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On the cover...

Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, becomes one of the first golf facilities in the world to achieve status The World’s Premier Golf Destinations


£7.50 Issue 114 | July 2017

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

As chief executive of Roehampton Club and current president of the CMAE, Marc Newey is ideally placed to offer an insight into club management


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On the agenda july 2017 32


Marc Newey talks CMAE

As CEO of Roehampton Golf Club, and current president of the CMAE, Marc Newey should know a thing or two about how to run a modern sports facility.


Starring role for Reeve

Christopher Reeve may well share his name with a superhero actor, but the new director of golf at The Belfry has shown he is a Man of Steel.


Women are starting to


Giving the pro a helping hand

The initiative, which was started by PGA professional, Alastair Spink, is beginning to see some real results with regards increased female participation.

There’s no getting away from the fact that life is getting harder for golf pro’s, but with a little help from Foremost, the future can be a whole lot brighter.



A Course to Dye for

Following the recent opening of West Cliffs in Portugal, the varied landscape and natural terrain was maintained as much as possible during construction.

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


Publisher Executive editor Contributors

Michael Lenihan David Bowers James Ellis, Vanessa Gardener, Hans de Kort, Scott MacCallum, Marc Newey, Aidan Patrick, Peter Simm, Aston Ward


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from the publisher

“one could argue, that by the time the klaxon is sounded golfers are already at the biggest risk”

Lightning strike fatality a little too close to home I was shocked, recently, to learn of the death of a friend’s friend on a golf course during a thunderstorm. Philip Shard, 60, died in hospital after being struck by lightning while playing at Fynn Valley Golf Club, near Ipswich. The club was not at fault, as it sounded the klaxon, but Philip, sadly, attempted to take cover under a tree. At the same time I was playing at my club nearby and was at the furthest point from the clubhouse when our klaxon sounded. I too, foolishly, took shelter under trees, albeit small ones. But this tragedy got me thinking… and researching. And the conclusion I came to was that maybe golf clubs – or maybe just golf – need to be more pro-active in monitoring thunderstorms and call players in before the storm hits. Consider the facts: 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain, and on average between five and ten per cent of the strikes are fatal. Those most at risk are those who are outdoors exposed in unsheltered locations, so golfers are in the high-risk category. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also reports that research shows people struck by lightning are predominantly hit before and after the peak of the storm – lightning can strike as far as ten miles away from the centre of the storm. So, one could argue, that by the time the klaxon is sounded golfers are already at the biggest risk, at a time when they naturally underestimate the danger.

4 | GMé July 2017

A BOLT FROM THE BLUE Lightning strikes between 30 and 60 people a year in the UK

Given that lightning strikes the ground in Britain alone around 300,000 times a year, maybe we, as an industry need to ensure golfers are called into the clubhouse earlier than is the current norm. What’s more we should ensure there is clear and concise advice available on what to do in case of a thunderstorm – maybe it could even be included on scorecards – with the consensus being that if golfers are unable to return safely to the clubhouse, they should seek a low place to take refuge such as a bunker. If caught on the course and unable to get off, do not stand under tall trees or sit in a golf car, and never stand under a lone tree, even a small one.

I’ve since discovered there is plenty of good, sound safety advice out there, but we don’t want to be Googling when there’s around 100 million volts in the sky looking for a conductor. So come on, let’s produce a unified message on how to stay safe – and let’s get it out there. GMé

Michael Lenihan

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Hold the front page Yas Links in Abu Dhabi becomes the first golf club in the world to attain status, spearheading a desire for excellence, both on, and off the course.

“Having visited golf clubs all over the world, it amazes me just how much the visitor experience varies from club to club – there doesn’t appear to be a benchmark”

Cover sponsored by (44) 01394 380800 The World’s Premier Golf Destinations

6 | GMé July 2017

Yas Links, in Abu Dhabi, has become the first golf club in the world to achieve status, signing up to a portfolio of the world’s premier golf courses, destinations and resorts which will launch in 2018. Designed by Kyle Phillips, and arguably one of the finest examples of links golf anywhere in the world, Yas Links opened for play in 2000, and has been a firm favourite with golfers from around the globe ever since. Commenting on achieving the accolade of status, general manager at Yas Links, Howie Roberts said: “I have read with great interest the plans and aspirations for, and as its values and ideals match exactly ours, we are delighted to become the first golf club in the world to sign up for membership. “One of the key attractions for Yas Links, was the fact that will only feature the world’s elite golf clubs, and will be an ultra-exclusive portfolio of like-minded clubs, which will benefit from the wide exposure that will be able to deliver,” added Howie. Launching next year, aims to focus specifically on the visitor journey, an area which is particularly close to Roberts heart.

“When I took over as GM at Yas Links a couple of years ago, one of the first things I changed was the guest journey, as I didn’t think that it ever matched the quality of the course,” he said. “Maybe because the course was so good, that’s why the guest experience wasn’t there. As a club, we’ve worked really hard over the past year or so to ensure that our visitor experience is now on par with the course... you could say that it’s now world-class.” The project is the brainchild of GMé publisher, Michael Lenihan, who said: “I am delighted to welcome Yas Links as a member of, especially given the fact the entire ethos of the club is one of quality, both on and off the course. “Having visited golf clubs all over the world, it amazes me just how much the visitor experience varies from club to club – there doesn’t appear to be a benchmark,” added Lenihan. “One of the fundamental reasons why I decided to launch was to ensure that all member clubs met the same exacting standards – across all aspects of their golf operation – so golfers booking a round at their facility, can guarantee that it won’t just be the golf course, but also their ‘experience’, that is truly world-class.” GMé

Only the world’s best need apply* The launch in 2018 of aims to elevate the ‘elite’ golf venues around the world, into a unique and exclusive club... a truly venue. *For entry criteria, and membership enquiries, visit The World’s Premier Golf Destinations

A collection of the world’s premier golf courses, destinations & resorts



Wentworth moves to silence members with new media gagging order Wentworth’s Chinese owners have again come under fire after they moved to silence its rebellious members, who have been banned from airing their views on the club and its billionaire ChineseThai owner, Chanchai Ruayrungruang, reports the South China Morning Post. The sweeping changes to the 91-yearold Wentworth’s rule book mean members now face instant ejection for making public any negative comments about the owner and his vision. The attempt to quell dissent follows the ferocious and vocal opposition to Beijing-based Reignwood Investments’ plans 18 months ago to reduce the 4,000-strong membership by more than 75 per cent and to increase adult fees. Suspicious members feared they were being forced out of the club and successfully revolted. But Ruayrungruang has taken new draconian measures to allay fears of further a rebellion. His new rule allows Wentworth to expel any member whose comments “on social media, the internet or in any newspaper or magazine article” are deemed by the board to be “injurious to the character or interest of the club.” The committee has been replaced by a “membership panel”, designated by the owner, which reduces the potential for internal dissent. Reignwood has also curtailed the members’ say in activities at the head-

Wentworth, which is owned by Chanchai Ruayrungruang

quarters of the PGA European Tour, which is located next door to the clubhouse. Members used to elect the majority of seats on the general committee, which takes decisions on matters such as club competitions, the appointment of officers and catering. A Wentworth club spokesman defended the new rules, insisting they were not “materially dissimilar” to the ones previously in force. He said the restriction on media contact had been introduced because

Reignwood wanted “member complaints to be handled through established internal channels, committees and consultative forums at the club, rather than through the media.” In terms of media coverage, the gagging order has had the reverse effect, with The Financial Times describing Wentworth as “a golf club membership with Chinese characteristics” – alluding to the nation’s suppression of free speech and its bending of international rules and systems.

Newey marks Woburn extends relationship a European first with Club Car until 2020 CMAE president and CEO of Roehampton Club, Marc Newey, has become the first club manager outside North America to be awarded Certified Chief Executive (CCE) status by the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA). The Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation was developed as an augment to the Certified Club Manager (CCM) designation, which is seen as the “hallmark of professionalism” in the club industry worldwide. After achieving his CCM in 2012, Newey passed the BMI Tactical Leadership course at Cornell University and Strategic Leadership Course at the Harvard Club in Boston as well as completing all the CPD credits necessary. The CCE award is the pinnacle in the worldwide club management industry. Currently there are 329 Certified Chief Executives in the USA and over ten in Canada, with Newey being the first European club manager to achieve the designation.

8 | GMé July 2017

Woburn commit to Club Car

Woburn Golf Club has highlighted the high standard of service as the key reason behind its contract renewal with Club Car, which will last until 2020. “We pride ourselves on our ability to offer members and guests an unrivalled level of service and attention-to-detail and we therefore need to work with suppliers that mirror these standards,” commented Jason O’Malley, managing director of Woburn Golf Club. “Having worked with Club Car for more than 12 years, we trust the brand and have great confidence in the perfor-

mance of the golf cars, so ultimately the decision to renew the contract was a relatively easy one to make. “We have always felt like a valued and well looked-after customer and it is safe to say that both Club Car and official distributor, Oliver Landpower, are no longer simply suppliers, they are highly valued partners.” The extended lease deal, which originated in 2005, sees Club Car supply 50 electric-powered Precedent i2 vehicles, which will be used by golfers across the venue’s three world-class courses, Duke’s, Duchess and Marquess. Kevin Hart, sales director Golf for EMEA, at Club Car, added: “Woburn Golf Club is one of the world’s leading golf destinations and a fantastic example of a venue completely in tune with its customers’ wants and needs. “We are honoured to have been a chosen supplier for more than 12 years and we look forward to continuing this long-term relationship.”


Carnoustie appoints Wells as first ever chief executive

In brief... Jumeirah Golf Estates has extended its position as host venue of the prestigious season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, further strengthening its long standing relationship with the European Tour until 2020. Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “Jumeirah Golf Estates is a world class golfing facility and this new commitment will help us further develop a tournament fitting not only for the final Rolex Series event of the season, but also the climax of the Race to Dubai.” Roxburghe Estates and Bespoke Hotels have announced they have agreed terms for the transfer of ownership of the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Completion of sale is expected to take place at the end of July, 2017. Reaffirming its commitment to customer service, PlayMoreGolf has appointed ten new customer representatives to help ensure its partner venues capitalise on the number of new members and potential revenue generated by its targeted marketing campaigns. Since launching in February 2016, the points-based flexible membership programme has already attracted nearly 2,000 members to its network of 40 partner venues. Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate is planting 38,000 vines within the 500 acre parkland site at Horsham in West Sussex to create England’s newest vineyard. The Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes will be ready to make sparkling wine in 2020, with the first bottles available in 2023. Zimbabwe-born Penny Streeter OBE is a British entrepreneur who bought the Mannings Heath site in 2016 to develop the UK’s first golf and wine estate, with tastings and pairings.

As part of an ambitious drive to further its reputation as one of the world’s top golf destinations, Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee has appointed Michael Wells as its first ever chief executive, joining the Carnoustie team from The R&A in St Andrews, where he was the director of championship staging at The Open. He won the post over an impressive field of candidates from all over the world and Carnoustie chairman, Pat Sawers, said: “Michael has extensive knowledge of all facets of golf administration, particularly in relation to staging major tournaments. “He has done a great job as a director at The R&A and I believe he is the right leader to entrust with developing our brand and ensuring that Carnoustie Links continues to be recognised as one of the most challenging Links golf courses in the world.” During his time at The R&A, Wells has been involved in The Open on two previous occasions, including his first Open in 1999 when Paul Lawrie lifted the famous Claret Jug, and in 2007 when Padraig Harrington won the first of his back-to back victories in the Championship. Wells is expected to take up his post shortly after The Open at Royal Birkdale.

Commenting on his appointment, Wells said: “I feel privileged and honoured to be selected to become Carnoustie Golf Links’ first chief executive. “Carnoustie has a reputation for being one of the toughest courses in the world and one that every golfer should aspire to play. I am very excited about the opportunity to work alongside the fantastic team at Carnoustie and to help develop its reputation as a world-class golfing destination.”

Michael Wells

LGT Golf rollout new river cruise programme to club members

The Ama Serena

LGT Golf, the company behind the luxury golf river cruises, is looking to work closely with golf clubs to enhance club revenue and member engagement. “Golf clubs are ideal partners for LGT Golf, and we want to develop this strategy with their help,” said Nicholas Boekdrukker, managing director of LGT Golf. “We want to work with golf clubs because they know their members very well. “We want to help increase the engagement between members and

clubs and add a new revenue channel for the club.” The idea of being able to combine a golfing holiday that also appeals to non-golfers is a key concept of the golf river cruise. Too often golfing holidays are packaged for couples that play golf, ignoring the reality that a lot of golfer’s partners do not golf. “If it’s important to grow the game of golf then we must look beyond the golfing member of a couple,” added Boekdrukker. “Non-golfers have a fully-inclusive program with these cruises, and at the end of the day both can share their day while relaxing on these luxurious vessels. Additionally on non-golfing days, they can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and tastes of fantastic cities and destinations.” With generous commissions and three unique routes on offer, it will be an appealing product for clubs to pass on to their members. For the roll out of the 2018 program, the company is offering free flights for all 2018 bookings made before August 31st, 2017. | 9




Foxhills Club & Resort partners with Golf Genius to offer unique ‘in cart’ play Industry-leading tournament management software company Golf Genius has announced a new partnership with Foxhills Club & Resort to provide live scoring functionality in its new fleet of E-Z-GO RXV golf cars. The agreement, which is the first of its kind and sets a new standard for ‘in cart’ play, will provide Foxhills’ members and visitors with a unique, live scoring experience through E-Z-GO’s innovative Textron Fleet Management (TFM) screens. The system, which is permanently mounted in the cars, will now offer bespoke Foxhills branded live scoring and real-time leaderboards, in addition to the existing functionalities which include enhanced graphics, yardages, messaging, and food and beverage ordering. One of the many features that helps manage all aspects of an event or tournament, Golf Genius’ live scoring provides golfers with a professional experience, as well as tournament organisers with the option to push branded sponsor content throughout the round. Speaking on behalf of Golf Genius, director of international sales Craig Higgs commented: “This is an exciting collaboration for us. While live scoring is just a small part of how Golf Genius can improve the overall experience a club can offer, providing it through the E-Z-GO’s TFM system really will enhance the experience for golfers.”

A leaderboard is displayed in cart during a competition

Foxhills’ director of golf Chris Fitt added: “We’re committed to investing in the products we offer at Foxhills. This partnership with Golf Genius is an extension of the interactive service we’ll be able to offer through our fleet of E-Z-GO RXV cars.” Richard Tyrrell, product manager at Textron Specialised Vehicles said: “Being able to provide Golf Genius live scoring across its entire fleet of cars will provide visitors to Foxhills with a luxurious and high-tech experience that is second to none.”

Capable of managing in excess of 1,000 different formats of competitive golf, Golf Genius is the industry leader when it comes to organising golf events, leagues and trips, with tools ranging from bag tags to printed scorecards. Having already been used and adopted by more than 50 clubs around the UK, Golf Genius provides fully-featured cloud-based software to groups of golfers ranging from large corporate golf days to weekly club swindles, and in addition, is used in over 50 countries worldwide.

Jiménez in short The Open enters new partnership game design with HUGO BOSS Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, has joined forces with one of the most iconic names in golf to open the brand new Las Colinas Short Game Facility designed by Miguel Ángel Jiménez. After making an initial site visit earlier this year, Jiménez will take time out from his busy schedule to head to Las Colinas, near Alicante, later in 2017, to oversee the design and construction of the new short game facility. “Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is very quickly establishing a reputation as one of the best new golf developments in Europe, winning many awards and also being selected as a Qualifying School location,” said Jiménez. “And so you can imagine I was extremely honoured to be asked by the owners of the club to design a short game area and very happy to put my name to the new practice facility. “Work is already under way and I look forward to watching the development progress over the coming months.”

10 | GMé July 2017

World-renowned luxury fashion house HUGO BOSS will become the Official Outfitter of The Open through a new partnership with golf’s original Championship. The R&A has agreed a five-year partnership with BOSS that will see a new specially-designed apparel range, ‘The Open Collection by BOSS’, go on sale in the build-up to The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale this month. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “HUGO BOSS is a global brand with a reputation for excellence in sport and golf in particular. We are delighted to welcome them as an Official Supplier of The Open and are thrilled to be launching ‘The Open Collection by BOSS’ this week. “This is a long-term partnership which will enable us to provide a truly worldclass apparel offering to fans of The Open around the world.” Mark Langer, chairman of the managing board and chief executive officer (CEO),

said: “HUGO BOSS is proud to be partnering with The Open, reinforcing our dedication to the world of golf as part of our global sports sponsorship programme.” BOSS has enjoyed a longstanding presence in the golfing world – launching its golf sponsorship programme back in 1985 – and today is associated with ten of the world’s top international golf stars, three of whom are confirmed to play in The Open at Royal Birkdale, including defending champion, Henrik Stenson.

Henrik Stenson

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New role for Eddie Bullock at Golf at Goodwood Eddie Bullock has been appointed by Lord March as the Honorary President of Golf At Goodwood, having stepped down from his role as non-executive director. Bullock, who was captain of the PGA from 2011 to 2013 and whose wealth of experience in the business of golf has seen him in many advisory roles across the sport, was on the board of directors at Goodwood for over seven years and during that time has seen the club evolve into a contemporary golf community. Lord March said: “Eddie Bullock has been a non-executive director of the Goodwood Estate Company for over seven years, and his involvement with golf has seen the business grow significantly. “I am delighted that he has agreed to become Honorary President of Golf At Goodwood and in that capacity he will continue to help and guide us to become one of the finest golf experiences in the UK.”

Eddie Bullock, who has been appointed as Honorary President of Golf at Goodwood

Describing the appointment as “a great honour,” Bullock will be a linchpin of the organisation, representing Golf At Goodwood on his travels within the industry. He said: “Among the many advisory and supporting roles that I have done, this is

undoubtedly the most prestigious. It was a great honour when Lord March invited me to become Honorary President and it is my aim to help Goodwood sustain its popularity, continue to evolve the playing experience and to make golf more attractive to a broader range of people.”

Peabody named Finca Cortesin leads the way as top innovator with new greens initiative Richard Peabody, the managing director of Club Systems International (CSI), has been recognised as one of the top ten innovators in golf. Peabody was hailed by Golf Inc magazine for his visionary work on golf software and social media communities, both for the industry and the consumer, with CSI one of just two UK companies to feature in the list. The magazine credited the ten individuals with having “new ideas that could transform the future of the industry” and said they were “not afraid to take risks and challenge tradition.” They are “pushing the industry forward and creating new excitement for the game,” the magazine added. Peabody heads a team which is responsible for providing administrative software for around 2,000 golf clubs in the UK and Ireland alone, plus the ground-breaking, customer-facing which has nearly 600,000 active users – all of whom are golf club members. A delighted Peabody said: “It’s a great honour for me to be recognised this way by such an august publication as Golf Inc, but really it’s the product and the team behind it that are the great innovators. “The team is constantly innovating, whether it’s the introduction of something completely new or launching ground-breaking new elements in existing products.”

12 | GMé July 2017

Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa is set to join some of the most famous names in golf after unveiling plans to become the first course in Spain to introduce a new, environmentally-friendly type of Bermuda grass to its greens. Renovation work to relay all 18 greens on its championship course, as well as the practice putting green, with a new Ultra Dwarf MiniVerde Bermuda grass is scheduled to start at the deluxe Andalucian resort this summer. The greens project is being supervised by Ignacio Soto, head greenkeeper at Finca Cortesin, who has spent the last two years testing different varieties of grass to find the most suitable – including building a short game area to study the Ultra Dwarf Bermuda’s qualities in greater detail. Some of the most prestigious venues in the world including Sawgrass, Quail Hollow and East Lake Golf Club have enjoyed huge success since converting to Ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens, and golf industry expert Ken Mangum believes the many benefits from the new investment will help take the five-star golfing experience at Finca Cortesin to an even higher level. Mangum, ex-director of golf courses and grounds at Atlanta Athletic Golf Club and head consultant on the project after being recommended by Soto, said: “Many great courses around the world have used the Ultra Dwarf greens system

for several years. Overall, they are more environmentally-friendly, cost effective and sustainable. “Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass provides a more consistent daily playing surface. The greens remain fast and firm with the changes in weather and moisture, (whereas) Bentgrass becomes soft and slow with humidity, irrigation and rainfall. “The new greens will offer more great days of play, especially during warmer times of the year. Less pitchmarks will be visible. The dark green colour and surface uniformity will provide good speed and firmness throughout the season.”

Ken Mangum (left) with Ignacio Soto

‘Specialist in Golf Course Construction’ Repton Short Course at Rudding Park Royal Birkdale, Royal St George’s Carnoustie, Goodwood


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Work starts on £4.5m new course development at Weston Park Royal Norwich Golf Club Limited has broken ground at their new venue in Lenwade following the appointment of course contractors MJ Abbott to begin the £4.5 million re-development of the land. The site is being re-developed into one of the region’s outstanding courses featuring an 18-hole championship course, an academy course and work on a new clubhouse starting early next year – all of which will be ready by summer 2019. Royal Norwich have now signed the contract with contractors MJ Abbott, in conjunction with course designers European Golf Design. “MJ Abbott Ltd are very pleased to be awarded the contract for this prestigious new golf course at Weston Park for Royal Norwich Golf Club,” said Steve Briggs, contracts director at MJ Abbott. “Projects of this scale have been rare in recent years and we look forward to delivering a first-class project to match the clubs vision and expectations for this exciting project.” Peter Todd, who was recently appointed head of estates at Royal Norwich to oversee the development of the new courses following roles at Gleneagles and The London Club, said: “I knew once I saw the 18th century parkland landscape

featuring free draining soils and mature trees this was going to be a fantastic piece of land to build on, so it’s great to be finally breaking ground on the site and begin work. We have a great team in place to deliver an outstanding course and I can’t wait to see it take shape in the coming months and years.” Earlier this year, the club announced the sale of its Hellesdon course to Persimmon Homes in preparation for

Lord Chobham buys Hagley

Rothley Park takes control with Hunter Pilot and Irriplan

Hagley Golf and Country Club, in the English West Midlands, has been bought for £2.25 million by Lord Cobham, owner of neighbouring Hagley Hall. The golf club had been put up for sale by the Garratt family last year, following the death of the club’s principal shareholder, Michael Garratt, who had owned it since its inception in 1980. Spokesman Peter Garratt Johnson confirmed that the 12th Viscount Cobham, Christopher Charles Lyttelton, had paid the asking price in ‘quite a complex deal.’ He said he believes the new ownership will mean ‘business as usual’ for patrons and staff. Garratt Johnson added: “This has been in process for six months. Lord Cobham is behind it and it’s going to be very much business as usual – we’re pretty pleased with how everything has gone. “That is why the Garratt family is selling to him – he is going to very much keep it as it is with the same membership and business model. He spoke at the AGM and all the members were pretty pleased with what he said.”

Rothley Park Golf Club in Leicestershire has completed the installation of a new Hunter irrigation system, designed and project engineered by Irriplan. The new system, which makes use of Hunter’s well-established Pilot control system to allow individual control of irrigation heads, was installed by contractor Irrigation Control. “We have known for some time that our old irrigation system needed replacing,” said club general manager Danny Spillane. “We have been working with golf architect Tom Mackenzie of Mackenzie and Ebert on a number of improvements to the course, so we made contact with Tom and asked him who he recommended within the irrigation business. “He pointed us to Giles Wardle and Irriplan, and Giles has basically served as our consultant on irrigation matters ever since.” The club was initially contemplating the construction of an irrigation reservoir – it sources its irrigation water by abstracting from a nearby brook – but

14 | GMé July 2017

David Coventry of Royal Norwich (sitting left) and Jonathan Abbott of MJ Abbott sign the contracts

its move to Weston Park where the £10 million re-development of the site is taking place, following the acquisition of their existing course from Weston Park Golf Club. The current 18-hole course in Hellesdon will remain open over the next two years, with new work currently under way to enhance the quality of the golfing experience for members and visitors during the transition.

Rothley Park

then decided that replacing the existing irrigation system was more important. Irriplan designed the system, and the project went out to tender in early 2016, with the club selecting the Hunter Pilot control system and Hunter’s G885D Totally Top Serviceable Decoder-in-Head rotors. The installation was completed in March this year, and is fully operational. “It’s too early to judge the impact on our water use, but more consistent use of irrigation has already led to more consistent surfaces,” commented Spillane.

picture gallery

In words & Pictures A brief pictorial round-up of events from around the industry, including news of a return to club management for CMAE director of education, Michael Braidwood.







In brief... Titleist Brand Ambassador Stephen Gallacher was the guest of honour as Titleist celebrated the official opening of its new state-of-the-art National Fitting Centre at Craigielaw Golf Club in East Lothian. The threetime European Tour winner and 2014 Ryder Cup star was joined by members of Team Titleist and key Titleist retail partners for an introduction to the outstanding facility, which will allow golfers to benefit from the ultimate personal fitting experience. British watch brand, ETIQUS has announced a partnership with England Golf, enabling its members to receive bespoke offers on purchasing the company’s timepieces created exclusively for golfers. ETIQUS was first established in 2014 by England Golf member Gary Butler, who has enjoyed developing the brand into one of golf’s hidden gems. The European Tour has announced a strategic alliance with the Korean PGA which will see the two organisations co-operate closely on the development of the professional game in Korea. The Alliance formalises the growing relationship between the two Associations following the opening of a Korean office last year, and is expected to help create new opportunities for young professional players in a country which has experienced a rapid rise in golfing success in the last two decades. An ambitious £10 million plan has been unveiled to breathe fresh life into a six-time Open Championship venue and the oldest continuouslyplayed golf course in the world. The aim is to recapture the long-lost ‘heritage’ of Musselburgh Links, taking it back to its Victorian-era (circa 1896) set up, when its importance and significance to the game of golf was at its peak.


Michael Braidwood has announced that he will complete his three-year tenure as director of education at the CMAE in September, to return to club management as general manager at Qatar International Golf Club.


Experienced PGA golf professional James Jewell has taken on a new role within the golf membership department at Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel as the venue looks to provide extra member benefits.


Renowned coach James Cunliffe has been appointed head professional at Dunston Hall, Norwich. Cunliffe, 42, moves from Sedlescombe GC, in East Sussex, where he had held the post of senior PGA professional for four years.


St Mellion has appointed leisure industry expert, Tim Howell, as the resorts new general manager. Howell, 53, was formerly the chief executive at the Liberty Stadium, home to Premier League Swansea City.


Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort has appointed Alexandre Barroso as its new golf sales director at the Portuguese venue. Barroso, 44, previously spent five years as director of golf at Vidago Palace.


Former Kent Ladies Champion, Sophie Daws has joined the professional team at Royal Mid-Surrey to boost the club’s teaching Academy for beginners and provide lessons for members of its thriving ladies and junior sections. | 15



pgas of europe

In theory, increasing the number of female golfers in general will ultimately lead to more female PGA professionals

WOMEN’S GOLF DAY Women golfers celebrate Women’s Golf Day at Bromsgrove Golf Club last year

Why we need more Female PGA pro’s The golf world is acutely aware of the need to get more women and girls into golf, but what role can the PGA professional play in this, asks Aston Ward.

GMé Media Partner The PGAs of Europe is an association of 36 National PGAs with a collective membership in excess of 21,000 golf professionals across Europe.


16 | GMé July 2017

The key to golf development, and in particular the development of the women’s game, is somewhat of a golden goose for the sport. Perhaps eventually there will be a programme, or series of programmes, that are able to address the development of golf – and any sport for that matter – enabling as many people to be able to play as would like to. But for now at least there are a huge number of fantastic initiatives taking place that ultimately aim to increase the numbers of people enjoying our fantastic sport. Indeed in conjunction with the EGCOA, the PGAs of Europe are conducting research to collate successful initiatives and programmes with the aim of creating a framework and toolkit that will look at golf development activity from around the world, and how these examples can be utilised to inform and evolve future activity – female participation will be a key theme within this.

In the UK, projects such as, based on PGA professional, Alastair Spink’s, academic study into gender in sports coaching and Syngenta’s research efforts, have helped to create environments and programmes that are specifically tailored to female participation, aiding retention levels and the enjoyment of golfers. England Golf’s Girls Golf Rocks encourages girls aged from five to 18 to start playing golf, and the recruitment campaign got over 600 girls playing in 2016 through expert coaching from PGA pros combined with using young ambassadors to show how golf can be fun and sociable. Further afield there are activities such as the Women’s Golf Day that aims to celebrate girls and women playing golf around the world, engaging, empowering and supporting new and experienced golfers alike. In the US, the World Golf Foundation’s Golf 20/20 Diversity Task Force seeks

RIGHT DIRECTION The industry needs to recruit more women PGA pro’s

opportunities to create greater diversity in the game and business of golf. Whilst the LPGA and USGA have a Girls Golf junior golf programme with sites in more than 380 communities across the United States, providing girls with quality golf instruction tying into The First Tee programme as well. What is clear is that the workforce that are able to drive these initiatives, and assist the various governing bodies, clubs and organisations in carrying out this work, are PGA professionals. They are at the very centre of these golf development efforts. WORKFORCE Much of the work of the PGAs of Europe focuses around golf development within our 35 member countries, but also all over the world. Many of these markets face the same challenges with regards to increasing participation, and again in pretty much all cases, the PGA professional is key.

PGA pros have a tangible role to play in the development of the sport in general and specifically with the levels of women and girls playing. As someone who is central to many clubs and facilities – and is often a key colleague/employee or manager – the PGA pro has a duty to be aware of the challenges that golf faces and how these can be addressed. The PGAs of Europe can play a role in educating all PGA pros of the importance of increasing female participation; the ways to go about doing so, and how to ensure women and girls have the best possible experience and pathway into, and throughout, a career in golf. BENEFIT Currently only around five per cent of the PGA professionals in our 35 member countries are female. The specific breakdown of course varies from country to country, ranging from zero per cent in some countries,

to between 25-30 per cent in others, depending on their development and golfing culture. In theory, increasing the number of female golfers in general will ultimately lead to more female PGA professionals. The number is growing – albeit at a relatively slow pace – but we are confident it will continue to grow and work will carry on in creating career pathways and learning environments that allow both men and women to develop excellent qualifications and fruitful futures. For PGAs, a diverse membership is just as important a factor as it would be for a golf club – there are a variety of opportunities for female PGA pros, even in the currently predominantly male marketplace. As more women and girls play golf there will continue to be increased need for female coaches to act as role models for those venturing into the sport and potentially becoming a PGA pro as their career choice. GMé | 17




HONOURED Yassen Yankov (left) and Adam Walsh (right) receive CMAE Diplomas from Marc Newey

DUAL ROLES Marc Newey, president of the CMAE, and CEO of Roehampton Club

In conversation with Marc Newey As CEO of Roehampton Club, and current president of the CMAE, Marc Newey should know a thing or two about how to run a modern sports facility. GMé You have had a varied background working in golf/leisure management since 1983, so what first attracted you to this line of work?

For golf the principle of presenting excellent external greens (on the course) and excellent internal greens (catering) has always worked for me.

MN I played a number of sports for Warwickshire when I was young, badminton being my favourite. Seeing first-hand how poorly facilities were managed as a user motivated me to try and improve standards.

GMé Managing 5,000 members at Roehampton must be challenging, so what’s the secret to keeping everyone happy on a day-to-day basis?

GMé Before accepting the position of chief executive at Roehampton Club in 2008, you held director of golf/GM roles for Marriott and Royal Mid-Surrey respectively, so what would you say were the main differences between managing a private member club and a proprietaryowned resort course? MN Not many to be honest in today’s world as it’s all about the user perception of value for money. Most people will pay a premium for a premium product. If you can convince members that their club must be run on business principles so the surplus can be reinvested in the key facilities you will generally succeed.

18 | GMé July 2017

MN Accepting you can’t, but trying to nevertheless! Friendliness and cleanliness are guiding day-to-day principles for staff. Members will judge you every day on them. I have excellent staff and just being awarded Investors in People Gold standard shows how hard we work on developing and retaining them. GMé In 2011, you accepted an invitation to join the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE), so in brief, what is the objective of the association? MN CMAE was formed in 2001 to create a structured education programme for city, sports and golf club managers to support and develop them through their career. Most importantly to show the club industry that club management is

ON THE MIC Marc Newey (left) shares an open mic discussion with Tony Jacklin

a valued profession and can be entered into at any age with the right training and due experience. GMé Specifically, how can membership of the CMAE enhance a manager’s career, and what types of development programmes/qualifications does the CMAE offer? MN We offer a wonderful Management Development Programme (MDP) adapted for European managers from the tried and tested American model used by CMAA. Its based upon the ten core competencies of club management and you can only acquire the Club Management Diploma (CMdip) and Certified Club Manager (CCM) qualifications by passing the exams set after attending the residential courses and acquiring the necessary CPD points.

These qualifications are recognised worldwide and are competency based which is what committees recruiting managers want to see. GMé Although the CMAE covers all aspects of club management, what percentage of the membership are employed within the golf industry, and is that figure increasing or decreasing? MN Currently about 65 per cent and reducing, as more and more sports, city and country clubs join. Plus golf clubs are bolting on different sports to retain members so our qualifications are becoming more and more relevant for all managers. GMé What advice would you offer any young golf pro considering his future, and contemplating a move from coaching into golf club management?

MN I would suggesting taking the MDP 1 and 2 and passing the CMDiploma. I was in Dubai recently talking to all the golf pros who were taking the courses and two head pros said they had learnt more in a week on how to manage a club than in 20 years of heading up a golf teaching and retail operation. They wanted to make the step across to running the whole club – course managers are saying the same. GMé What would you say are the main differences between the CMAE, GCMA and PGA management qualifications? MN Ours are a week long and residential as CMAA insist upon that format as research has shown that the interaction with your peers, the networking during the week and afterwards on the Whats App groups, embeds the knowledge gained better than any other form of | 19




ANYONE FOR TENNIS? The tennis courts at Roehampton Club

“Hosting European Tour events or monthly medals requires managerial rather than putting skills”

learning outside the workplace... you can’t excel on a food and beverage course online! Showing others your sommelier or cooking skills that week is a true test and gains you the respect of all your peers on the course and back at your club.

matched the US managers competing for the same position. He wouldn’t have got an interview otherwise.

GMé Do you agree with the notion that to manage a golf facility, you need to be playing to a low handicap?

MN It has many challenges – the biggest possibly is being relevant for the youth of today to grow the game. It has to speed up play, discard its stuffy image, drop the over reliance of having to have a scorecard in your hand when you play, and partner other sports to appeal to the whole family. Ensure the whole family can play sport at the same time and eat afterwards in the same place.

MN No as I am a case in point. Being director of golf and leisure at Marriott Hanbury Manor and Forest of Arden and taking both operations to be best in class shows it can be done. Hosting European Tour events or monthly medals requires managerial rather than putting skills. Having Kenny Mackay as your course manager at both venues gives you a big advantage though – I learnt so much from him. GMé How closely do you work with the CMAA in the United States, and are CMAE qualifications recognised globally? MN Very closely, and CMAE owes CMAA a great deal for the huge support it has received over the last 16 years. Yes CCM is the club industry benchmark qualification worldwide. Arnaldo Coccuzza, my predecessor as CMAE president, got his green card to become director of club operations at Charlotte CC, because his CCM qualification

20 | GMé July 2017

GMé Talking specifically about golf, what do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the industry today?

GMé Finally, given your busy schedule at Roehampton and CMAE, do you manage to find time to play golf? MH No, as when you work in the chocolate factory you don’t tend to eat the chocolate! What I do try and do is inspect our course as often as possible which I can do in an hour rather than having to take four hours to play it. I like my golf team to play at other clubs so we can steal ideas on how we can improve Roehampton Club. Nothing better than members telling you that they are proud of our greens and general presentation whenever they return from an away match. GMé

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IN SEVE’S FOOTSTEPS The 10th hole on The Brabazon course

ICONIC SETTING The world-famous Belfry tower

Starring Role for Reeve at The Belfry Christopher Reeve may well share his name with a superhero actor, but the new director of golf at The Belfry has shown he is a Man of Steel when it comes to managing one of the most demanding roles in golf. Article by Michael Lenihan. Christopher Reeve is no Superman; but he would agree that since February he has a super job. For Reeve is the director of golf at the Belfry Hotel & Resort – four-time host of the Ryder Cup and a ‘must-play venue’ for the travelling golfer. He’s come a long way since he first started working in golf part-time at Ashford Golf Complex, in Kent, and, at 42, he’s still got time on his side if he wishes to go even further. The Belfry is his ninth job in golf but, sitting with him and chatting in a relaxed manner about his career, it’s clear there has been a thread running through each of them: inclusivity. His passion for not just improving people’s golf but also actively encourage newcomers to give it a try is palpable, even sat here, as we are, drinking coffee in the club lounge. And the ambitious Reeve does not see the out-of-bounds markers at The Belfry as the limit of his inclusivity. He’s keen to see golf’s various bodies – national and regional – work together for the betterment of the game… and he’s prepared to drive it himself if required. Reeve, who moved to The Belfry following a three-year stint as director

22 | GMé July 2017

of golf at Foxhills, in Surrey, explained: “There are so many different bodies out there; there isn’t one governing body so to speak. You’ve obviously got the R&A, Sport England, the PGA, and you’ve got the Tour. Then there are all the counties that are all very separate and individual about how they operate. “Funding and pushing out national programmes is difficult, very difficult. They all run their own things and I don’t think there’s any one particular body that can actually decide to take it all under control. “I don’t really know what the right answer is if I’m being totally honest. You would hope the counties would all stick together and have one voice but they don’t. Then there’s the men’s union and the ladies unions… and even just trying to get the handicapping systems together is another banana skin. It’s all a bit disjointed. “The clubs are almost having to try and do it all themselves. There are other bits and pieces of funding – the Golf Foundation, I think, does really well, but, again, their hands get tied.” Growing the game and introducing it to the masses is something Reeve hopes

FRONT AND CENTRE Christopher Reeve, pictured in front of the National Custom Fitting Centre at The Belfry

he can achieve with his role at one of the UK’s most highly regarded resorts. And he has pretty firm ideas on how to go about it. He explained: “It’s a bit new for me at the minute, to get a real feel for it, but we do have different standards of golf courses where we can do that. “It’s really difficult to try to push the game to new people – complete beginners – when sometimes the jump up from first lesson to hitting balls to going out onto the main course is a huge step to take.

“But venues with pathway courses – or shortened versions of their own courses – really help, which is what we’ve been looking at on our Derby course. We’re trying to introduce more people in that way; obviously we’ve got the National Academy so we want to try and grow the game as much as possible.” It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to hear Reeve talk so passionately about such matters when one considers that, for a large part of his career, coaching was a major factor in his day-to-day work.

From his role at Ashford, he moved to Chart Hills in 1994, where he stayed in the role of club professional and shop manager for seven years. His progression continued in 2001 when he moved to Knole Park – also in Kent – as the club’s senior pro. Three years later he became head professional at Croham Hurst GC, in Surrey, where he spent nearly two years, before taking a leap of faith and heading abroad, to Spain, where he was appointed head professional for Marbella Golf Coaching. | 23




“I think it’s very difficult to encourage more people to play, especially at memberrun clubs when they’re committee based”

THE NEXT CHAPTER Christopher Reeve, in-front of The Belfry

He recalled: “I’d always wanted to try out going abroad and I just thought ‘you know what, if you’re going to do it, you’re reaching an age now if you don’t do it you’re never going to’. So I bit the bullet and just went for it. “I had some friends out there who were involved with the golf business so off I trudged. Just me and my golf clubs. I found myself somewhere to live and negotiated a good deal with a couple of golf clubs to go and teach there. I said, ‘if you want to just pay us a facility fee to use your range then go ahead’. So, that’s what I did. “There are big parts of that I miss. I love being out there teaching all the time, a little bit less responsibility and a little bit more fun – but there’s other parts I don’t miss: not being at home and not being involved in the broader spectrum of the whole club, I do like that. “I think, ultimately, I wanted to start settling down a bit more as well and I thought ‘am I going to live out here forever?’ and in my heart I knew the answer was no. So, with the Euro rate starting to dwindle down, it was time to again bite the bullet and come back.” In 2008, he took up another head professional role, this time at Wycombe Heights Golf Centre – part of BGL Golf – where he spent a little more than six years. “I had a friend who used to work with me at Chart Hills who was then running the retail and golf operations side of Burhill group,” explained Reeve. “He said there was an opportunity to come back

24 | GMé July 2017

to work with the Burhill group and that’s what I did. “I worked through there for a few years doing quite well and then that’s when the management role for the group was created. They decided there was a lot of disparity between all the different teaching offerings for the ten venues and they wanted to collate it all together, so they created this academy development manager in order to get people into the game. They wanted to build programmes that we could run at all venues and track numbers. “We introduced ‘Get into Golf’, which was just taster lessons and free trials. (We were) trying to make sure that all the marketing materials arrived for it, all the epos systems were set up correctly… all the pros would deliver the right sessions but we didn’t want to tell people how to teach, it was more ‘these are the programmes you want and then you need to put your individual skills into that’.” Once more, this train of conversation brings the idealist out in Reeve as he espoused his views on why the industry still needs to work harder to get more people into golf. He frowned: “We still have certain golf clubs that are private and want to stay private. I think it’s very difficult to encourage more people to play, especially at member-run clubs when they’re committee based. I’m not sure how busy they really want to be, but I think everyone can do a little bit more to make it a bit more inclusive.

“I still speak to a lot of people who are not golfers and you ask them about what they think about golf and still in their mind there’s this sign at the entrance which says ‘Private! Members only’. “That is not what we want, and we need to break down those barriers. A lot of clubs are very good at it (but) I think there are a lot of clubs that need to maybe work a little bit harder. “It still upsets me when the biggest press coverage we get about golf clubs nowadays is ‘Muirfield has decided to let ladies in’. My wife, as a complete nongolfer, asked ‘what do you mean, they’re not allowed in?’. “I think the problem is everyone (outside of golf) thinks that every other golf club in the land has just decided to let ladies in and that’s not true and that is frustrating.” Another way to garner interest locally, of course, is to host a major tournament. And while the chance of a fifth Ryder Cup might be some way off, Reeve retains hopes that a Tour event could soon return to The Belfry. “I think we would love to see it,” he said. “The Belfry is the sort of venue that almost lends itself to it. We can do it. We’ve got the space to do it, and we’ve got the course to do it. “I really enjoyed going to the British Masters at The Grove last year. It was a great event, so, yes I’d like to be part of something like that.” And, at just, 42, there’s every chance he might get to fulfil that ambition at The Belfry. GMé

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las colinas

Las Colinas is A World Apart Director of golf and operations at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Spain is Sean Côrte-Real, a former European Tour star who is now in charge of the spectacular resort, offering not only stunning golf, but sensational real estate opportunities too. Michael Lenihan paid him a visit.

26 | GMé July 2017 ROOM WITH A VIEW The 8th green at Las Colinas overlooked by new properties (main picture) and right, the clubhouse and 18th green

Had it not been for a decision to change coach, Las Colinas’ director of golf and operations, Sean CÔrte-Real, might be earning his crust on tour instead of at one of Europe’s top golf resorts. For the Portuguese CÔrte-Real, 44, was in possession of a provisional European Tour card at age 24, making a succession of cuts. But he wanted to win tournaments – and that’s what changed his career path. He recalled: “I had a provisional European Tour card so I played as much as I could. Immediately I think I made something like 14 cuts in a row on both tours. The Estoril Open was great because that was home for me. “I made the cut and played in the final group on the last day and so I just thought all of this was normal – this whole progression was very normal. I had a swing coach in San Francisco and halfway through my second year I thought, ‘OK, I’m not winning the tournaments’. I was young but obviously you don’t think straight. “And I decided in order to get to the next stage, which is to win tournaments on the tour, I needed to change my coach. Biggest mistake ever: I tried to change big things in my swing and I

never recovered from it, the game was gone really. That was that – so that was my brief four years on tour.” That time on tour came after starting to play golf as a pre-teen, being a nationally ranked tennis player, and spells at a prestigious English boarding school and a US college. CÔrte-Real has certainly led an interesting life. He added: “I started playing golf when I was 12 in Estoril. That was my home club but I used to play a lot of tennis before that. One day I just I lost a big national final 6-0 6-0 – you could call that a whipping! – so when I got home I threw my racket under the bed… and I never wanted to play the game again. “My dad said ‘you can’t just play football, you’ve got to play two sports, so you choose whatever you want’, so I agreed to go with him to the golf course because he used to play golf. “I did and I started hitting a couple of balls and that was that really, I fell in love with the game. “I started playing at a high level very quickly. It took me about a year to almost make the national teams and things like that. In those days there was a thing called Topolino, which was the world under-14s, in Italy, and I finished third when I was 14.

“I think I made something like 14 cuts in a row on both tours. The Estoril Open was great because that was home for me” | 27



las colinas LIVING THE DREAM Left, director of golf and operations at Las Colinas, Sean CÔrte-Real; top-right the 17th and 18th holes at Las Colinas, and below-right, the interior of one of the apartments at the resort.

“They come and play here once and say ‘wow, this is great’, and they want to come back”

“Then after that, I went to boarding school in England at Millfield School, in Somerset, and I played golf there because it’s a very sporty school. That was fun but it was a big change from a warm Portugal, where I was used to school and living, to a cold England. “But I was very lucky to play at a fantastic golf course called Burnham and Berrow – a links course that was great to experience in the winters and in the springs. “And then I managed to get a golf scholarship to go to America. I went to the University Pacific in Stockton, California – and those are four years that were unforgettable. I played at a very high level there actually and I was fortunate enough to meet a great coach, Dr Glenn Alba, who’s a sports psychologist. He just took me to a different level psychologically. “I played pretty good golf there; I competed against Tiger a few times which was a fun experience.” A successful European Tour qualifying school, four years on Tour and a return to university for a Masters degree later, he moved into resort management as director of golf at Vila Sol Spa and Golf Resort, in Vilamoura, where he spent nine years. He then moved on to Iguassu Golf Resort, in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, where

28 | GMé July 2017

he took the lead in developing the golf offering at one of the emerging destination’s finest golf courses. “It is in the Iguazu Falls, which is the largest waterfall system in the world. It is huge, with big waterfalls, and makes Niagara look like a little drop,” smiled CÔrte-Real. “It is unbelievable, it really is. And they get about three to four million visitors each year in the region. It is in the middle of almost nowhere, right on the border of Paraguay and Argentina. “We got an American architect in there and we made a pretty bad golf course into a very nice golf course and a really bad hotel into a really nice hotel and it was great to see how that progressed.” A move back to Europe beckoned, however, as the development at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Spain – which opened in 2011 – proved too much of a lure. And he has been director of golf and resort operations there since November 2014, as the spectacular, multi-award-winning resort goes from strength to strength. Located on the Mediterranean coast and managed by Troon, the resort covers 330 hectares and is just 20 minutes from the San Javier Airport in Murcia. The Cabell B. Robinson-designed golf course is ranked 78 in Europe in Golf

World’s 2015 benchmark ranking, while the World Golf Awards gave it top billing in Spain, in 2015. It’s also won awards for its sympathetic villa development and more will surely follow, if CÔrte-Real’s confidence and passion are any guide. His role covers not only golf, but also the golfers’ residences, F&B, and the private beach club. He explained: “Fortunately, the ownership here understands, and they’re very conscientious about the quality they want to provide. “It’s just as important – or maybe sometimes more important – as the bottom line, because of everything else that we’re trying to do here: the real estate and trying to provide a good experience for everybody – not just the golfer, but for the residential owners who are living here. “It’s easier to explain and say ‘look, we need to reduce the number of rounds and that’s going to slightly affect the financials’,” continued CÔrte-Real. “What we’re finding is the average spending in the pro shop has gone up; the average spending in the F&B operation has gone up; people are renting more buggies – so we’ve reduced the number of rounds, but with an increased green fee, with the end result of high revenues. So everybody’s happy.”


The residential offering on sale at Las Coli nas Golf & Country Club includes villas, apartments and plots of land. The residential offering on sale at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club includes villas, apartments and plots of land.

A World Apart to enjoy golf, nature and sea

And to reinforce that statement, Las Colinas has been twice nominated as the best golf course in Spain, a fact which CÔrte-Real is delighted about: “We’re very proud because it’s a public vote, and so, it means that a lot of people voted for us. “We see that with our social media, we see that with the satisfaction questionnaires that we do. People, they come back and I think that’s the best sign, that a lot of people come back. They come and play here once and say ‘wow, this is great’, and they want to come back.” The club has around 120 members currently – property owners have optional membership – and most footfall is a mixture of locals and tourists, as CÔrteReal explained. “At the moment, the majority are local, people who live in the Casa Blanca area; then there are tourists coming from mainly Belgium, Scandinavia and the UK – those are the three main markets. And, thirdly, there are owners living in Las Colinas – but that ratio will change as time goes by. “I think five years down the road we’ll have a lot more people living in Las Colinas so it’ll become slightly more private, but still open, I’m sure. So, with that word ‘private’ comes a little bit of exclusivity, and I think that will take Las

Colinas to an even bigger profile than it has now. “I’d say we have about a third of Las Colinas now been built or sold, and in the last two years it’s really taken off – we’ve sold a tremendous amount of real estate and that wasn’t really fully predicted. At the moment things are going very well. “We look at figures around Spain and Portugal and other golf areas and we’re doing very well compared to a lot of places.” He continued: “We’ve had internal discussions about the possibility of a second course. The owners understand where the golf course stands. At the moment, they’re not interested in doing that because it’s still early days – it’s a young golf course still. “The land is there, but nothing’s being built on it. That’s a decision to be made, probably in the next two to three years, to decide whether a golf course and a hotel are necessary or not.” Just one look at Las Colinas and it’s easy to see why a hotel operator might jump at the opportunity to build at the site. Yet, such is the quality of this still embryonic venue, that one feels the owners won’t feel they need to hurry into making a decision. And one can only admire them for that. GMé

In Spain, south of Alicante, there is a different world. It’s the perfect spot to escape to on holiday: a valley nestling between hills, overlooking the sea, where homes and the golf course blend harmoniously into the natural surroundings. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is an exclusive residential community on the Spanish Mediterranean coast with low housing density, built around an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Cabell B. Robinson. Managed by Troon Golf, the width of its fairways, the design of its undulating greens and the numerous tees at each hole give the course great versatility, making it suitable for players of all abilities, and an enjoyable experience all-year round. The homes at Las Colinas are laid out into private communities, each community with ample green zones, and have been designed to respect the environment, quality, privacy and to overlook the golf course or Mediterranean woodland. The rooms in all of them look outwards through terraces and porches which makes them light and spacious, whilst the residential offering on sale at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club includes villas, apartments and plots of land. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club enjoys an exceptional climate. It is extremely well connected and boasts comprehensive sports facilities and services, as well a private Beach Club on the seafront at nearby La Glea beach in Campoamor. | 29


huxley golf ON LINE A Huxley Golf putting green, installed at Houghton-le-Spring golf club

Huxley Golf innovate to help unite golf Vanessa Gardner reports on how Huxley Golf is helping to fuel innovation in golf, in turn increasing visitor numbers and improving bottom lines. Innovation and golf. On one hand, we think of technology, fast-paced change and real-world commercialism. On the other, we have a much adored game, steeped in tradition and synonymous with long leisurely days that take you to quite another place altogether. Are the two concepts set for a collision course? Far from it. We are increasingly seeing these two worlds come together quite successfully. We are witnessing clubs and courses across Europe reinventing the rules to spark consumer interest and get more people engaging with the game. With the well-publicised ageing population, this innovation revolution cannot come soon enough. “It never used to be the case, but running a golf course today is much like playing: you’ve got to keep working at it. Rest on your laurels and some new upstart will walk away with the prize,” comments Paul Chester, general manager at Huxley Golf, which is often called on to bring innovative ideas to life. The specialist all-weather golf surface business – itself a company steeped in history – has similarly embraced new ideas to adapt to new market demands. Chester believes that there are four trends which are transforming the golfing landscape which have led to four very practical ways to embrace innovation and secure the future of your club or course. The first is the trend for state-of-theart practice facilities: multi-purpose practice studios and coaching zones indoors, or larger short game practice areas outside. There’s an added benefit to this approach which is that it gives you something fresh to talk about; new

30 | GMé July 2017

news to kick-start your marketing and incentivise membership. For example, St Andrews Links’ prestigious Golf Academy upgraded its practice facilities to include three indoor teaching bays which facilitate efficient coaching on all aspects of the game, while taking a very individual approach to learning. Using multiple Huxley Golf surfaces in each bay has provided a comprehensive area to practise driving, iron play, pitching and putting. Secondly, there is the inevitable rise of technology designed to help players improve their game. In the last year we’ve seen hi-tech simulators and robots join the ranks of existing training technologies like Golf Tech, TrackMan and Boditrak to keep pace with ongoing developments in club and kit design. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction but, with excellent success rates, it’s easy to see how computer-aided equipment has the potential to get younger players hooked. A high tech haven for golfers at all levels, FairWeather Golf in Camberley Golf proudly plays host to the UK’s first two RoboGolfPro training robots along with six golf simulators, a custom fit studio and professional coaches on-hand at all times. Huxley Golf surfaced the six Golf Tech simulators and created a large indoor putting green with four practice holes, expertly designed and cut to reflect the modern aesthetic of the rest of the facility and completed with a fringe surround. The third trend is speed. There’s been a lot of publicity around the need for much quicker rounds of golf to attract more people into the game, creating

“running a golf course today is much like playing: you’ve got to keep working at it”

BAYWATCH Innovative multi-surface teaching bays at St Andrews Links Golf Academy

ALL-WEATHER Huxley Golf installation at Fairweather Golf, an innovative, fresh approach to golf

POMPEY CHIMES A brand new Huxley Golf driving coaching zone at Portsmouth Golf Centre

shorter courses which are more appealing to novices, younger players and timestrapped golfers is the aim. Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club successfully did this with funding support from Sport England. There, Huxley Golf created a five green all-weather short course – the first of its kind in the UK – with the greens measuring over 500 sq. yards. Finally, revenue generation. If you’ve already invested in practice facilities and technology, consider whether your team’s time is fully utilised and how you can extend the playing season. Portsmouth Golf Centre has done just this. Recognising that many golfers liked to practise outside it launched an outdoor coaching zone. The new facility features a driving area and a five hole putting green with two chipping pods, all created using Huxley Golf’s top flight allweather surfaces. Located close to the 18th hole, fencing was skilfully designed to facilitate views of the new practice area, sparking inter-

est and cleverly generating new coaching enquiries while floodlighting extends coaching into the evening. The result has been to buck the trend when it comes to attracting new golfers, boosting profits at the same time with uplifts in both lesson income and pro shop sales. It’s clear to see that being open to new ideas and embracing innovation has enormous potential for clubs and courses of all sizes and in all locations. But it may also seem a little daunting, so where do you start? Find a professional partner who will give you good advice, not just a sales pitch. Paul Chester at Huxley Golf says: “We are asked all kinds of questions, because, as you can imagine, every landscape is different and each requires a bespoke solution to achieve the business and aesthetic goal. “People we’ve not dealt with before are generally relieved to find that what might seem like a major project at the outset is actually usually fast and simple

to make happen with all–weather surfaces, and without a negative impact on the playing experience.” The flexibility that all-weather surfaces offer cannot be understated. Aside from infinite possibilities in terms of size and shape, there’s no seeding period required so installations can take place at any time and are immediately ready for play. They can be blended into the natural surroundings with all-weather fringes and pathways too, to create a pleasingly consistent aesthetic around the course and practice areas. Although there is an up-front investment in any new approach, the payback potential with high quality artificial surfaces far outweighs this when you consider that there’s no skilled maintenance requirement, no watering, mowing or fertilisation needed. And, of course, they open up the opportunity for year-round play whatever the weather – rarely possible with exclusively natural grass courses. GMé | 31



Women & girls are starting to The initiative, which was started by PGA professional Alastair Spink, is beginning to see some real results with regards female participation, as Scott MacCallum discovers. There was a UB40 song in the early 80s entitled I am the one in ten which reflected the unemployment figure of the time. With only a slight amendment to the lyrics a potential golf related song could be I am the 1.4 in ten which would highlight the impossibly low number of female golf participation in this country. That’s right, female golfers in the UK in 2017 amount to just 14 per cent of those who play the game. That contrasts with the 40 per cent in Germany and Austria and 30 per cent in Sweden, and is an embarrassing reflection on how women golfers are considered in the land which gave us the game. We’ve heard of the ‘progress’ which has been made at the traditional clubs like Royal Troon, Muirfield and, indeed, the R&A, with regard to opening up the membership to both male and female participants, but perhaps the real golf-

32 | GMé July 2017

ing revolution – designed to bring more equality within the game – is starting in the grass roots. Five years ago, was launched and since then women have had the opportunity to try golf without first taking on board the well meaning, but mind numbing pre-shot advice which often accompanied a female’s first attempts at the game. Brainchild of Alastair Spink, a PGA professional based at Fynn Valley Golf Club in Suffolk, the unique approach to teaching has galvanised the female side of the game and offered the prospect of a plethora of new and enthusiastic women players to give the game the injection it so desperately needs. “I had been coaching for over 30 years and, around 2011, I was beginning to get a feeling that something wasn’t right with the game. I started to look at statistics and realised that only 14 per cent LOVING GOLF Left, Alistair Spink and Carin Koch pictured with some lady beginners at a coaching session, and right, women and girls enjoying the sport

“around 2011, I was beginning to get a feeling that something wasn’t right with the game”

of our membership was women or girls, which couldn’t be right, and I felt that we needed to do something about it,” explained Spink, who added that Fynn Valley is the model of what an inclusive golf club should look like, proprietary, with excellent practice facilities and a well constructed par-3 course around the outside of the range. With the issue front and centre in his mind Spink began watching those women who did visit the club and what he saw gave him a real clue to the problem: “Through my observations I saw a lot of women coming to the range, often with a male partner. The man started to play and at some point the female would ask if she could have a go. “Time and time again he would impart every single piece of his ‘golfing knowledge’ onto this poor person – posture, grip, arms straight, head down etc. “So much information and she hadn’t even had the opportunity to hit the ball! The scenario would all too often result in the club being handed back with the comment that it was way too difficult. And that was that. The moment had gone.” Spink reflected on what he had witnessed and two things occurred to him: “Firstly, that essentially it wasn’t so very far away from my own coaching methods with lots of information that

might not be relevant; and secondly, that the poor women never got to see the actual golf course. “It wasn’t how I had learned to play the game as a kid. If I stood on the range just hitting balls all day I probably would have been put off the game too.” It was at that point that the concept was born. “I decided that I needed to try something different and just get out onto the golf course from the very first lesson. Learning would still occur but through play, rather than standing on the range waiting in turn to play a shot in front of the others. “I describe it as what happened when we were children – when we got out onto the course and enjoyed the game and enjoyed seeing improvement through beating our best score on holes and then over the course. It is scientifically based on Learning Theory,” explained Spink. Since then the concept, initially launched at Fynn Valley, has proven to be a successful formula which has been rolled out to other parts of the country with 28 coaches – five of them female – who coach to the same style and philosophy. Spink meets regularly with the coaches to ensure the message, teaching approach and general love of the game is transmitted to the new female golfers.

“We have had a really high success rate. At Fynn Valley since we started we’ve had over 350 women take part and our retention rate – moving on from the first series of six lessons to the next – is 80 per cent. “We asked the women to write journals – anonymously if they wished – on their experiences, and these provided us with some wonderful information to inform about the progress of” That doesn’t mean that those women become golf club members but, having enjoyed playing golf courses they do enjoy the opportunity to play different courses as part of the family. Having launched, Spink was keen to ensure that he had the academic knowledge to back up his practical skills, so he undertook a Post Graduate Degree at Birmingham University on Sports Coaching with an emphasis on gender, which led to a Masters Degree. In tandem with this Spink has received support from Syngenta – the go-ahead chemical company with a track record of seeing beyond the accountant’s bottom line – and who, in independent research, highlighted the disparity in participation within the UK. “We couldn’t achieve what we have done without the support from Syngenta, which has been key to the whole success of | 33



A DIFFERENT APPROACH Carin Koch, Syngenta Global Ambassador

“I believe in five years we can have a whole community of women who are playing golf and who are looking for places to play”

34 | GMé July 2017

“Their research gleaned from customer insight and consumer research on a global scale, put a spotlight on what financial gains would be available from getting more women involved in the game. “Syngenta’s Global Ambassador, Carin Koch, does a wonderful job for golf and even attended one of our sessions at Fynn Valley to encourage the love.golfers,” explained Spink. “When people see that you are backed by a large global company they can be a little cynical initially, but with Syngenta, they soon realise that they are in this for the overall good of the game and to assist with increased participation. “They also have the resources to make a difference and I am so pleased that our initially individual work has combined to give the impetus we need to make it successful.” And Spink is convinced that while the concept is certainly proving its worth, when it comes to developing an enjoyment and love of the game for girls and women alike it may not automatically lead to an increase in members for the country’s golf clubs. “Ourgolfers want to carry on playing, and some have become golf club members, but the offer has to be right and flexible if they do. “Many clubs still wish women to conform to the established system and what tends to happen is that the existing female members say how great it is when a new member arrives and says, ‘Come and join us on a Tuesday’, as Saturday’s are traditionally the domain

of the male membership. Our love.golfers will then say, ‘I can’t play on Tuesdays because I work’.” With more and more ladies signing up to Spink sees it as an opportunity to break the mould, and that it may have to come from the ground up rather than any governance change within the game. “I believe in five years we can have a whole community of women who are playing golf and who are looking for places to play,” continued Spink. “They will play where they know they can and if we were to have lots of love. golf ‘venues’ throughout the UK women would go to those places. “Golf clubs will then know that there are financial opportunities available should they co-operate with “If 100 women say they want to play a golf course on a Saturday morning, it would be very difficult for a club to turn away that potential revenue. If it is just one or two women who ask it is too easy for the club to ignore the request,” said Spink, who added that research shows that the women also spend more than their fair share in the clubhouse and the Pro Shop. Asked for a prediction on what female participation may be in ten years, Spink, somewhat conservatively, estimated that it may be up from 14 per cent to around 20 per cent. But then, as we know, it is an ultraconservative game and, let’s face it, I am the one in five still sounds better than the current version. GMé

Unlocking Golf’s True Potential Syngenta is a global agriculture company, employing more than 28,000 people in 90 countries. For more than 30 years we have also been a market leader in the global golf industry creating innovative turf management solutions for golf courses in 43 countries. However, Syngenta is much more than turf management products and services. As an industry leader, we care not only for the health, quality and consistency of your fairways and greens, we care about the health of the game itself and the industry’s long-term business sustainability. That’s why Syngenta is investing in golf from the ground up with the aim of Unlocking Golf’s True Potential. Our objectives are focused on:

Sustainability Productivity Playability Working with golf course superintendents around the world to deliver the best playing conditions for their customers

Supporting our customers and stakeholders with new knowledge, skills and tools to create strong, dynamic, customer-centric golf businesses

Syngenta UK Ltd. Registered in England No. 849037. CPC4 Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5XE.

Enhancing the environment, increasing biodiversity, and engaging with customers and stakeholders

Working together, we can Unlock Golf’s True Potential To find out more, join Syngenta Golf Ambassador Carin Koch for a special on-course video presentation at:



THE PRO KNOWS Delivering the highest level of coaching and fitting services to customers

GRASS ROOTS Helping to grow the game, particularly among women and kids

Does your club have a 21st century pro? There’s no getting away from the fact that life is getting harder for golf pro’s, but as James Ellis reports, with a little help from Foremost, the future can be a whole lot brighter. At the heart of any successful golf club is a head professional that, as well as providing a modern and comprehensive retail offering for both members and visitors, also helps grow the game through promoting golf in the local community. As the biggest golf retail and marketing group in the UK, Foremost has long been helping pros achieve the highest possible standard when it comes to not only offering the best brands with the best terms, but also industry-leading advice on how to maximise revenue and increase retention of membership. Founded in 1984, their reputation and credibility within the golf industry really is second to none. Foremost continues to explore new ways to support its professionals by investing money and resource to deliver an effective business model for its membership, cementing its position as the unparalleled leader in innovation in terms of both digital marketing and retail services for golf professionals. Gone are the days of dark, dingy, oldfashioned pro shops. Foremost helps facilitate a modern, clean retail environment, with the benefits of its acclaimed

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Elite Marketing Programme (EMP) providing the ultimate 21st century retail solution. Also central to the success of any professional is the level and efficiency of the communication they have with their members, ensuring they remain engaged with everything that is going on and being offered. The latest in regular customer communication, Foremost’s EMP helps golf clubs engage with their customers on topics including the latest coaching, product and golf advice. Professionally produced with bespoke relevant content Golf Monthly – and optimised for 21st century modern technologies such as smart phones and tablets – the communications help customers to stay engaged with the club community and maximise the use of their membership. The group’s innovative NetTickIT in-store ticketing solution has transformed the look of members’ stores, with the system enabling Foremost members to design clean, bespoke ticketing quickly and efficiently. The system provides a cost effective way to clearly and professionally

RETAIL THERAPY A Foremost pro shop provides a clean, modern retail environment

promote product features and benefits, while maintain a strong perception of value for money to the consumer. Why put up with old fashioned handwritten, ‘day-glo’ style, signs, in the golf shop? Foremost provides its members with a retail ticketing solution called NetTickIT which is used by leading retailers including, Waitrose, to professionally ticket their retail stores. This helps to give a professional retail environment to the club shop rather than an outdated market stall feel to an area of the club that is often the first point of contact your club has with members and visitors. Another example of how Foremost is leading the industry in the services it provides to its members is the introduction of in-store interfaces that provide

EMP members with bespoke, auto-populating customer advice content. The innovative interface system displays are individually populated by high-resolution advertising banners promoting club, coaching and retail services, with the screens strategically positioned for optimum exposure to those entering the store. These local monitors are all run remotely by Foremost on behalf of the professional, with content based on brands stocked, along with individually created local imagery promoting coaching services and club events. However, Foremost’s support to the modern pro doesn’t start and end with just retail. The group is at the forefront of the industry’s latest coaching and fitting solutions.

By offering the highest possible level of service when it comes to these two integral components of the game, Foremost pros are able to help their club’s members enjoy better golf, which in turn helps facilitates membership retention. Most recently, Foremost has revealed that they have financed in excess of £1 million worth of Foresight’s industryleading launch monitor technology for their member professionals in the last two years alone. To help members invest into the ultimate technology for their fitting and coaching services, Foremost put a unique finance scheme in place to reduce costs and simplify the purchase of Foresight launch monitors, swing studios and simulators. | 37




HAVING A LITTLE FORESIGHT Delivering the highest level of coaching and fitting services to customers

“We endeavour to support green grass professionals with an extensive range of services that enable our members to deliver the highest possible level of service to golfers”

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The hugely successful scheme has already been utilised by more than 100 Foremost members who, in return, have seen their fitting and club sales grow as a result of being able to offer customers improved fitting and teaching services, indoors and outside, all year round, and in turn to increase their revenues and profits. Foremost is constantly working to support its membership by investing money and resource to deliver an effective business model for its membership. Education also plays a pivotal role in how Foremost supports its professionals throughout the year, with the group’s Spring Workshops and annual Conference in November always well attended by members wanting to expand their knowledge on all aspects of golf retail and marketing. More than 300 members attended Spring Workshops across the UK earlier this year, with the sessions ultimately designed to help members increase revenue. This year’s topics included maximising return on investment with an indoor swing studio, conducting a full business health check and providing a level of customer service that cannot be equalled. At the inaugural Foremost Annual Conference last year, over 180 members gathered in Milton Keynes for the twoday programme which provided attendees with a range of informative educational seminars in small work groups. The event, now held annually, is yet another investment by Foremost as they continue to explore new ways to

support their professionals by investing money and resource to deliver the most comprehensive set of educational and retail services for its ever-growing membership. It’s also widely recognised now that a pros remit extends far beyond the boundaries of his pro shop. Seeing the bigger picture and helping to promote and grow the game in the community is becoming an increasingly more important role for modern pros, in particular by breaking down existing barriers and making the game more enjoyable for ladies through group sessions, as well as juniors through coaching in schools. Summarising how Foremost strives to not only assist golf professionals with the level of service they offer, but is dedicated to helping grow the game, managing director Andy Martin said: “We endeavour to support green grass professionals with an extensive range of services that enable our members to deliver the highest possible level of service to golfers. “In turn this support helps Foremost professionals to contribute to assist retaining golfers in clubs, and attract new golfers to the game. “Golf course owners, directors of golf, general managers and CEOs operating a golf facility – and who are interested in finding a pro for their club who will improve the level of service offered to the members and maximise member retention – should contact Leanne Spence at Foremost Golf,” concluded Martin. GMé


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west cliffs

West Cliffs is a Course to Dye for Following the recent opening of West Cliffs in Portugal, the varied landscape and natural terrain was maintained as much as possible during construction, in order to create a unique links golf course alongside the silver coast, reports Peter Simm.

40 | GMĂŠ July 2017 ENHANCED BY NATURE The view from the clubhouse terrace (main picture) overlooking the course, and right, the tranquillity between the ocean and the land

It takes a lot to impress the UK press. While many of their European colleagues have no problem at all in issuing plaudits when their due, members of the country’s fourth estate prefer to adopt an approach which can be described as cynical at best. This extends to a certain degree to the UK’s golf media, who tend to err on the side of caution when delivering their verdict on a new golf product, course or resort. So when a collection of journalists from some of the most respected British golfing press are unanimous in their praise for a new course, and go as far as to label it as the best new golf venue in Europe and a contender for Portugal’s number one course, you tend to sit up and take note. The group in question, which included GMé, headed to Portugal last month to attend the official opening of the eagerly-awaited West Cliffs Golf Links. Situated less than an hour north of Lisbon on the country’s magnificent Silver Coast, the layout has been designed by Cynthia Dye ASGCA, from

the world-renowned golf architecture company Dye Designs Group. The first Dye golf course in Portugal – and only the fourth in Europe – West Cliffs is arguably the continent’s most talked-about new golf course design project. The venture has been 14 years in the making but the wait has certainly been worth it, with the course quickly set to become one of the new stars of European golf. Upon playing the course, Adam Lawrence, editor of Golf Course Architecture magazine, said: “West Cliffs occupies possibly the best piece of golfing ground I have seen in mainland Europe. The design is very strong and sits lightly on the natural terrain. All in all, I think the course is a strong contender for the title of best in Portugal.” Andy Newmarch, editor of the respected Top 100 Golf Courses website, added: “West Cliffs is one of the very best European openings in recent years, if not the best. There is no doubt in my mind that it is set to become a big hitter on the European golf scene over the coming years.”

“West Cliffs is one of the very best European openings in recent years, if not the best” | 41



west cliffs SILVER COAST Left, the interior of the clubhouse at West Cliffs; bottom left and top right, views of the course and bottom right, course architect Cynthia Dye at work at her desk.

“It’s an amazing piece of property and the most incredible setting I’ve seen for a golf course anywhere”

Occupying a privileged location high above the sea, West Cliffs is a spectacular par-72 clifftop links that has been created over 200 hectares of natural landscape, rolling sand dunes and coastal vegetation, and offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from each hole. Construction work on the course began in February last year, with Dye and her team working in close collaboration with the local government to ensure minimum disruption to the environment, and to create a harmonious and sustainable links in an enviable location. Dye, niece of legendary course architect Pete Dye, and who flew in from her American base in Colorado, to officially open the layout, said: “It’s great to finally open my first golf course in Europe that I came here 14 years ago to start. “This has been an incredible project to be involved in, right from the moment when I first visited the site and saw what was possible. “With its amazing location and terrain, West Cliffs is the most fantastic natural golf course site imaginable.

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“One of the most impressive characteristics of the course is just how anchored it is to the native coastal environment. The course was really already there for us, and it was our job to shape the holes to create a dramatic experience for everyone that plays it. “It’s an amazing piece of property and the most incredible setting I’ve seen for a golf course anywhere. We (my family) all love coming here. It was very exciting at the beginning and it’s just as exciting today.” Managed by the nearby Praia D’El Rey Golf & Beach Resort – just a ten-minute drive away – and adjoining an exclusive 2.5km stretch of golden cliffs and Atlantic coastline, one of West Cliffs’ many joys is the way that it fits seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Measuring 7,003 yards in length off the back tees, with a number of challenging carries to negotiate if you’re to score well, it’s not for the faint-hearted but, thanks to its clever design and a choice of several sets of tees, it guarantees accessibility to golfers of all abilities.

“The course has a very linksy feel and I tried with my shaping to bring every single bump into play,” said Dye, whose team at West Cliffs included her son Matthew, who was lead shaper. “There are no flat lies out there and these will change in nature over the coming years. It looks like there are a lot of carries to fairways on some holes but it’s not that bad and the fairways are very wide. “You will look at the greens and see that there are a lot of undulations. The greens are a lot bigger than at Praia D’El Rey and there is scope for a number of different pin positions on each one, while wind is a big factor out here and there are better positions to be in on the fairways than others. “My advice to anyone playing the course is to play from the right tee. It’s not long by modern-day standards, there are bail-out options on every hole but the fifth, and some of the carries look twice as long as they actually are, but players need to take this into consideration when teeing off.”

West Cliffs adds appeal to Praia D’El Rey

Dye and her team’s commitment to work with the natural environment at West Cliffs – the course is irrigated by three lakes while a number of sand waste areas reduce the maintenance needed on bunkers – has already resulted in West Cliffs being awarded a coveted GEO Certified Development certificate by the Golf Environment Agency, while it has also been nominated for the ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ honour at the 2017 World Golf Awards. Nowhere is this more evident than with the stunning design of the final three holes, while Dye also pays homage to her family’s design heritage and famous uncle, with parts of the course being inspired by Pete Dye’s two acclaimed courses at Whistling Straits. She said: “We tried to keep the bunkers natural and the total area of grass here is very small compared to other courses. “The 16th, 17th and 18th holes are truly spectacular; they are totally natural and provide a great finish to the round. The 16th is a sensational par-three set

right on top of a dune, the 17th plays through the dunes and the 18th tee is built up in the dunes and plays down to the ocean. “My uncle is 91 now and I don’t see him that often. But the thing is that I have known him all my life and he has had an impact on the work that I’ve done. I do like the greens at Whistling Straits, and the way he designs greens has probably influenced the way that I design them.” There’s plenty to recommend off the fairways too, with a new golf academy and stylish, eco-friendly clubhouse offering guests panoramic views of the course from three sides of the glass-fronted building, plus the promise of a future five-star hotel and select real estate possibilities. And with the five-star resort at Praia D’El Rey offering award-winning golf and an eclectic and ever-growing range of services and activities to attract the golf, sports and leisure markets, it’s little wonder that bookings are already flooding in from all over Europe. GMé

The popularity of Portugal’s Silver Coast as a holiday destination for travelling golfers is set to soar with the opening of West Cliffs Golf Links. The prospect of world-class golf in a spectacular location and at an affordable price – green fees start from just €50 per person – has already resulted in West Cliffs receiving widespread interest from players across Europe. And with one of Europe’s top resorts, Praia D’El Rey Golf & Beach Resort – which manages the new venue – less than a ten-minute drive away, and the likes of Royal Obidos and Bom Sucesso also nearby, the future looks bright for the region and its golf courses. Francisco Cadete, director of golf at West Cliffs Golf Links, said: “We’ve already received a lot of interest and bookings from all over Europe, and the combination of playing the new links with the championship course on offer at Praia D’El Rey makes the resort a very attractive proposition for players seeking a five-star golfing break.” Celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, Praia D’El Rey features an eclectic and ever-growing range of services and activities attracting the golf, sports and leisure markets. Designed by Cabell Robinson, the par-73 course is set amidst a combination of extensive pine forests and undulating dunes, and features spectacular views over the Atlantic and the Berlengas Islands beyond. As well as golf, Praia D’El Rey’s array of facilities include a Marriott hotel, villas, a tennis academy, a spa, health club and numerous restaurants. | 43



clearwater recycling

The ClearWay to proven cost-effective sustainability

Following the recent purchase of ClearWater by Acumen Waste Services, Aidan Patrick talks to former md, David Mears about a recent installation at the aptly named, Waterton Park. Sustainability and cost-effective compliance with current UK legislation has always been the driving force for Highspeed Group, particularly with regard to machinery washpads and their ClearWater washpad water recycling system. Now, since the acquisition of Highspeed Group by Acumen Waste Services Limited in March 2017, there is an extra impetus, claims former Highspeed managing director, David Mears: “Acumen sees the acquisition as important to their business and product development, which includes waste management solutions. “Acumen believes that ClearWater, with its enviable record of preventing pollution and conserving natural resources in the UK and abroad, has huge future potential.” ClearWater – which has been developed and manufactured in the UK since 2003 – is a well established and respect-

44 | GMé July 2017

ed brand, which unlike most washpad solutions, features unique selling points. “It is installed safely below ground; silent in operation; operates at a low temperature, allaying fears of formation of harmful bacteria such as Legionella; is economical to operate and maintain, and inexpensive to purchase,” states Mears, who has been retained by Acumen as a consultant during the transition. “However, the main feature that makes ClearWater the system of choice for so many golf clubs is that, unlike other systems, it can easily be self-installed.” Whilst turnkey installations are always available, self-installation is now the choice for around 65 per cent of ClearWater customers, particularly given the savings on installation costs. “The work involved is predominately digging a trench to take the tank and then laying a washpad to the required size,” added Mears. “Detailed installation instructions are comprehensive, contain-

ing drawings and photographs alongside step by step text, helping to make the work easy. “As self-installation is fast becoming the popular choice for many clubs, a step by step installation video is in preparation as an extra aid. Commissioning of the system, which includes fitting out, is always carried out by a ClearWater trained engineer.” A recent installation at Waterton Park Golf Club is a good example of a self-installation, and demonstrates how straightforward it is to buy and install a ClearWater system. Sustainability is the watchword at Waterton Park, which has installed a wind turbine located near the greenkeeping facility, to provide power to recharge the batteries to their golf car fleet, as well as lighting the driving range. Although irrigation is by bore-hole supplied water, further water savings GOING UNDERGROUND Left, a self-installation of a ClearWater system at Waterton Park Golf Club; right, the non-compliant wash area before ClearWater was installed; and below right, preparing the base and washpad

“the main feature that makes ClearWater the system of choice for so many golf clubs is that, unlike other systems, it can easily be selfinstalled”

were sought, and one area of concern was the greenkeeping wash-off facility where large quantities of water were being wasted. The solution was to recycle washwater, and so washpad recycling systems were investigated. Having looked at what was available, Waterton Park chose a ClearWater system from Acumen Highspeed. Asked why a ClearWater system had been chosen, director of greens, Eddie Eyre said: “It’s below ground and away from vandals, and was available to selfinstall. “Below ground means low temperatures and less chance of Legionella,” stated Eyre, and when pressed on why the club opted to self-install, he confirmed that the cost savings were the main factor at play. “The Installation instructions provided by ClearWater were very good with plenty of photos to help us,” added Eyre. “We did have a couple of questions during the installation, and following a few calls to their helpline, were put in touch straight away with friendly, knowledgeable people who had the answers.”

The self-install option suited Waterton Park and allowed Eyre and his staff time to carry out the work at their own convenience, whilst balancing the demands of their existing workload, and that of the course. The final installation met their criteria fully, and was located in a position that they considered to be most suitable, with a washpad laid to the size they needed. “What does come across when you speak with Eddie is his pride in the work that he and his team have undertaken, which is more than justified as they have made a first class job of the installation,” commented Mears. “I’m certain that the entire greenkeeping team at Waterton Park will ensure that the system is well looked after for many years to come.” With work completed, and the area commissioned and fully operational, Griffin reflected on the install. “Not only are we delighted with the ClearWater system, but it’s a relief to now be fully compliant and legal,” added head greenkeeper, David Griffin. “There is certainly a great deal of water pressure from the guns, and not only

does the system look great, we’ve got rid of the stagnant water smell that we used to have before. “We’ve resolved all the problems that we had that were associated with machinery washing, and we can’t really fault it – the entire team would be happy to recommend and demonstrate the ClearWater system as it meets all of our requirements.” What was a decrepit and non-compliant washpad, wasting thousands of litres of precious water each year, is now a superb fully compliant, effective and efficient system, preventing pollution and saving money. Waterton Park made a conscious decision to be legally compliant, whilst taking their environmental responsibilities seriously, and have continued to build on their impressive conservation program. Certainly with Waterton Park’s enthusiasm for this project, other golf clubs considering a washpad water recycling system and installing it themselves – or with the help of a contractor – may well wish to look at ClearWater for their washpad solution. GMé | 45


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worm power

ROOTZONE Left, Hans de Kort, and below, the rootzone on a green using Worm Power by Aqua-Aid

The Worm is turning for Aqua-Aid Biological products can make a difference in assisting a turf maintenance or nutrition programme. Hans de Kort of Aqua-Aid Europe, explains how to use Worm Power Turf effectively to build healthy roots. Worm Power Turf is a vermicomposted liquid fertilizer. It’s made strictly from our own OMRI-listed vermicompost, which is produced on site in our facility, and water, which are the only two ingredients in Worm Power Turf. This sets it apart from a lot of other vermicompost products, and we refer to our product as a liquid extract. You’ll hear in the industry, the jargon is compost tea. For us, we view that as kind of a pejorative. With other teas and products like it, the big goal seems to be that if billions of microbes are a good thing, then trillions are better. So people want microbial blooms in their products.

In our opinion, that’s really not the important thing. The numbers aren’t important. The important thing is the broad spectrum of colonies that we achieve, and the viability of those colonies once they hit the soil. What the liquid really is, is a vector for thousands of microbial communities that will essentially colonize the root zone of any plant they’re applied to. They have a particularly beneficial effect on turf, in that it creates very strong root systems without any undue top growth. That’s really been one of the things that’s been a boon to golf course managers. It doesn’t do them any good to have a good root system, but then have to

go out and double their labour costs by mowing twice as much as they used to. It’s really an effective tool in terms of solely focusing on the increased root mass and increased development that helps promote a stronger plant, but not overly vigorous growth. These benefits accrue to the soil through our product, but really, these benefits come from the worm. But why not just use compost? After the composting process, you have achieved a level of microbial inoculation that is specific to the high temperature ranges that occur in composting, what we call thermophilic microbes that operate above 120 degrees. | 47



Watch the root zone. That’s where you’re going to see the benefits

POA The rootzone on a typical Poa green

DOUBLE DUTCH The Dutch, in The Netherlands one of many Aqua-Aid customers

Worms, however, live in the rhizosphere of the plant, and all the microbes that are both in the worm and on the worm, the same are imparted to the vermicompost. Those are the microbes are the ones that live and thrive in the middle temperature ranges, the mesophilic microbial communities. Once our product goes into the soil, those are in an environment that they’re able to thrive. The most effective application rates that we’ve gotten, is five gallons of Worm Power Turf per acre per month. Whether it be greens or fairways or tees, if you’re going to do that, the application rate breaks down to two things: Either eight ounces every two weeks, or 16 ounces every four weeks. Really, which way the course manager chooses to do it is dependent on a couple of different factors. The effectiveness of our product for thatch reduction is more clearly visible when you do the 16-ounce rate every four weeks. At the same time, if what they’re really after is increased root mass and density, then we’ve found that eight ounces every two weeks will promote better root development than 16 ounces every four weeks will. Both are effective rates, and

certainly outperform other applications and any control in testing. We’ve had great success when it’s being mixed with surfactants, especially with the notion that the material is supposed to work in the root zone. Anything that helps with that soil penetration is fantastic. We’re seeing great results with a number of Aqua-Aid products tankmixed with Worm Power Turf. There’s also work that’s been done with NC State. One of our early recommendations was not to tank-mix with fungicides. That becomes a labour issue for course managers, if it requires another pass. Over multiple facilities throughout the US over the past two years, Agronomic programs have mixed fungicides with Worm Power and have seen zero negative effect. This real-world research along with the statistical counts we have proven through university research in multiple trials makes us confident that Worm Power Turf can be mixed with any products that have to be incorporated into a soil-drench program. In the summer of 2015, I was responsible for travelling to golf courses in our course trials, and interestingly, as I was

48 | GMé July 2017

following up with them, I heard, ‘I’m not seeing anything. Nothing’s happening.’ And I knew why they were saying that, because they weren’t looking below the surface. Anyone who tries this, if they don’t do a cup cut and pull some plugs, they’re not going to see what’s happening. Look below the surface and you’ll find the benefits. Don’t think you’re going to see it manifest itself in a physical plant response above the surface. The top growth is not going to change a lot. You’ll find that the top growth responds over time by being more drought-tolerant and standing up to traffic better and things like that, but you just don’t get that visible response on the top growth. The main thing is that you want it to be used as a soil spray. It can be effective as a foliar application, but it works in the root zone, and we want it working in the soil. Watch the root zone. That’s where you’re going to see the benefits, and over time you’ll realize the benefits of a healthier root zone. Don’t expect to see a growth explosion right under your eyes. Get a cup cutter out there and start taking some cuts, and you’ll see the benefits pretty quickly. GMé

Worm Power advert GME.qxp_ark 27/06/2017 16:06 Page 1


h ea lth y soil for t urf m ana gemen t Increase rootmass Reduce thatch Add microbes to profile 100% organic Enhance plant nutrition Reduce disease impact Improve drought tolerance 180mm x 127mm Ad SNOW VER_Layout 1 15/06/2017 10:57 Page 1

ClearWater Recycling Systems: • Are used all year round • Sit safely below ground • Provide high pressure





Acumen Waste Services



FOR MORE INFORMATION: T: 0845 600 3572 E: W:




signing off

“Maybe they like their clubs to have the air of Phileas Fogg’s Reform Club. But it’s not for me”

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them... When Golf Management Europe – as it was then – was launched 20 years ago, I can remember a number of my first interviewees telling me golf was no longer the stuffy sport many perceived it to be. No longer were golf clubs the personal fiefdom of the colonels and majors, the old school tie and the aristocratic classes. The increase in proprietary golf clubs would mean we’d seen the last of black-balling and the requirement to wear a tweed jacket, bow tie and plusfours every time one played with the club secretary. Ever the willing accomplice I peddled that line, and, during the last 20 years, I’ve even seen examples that made me think it was a correct assessment. Until recently, that is, when a friend of mine chose to move from a proprietary club to a members’ club over the county border in the Midlands. “The course is much better,” he explained, after I’d asked him why he was prepared to jump through more hoops than an RAF Police dog team. Maybe I’ve been spoiled working with clubs where, if you’d like to be a member and there’s no waiting list, you get shown round, have a chat with an attentive member of staff who finds out what you want from a membership, and then get told what sort are available and how much they cost. It’s pretty much a straightforward business transaction: money passed across for services to be supplied; only a little more time consuming than applying for an extended guarantee at Currys, but without the hard sell.

50 | GMé July 2017

GROUCHO MARX I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.

However, my friend’s experience was far from simple. Had he been asked to provide a full CV in triplicate with a complete record of his sexual partners and voting history I would not have been at all surprised. He had to play two suitability rounds with club officials – though he admitted it was no great hardship as he got 36 holes of free golf – undergo an interview dressed suitably for such an austere occasion in collar and tie, and then, after seemingly passing with flying colours, wait six weeks for the membership to be approved by committee. “I’d have told them to shove it in their 18th hole,” I harrumphed. But then again they probably wouldn’t have wanted me anyway, because I’m a social golfer and not a single-figure handicapper.

Maybe some private clubs haven’t moved on much in 20 years after all; and maybe serious golfers don’t mind that much. Maybe they like their clubs to have the air of Phileas Fogg’s Reform Club. But it’s not for me. Yet I still find myself agreeing with Groucho Marx who resigned insisting: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” GMé

David Bowers

ULTIMATE FINISH FOR THE FINEST GREENS The EclipseÂŽ2 walking greens mower is an excellent machine. We are able to programme the frequency of cut, which means that it always remains constant, no matter who is operating the machine. Things like this provide me with peace of mind and give me confidence that every hole is being maintained in a uniform and precise way. The quality of cut that the EclipseÂŽ2 walking greens mower provides is incomparable to anything I have seen during my 30 year career in the turf industry. I am yet to discover a machine that even comes close.

Chris Haspell, Course Manager, Castle Stuart Golf Links

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