officer. Coming from a career in sports journalism and bringing with him a passion for golf, its history and architectural development, White insists now that it is time for him to pursue his other great obsession; restoring and driving classic Porsche sports racing cars. “I regret not being active in the BAGCC during the balmy period of golf course construction in the seventies,” White said, “a time when every golf course constructor and architect boasted full order books and, quite often, waiting lists. “Things are different now, with much more construction work being undertaken in mainland Europe, though there remains a demand for older courses to be refurbished and hazards repositioned to keep pace with ever-increasing length from the tee.”

The delayed assessments are a crucial part of the planning application after the RSPB raised concerns over the impact of the development. Despite the RSPB’s fears, Cooper pointed out that they were talking about “hitting golf balls, not shooting birds.” There are also concerns about the project from Trump himself, that views from the estate may be compromised by the recently revised proposals for a nearby wind farm.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

.. Course Control?

The GolfMate's flexibility for use with motorised carts, walkers and

trolleys as well as the ability to help with speed of play issues during the busy summer months made it a smart management decision General Manager Conleth Roche and the Moonah Links Board of Directors

Do you know what is happening out there? Buggies cruising along, players slowing their pace, congestion at tee-off; all course managers recognise these issues all too well. It all comes down to how to better manage your players when they are out on the course. GolfMate is a course management tool that gives you control and a complete overview of your course, as well as revolutionizing the game for your players!

 GolfMate for players

GolfMate reports tracking data back to you.

With the GolfMate solution, you provide your

Although GolfMate tells the players when they

players with a personal golf assistant. GolfMate

are not keeping pace, you always have the

shows the player the distance to the green, points

option to send a flight a message, or even visit

of interest and allows the player to interactively

them on the course without having to search for

measure any other distance required. Combined

their exact location.

with the Pro-tips and the easy to use scorecard,

 Course management

GolfMate has a significant impact on the whole golf experience.

 GolfMate for managers

GolfMate has been developed for both course managers and players. GolfMate gives both parties the tools for a better golfing experience.

One of the main advantages of telling players

Besides happy golfers, GolfMate gives you:

where they are is that you know as well.

 Exact location of players/groups;  Course analysis;  Pace control of players/groups;  Direct




your EyeOn Golf B.V.

golfers;  Integration





The Netherlands

reservation and POS system (optional);  Additional




Boompjes 542, 3011 XZ Rotterdam,



+31 (0)10 281 0011



 Easy hand-out;


 Daily pin-position and so much more 

News Tillers to the rescue

Dutch are orange to the core

“We’ve had two shipments,” says John Coleman, consultant to the prestigious Miklagard Golf Club, north of Oslo, “and after three weeks, people are playing on it already!” The order of 2,500m2 of turf from Tillers Turf comes after Norway has experienced one of its hardest winters for thirty years. Many golf greens have suffered from winter kill, and as a result, Coleman came to look at Tillers’ farm near Lincoln, and chose their creeping bentgrasses Penn G2 and G6. “The turf was grown on a USGA rootzone, and maintained at a height of 3mm,” explains Tim Fell, managing director of Tillers. The first consignment was laid in May, and the second a week a later. “It was cut slightly thicker than usual, so that it could be played on very quickly. And it all went very well,” concluded Coleman.

Originally designed by Harry Colt in 1920, the course at Kennemer Golf and Country Club, situated on the coast at Zandvoort, is one of the oldest in the Netherlands. The links course comprises three loops of nine holes, the first is known as the Van Hengel, the second is the Colt and the most recent is the Pennick developed in 1985 by Frank Pennick. The original 18 hole Colt design is a classic links course requiring much accuracy especially when the wind blows off the sea.

The course is typified by its sand dunes, pine trees and gorse which can lull golfers into believing there are no real hazards but with strategically placed bunkers throughout the course and the unpredictability of the links terrain, the course is a real challenge. In August the Club will be hosting the KLM Dutch Open, one of the European Tour’s major events, and in preparation have taken delivery of two Jacobsen LF4675 light fairway mowers complete with turf groomers and rear roller brushes.

Golf takes off in Dubai

Julich turns to history to help solve future problems

Dubai World City, the 140sq km development planned as part of the new Dubai World Central Airport, is set to include a golf and spa resort. The self-sustaining development at Jebel Ali - 40km south of Dubai city centre - which formerly had the working title Jebel Ali Airport City, will be home to 750,000 people and also include a cluster of specialised zones including cargo terminals, residential areas, business and finance facilities and a technology park. The golf resort, which will be offered on the open market to a private developer, will boast two 18-hole golf courses one a traditional desert links style and one a tropical resort style - as well as practice facilities, driving ranges, putting greens, a luxury clubhouse, restaurants and a pro shop.

The lack of water at the Emirates Golf Club is a good indicator of the circumstances that we might all find ourselves in as water usage is restricted globally; the remedy is to use treated effluent water and build more efficient de-salination plants. While ecologically sound, such water is not ideal for turf due to high levels of sodium that must be countered if fine turf is to flourish. Superintendent at the Emirates is Jeff Julich and he has recently turned to an old fashioned method of soil amendment to tackle the problem, an old fashioned method but in brand new clothes - acid replacement. For many years the application of urea buffered sulphur - or similar - to fine turf, in an effort to lower the pH of a soil, was commonplace.

Page 12

The received wisdom seemed to be cast-iron in its assertions: finer grasses thrive in a slightly acidic soil, sulphur lowers pH, ipso facto sulphur is great for fine turf areas - golf greens particularly. At the Emirates a brand new method of lowering the pH of soil has been adopted in the shape of a synthetic acid - RePhlex - that has been designed to create ideal conditions within which the Bermuda grasses can thrive. Stuart Ashworth, is overseeing the marketing of Re-Phlex and believes that it is a safe and effective way forward, especially for golf courses that are primarily irrigated with non-potable water. “What we are marketing here is 100 per cent synthetic acid that is non-corrosive, not harmful to the environment and yet donates its hydrogen ions only in beneficial circumstances,” he said.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Mox really deliver on the whole package... “I wanted a long-term partner to help me develop buggies as an important income stream, and from a long term perspective, Mox offered better value. I liked their common sense approach, and I particularly appreciated their openness, clarity and informed objectivity in the way they put the deal together.” Andy Rosser, General Manager (pictured right) Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club, Cornwall.

Making the most from your buggies? Wondering about introducing them at your club? If you want a company that’s a partner not just a supplier, then come and talk to us on 08701 646 004, or e-mail us at But don’t just take our word for it...



On Top of the World It’s well known that golf is not the fastest industry in the world to grasp new ideas, which makes the success that Top Golf has experienced over the past few years even more impressive. John Vinicombe met with co-founder Steve Jolliffe to find out more.

he success of World Golf Systems Group is now an accomplished fact and there is no knowing the extent the impact will ultimately have both on the game and leisure industry when all targets are achieved. The Jolliffe twins, Steve (pictured above) and Dave, with co-founder Geoff Emmerson are continually expanding their TopGolf operation that it must rank as one of the most profitable leisure businesses in the UK. And it all started with the Jolliffe duo coming up with the I.D. golf ball, the first in the world containing a micro-chip. High-tech is the key that opened the way for the creation of TopGolf, an innovative activity aimed at golfers and non-golfers alike and with a distinct family appeal. TopGolf has broadened golf beyond accepted perimeters and into a wider leisure market than devotees who think only in terms of the original activity once enjoyed by men in side whiskers and tight jackets. Six years ago what used to be a Jack Nicklaus driving range just off junction five of the M1 outside Watford, was leased by the Jolliffe’s as the site of their TopGolf launch. While the twins were confident that they had done their homework, fingers remained tightly crossed. But, from day one, the profitability of the enterprise went up by a factor of ten. Now there are two other TopGolf


Page 14

centres in the UK at Chigwell and Addlestone on London’s fringes plus one in Bangkok and, also opened in 2005, Washington DC. These are run by licensees and in the pipeline are more centres in Birmingham, Scotland, Chicago, Dallas, Dublin, Barcelona and Gujarat in India. All good chimney pot locations as the marketeers say. Bowling Visiting the Jolliffe base at Watford I was reminded of the massive surge of interest years ago created by ten-pin bowling. There is a great emphasis on creating a social atmosphere in which all the family can share and enjoy, and a world away from the average driving range. At Watford under one giant roof is not only a golfing experience but a rendezvous point with all the trimmings such as cafe/bar and highly competitive retail outlet. No expense has been spared on five star decor and the tastes and interests of all ages are catered for. I didn’t spot a nappy changing room but wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there is one on the premises. The focal point are state of the art heated driving bays in which five people can play. The object for players, as distinct from those chosing just to limber-up and hone their swings, is to score as many points as possible by hitting balls into 11 golf-green sized targets. These are strategically arranged on an artificial turf outfield with the near-

est at 25 yards and the furthest 240 yards away. A game of TopGolf consists of 20 balls and clubs are supplied free. On average four people playing in the same bay will complete a game in about an hour. To monitor progress there is instant feedback on a wide flat screen also acting as a leader board. All information derives from a membership card taken out on joining and transmitted via a micro-chip in the magic premium ball. Ball dispensers read and allocate golf balls to players a range of targets that continually scan for balls and monitor the screens in the bay to show real time scores and supporting software which integrates the whole process. Strategy and accuracy is called for to obtain a good score. Should you hit the centre section of a target, then the next ball counts double. A £500 prize for a hole-in-one has been withdrawn as too many customers were hitting the jackpot. Just how successful is this latest golfing craze? In Bangkok, which opened in partnership with licensee Modern Dynamic Golf, the 60 bays arranged in three tiers, are invariably packed. It is considered the most advanced golf facility in Asia. There are 50 staff on site and it is not just the attraction of whacking balls that pulls in the crowds. Some like a session in the sauna while others join colleagues in the conference hall.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

No wonder further locations are under negotiation including a centre in Thailand. Washington DC’s TopGolf is just under six months old and already has 10,000 card holders using 79 bays on two levels. At Watford, Chigwell and Addlestone each received more than 600,000 customer visits within a year. It has brought a new meaning to payand-play. Apart from the golf these are ideal venues for children’s birthday parties. Given our unpredictable climate, TopGolf wins over the golf course when it is pouring cats and dogs or freezing cold and pitch black. Twins Since 1997 over £20m has been invested in the development of the UK centres, research and testing of the technology behind the I.D. Ball System. Patents are filed in over 30 countries so it is about time we heard about the Jolliffe twins, 47 with finance director Geoff Emmerson, 55 who can point to sales of £1.8m last year and £885,000 in 2004. “Myself and Dave sold our previous customer service market research business in 1997. It had nothing to do with golf,” commented Steve. “I was originally a mining engineer in South Africa and also working in Zambia and Zimbabwe dealing with gold, diamonds and uranium.

“Dave was a computer systems analyist working near Rotterdam. We both went to school in Northwood, Middlesex and were about average and worked well together. We put our first million pounds into World Golf Systems and since then we have raised £35m. That first million was the hardest,” said Steve. The enterprise was helped by raising £9.6m from a mix of private sources and the business angel network MMC. “The idea of TopGolf first came when I was playing golf at Haste Hill with Geoff who is also a good friend and neighbour. At the time he was a finance director with BASF. The conversation at the time was about looking at any business we might go into. “I said there is always a better way of doing anything and why didn’t we get together to make a better driving range than those I went to and were normally run down. “We agreed to meet a week later at Batchworth Park which is my club and talk the idea through. Within half an hour we had sketched out what TopGolf would look like. Next day we built a model in plasticine and then did a feasibility study. “As for the I.D. Ball, it was said that to put a chip inside a golf ball was impossible. It took us two years solid. Meanwhile, we were writing the software of the games.

“In that time we had spent the whole of the first million pounds. Dunlop helped us with the Maxfli ball and it was a real breakthrough.” Over the last nine years more than £20m has been invested developing the ball technology, TopGolf centres and tracking systems. It has paid off insofar that TopGolf has successfully been franchised to earn business world wide for the founders and licensees. The UK network is being rolled out by a separate company, BayDrive, backed by £15m of Henderson Private Capital money in which WGS holds a stake. Significant sums have been offered from interested parties in South Korea, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, Scandanavia and those new kids on the capitalist bloc, Russia. “I have had people come through to me saying they won’t go away without being granted the rights. But finding the right partners is crucial. In those countries where we don’t understand the culture we need to find the right partner,” said Steve. As the empire continues to expand would the owners ever consider selling up? “We have an eye on an exit,” admitted Steve. “But only if the price was right.” Like Alexander the Great, WGS and the Jolliffe’s are starting to run out of fresh worlds to conquer.

Introducing the versatile MT313 Mini Triple Turf Mower A superbly engineered, reliable and cost effective mower. Ideal for Tees, Surrounds and Fine Finish Areas.

Also introducing to the Hayter range the Toro Out Front Rotary Mower and Zero Turn Mower.



Buy Hayter and you buy after sales service second to none, low lifetime operating costs and of course, a machine with functionality, comfort and reliability.

Call us now on 01279 723444 or visit our website Hayter Limited, Spellbrook, Bishops Stortford, Herts CM23 4BU email:

Golf Management Europe July 2006

A Company

Page 15


Czech Mate Golf development in Eastern Europe continues to be a hive of activity for developers and architects alike, and as Trevor Ledger reports, Jonathan Gaunt has just completed his first project in the Czech Republic - Golf Resort Brno Jinacovice.

he recent KPMG Golf Business Forum in Cyprus indicated that the Czech Republic has been a great growth market for golf over the last five years, although one of the delegates, Jonathan Gaunt, did not need telling. Originally designed by Gaunt and Marnoch Limited, Golf Resort Brno Jinacovice was handed over to chief executive Vladimir Plasil last month, and in the process, another country laid claim to having received a dose of the Gaunt style. The 27-hole golf course development in the Moravia region marks a first for Gaunt personally and a neat feather in the cap of his newly formed Gaunt Golf Design - a company created after his amicable split from former partner, Steve Marnoch. “There was already a ‘rudimentary’ nine-hole course on site before I was brought in,” said Gaunt. “After having assessed the site and undertaken careful consultation with the local authorities (the project is partially owned by Brno City), it was decided to build the new course over it, even though the R&A provided the original owner with a grant of £50,000 towards the development.”


Page 16

The reasons for such abandonment are clear when the site is viewed as a whole - the existing nine had been designed by a local civil architect and had not recognised the potential the land held, let alone took advantage of it. The fact the client so readily agreed to the new plan is proof that what existed was not suitable. Demand The demand for golf in the Czech republic is high from both a local and tourist perspective; with 1,000 members already signed up at Jinacovice and daily Ryanair flights from Stansted to Brno the future for Gaunt’s first adventure in this widely touted golfing ‘hotspot’ looks set to be successful. For years now the architecture and nightlife of Prague has been a big draw to western tourists and, at a mere two and a half hours from the capital city and a one and a half hour drive from Vienna, Brno is ideally situated to expand on the Czech governmental plan of increased tourism. If the Czech Republic is an example of a modern tourist growth model, then Gaunt’s involvement in the project is a mirror in terms of how the contract was gained and how the design took shape.

“The first we heard of the potential job was via an email received in Spring 2003 after the client had trawled the net and looked at our website,” explained Gaunt. Masterplanning of the site started in September 2004 after some two months of detailed negotiations on contract details - written in Czech and English. The sourcing of architect and drawing up of contract owed much to the 21st century, the traditional problems of poor weather became almost Biblical in their intensity. “Work started on site early May 2005 and continued through to July without much rain. Then we had about four weeks of storms which put us seriously behind schedule. Finally work continued and the seeding works on the first nine-holes and driving range were done by November 2005. Then it snowed and didn’t stop until May 2006; the worst winter for 50 years.” Expertise That so much progress was made despite such conditions is testimony to the hi-tech drawings employed by Gaunt and Marnoch (and, subsequently, Gaunt Golf Design) and the expertise of golf course project manager, Chris

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Johnson who has been working in Europe, Africa and the Middle East managing golf course construction projects for over 25 years. “The project would probably have taken twice as long to build without Chris’s involvement,” Gaunt declared, a statement that carries more weight when you consider that the major contractor on the project was Kalab - a local civil engineering contractor, who are also responsible for building the new airport terminal at Brno. Kalab had no experience of building golf courses, but with Johnson on site the work ran smoothly. He worked closely with the Polish and Czech shapers and they worked with the other, less-specialist, machine operators. Gaunt was more than happy with the construction team. “Kalab worked very well under difficult conditions and dovetailed well with the irrigation contractor - Profigrass, as well as the drainage and finishing works teams,” he said. Working in a new country - especially one that has little history of golf is always a challenge and the earning of respect and trust is crucial for a successful outcome. Gaunt worked hard to achieve this despite a curious start. “Even though the client had not built a golf course before we still came across the attitude ‘this is how we do things in the Czech Republic’, so it was a challenge.” Quality But a challenge that confidence and technology overcame as Gaunt described: “I had to work hard to persuade the client that what I was designing was high quality and that the drawings and documentation was prepared to be followed. “By this I mean that we produce drawings that we could give to a contractor and know almost 100 per cent that the contractor would be able to build a great golf course if he followed them to the letter. “Our drawings are accurate, as is our documentation - we use MicroStation software which has been developed specially for golf course architects and we have developed it over the last ten years to provide, what we consider to be the best quality documentation possible in the industry. “We finally got the client’s confidence within a few days of starting on site - the client saw the course under construction and suddenly it clicked.” And how it clicked. The resulting golf courses are reminiscent of Gaunt designs across the UK - Redlibbets and Ramside springing to mind as the bold undulations of the Brno site are surveyed. With the ubiquitous ‘challenge for the good golfer, enjoyable by

beginners’ brief in hand, Gaunt set about designing a resort course that took full advantage of a rolling, parkland terrain. “What has been designed reflects the dramatic Czech landscape, with large rolling fairways, strategically located bunkers and water features, providing stunning waterside green positions. Probably the most challenging is the 18th green, flanked as it is by two large lakes, overlooked by the new clubhouse on the hillside.” It is difficult for an architect - or anyone else for that matter - to adequately describe the final realisation of a plan but at Brno the fauna and flora indicates where its strength lies. Flanked The course is flanked by mature oak forests that are inhabited by deer and Moufflon goats, birds of prey and wildfowl haunt the fringes and careful specification of rough grasses create a motion and flow to the course that has become a trademark of the Gaunt design over the last 20 years. What is refreshing about Gaunt the architect is that he is not of the flouncing, egotistical variety. For him the award of a contract is a privilege, not a professional right and he recognises the honour of being chosen. “Our client was, admittedly, taking a bit of a risk bringing in a British golf course architect to a region of Central Europe that is not considered a golf destination. What he wanted to achieve here, though, was a golf course that would be universally appealing. “Given the high quality of the site, he has achieved this - that is certain.” Note the praise to client and site; while it might be in his interest to boost the client’s ego one gets the impression that Gaunt means it and is happy for the client to be identified as the prime mover. The first nine-holes and driving range open for play in September 2006 with the remaining 18 and six-hole academy planned for opening in July 2007. Gaunt is looking forward to the date with very high hopes. “The standard of construction is actually higher than I have worked to in the UK on hotel and country club standard courses. So, it will stand the test of time - the design is not technologyproof, but they will be fun, exciting and challenging to play - we have three composite layouts within the 27 holes, offering a variety of routes and starting points. “It’s built to a standard that would allow the client to host a pro’ tournament, and in my opinion, is certainly in the top-ten in terms of construction quality in the Czech Republic,” concluded Gaunt.

Golf Management Europe July 2006

Page 17


Hold or Sell? 2006 is likely to be a tough trading year for most north European golf course owners and operators. PPC Golf partner Mark Smith, with 15 years experience of buying, selling, leasing and valuing golf businesses outlines owners’ options.

ecently Europe has been gripped by World Cup fever. Great for football fans but bad if you are a golf course owner/operator looking to make a decent annual profit. Summer arrives and golf courses should be at their busiest but inevitably when the World Cup is on, roundage drops markedly. This year’s football extravaganza follows a long cold winter which seemingly delayed the traditional golfing spring start. Most operators described membership renewals as ‘sluggish’ and 2006 is likely to be remembered as a tough trading year. It is not all doom and gloom as owning and running a golf course can be a rewarding lifestyle but when trading conditions are tough it can be a good time for owners to reflect on their long term goals. Blinkered Each year I meet many golf course owners to help them with their future aims. It is not uncommon for owners to get so embroiled in the day to day running of their businesses that they fail to properly focus on the all important ‘big picture’ strategic issues that have a major impact on their livelihoods. They get so used to their familiar surroundings and routines that they do not see the wood from the trees.


Page 18

My brief is to look at the strategic issues with the benefit of an objective outsider’s ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to help owners clarify the options open to them so that they can make the most appropriate choices and, when required, successfully deliver the desired outcomes. Golf course owners normally have four main options in relation to their golf properties/businesses as follows: hold, sell, lease or management contract. Below are some common scenarios which illustrate the options. Option 1 “I have no intention of selling my golf business but I want to grow the business to its full potential. There is still some way to go.” A hold situation. To grow the business split your analysis into two: strategic operational and development options. There are things that you can do operationally that improve the business (better marketing, better tee time yield management, better control on costs, better key performance indicator measurements etc). There are also things that you may be able to do on the development side to improve the business (clubhouse refurbishment/extension, extra golf holes, addition of health and fitness, letting bedrooms, lodges etc).

Systematically work out which options are likely to produce the best results particularly in relation to return on your time and money invested. If you need help then there are analytical models and techniques available to enable you to arrive at the preferred solutions. Option 2 “Competition is fierce, annual roundage is on a downward trend and my profits are down.” Think about your ‘external’ and ‘internal’ environments. The external environment comprises factors relevant to your business over which you have little or no control. For example: you are affected by the strength of competition in your particular market and pricing decisions by your competitors etc. Your internal environment comprises factors where you have a lot, if not total control. For example: presentation standards of your course, pricing strategy, management skills, marketing and development philosophy etc. Match your internal environment to the needs of the external environment to maximise your chances of success. Take a ‘market driven’ rather than ‘product driven’ approach. A product driven approach is usually a recipe for disaster. By way of an exaggerated example, profit-wise, there is little point in having an expensive or exclusive membership based club in a geographical location where the wealth of the target customers is low and there are few of them.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

You cannot change the external environment as you have no control over it. But you can with your internal environment. Swimming against the tide (mismatch internal environment to the external environment) at the best of times is hard work and at worst fatal but swimming with it (match internal environment to external environment) and you make the fastest possible progress. If your external environment is buoyant - say strong golfer demand and limited direct competition then great. If your product is good (ie the course, clubhouse and ancillaries are good) and well matched to the needs of your target market and your management is good then you should be trading very well. Excellent. But here’s the key thing: if your external environment is very tough fierce direct competition, golf very sensitive to pricing resulting in falling roundage and profits - then you should think carefully about the future. If running your particular golf business is a labour of love, then fine, carry on. But if it is not? Is something going to change in the external market to fundamentally change the position for the better? For most courses the answer is ‘no’. In such a position even if you are running your business well you are effectively swimming against the tide. If you are not then in time you could well drown. Perhaps your best option is to sell and move on. Whilst the golf property market has steadied in recent years there are still plenty of lifestyle buyers. Keen and wealthy golfers from other business sectors are attracted to owning their own golf course and with it a large chunk of land. Relative to some house prices, golf courses look cheap. Profitability of the business often ranks below the lifestyle aspiration and buyers can pay a good price for a course which has fundamentally poor external environment characteristics.

Option 3 “I need substantial capital investment in my course to meet customer expectations. I don’t have access to the funds required to make such an investment but at the same time I don’t want to sell.” An option here is a medium term lease to an experienced chain golf operator. Many are looking to expand their portfolios. It is usually possible as part of the lease deal to get the chosen tenant to fund and carry out a preagreed capital expenditure programme and pay you a good annual rent. As the course owner this can be good as you get your asset improved without having to find the money and at the end of the lease you take the improved course back in hand. Option 4 “I am looking to retire and no-one else in the family wants to take it on. How can I maximise the worth of my golf business?” An outright sale (either confidentially or on the open market) might be the best route in order to generate a cash lump sum. Alternatively you might prefer an annual rent via a lease with a good commercial golf operator. You therefore retain the freehold investment. You might want to get out of the day to day management but still influence key strategic decisions. Here a management contract with a good commercial golf course management company might be the best solution. There are some excellent golf management companies around providing this service. You would retain more personal involvement with a management contract rather than a lease. In the September issue of Golf Management Europe I will outline how to go about selling your golf business and the principles of worth together with a commentary on how to find a suitable tenant or management contractor on the most advantageous terms. In the meantime, for further advice take a look at the property section at

{Business Rate Reviews} You can’t escape them, but we could reduce them, so let’s talk about lowering your Business Rates. 0870 241 4678 Golf Management Europe July 2006

Page 19


The Texas Shuffle Keith Chapman is a well travelled greenkeeper, having worked in South Africa, Spain, Germany and now Holland. The affable Texan - now at Goyer Golf and County Club in Eemnes - spoke to Trevor Ledger about life away from home.

hen a man is born and raised in Texas he will, naturally, think big. That’s the Texan way if the movies are telling the truth. Keith Chapman certainly thought big when he graduated from Texas A&M University with a turf degree which is why he has wound up at Goyer Golf and Country Club in The Netherlands - via South Africa, Spain and Germany to name just a few. “In South Africa I worked at the Sun City resort and hosted the Million Dollar Golf Challenge and the Dimension Data Tournament for the European and South African PGA,” explained Chapman. “My wife’s influence helped bring me to Holland, she is Dutch and we met while I was building Aruba back in 1995. We came back here and I’ve been here six years so far.” Goyer Clearly a well travelled man with a lot of experience, which is why Chapman is back at Goyer having first been there prior to and during the grow-in. “I specified L93 bentgrass right at the beginning, but when the club went over to a


Page 20

management company, the course manager they used did not know much about this particular grass - it’s so aggressive - and so they have brought me back in to fix a problem.” The age-old problem being thatch. The perceived knowledge is that the superintendents in the USA have massive budgets to blow and nothing is denied them if they but ask. Untrue according to Chapman who reckons that, “Budgets are not that different, country to country.” Meaning that Chapman could not bemoan lack of budget if the thatch remained. So what does this well travelled superintendent plan to do to further enhance the condition of the course? Has his experience of warm season grasses provided an innovative technique into the management of cool season grasses in the Benelux region? Not really, according to Chapman. “In South Africa we had Penn cross greens - it sounds hot but it’s at quite a high altitude; we did have bermuda fairways though. But it doesn’t make too much difference in management - the basic cultural practices are the same.”

Chapman is a professional, he is well aware that the fundamentals that get rid of thatch in South Africa will do the same in Holland - this familiarity has also steered him towards the latest machine from the innovative approach to thatch management known as Gradening. Graden “I already have a Graden Swing Wing Unit that I use for other areas of the course so I got a demo of the Graden Contour Sand Injector,” said Chapman. To be fair Chapman already had his eye on the machine as publicity had suggested that it would fit his needs of “getting at the thatch layer with little or no disruption to play.” So here’s where the experience of people like Chapman counts - they get in at the beginning of the ‘latest big idea’ and achieve the results before anyone else, clever. And very simple. Chapman had the problem of excessive thatch at Goyer and he wanted to increase the sand content of the top layer on the greens. So he embarked upon a thorough investigation of the Golf Industry Show in the USA in February and found - in

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

his mind - no competitor to the Graden. Research complete, he returns to The Netherlands and orders the demo. Sometimes things are as simple as they seem. Even if this instance of simplicity involved a Texan returning to America to meet an Englishman (Keith Kensett of Turfmaster) in order to see the Australian designed machine on the Dutch Course that was designed by a Belgian (who was born in Africa). To get to see Keith Kensett is a rarity - not that he’s aloof like the Pope or the Queen - it’s just that he is rarely in one place long enough to pin him down, hence the need to travel to a trade show just to see him. There is a by-product of the Graden Sand Injector sale - in the form of overseeding in conjunction with the grooving and sand injecting process. Chapman has not been slow in recognising this potential: “I will certainly be overseeding with it - as I take out thatch and fill with sand I will overseed with L93. At least twice a season I will do this.” This overseeding element of the Graden Sand Injector has been pounced upon by quite a few well-read superintendents recently. The key to the much maligned practice of over seeding is planning, soil/seed contact, seedling protection and space for growth. As the de-thatching schedule is already planned why not tick the rest of the boxes and overseed at the same time.

Multi-tasking, money-saving common sense. There’s the key to it all, where Keith Chapman has been so successful in his career to date, common sense. Identify problem, plan a solution, act on that plan. Common sense It seems that Chapman manages to keep a degree of common sense in all his straightforward plans at Goya; if shrubs and trees are in the wrong place to flourish they are moved to a more suitable spot - both aesthetically and strategically. No-nonsense. And no-nonsense suits this softly spoken Texan a long way from home. While the globe-hopping, fact-finding missions sound glamourous, the real pleasure of an international career lays much closer to home as far as Chapman is concerned. “Living in Europe has provided me with the opportunity to visit other countries. By crossing borders you find different cultures and lifestyles - I find it interesting that you can travel for less than two hours but find yourself in a completely different way of life.” The experiences of Keith Chapman as a superintendent are largely the experiences that superintendents across the entire globe face, day in and day out. In Chapman’s case he is close to the top of the superintendent tree having graduated from Texas A&M University in 1976 he has been in greenkeeping

ever since. 2006 sees his thirty years service medal at the engravers and for the last ten years Chapman has been certified by the industry in the USA. Just over a third of his career has been spent away from the USA as a truly international superintendent. He has hosted professional tournaments and grown in prestigious designs around the world. Unfortunately his vast experience and knowledge can be a bit of a problem as he explained: “I was always planning on going home to the USA at some point but it is getting harder to get jobs,” said a despondent Chapman. Competitive “There are a lot of new kids out there being very competitive, they are fresh out of college and hungry. And cheaper to hire. If I knew then what I know now, I might have stayed home because it’s so hard to get back in.” It would be a shame for Goya if Chapman were to go any time soon the Graden machinery has been delivered and his team of seven staff are raring to go in the summer season. With a miserable and cold spring reluctant to give way to a warm summer it is likely that every ounce of Chapman’s knowhow is to be required for a successful golfing season. Given the determination of the man, Texas won’t be seeing him for a little while yet.

Over 20 new courses built in the last ten years

DAVID WILLIAMS GOLF DESIGN ! Golf Course Architects !

From conception... through construction... to completion An integrated ‘one-stop’ approach to Complete Golf Design

! Course audits, renovations and improvements ! Telephone: (01492) 512070 Fax: (01492) 512077 Email: Web:

Past President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects

Golf Management Europe July 2006

Page 21

© 2006 The Toro Company

The 835S/855S Sprinklers Are Really Turning Heads. Adjustable nozzle trajectory (one degree increments), highly efficient nozzle design, and 4-position pressure regulator, allow for extremely efficient water application and uniformity in virtually any site application or need. Whether a new project or just solving a few problem spots on your existing course, this sprinkler can lower your cost while improving turf quality.

The 835S/855S Sprinklers from Toro give you the flexibility you need. These innovative heads are adjustable from part- to full-circle operation with just a twist. Plus, the patented TruJectory™ feature allows on-the-fly stream trajectory adjustment from 7 to 30 degrees — providing the ultimate in wind defense and obstacle avoidance. Water where you want it, when you want it. That’s the Toro Advantage.


Hoylake Revisited David Bowers was a mere babe in arms the last time the Open Championship dropped anchor at Royal Liverpool. And, as he discovers, the times have been a changing both on and off the course.

ow ever successful the many changes to Royal Liverpool Golf Club ahead of its 11th hosting of the Open Championship, not everybody has been impressed. It’s been 39 years since the Open Championship - not the British Open, The Open - was last played out on the links at Hoylake, and at least one commentator thinks it’s still too soon. Ron Whitten, Golf Digest’s architecture editor, has dubbed the course ‘Royal Out of Bounds’ and claimed in the latest issue it was an anachronism and not a suitable venue for a Major championship in the 21st century. He wrote: “Royal OB isn’t a blast from the past, it’s a thing from the past; it’s history a distant memory, a grand relic.


Golf Management Europe July 2006

“Royal OB is the Halley’s Comet of Open venues. It might have come back around twice as quickly as that speck in the sky, but it is just as visually disappointing. “The course’s greatness as a championship test expired about the time graphite shafts were invented.” Distaste His distaste for the 137-year-old venue appears to stem from it not having a par five that cannot be reached in two with an iron and that many of its par fours do not play as long as they look on paper. He also objected to the re-routing of the course: the existing 17th has become the first hole for the championship, while the challenging old first hole is the third and the par-five 16th is the 18th. ! Page 23

Not surprisingly his comments did not receive a warm welcome this side of the pond. And the Royal and Ancient was quick to respond. R&A press officer Graham Brown said: “We will let the golf course provide its own answer to this pretty vitriolic article. When the wind blows at Hoylake it is a very difficult test of golf for anyone. “It is the first negative thing anyone has said about the links since it was announced the championship would be held there.” He added: “Our golf is completely different from America’s. We don’t go out to manicure a course; ours are a lot more natural and we need the assistance of nature to provide a test. “We don’t go out to grow six-inch rough - the rough grows in its natural state.” The famous words of Sandy Tatum, then USGA championship committee chairman, referring to the world’s best players have been quoted a lot this year, as the US Open returned to Winged Foot. And they are as applicable now to any Open Championship course as they were to the treacherous New York course in 1974: “We’re not trying to embarrass them - we’re trying to identify them.” You may be able to reach the par fives with two irons, but stray from the straight and narrow and …well, we’ll see who’s the world’s best. Page 24

Royal Liverpool was granted the prestigious patronage by Queen Victoria in 1871 and previous winners of the Open there include Bobby Jones whose victory was the second leg of his 1930 Grand Slam - JH Taylor, Walter Hagen and Peter Thompson. The last time the Claret jug was awarded on these swards it went to Argentine Roberto di Vicenzo, in 1967. In the 39 intervening years the popular old course has undergone something of a facelift - mainly in the last decade. Routing There are three new greens - the second, fifth and 17th; the 17th and 18th will become the first and second for the Chamnpionship; and the 16th becomes the risk-rewarding final hole, more suited to the coliseum-style gallery required of a Major finishing hole. At 560 yards and with a dogleg right, it requires accuracy all the way. The drive is dangerously close to OB and the second shot - if like Whitten you intend to go for the green - requires a carry of the practice ground, an internal out of bounds and a new experience for many of the players. The first - once described by the doyen of TV commentators, Peter Alliss, as the most frightening opening tee shot in championship golf - is now the third; which presumably makes it one of the toughest third tee shots in championship golf.

Having played the new order throughout 2006, the members will decide if they want to revert to the old layout after the Open. Hoylake, of course, is a traditional links - undulating subtly with few sand dunes. It will be tough, but naturally so - it will not be booby-trapped. There will be few flat lies and like many Open Championship venues becomes a completely different course if Mother Nature takes a hand with the weather. Donald Steel was the man charged with making the changes to Hoylake the Royal Liverpool moniker is preferred by locals to differentiate it from Hoylake municipal. Test He has added merely 250 yards to the length of the course - even in 1967 it stretched out to 6,960 yards. It was always a tough test - it wasn’t the golf course that restricted its use as a championship venue, it was the infrastructure. Hoylake couldn’t cope with the anticipated crowds - only 29,000 saw de Vicenzo’s victory in 1967; there wasn’t sufficient car parking and practice facilities fell short of the demands of the modern game - at 320 yards the practice area still can’t cope, so the aforementioned Hoylake municipal has donated a couple of fairways to be used as practice facilities. Steel re-sited and designed new greens for the third and 18th and built several new tees to lengthen one or two

July 2006 Golf Management Europe


holes susceptible to today’s longer hitters. He commissioned the building of 15 new bunkers a little further along than 10 he shut down. In a recent interview with Fairway to Green magazine Steel said: “The fact that (the 16th) will be the first hole at the 2006 Open, one of the most difficult you could find, never influenced the thinking because the decision (to make it the final hole) came later. “But a new green on the fifth (existing third) was a concerted effort to reinforce the defences of a relatively short par five. “The other new green, the new second, was re-angled more with crowds in mind, but the remaining architectural input surrounded several new tees, a total review of the bunkering and a desire to set up the course to exploit fast running links conditions to the full. “It all amounts to an exciting prospect not least because so many of the Open field will never have played before at Hoylake.” His efforts to create a better infrastructure have not been in vain - this year there will be 23,000 grandstand seats around the course, including 9,500 at the 18th.

That would simply not have been possible before the revamp. The work was finished by Berkshire-based J & E Ely Ltd in 2003 and managing director Nigel Ely admitted it was a thrill to be working on an Open course. He said: “Both my brother and I play - with limited ability - and when we were working on the course we were trying to see it through Tiger’s eyes. It was fantastic. “With the limitations on space he had to work with Donald Steel did the best possible job. We put in a number of new ‘Tiger’ tees, three new greens which will play as the first, second and fifth; and 55 new bunkers to reflect the modern game. “Without those Hoylake would have been the most ‘under-bunkered’ course on the Open rota. That accolade now goes to Turnberry, which we’re also working on currently,” smiled Ely. The efforts of his team will be clear for all to see in July - and when, inevitably, one top professional looks to the sky in frustration at his inability to extract himself from a bunker, Ely and Steel would be well within their rights to turn proudly to their neighbour and with a nudge say “I built that...”

Fact File Club:

Course Info:

Royal Liverpool Meols Drive, Hoylake Wirral CH47 4AL England Telephone: Facsimile: Email: Website:

0151 632 3101 0151 632 6737

Secretary: Links Manager:

Group Captain Christopher Moore Craig Gilholm

18-holes Par:

Par 72, 7,258 yards (Opened 1869)

Members: Green Fee:

810 On Application

Golf Management Europe July 2006

Page 25


Chalk and Cheese The golf course construction business seems to be a bit of a mixed bag at the moment, with new builds cropping up in Scotland and across mainland Europe, but hardly any new projects in England. Article by David Bowers.

he ‘great north-south divide’ was a favourite phrase of the media in 80s Britain. It epitomised the ethos of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. The great industrial heartlands of the north saw the steel and coal industries reduced to metaphorical rubble, while the south-east of the country was perceived to be flourishing as all southerners donned garish red braces, became a stockbroker and, consequently, overnight millionaires. The truth was not quite so extreme of course. There was no denying entire villages in the north suffered as a result of a drastic decline in traditional industries, but, speaking as a southerner, millionaires were few and far between and in places like Chatham and Portsmouth the great naval dockyards were also reduced to a mere shell. But Maggie would be proud to see the term’s current usage. I meander like this because I heard the term used recently to describe the golf course construction industry. Its user may have had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, but he was referring to the very few new course builds currently underway in comparison with a relative glut north of the border: The Carrick at Loch Lomond,


Page 26

the nearby new Nicklaus course, Tom Doak’s new Renaissance Club at Archerfield, while David Kidd has courses going up at Machrihanish (Machrihanish Bay) and St Andrews. Small wonder then that this year’s KPMG Golf Business Forum concentrated on golf course construction in other parts of Europe. The forum heard more than 3,000 new golf courses are anticipated in the next 15 years, with eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries displaying the most spectacular expansion. A KPMG analysis, presented by Andrea Sartori, head of the KPMG Travel, Leisure and Tourism group in Central and Eastern Europe, revealed that Europe, the Middle East and Africa have approximately 6,750 golf courses, with Europe having an obvious dominance because of its golfing traditions. Growth In recent years, around 1,000 new golf courses have been established annually worldwide and Europe has seen continuous growth in the past 20 years - the average annual growth of demand was six per cent, and the average annual growth of supply four per cent. Based on projected domestic and golf tourism demand, KPMG estimated that by 2020 the number of golf courses

in Europe will grow from the current 6,292 to approximately 10,000. Sartori said: “Our calculation models a free market, where change of supply is strictly correlated to the one of demand. Several factors, however, can be major obstacle to development, such as permitting difficulties, ‘red tape’, availability and price of land, environmental opposition and availability of water.” KPMG predicted the Mediterranean countries, Eastern Europe and the Middle East will be at the forefront of golf development. In the past years, four of the top five countries in Europe which witnessed the highest growth in golf penetration rates are located in the CEE region: the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia. In the Mediterranean, besides the more mature markets of Spain and Portugal, there is great potential in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the south of Italy and Croatia. Yet look closely and you can still see the UK industry bubbling along quite nicely thank you. Mark Dunning, managing director of Essex-based Grassform Ltd, is currently leading his team on an 18hole construction project in Bedfordshire. !

July 2006 Golf Management Europe


International Golf Course Construction and Renovation 49 Woodlands Road Sonning Common Reading RG4 9TD

Construction Remodelling Water Features

Reading, United Kingdom Tel: +44 118 972 2257 Email: Lisbon, Portugal Tel: +351 93 451 5055

Tel: 01604 468908 Fax: 01604 474853 180 Ruskin Road, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 7TA


Appointed contractor for the renovation work undertaken at Royal Liverpool for the 2006 Open Championship



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

Golf course construction and renovation Supply and installation of irrigation systems Design and installation of land drainage schemes Sports ground construction and maintenance Design and installation of water supply and

JOHN GREASLEY LIMITED Ashfield House, 1154 Melton Road, Syston, Leicester LE7 2HB Telephone: 0116 269 6766 Fax: 0116 269 6866 BAGCC Email:

Golf Management Europe July 2006

distribution systems Bratch Lane • Dinton • Salisbury • Wiltshire SP3 5EB

Tel: 01722 716361 • Fax: 01722 716828 Web site:

Page 27

Situated on the Hertfordshire/ Bedfordshire border, the impressive 18th-century Luton Hoo Estate has been purchased by Elite Hotels and is being developed into a luxury five-star hotel with over 1,000 acres of parkland and an 18-hole course. The setting has altered little since Capability Brown set out the park back in 1767, with the River Lea running through the estate to form a large, serpentine lake that extends over 50 acres. Grassform began work on the project in early June. Dunning said: “We believe this may be the only new-build, 18-hole project currently underway in England and we anticipate finishing around the end of August.” Grassform was launched in February 1998 and Dunning, like most in the industry, has noticed a drop off of major developments since. Saturation “Initially we would have around threeto-four course builds a year but, in the south-east particularly, it’s reached saturation point. Some clubs are struggling; some are handling the situation well,” he added. “It’s certainly a case now of the work being more piecemeal as many clubs can afford only to reconstruct three-to-four holes at a time. Having said that, we are finding regular - and repeat - work on that basis.” Grassform has two other projects currently under way, in Warwickshire and Cambridgeshire - but neither are in golf. Grassform is also heavily involved in sportsfield work, for individual clubs and for local authorities - they recently completed a project for West Ham United Football Club. MJ Abbott will also complete two projects in August. It is the contractor on one of Europe’s most significant new-build projects, the De Vere owned 18-hole Carrick on Loch Lomond. And in Hull, it is finalising a nine-hole extension to the David Key-owned Burstwick Country Golf. The company’s contracts director, Nigel Wyatt, said: “Good drainage is vital for clubs wanting to stay open for play 365 days of the year and we have been responsible for the design and installation of drainage on both these projects.” MJ Abbott began work on the course - named after its Canadian architect Doug Carrick - in June 2004. “We had the last six holes to build this year,” added Wyatt. “Construction is now near completion and we are seeding out over the next three to four weeks.” Work to complete the project includes the installation of cycle paths, timber board walks and maintenance tracks. Page 28

At the peak of activity, in the summer of 2004, 65 of Abbott’s team were working on the project. “As the site is long and narrow and intersected by a river it makes construction work very interesting,” continued Wyatt. “Only one main access point and a major river crossing created some logistical issues. “Two other major contractors have been employed by the client - one for the infrastructure works - the other to build the lodges and leisure facilities. As it was a tight site we needed a good working relationship with them to ensure successful tying in of the golf to each lodge gardens and surrounding area.” An interesting aspect of the construction work was the prominent water features. It was not possible to de-water the soil and, as a result, work took place in low ground, with the water table and 26 acres of Loch Lomond right next to the site. Everything was dug wet and stockpiled for use as fill. The Carrick on Loch Lomond is on a heavy silty soil, so a primary piped system and secondary drainage will provide for a longer playing season. About 27 kilometres of drainage pipe was used - a mixture of perforated and unperforated twin and single-wall piping. A Rain Bird irrigation system, featuring the latest Rain Bird V-3200 Series pump station is being used on the course, which gives reliability at a low running cost. More than 800 sprinklers have been used to cover the greens, green surrounds, fairways and tees. To irrigate, water is taken directly from one of the lakes within the lower section of the course. Meanwhile, Seve Ballesteros’ first course in England will open next year in Barnet. The Shire London is an undulating 7,200-yard championship golf course bearing all the hallmarks of the iconic Spaniard. Ballesteros has been personally involved in the design and build, making several visits to work closely with owners Tony and Anne Menai Davis on creating a high-quality course, which will also host the UK’s very first Seve School of Natural Golf - a teaching academy following the philosophies of the five-times Major winner. Ballesteros said: “I am delighted to launch my first full UK golf course, which I believe golfers will grow to love with a passion. As soon as I was told about the project, I wanted to participate immediately to design a challenging, beautiful course which can be played and enjoyed by golfers of all abilities - as well as being capable of hosting world class events. !

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Golf Courses, Sports Grounds and Land Drainage Contractors

GOLF COURSE, SPORTS GROUND AND LAND DRAINAGE CONTRACTORS Green, Tee and Bunker Reconstruction Sand Banding/Gravel Banding Large Scale Turf Laying Ponds, Lakes, Reservoirs Sand Spreading/Top dressing Sports Field Construction Tress and Shrub Planting Equipment Rental

Buggy Paths/Maintenance Tracks Land Drainage Systems Ditching/Vert-Draining Driving Ranges Seeding and Preparation Car Parks/Footpaths Sleeper Walls and Steps Hard/Soft Landscaping

John Pierson

(Specialist Maintenance) Ltd


Grassform Limited Dunsteads Farm, Trueloves Lane Ingatestone CM4 0NJ

01277 355500

Golf Management Europe July 2006

BAGCC Homestead Farm, Ringwood Road Three Legged Cross, Wimborne Dorset U.K. BH21 6QY Tel: Verwood +44 (0)1202 813592 Fax: +44 (0)1202 826447

Page 29

“My 18-hole design at The Shire London is very challenging in parts, but it is a course that will always reward adventurous golf. “My team and I have worked very closely with the excellent team at The Shire, and we all feel this is a golf course that the whole world will want to come and play.” Earth More than 1,000,000 tons of earth have been moved to create The Shire London, with USGA-spec greens built by leading agronomist George Shiels, advisor previously on venues such as Penina, La Manga, The Belfry, The Warwickshire and The Grove. It combines distinct links, parkland and woodland sections. Six tree-lined woodland holes, six more open copsestrewn parkland holes and six traditional links style holes ensure that every round on the golf course is full of variety.

The Shire London course and facilities will be open for use from late April 2007 and much of the work will have been carried out by J & E Ely Ltd. Managing director Nigel Ely is delighted with the way his company is progressing in the current climate: “We’re currently working on The Shire London, at a huge residential development and golf course in Bom Sucesso, Obidos, in Portugal, and completing the first links course in Germany.” The links course is on the island of Sylt in northernmost Germany, in the town of Hournum. It is to the design of course architect Rolf Stefan Hansen, and, when completed, the development will house the island’s first six-star hotel. “It’s always a pleasure and a challenge to work on a links course, but it’s so rare to be involved in a whole new build links project.

“The dunes here are quite different to those in the UK. They are very ‘peaky’ like the Alps.” The first nine holes are already shaped and the course will be seeded in October. While others may be struggling Ely is prospering: “For us working in Europe, we currently have to turn work away,” said Ely, with a tinge of disappointment in his voice. “And the renovation part of the business, which is handled by my brother, is also thriving. We’re working at full capacity at the moment. “As a family firm we want to maintain the standards set by our father and grandfather before us. We won’t be the biggest company out there, but we’ll always be busy and selective in our work.” And with the current portfolio also including Turnberry, Nigel Ely can afford to be so.

Celebrating 40 years building golf courses {1966 - 2006}


Page 30

July 2006 Golf Management Europe


Intelligent Watering... Water, water everywhere…but hardly a drop to use for the greens. There used to be two certainties in life: death and taxes. But according to Victor Jamieson of Rain Bird, there’s now a third: water’s going to get a lot more expensive.

he drought orders being issued by water companies around the Southern regions of the UK have caused golf clubs throughout the Home Counties and all the other sporting amenities that need their grass to play on, and therefore keep growing - to rethink their usual strategy for using water. All sorts of novel ways have been found to cope with what many hope is just a short term glitch in the usual mains water supply, from tankering in grey water to top up their water tanks, to hauling water out of quarries by the bowser-load and hauling it back to the club. The irony is that many of these courses were built with greens that had puddled clay bowls for their foundations, designed deliberately to capture and retain the moisture and rainfall that came their way. For 99 per cent of the time this worked very well, and it was only in extremes that the horse-drawn bowsers would be wheeled out and used to hand water the greens. The standards of Greenkeeping then were undoubtedly different, at least in as far as the height of the grass that was cut on the putting surfaces. Yet there seems to be something of an object lesson for the future.


Page 32

If we weren’t so obsessed with the golfing equipment technology that has lead to new standards of fast and firm putting surfaces being almost mandatory to counter sheer length off the tee, perhaps we wouldn’t be putting so much pressure on a course’s presentational aspects, the golf club budgets required to finance those standards, and ultimately the need for clubs to maximise their income streams. After all, it is only a game - isn’t it? Precious Given that water is fast becoming a precious resource - and one that will only become more expensive as the future unfolds - perhaps golf as a whole should be reviewing where things are going, lest a rod is being made for the backs of the clubs at which club and nomad golfers - the clubs’ main source of income - play. After all, as the greens at Winged Foot were demonstrating very clearly, there are limits to how low a green can be cut, before the grass suffers. In the meanwhile, what is the average golf club to do? Club finances are, generally speaking, alright but certainly don’t need any additional and unplanned outgoings such as huge water bills running into the thousands or more likely, tens of thousands.

Provided they can cope with whatever this drought season brings, the lesson for every golf club would seem to be that in the future every gallon of water - grey, mains or otherwise - needs to be much more carefully managed and exploited to provide maximum benefit. But here’s another little wrinkle in the issue about water and irrigation: with the public becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and green thinking, all clubs will need to be seen to be environmentally-friendly and absolutely must not be perceived to be a drain on a precious resource. Imagine the uproar if stand-pipes come in to force, yet the local golf club is still using water for its precious greens. Before such scenarios become an unpleasant reality, clubs might do well to assess where they get their water from in the first place, and whether or not they can avoid using mains water and use ‘re-cycled’ water instead. Efficiently Each club also needs to consider how efficiently they will use water, so that when push comes to shove, a club can demonstrate that it is not keeping its greens - and in some cases, fairways, approaches and tees as well - green and lush at the expense of the local community.

July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Rain Bird has been in the business of using water intelligently for many years, with experience derived from US-based customers and clubs whose watering needs were often flying in the face of the local reality, eg. a location in a desert region, perhaps. With the advent of more and more sophisticated technology, both in terms of computers and irrigation engineering,

completely taken into account as a part of the calculations in pursuit of a given amount of water being used for irrigating greens, etc. Wind, a key ingredient of any golfing challenge, often makes effective watering almost impossible - unless you have wind-tolerant sprinkler heads that are designed to make the most of the water required, increase the water

When everyone depends on water, golf clubs are not really at the top of the pecking order when it comes to survival. Trying to make a club’s case to an angry water-starved public will be nearimpossible, and so perhaps the morale of the current drought is this: learn from the experience and ask what the club can do to show that it isn’t a drain on

“WHEN EVERYONE DEPENDS ON WATER, GOLF CLUBS ARE NOT REALLY AT THE TOP OF THE PECKING ORDER WHEN IT COMES TO SURVIVAL. TRYING TO MAKE A CLUB’S CASE TO AN ANGRY WATER-STARVED PUBLIC WILL BE NEAR-IMPOSSIBLE” truly efficient water management is now not only achievable but more importantly demonstrable through computer-generated programmes and reports that can tell a course manager and anyone else, for that matter precisely what the club is using. The factors that used to make water management a black art can now be managed quite easily. Weather stations can be installed so that any rainfall during the day or night can be detected and identified locally, ensuring that the course watering programmes can not only be interrupted, but if enough rain falls, switched off altogether. Recent software innovations have upgraded even this facility to ensure that the weather and rainfall is

droplet size, and increased power to push through even the strongest of winds. And tees don’t need full-scale sprinkler set ups when short-throw sprinklers can do the job much more effectively at lower levels. And that’s besides being able to tailor programmes to suit any course and its various requirements, even down to walking the course and ordering up a few more or less gallons from a specific sprinkler to hit an individual area. Of course, that’s easy for a company like Rain Bird to state. But the wider picture is not so much one of much more efficient and effective water management, as much as clubs being seen to be good corporate citizens.

Golf Management Europe July 2006

public water resources, that it uses recycled or grey water sources, and that every gallon can be shown to be used efficiently. Goodwill By making such things possible, and spreading the word at a local and regional level amongst the news media, clubs could build up a ‘credit account’ of public goodwill, such that when droughts happen again, not only can such golf clubs be good and efficient users of a precious resource, but more importantly, can be seen by everyone, from local consumers to government experts, to be so. That could do a lot more for the game’s future than any number of new drivers and longer flying balls.

Page 33

Portfolio New fleet for Letham Grange

Toro mark Par 4 celebrations

The Letham Grange Golf Courses, situated in mature parkland four miles north of Arbroath in Tayside, has taken delivery of a fleet of 16 golf cars from E-Z-GO, all equipped with DeltaQ onboard chargers. The golf cars, purchased from local dealer Fairways GM, are the E-Z-GO TXT models with the patented Precision Drive System.

Par 4 has reached an important milestone in its history and is celebrating 25 years as a Toro Irrigation contractor. Based in Ripon, the company was formed in 1981 and is the longest-serving Toro irrigation contractor in the country. It offers a full irrigation design, build, installation and service operation, employing 25 staff.

01473 270000

01480 226800

Better by Design at Saltford Toro irrigation equipment, including a Toro Gemini control system and 835/834 56 series sprinklers have been installed at Saltford Golf Club near Bristol under the supervision of Roger Davey, managing director of Irritech. In close liason with the club, Davey designed a new system for 18 greens, tees and approaches sized for future fairway irrigation.

01480 226800 New Gear for Newbattle Quality of cut and prodigious output is why Jim Christison, course manager at Newbattle Golf Club, has recently purchased a Jacobsen AR250 from his local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Fairways GM. “It’s a very good machine”, he said. “Quick across the ground at working speed, it produces an excellent finish and its productivity is superb.”

01473 270000 There’s only one RTF! To ensure there’s no confusion as to the authenticity of RTF turf, Barenbrug UK has decided to identify all this unique turf with a special RTF Watersaver wrap. Barenbrug UK managing director Paul Johnson said: “By combining the drought resistance of tall fescues with its self-repairing rhizomes, RTF really offers users so much more.”

01359 272000 Page 34

Dalziel Park sign Fairways GM Dalziel Park Golf and Country Club has signed a five year contract hire agreement for course maintenance equipment with local dealer Fairways GM. The equipment, from the Jacobsen brand, includes a Greens King VI triplex mower and Greens King 522A walk-behinds; a TriKing for tees and surrounds and a LF3800 for the fairways.

01473 270000 Seminar gets seal of approval Continuing its programme of working closely with turf professionals, Scotts recently held a Stress Management in Turf seminar at Singing Hills Golf Club, West Sussex. The aim of the event was to help greenkeepers get the best from some of Scotts new products, with the possible water restrictions in England being a major topic.

08701 220 5353 New Iseki Compact Ransomes Jacobsen has introduced a new Iseki compact tractor, which is ideal for professional grounds care applications. The new machine is the TM3160 Garden tractor which is powered by a 16.9hp, three-cylinder diesel engine. It features four-wheel drive and differential lock, which provides excellent traction when working on slopes or in the wet.

01473 270000 July 2006 Golf Management Europe

Š 2006 The Toro Company

Preferred supplier to The 2006 Ryder Cup. They count on us... So can you.

Along with superb golf and tight competition, what makes the Ryder Cup Matches so memorable are the stunning landscapes where championships are contested. The dedicated teams of managers, superintendents and greenkeepers who create these lush, challenging courses count on Toro — and so can you. The same equipment, irrigation systems and support Toro provides to its partners on PGA European Tour sites is available to golf courses everywhere. Whether large or small, new or old, every golf course with the desire to provide memorable golf experiences has a willing partner in this pursuit: Toro. Count on it.

GMé | July 2006  
GMé | July 2006  

Golf Management Europe issuu 49