On the cover...
The Toro Company celebrates 100 years serving the golf industry, after developing the first motorised fairway mower in 1919
ÂŁ7.50 golfmanagement.eu.com Issue 124 | March 2019
The essential business magazine for every golf course owner, director of golf, CEO and general manager operating a golf facility
Amy Yeates, the recently-appointed chief executive of Moor Park discusses her plans for the venue, and the path that has led her to Hertfordshire
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On the agenda march 2019 24
Brian sparks the Easiest Swing
Brian Sparks is the man behind the Easiest Swing in Golf, which has ten licensed coaches around the world including Denmark, Malaysia and the United States.
Stephanie Zinser talks Lynx
As the co-owner of Lynx Golf, and a Board member of the British Golf Industry Association, Stephanie Zinser shares her thoughts on the industry.
Educating Michael Braidwood
With learning at the very heart of Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, general manager Michael Braidwood talks firsthand about the Olazábal-designed facility.
Yeates vision for Moor Park
Chief executive of Moor Park, Amy Yeates, discusses her plans for the historic club, and her desire to return to a private members club.
Royal Bled the Crown Jewel
Originally constructed for the King of Yugoslavia in 1937, Royal Bled in Slovenia has been transformed in recent years thanks to father and son team, Howard and William Swan.
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 | www.portman.uk.com
Michael Lenihan Immy Barclay, David Bowers, Sarah Forrest, Maddy Pearce, Peter Simm, Adam Smith, Brian Sparks, Yiannis Tsioukanis, Stephanie Zinser,
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ISSN 1368-7727. Printed by The Manson Group. © 2019 Portman Publishing and Communications Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of the publisher. Whilst due care is taken to ensure content in GMé is accurate, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors and omissions.
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from the publisher
“Even some major online retailers, such as Function 18, don’t sell ladies clothing”
Female Golfers spend more, But where’s their apparel? Football clubs are often criticised for ‘over marketing’ with their target audience: new kits every football season; new polo shirts every change of season… but they at least cover all their bases, with sizes to suit all ages and sizes, and both genders. Golf could learn a thing or two from the marketing people at these clubs. According to the figures I’ve seen, women make up between 12 and 13 per cent of registered golfers in Great Britain – yet the choice of reasonably priced golf apparel for women is disproportionately limited in relation to the men’s market. I hasten to add, this comes up because my wife has started to take the game seriously and wants to look good when she’s out on the course. Like anybody looking for clothes, not everything she sees is to her taste – but once she’s established that, there’s not much choice left. And certainly not at a price which is affordable to most. At this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando the boom in apparel exhibitors clearly continued apace, to the detriment of hardware manufacturers – TaylorMade and Honma didn’t exhibit at all, but that’s a discussion for a later date – so I find it hard to fathom why there is so little ladies’ clothing available. There is a big push on ladies’ golf worldwide, with the likes of love.golf and the international Women’s Golf Day – June 4, this year, if you were wondering – doing a sterling job. But are they just whistling in the wind?
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ON THE CATWALK The PGA Merchandise Show recently exhibited a boom in apparel
If the apparel manufacturers aren’t prepared to offer a choice of affordable clothing for women, there is a danger that all this good effort and PR will come to nothing. Even some major online retailers, such as Function 18, don’t sell ladies clothing. Surely, as an industry as a whole we need to start catering more for the needs of the female golfer? It’s all well and good the national associations and golf clubs launching campaigns to get more girls and women into golf, but without the support of the industry, which supplies the individual golfer, the momentum is unlikely to be maintained.
It’s only recently that golf hardware for women started being made in colours other than pink, but at least it’s a start. I look forward to the day when Mrs L has a wide choice of affordable golf clothes from which to choose… not least because, almost certainly, I’ll be the one buying them! GMé
Michael Lenihan firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SPRINKLERS WORLD-CLASS COURSES RELY ON.
Toro® Irrigation Systems The greenkeepers of the greatest golf courses on this planet trust in the skills of legendary toolmakers at Toro®. The INFINITY® and FLEX Sprinkler Series are the masters of efficiency and reliability.
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Discover more at: www.toro.com
Hold the front page This years marks 100 years since The Toro Company developed the first motorised fairway mower for golf – the Toro Standard Golf Machine for The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
“As we celebrate a century in the golf industry, we simply want to say thank you to our customers and partners for continuing to put their trust in Toro people and products”
Cover sponsored by The Toro Company (1) 952 888 8801 email@example.com
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The Toro Company has reached the 100-year mark in serving the golf industry. In 1919, Toro developed the industry’s first motorised fairway mower – the Toro Standard Golf Machine – for The Minikahda Club, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. By mounting five individual reel mowers onto the front of a farm tractor, Toro helped courses increase productivity by replacing the labour and time intensive use of horse-drawn equipment. Toro credits their longevity in the industry to four key factors – listening closely to its customers; developing innovative products based on feedback and available technology; long-standing customer relationships; and establishing close co-operative ties with an outstanding distribution network to deliver great local service and support. This formula has led to revolutionary product launches and an ever expanding breadth of product offerings over the last century including the first flexible frame fairway mower in 1921; the first golf utility vehicle in 1930; new valve-in-head sprinklers in 1964; the versatile Toro Sand Pro series in 1972; the first contour-following Flex Head greensmowers in 1986; and the first lithium-ion powered greensmower – the Greensmaster eFlex – in 2012.
Toro’s people are also largely responsible for the longevity of the company. Topping the long list of influential Toro employees over the past century is the company’s first president and co-founder, John Samuel Clapper, who personally held several patents for golf course equipment, including the first electricpowered (corded) greensmower in 1928. Also on that list is Dr James “Doc” Watson, who joined Toro in 1952, and is revered as a pioneer in agronomics, a teacher to customers and Toro employees alike, and a legend in the golf industry. Another industry pioneer who worked with Toro is John Singleton, who joined the company in 1967 and was instrumental in establishing Toro’s position as a leader in golf course irrigation. “Without a doubt, we owe much of our success to the Toro employees who have helped shape the golf industry with countless innovations,” said Rick Rodier, vice-president and general manager of Toro’s Commercial Business. “But we wouldn’t be here today without the Toro customers across the globe who put their faith and trust in our products every day. As we celebrate a century in the golf industry, we simply want to say thank you to our customers and partners for continuing to put their trust in Toro people and products.” GMé
Only the world’s best need apply* A portfolio of the world’s premier golf courses, destinations & resorts, worldclass.golf is a unique and exclusive network of golf facilities offering a truly world-class visitor experience. *For entry criteria, and membership enquiries, visit worldclass.golf or email firstname.lastname@example.org
worldclass.golf The World’s Premier Golf Destinations
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Club Car introduces Lithium Ion Golf Car Technology at BTME Club Car, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, unveiled its lithium ion-powered golf car, TEMPO LI-ION, at BTME in Harrogate. TEMPO LI-ION, which extends Club Car’s TEMPO line of vehicles, is a redesigned car with a lithium ion battery seamlessly integrated into the car’s construction and operating system. The result is maximum management efficiency with up to 50 per cent electricity savings, and a zero maintenance battery. “After thoughtful research, design, development and testing, we’re proud to deliver the TEMPO LI-ION to the course management community across the globe,” said Mark Wagner, president, Club Car. “What is truly exciting about the TEMPO LI-ION is that it is so much more than a “drop in” battery solution, with immediate reliability, efficiency and savings it brings to a course, and the potential for a fleet to evolve with the game and deliver an improved experience to golfers.” Developed to automotive-grade safety and performance standards through Club Car’s exclusive partnership with LG Chem – a world leading automotive lithium-ion battery supplier – the batteries in the new TEMPO LI-ION do not require watering. This reduces a course’s water use over the lifecycle of its fleet and saves valuable labour time.
In addition, TEMPO LI-ION’s smart charging capabilities include automated off-peak charging for lower energy costs and charging rates that are two to three times faster than lead acid powered cars. The TEMPO LI-ION can be equipped with the Visage Fleet Management platform, which allows course superintendents to manage their fleet’s usage, performance and charging schedule remotely. The platform also allows course managers and golf club owners and oper-
Brands back new Golf Show
Foresight Sports launches revolutionary GCHawk
Callaway, Cobra, The Belfry, Duca del Cosma, Zen Green Stage and Power Tee are some of the latest well-known brands to confirm their presence at this year’s inaugural British Golf Show. Working alongside golf retailer Custom Lab Golf, Callaway and Cobra will be offering visitors the chance to test their 2019 product ranges by bringing their Demo Day teams. And there will be a host of other demonstrations by golf brands at the highly interactive exhibition, which is free to enter to golfers and their families, and is co-located alongside the well-established ‘Elite Events - London’ combined lifestyle show. “Preparations are going well for our first golf show,” said Alex Ayling, managing director of show organisers The Elite Luxury Events. “Although we have been running aviation and luxury lifestyle exhibitions and events for many years, this is our first step into the dedicated golf market.”
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Club Car TEMPO LI-ION top features infographic.
The GCHawk by Foresight Sports
Foresight Sports has launched the next generation of its game-changing GC Family. Harnessing the same level of simulation precision and ball data accuracy as the GCQuad, the sleek ceilingmounted GCHawk fits seamlessly into a commercial, residential or driving range environment. It provides the golfer with a new level of in-game freedom and design flexibility, capturing shots from every club in the bag – from driver to putter.
ators to push system updates remotely, freeing up time previously required for manual updates. “Built for the present and designed for the future, the TEMPO LI-ION represents the evolution of golf cars,” said Robert McElreath, vice president of connectivity, Club Car. “Our premier in-car connectivity offering coupled with the next generation of battery technology has resulted in a car that is focused on flexibility, control and progression of the game.”
Like its predecessors, the GCHawk is fully compatible with the latest Foresight Sports FSX 2018 simulation software, as well as the brand’s growing collection of performance and game apps. As testament to the rapid growth of the simulation and entertainment range market, pre-orders have already far exceeded the company’s sales forecast. “With the GCHawk, both right and left-handed players can hit shots without the need to move the technology, adding greater fluidity to game play,” said Edward Doling, director of Foresight Sports Europe. “The elevated position above the player’s head provides a new level of playing freedom, making the virtual game experience as true-to-life as possible. “The demand for the product is simply a sign of the times. The amazing capabilities of the GCHawk and unmatched accuracy satisfies a wide range of needs from residential simulators and entertainment ranges, to fitting and instruction studios.”
Zest strikes new BirdieEyes agreement at the PGA Show
In brief... La Finca Golf & Spa Resort on the Spanish Costa Blanca has strengthend its management team by recruiting Brendan Dwyer as general manager, Luke Murphy as executive assistant manager (sales and marketing) and Ana Lopez as director of marketing and communications. This new executive team is now in charge of developing La Finca Golf’s expansion plan in order to position the resort as one of the best five-star golf and spa resorts in Spain. The third annual Messinia ProAm, featuring competitors from 20 countries, saw a victory for Italy, while Hollywood actor Bill Murray and England’s Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall added to the event’s appeal. PGA of Italy’s Alessandro Tadini retained his concentration amid the celebrity spotting to win the season-opening event, at Costa Navarino, in Greece. Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, a BGL Golf venue in Nottinghamshire, has been recognised by England Golf for its commitment to driving growth in the game with a brace of national accreditations. The 36-hole golf complex has received England Golf’s coveted GolfMark award, which also incorporates Clubmark; Sport England’s universally acknowledged cross-sport accreditation for quality sports clubs. SkyCaddie has taken another step forward by extending its PGA Partner agreement. The two-year extension means the partnership is now in its 13th year and also includes title sponsorship of The PGA’s popular and keenly-contested Pro-Captain Challenge, which SkyCaddie has sponsored since 2017. Under the agreement SkyCaddie is the official PGA Partner for distance measuring devices, mobile swing analysers (SkyPro) and launch monitors (SkyTrak).
Zest.Golf Technologies have agreed a new tie up with golf platform BirdieEyes, as they prepare to launch their technology globally. Following recent agreements with the UK Golf Club Managers’ Association, Chronogolf and Greenfee365 to increase their reach, Zest.Golf struck their latest partnership at January’s PGA Show in Orlando, Florida. The BirdieEyes app connects players and multiple golf clubs in one place, giving players a brand new, interactive experience using the latest Augmented Reality and other new technologies. Now the Norwegian company are looking forward to partnering with Zest. Golf, who have developed Channel Manager technology that provides a 100 per cent open connection between golf courses, tee-sheet providers and sales partner platforms. Currently, over 100 golf courses across five countries and 25 sales channels have pre-registered, with the platform launching globally in March. Oyvind Krag Ingul, from BirdieEyes, said: “The BirdieEyes app provides membership tools that add significant value to golf clubs and their members. “We are delighted to connect with the Zest.Golf Channel Manager, as their industry leading technology will further
enhance the user experience of our valued customers.” Zest.Golf, based in the Home of Golf in Scotland and with tech partners in the Netherlands, is continuing to work closely with tee-sheet providers and distribution partners to encourage them to maximise the opportunity that exists with their new technology. Oliver Dury, commercial director at Zest.Golf, added: “I was delighted to achieve an agreement with BirdieEyes on my recent visit to the PGA Merchandise Show. We look forward to working with BirdieEyes as a sales channel as we look to connect with more golf courses and golfers.”
Arild Karlsen, (right) and Oliver Dury
CMAE MENA launches first series of seminars
The recently formed Club Managers Association of Europe Middle East & North Africa Region (CMAE MENA) are launching their first club education seminars. Communication expert Bill McFarlan will deliver three seminars in the Middle East in April, one at Education City Golf Club, Qatar on April 23, one at Al Mouj Golf Club, Oman on April 25 and one at Jumeriah Golf Estates on April 28. Bill McFarlan has a passion for helping people build their confidence in communication.
Having been a broadcaster for 25 years with Britain’s top radio and TV stations – presenting flagship programmes in news and sport – he established a company that’s taken his training to over 20 countries. Sharing what he’s learned from broadcasting and business, he helps clients create and deliver passionate presentations and conduct interviews confidently with the media or at work. He’ll share his top tips and techniques with delegates, to help them write better emails and better reports, deliver better presentations and interviews, and overall present themselves better in front of their Boards and members. CMAE MENA Region chairman Chris May CCM said of the seminars: “It’s great to have someone of Bill’s knowledge and skill come to the region to help club industry professionals further develop their communication skills. “Our clubs are becoming bigger, more diverse and more demanding and communication is now a key skill for managers and operators.”
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New partner Tagmarshal puts Praia D’El Rey in a class of its own Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort is taking its golf customer experience to new levels after becoming the first venue in Portugal to partner with Tagmarshal, a leading provider of paceof-play, golf management software. The resort in Obidos has followed the example of some of the biggest names in golf – including Major venues Carnoustie, Merion and Erin Hills – by teaming up with the brand and introducing its innovative technology on its two 18-hole championship courses, Praia D’El Rey and the much-acclaimed West Cliffs Golf Links. Tagmarshal’s state-of-the-art analysis equipment will be carried by all golfers at Praia D’El Rey – on golf bags, trolleys and across the resort’s buggy fleet – and the benefits are set to be immediate, helping the resort to deliver the ultimate playing experience for all golfers thanks to the live tracking of players. Providing the latest information, the live-streaming software will assist the resort’s golf course management team in monitoring the pace of play across both layouts, enabling potential slow-play bottlenecks to be quickly identified and avoided. And with real-time data instantly available and players accountable for the time they spend on the course, Praia D’El Rey will be able to boost its operational efficiency with enhanced course flow,
leading to quicker rounds and improved service delivery. Francisco Cadete, director of golf at Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort and West Cliffs Golf Links, said: “We trialled the Tagmarshal software on both courses and were very impressed with the results. “Slow play has been a problem in golf for a long time but we’re confident that, by keeping a close eye on the speed and flow of traffic around our courses, we can make this a thing of the past, helping to
Consultants defend Council
Terre Blanche opens new Golf Academy
An association of consultants working within the golf industry has responded to UK media coverage of a report which criticised a city council for spending £2,400 on golf consultancy services. But Golf Business International, whose members are all golf consultants, defended Derby council’s expenditure consulting on the number of golf courses to satisfy the town’s demand. John Ashworth, chairman of Golf Business International, said: “While none of our members were involved in this particular consultation, I would imagine the information would have been crucial to Derby council’s future provision of golf courses. “Golf courses are not cheap to maintain and municipal courses have traditionally served the needs of a particular segment of the golfing market. Where supply outstrips demand in that segment, a responsible council has a duty to review and, if necessary, to rationalise its level of provision.”
Terre Blanche Resort in France has officialy opened the Terre Blanche Golf Academy, located in the heart of Provence’s Côte d’Azur. The resort is a hub of excellence recognised at an international level and a top destination for golfing professionals and amateurs globally seeking the best facilities, equipment, teaching methods and services. The brand new campus and fitness centre will offer a host of newly curated programmes, inviting experienced amateurs and professionals to enroll in intensive training courses that range from four to ten weeks. Each provides an unparalleled combination of biomechanical analysis, physical and mental coaching, giving players a unique opportunity to improve their skills and performance using state-ofthe-art facilities. The Albatros Golf Performance Center – the only European Tour Performance Institute certified in Europe – houses the
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Tagmarshal product screens
raise the golf course customer experience we provide to new heights.” Bodo Sieber, CEO of Tagmarshal added: “We are delighted to have Praia D’El Rey on board as a Tagmarshal partner and look forward to assisting this prestigious resort to deliver the best possible playing experiences for its visiting golfers. “We have no doubt that the data analytics and operational efficiencies that Tagmarshal delivers will ensure that Francisco and his team continue to deliver and improve on their offerings.”
coveted Biomecaswing Center, headed by the renowned Jean-Jacques Rivet. Utilising the latest biomechanical technology, the Biomecaswing concept provides customised programmes based on kinetic analysis of the body, a physical assessment and a precise analysis of a player’s balance and gestures that allows players to refine and optimise their game. To date, it is unique to the resort and there is no equivalent in Europe.
Terre Blanche Golf Academy
Green, Tee & Bunker Reconstruction Drainage Schemes, Lakes & Reservoirs Practice Facilities
www.johngreasleyltd.co.uk Tel: 0116 269 6766
Club Car Introduces New Tempoâ„¢ Lithium
Official partner of
www.clubcar.com email@example.com golfmanagement.eu.com | 11
Finca Cortesin reveals long-term benefits of new eco-friendly greens Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa is at the forefront of European golf’s drive to become more eco-sustainable after revealing that it is using up to 30 per cent less water since becoming the first course in Spain to feature a new, environmentally-friendly, variety of Bermuda grass on all its greens. The deluxe resort has experienced a number of wide-reaching benefits since installing a more eco-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable greens’ system. As part of the comprehensive upgrade on Finca Cortesin’s 18-hole championship course in July 2017 – which also featured the reconstruction of all bunkers using the renowned ‘Better Billy Bunker’ system – each putting surface was replaced with a new type of variety of Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass. As well as needing less irrigation, the greens require fewer pesticides and staff hours to maintain optimum condition all-year-round, with the new, improved, uniform putting surfaces earning widespread praise from both players and the golf industry alike.
Ignacio Soto, head greenkeeper at Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa and who supervised the greens conversion programme, said: “The change to this new type of Bermuda grass has surpassed all our expectations and we have received some great feedback from our members and guests who like firm and uniform greens.
Trolley storage by Carousel
Toro ‘Head & Shoulders’ above the rest at Celtic Manor
Already a leader in bag storage, Carousel Golfing has recently launched a new electric trolley racking system designed specifically for clubs seeking to store members carts. “For many years, Carousel Golfing has been providing golf bag storage solutions to clubs in the UK, Europe and around the world,” explained managing director, Michael Waldron. “The highly space efficient locker and racking units provide a popular addition to the services provided by many of the world’s finest clubs, yet trolley storage had always been a problem up until now.” With the revolutionary Armadillo shelving option – featuring adjustable shelf units – up to 25 electric trolleys can be stored in one compact space. “It’s not only the service that clubs are providing for their members, it’s the additional rental income that can be derived from storing electric trolleys,” adds Waldron. “Let’s face it, trolley’s aren’t the easiest item to transport to and from the golf course, and if members are conditioned to storing their golf clubs, why not go the whole hog and leave their trolley too? “It certainly beats folding them up into your car boot, or worst still, renting them all of the time!”
The latest Toro fleet, which includes greens, tees, fairways and rough mowers as well as utility vehicles, for Celtic Manor marks a relationship spanning a quarter of a century. And the reason why is because Toro is “head and shoulders above the competition,” according to director of golf courses and estates management, Jim McKenzie MBE. “We originally chose Toro in 1993 because it was the only machinery manufacturer that could deliver us a full fleet of machines, or the closest to it anyway. “That sums Toro up, it has always led the way and been market innovators, and that’s why the relationship has lasted.” Machinery was replaced as and when, but in the main every three years from 1993 to 2008 when McKenzie decided it was time to agree to a five-year partnership agreement: “Toro and Lely, as Reesink was then, were our preferred suppliers for many years. “And the timing was right to formalize the deal in 2008 with us hosting the Ryder Cup in 2010, to have the back up and support that being in such an agreement brings as we took on one of the world’s biggest sporting events. “Our Toro fleet is as complete as it’s possible to be. We have literally hundreds of bits of kit.
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The 13th hole at Finca Cortesin
“The greens are already in better condition than they have been in previous years and we expect them to get even better in 2019.” Finca Cortesin began the programme to upgrade its greens in June 2016 at a nursery 600 kilometres away, with Soto and his team taking painstaking care and attention to seed the grass by hand.
“And the reason for that is because Toro holds its value and ages well. Toro is part of our image. They look good for many years, and as a result we tend not to sell on the older machines as we replace them. They continue working on estate developments and with the gardening team.” But it’s not just the machinery that counts, McKenzie says the partnership with Reesink and local dealer Ted Hopkins, is just as important: “There’s always been a really good synergy between us, Ted Hopkins, Reesink/Lely. It just works and has done so for 25 years!”
Jim McKenzie (left) with Reesink’s Trevor Chard
Movers & Shakers A brief pictorial round-up of some of the individuals shaping the golf business, including news that Lee Westwood has become the latest recipient of the PGA Recognition Award.
In brief... La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, a Ladies European Tour event sponsored by La Reserva de Sotogrande and organized by Deporte & Business that will be played from May 16-19, will mark the first of three visits to Spain for the LET in 2019. Cabell B. Robinson’s design in the Sotogrande resort will be the touchstone for the best LET golfers in a tournament that could be crucial in the qualifying for the European team that will try to regain the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland. Boldon Golf Club in County Durham is leading the way to grow the women’s game by becoming the first club in England to sign up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter. The club has made a series of pledges which include running events to encourage more women and girls to play golf, to have at least three female board members and to create even better community links. The Els Club Dubai, one of Troon International Division’s marquee destinations, is set to further bolster its already impressive offering following the announcement that The Els Club Dubai will re-brand their revered golf academy to the Claude Harmon Performance Golf Academy Dubai. Karl Whitehead, general manager of The Els Club Dubai remarked: “We could not be more excited about this incredible development to our club and cannot wait for the changes to be made and for golfers to enjoy next year.” Audit, tax and consulting firm RSM UK has announced that it has signed Colin Montgomerie as its latest brand ambassador. The sponsorship deal is part of RSM’s ambitious partnership strategy within golf, to continue to build brand awareness across RSM’s international network spanning 116 countries.
Lee Westwood has become the latest recipient of the PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to the game of golf, with the 45-year-old collecting the honour from PGA Captain John Heggarty.
Carnoustie Golf Links have appointed Craig Boath as the new Links superintendent. An experienced individual within the greenkeeping industry, Boath is moving from his role as head greenkeeper of the Championship Course.
Golf architect William Swan has become the second generation of his family to join the non-profit Golf Business International – the group of highly-respected and experienced independent golf industry experts.
HONMA Golf has appointed experienced sports marketeer Tony Scott to head up its marketing operations across Europe. The Japanese golf manufacturer has added the former Mizuno EMEA marketing manager to its European team.
Experienced international hotelier Giacomo Battafarano, originally from Matera, has returned to Sicily and been named as the new general manager of Verdura Resort which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Rockliffe Hall has signed up an exciting new professional golfer. Andrew Wilson, 24, from Darlington, turned pro in November 2018 and becomes Rockliffe Hall’s third attached pro, joining Callum Tarren and Ellie Givens.
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Innovative Turf Care Machinery
That’s Setting New Standards
A REVOLUTION IN GOLF BAG LOCKERS The Carousel Golf Bag Storage System is easy to install, safe to use, and allows your club to increase, and often treble your golf bag storage capacity.
Campey Turf Care supply state of the art machinery that’s regularly used on some of the worlds finest natural sports surfaces. Creating top quality healthy surfaces that are ready for play, talk to Campey today.
New for 2019... Electric Trolley Racking
Innovative turf care machinery that’s trusted by leading turf care professionals around the world.
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P r e m i e r A l l - We a t h e r S u r f a c e s f o r G o l f
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Pro Shop & Retail A brief pictorial round-up of events from the retail side of the industry, including news that Finca Cortesin has partnered with Spanish company, Golfmanager.
In brief... Golf Genius, a leading global provider of cloud-based tournament software, has launched an application on Amazon Fire TV allowing users to simply and quickly display leaderboards on television screens. The easy and efficient solution enables golf tournament organisers to cast their Golf Genius competition leaderboards straight up to any television enabled with an Amazon Fire TV Stick in a streamlined way, and without the need for a dedicated computer. PowaKaddy has reinforced its relationship with The PGA by upgrading to PGA Partner status as part of a multi-year agreement. As part of its new status as exclusive trolley partner, PowaKaddy is licensed to use the PGA trade mark and will have special access to PGA Members to grow brand support and drive greater awareness. Galvin Green, a leading premium performance golf apparel brand, has launched its most advanced collection of technical clothing for the start of the 2019 season, with a total of 368 ground-breaking garments and matching accessories. Building on its pioneering multilayer concept, the Galvin Green 2019 Part One collection has been taken to the next level to offer more styles, colours and sizes, including 70 brand new lines for men, women and juniors. Sunderland of Scotland, the world renowned technical golfwear brand has revealed its collection for Spring Summer 2019. Combining quality, playability and reliability the collection captures the essence of Sunderland of Scotland’s ‘Never Weather Beaten’ mission. The collection is built from high performance garments to protect from rain, wind and the cold and is featherlight, breathable and fully waterproof.
Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa has joined the growing number of elite golfing venues to partner with Golfmanager, the rapidly-growing Spanish company offering the most modern golf club management software in the world.
Golf Pride® a division of power management company Eaton and an industry leader in grip innovation, today announced it is expanding its popular TOUR SNSR™ putter grip family with the new Contour Pro.
With the new SX500 growing in popularity among tour players, SkyCaddie’s top mapper is heading to this season’s Staysure Tour venues in Europe to ensure that all course measurements are up to date.
Motocaddy, the world’s top-selling trolley brand, has unveiled exciting new additions to its 2019 electric and push trolley ranges incorporating state-of-theart design, cutting edge technology and trusted features.
Henni Zuel, the former Ladies European Tour professional and experienced tournament broadcaster, has joined GOLFTV to spearhead the streaming service’s tour-player coverage and content partnership with Tiger Woods.
Golfers eager to sharpen their short-game skills can combine state-ofthe-art facilities and a world-renowned coaching programme thanks to a new link-up between Foxhills and Dave Pelz Golf Schools.
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The New ISEKI TG6675 - Powershuttle
UK & IRELAND
For further details or a demonstration, please contact your local ISEKI dealer or ISEKI UK on 01473 599266
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A powerful 65hp compact tractor capable of lifting 1500kg at 24”, whilst being gentle on your course
Machinery & Turf A brief pictorial round-up of course management related events including news that a former electrician has assumed the role of course manager at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club.
In brief... The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has unveiled the line-up for the volunteer support team that will be heading to Northern Ireland for the first time ever as The Open Championship tales place at Royal Portrush Golf Club. The BIGGA members who have gained a place on the team are given unprecedented access to golf’s greatest championship and they will assist with maintaining bunker presentation throughout the duration of the tournament. Germinal has launched an organic based phased-release fertiliser which provides up to five months’ worth of nutrients and trace elements from a single application at a budget-friendly price point. GSR Tri-Phase is an 18-3.5-8 NPK fertiliser which also supplies one unit of MgO plus trace elements including copper, zinc, boron, manganese and molybdenum. The winners of the inaugural Best Groundsman of the Year Award, Thierry De Jonghe and Lorenzo Verschraeghen of Belgium’s Sporting Club Lokeren, recently traveled to Madrid, Spain, for a weekend of knowledge sharing. Their visit was part of Toro’s continued partnership with the Belgian Jupiler Pro League to help advance the groundscare industry in Belgium. Henrik Lund has been appointed by Rain Bird as its golf area sales manager for eastern Europe, and will provide customers with sales support related to golf course construction and renovation, as well as distribution of Rain Bird golf solutions within the territory. Lund has extensive experience of working with stakeholders in the sector most recently through his role as export regional sales manager for Ransomes Jacobsen.
Former electrician Chris Smith is keen to crank up the difficulty voltage at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club in his role as the club’s new course manager, with the 47-year-old keen to ensure that plugged lies are a thing of the past.
Established in 1963, Aitkens has strengthened a three-generation relationship with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association by being announced as BIGGA’s latest Education Supporter.
This year’s group of British and Irish greenkeepers are preparing for the experience of a lifetime as part of the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme, organised annually in partnership with BIGGA and GCSAI.
Rain Bird has introduced a new Sod Cup Kit that reduces the risk of rotors negatively impacting play on closely mowed approaches to greens, with installing the kit on Rain Bird 551 and 700/751 Series rotors a simple process.
Opened in 1913, Sitwell Park Golf Club in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, has taken delivery of a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and two attachments from Russell Group’s Groundcare Division.
With one of the hottest summers on record last year, Ashridge Golf Club in Hertfordshire has reaped the benefits of a new Toro irrigation system – consisting of a Toro Lynx control system – installed in the nick of time.
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easiest swing in golf OLD DOG NEW TRICKS Pioneered by Brian Sparks, the Easiest Swing in Golf programme is expanding across Europe
Brian sparks the Easiest Swing in Golf Brian Sparks is the man behind the Easiest Swing in Golf, which has ten licensed coaches across the world, including Denmark, Malaysia and the United States. After over half a century as a golf pro I still have an enormous passion for the game and for helping golfers to enjoy it and I desperately want to see the game flourish. Unfortunately, there is a worrying global downward trend in participation and I want to highlight one of the reasons for this from a coaching perspective. Of course, I have heard all sorts of theories over the years about the possible causes of our malaise and many of them are, in my opinion, of valid substance. Modernizing the club environment in terms of dress codes and making the game more attractive and more dynamic for younger generations are two essential themes as is the damage done by the proliferation of very difficult, userunfriendly championship courses. However, one that doesn’t seem to get any coverage, and possibly the most fundamental of all, is the development in modern teaching methods. Eighteen months ago I asked a simple question at a PGA meeting. Some market research that had been commissioned by the association in the 1980s produced the shocking statistic that 84 per cent of UK golfers did not take golf lessons. My question was this: “Do we know how we are doing today, 30 years later?” PGA research suggests that we are doing very well with junior golf, similarly well with elite players but that we don’t seem to have made any progress with senior and ‘social’ golfers. We had failed the main sector of the golfing public and not even thought about these golfers in the ensuing 30
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years let alone decided to do something about their stagnation. Surely, the main ‘raison d’etre’ of a golf pro, and of our association, is to look after people’s education in, and enjoyment of, playing the game. Recently I met a young pro who proudly told me that she had just passed her final exams the week before. This was an opportunity to get some inside information about the current syllabus so I asked her how much of the three-year University Foundation Degree Course had been spent on the topic of teaching senior golfers. She hesitated then said that someone came in one morning and gave some statistics on seniors but that was all. I find that quite shocking when seniors are widely thought to account for around 60 per cent of golfers worldwide. At Easiest Swing, our niche market is not only a bigger majority than the one that decided that the UK would leave the EU, but nobody of importance in the game seems to care about them or want to do anything about getting more of them into the game. I have more news for you; this sector of the population is growing bigger every year and will continue to do so for a long time to come. Easiest Swing coaches embrace senior golf and specialise in it. My coaches are trained to recognise the specific issues older people have and how to help them develop a swing that suits their bodies. We do not only do this for seniors, as the Easiest Swing is easier for people of all ages, but seniors have shown us how effective and positive this can be for
“Easiest Swing coaches embrace senior golf and specialise in it. My coaches are trained to recognise the specific issues older people have”
PARLEZ VOUS FRANCAIS Thomas Pruvost, the first Easiest Swing Coach in France
COACHING Brian Sparks (far right) with Easiest Swing in Golf coaches
SWING EASY Brian Sparks, the founder of the Easiest Swing in Golf
them. Significantly, the clubs where we coach are also embracing seniors to their advantage and gaining significantly by this change in mindset. Easiest Swing now has ten fully licensed coaches actively helping older golfers in seven different countries to enjoy the game more and for longer and the clubs at which they work recognise this and greatly appreciate it. Could it be that we can reverse the trend to some extent by encouraging older people into the game? Yes! I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that seniors often have more time, more disposable income and a greater need for exercise. A round of golf could easily equate to the 10,000 daily steps we need as we get older and medical science is showing that golf is not only good for keeping us healthy but also helps us to live longer. Why are we not shouting all this from the rooftops?
Could it be that we are ageist? Could it be that golf clubs don’t find senior golf very attractive or sexy enough to want to increase numbers, or could it be that the golf industry as a whole is elitist? Of course we all have a duty to encourage more young people into the game but that’s quite a tough call. I know this from my time in club management. Even when I was in France in 1987, virtually every club in the country had its junior academy and a huge investment has been made over the years to encourage more young people to play the game there. However, I find it difficult to see the evidence of that having made golf clubs more viable or having increased participation. In short, golf teaching has lost its way and is drowning in a sea of complex, X-Factor styled methods that don’t suit the human body, especially older ones.
I believe that we golf teachers and coaches have a duty of care towards our students and that we are in danger of abusing their trust in us, as the number of injuries increases even amongst young tour playing athletes such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett and Jason Day. The Easiest Swing is all about playing golf for fun and enjoying the process of swinging the club and striking good shots. In a sense, I feel that I am leading us forward to the past swings of Bobby Jones and Harry Vardon whose way of playing actually suited most people but has been lost to the detriment of the game’s development. I will always be delighted to talk to golf clubs and pros should you be interested in learning more about our ethos of helping people to enjoy the game more and of sharing our views on how to buck the trend. GMé
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DEMO DAYS The Lynx Golf stand at the PGA Merchandise Show demo day in January
ON-THE-BOARD Co-owner of Lynx Golf and BGIA Board member, Stephanie Zinser
In conversation with Stephanie Zinser As the co-owner of Lynx Golf, and a Board member of the British Golf Industry Association, Stephanie Zinser shares her thoughts on the industry, and the revolutionary new Switch Face technology that Lynx has developed.
GMé As a former freelance feature writer working on some of the UKs largest national newspapers, how did you transition from journalism to co-owing Lynx Golf in 2010? SZ It was rather a bit of an accident, as I met Steve Elford (who later became my husband) and when he was offered the chance to own Lynx, we both leapt at it. Anyone who has worked in journalism knows the thrill of the challenge and that is as true for me as for anyone else. With my background in finance, science, and psychology, I felt I possibly had enough weaponry in my arsenal to give it as good a go as anyone. You only live once! GMé Prior to your involvement with Lynx, did you have any interest in golf, and had you ever played the sport? SZ Sadly, never. All my early sporting interests were focussed on lacrosse and judo. Golf is a lot calmer physically, although not so much mentally! I have often had ‘Golfing Tourette’s’ on the course…
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GMé Since joining Lynx Golf in 2010, what would you say has been your biggest achievement at the company? SZ That’s a hard question because obviously creating a raft of terrific and innovative products (like our new Switch Face Technology driver) with unmatchable price points is clearly the ‘corporate’ aim – and I would hope that we have done an excellent job on that front – along with making sure we have second to none customer service. But creating a strong team and having an ethical business that shuns harmful plastics, supports the ecosystem and looks after our staff is what I am personally most proud of. Lynx is a family. GMé With some global brands leaving the hardware side of golf in recent years to focus on apparel, has that made it easier to compete on a global stage? SZ I would say so, but there remains a lot of very good club manufacturers out there. The golf customer, however, does seem to be crying out for something fresh, innovative and that carries
CENTRE STAGE Stephanie Zinser (centre) pictured at the SSE Women’s Invitational
a modern perspective on things, and I would hope that’s what marks Lynx out as different from the rest. We never focus too much on what the competition is doing – we spend our time and energy doing what WE do. We don’t want to become so absorbed in the business of others that we lose our focus.
We definitely pride ourselves on quality, innovation and superb customer service. And we want golf to be fun. I’d say that those are our USP’s.
GMé What would you say differentiates Lynx Golf from the other manufacturers, and what is your USP?
SZ It was about ten years in the making because while the idea seems simple, the engineering to make a detachable and interchangeable face driver work is not. Anything detachable or movable brings risks, but we believe we have those covered. The idea was spurred by the desire to have an adjustability feature that was truly adjustable – always delivering true loft without changing face angle – and
SZ We dare to be different. Look at the Prowler VT with Switch Face Technology driver. Everyone is asking us why nobody has done this before. Perhaps they didn’t think about it, or perhaps we are just more imaginative and braver than the rest. Who knows?
GMé The recently launched Switch Face Technology on the Prowler VT Driver is innovative, so how did the idea come about?
therefore the face had to come off to do this. That’s where the work started. GMé What would you define as the key benefits to Switch Face compared with adjustable hosels? SZ With an adjustable hosel, while it’s been a good technology until now, you cannot deliver a true loft angle of the actual hitting surface without affecting face angle. You can open the club face or close it by adjusting the hosel, but you won’t ever get a true loft change. And of course, what do most people do when they’ve adjusted their driver? They line the club up so that it sits square to the ball, so in that one manoeuvre alone they’re undoing some of the ‘adjustability’ they’ve just created.
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PEN PALS Stephanie Zinser (left) with Laura Davies
FACE TIME The Lynx Prowler driver, with Switch Face technology
Plus, the weight is in the hosel rather than in the clubhead itself, which is not something that’s ideal. The ultimate benefit of SFT is that you get a true loft change, and you can have the weight back in the club head, where it belongs.
And we are the exclusive distributors for the top-notch Ouul bag brand, whose quality is astonishing. We also have new 2019 Black Cat irons and men’s and ladies’ Ready-To-Play sets for those new to golf. I wish they’d been around when I was learning!
GMé How many different faces will be available, and will they be easy to interchange? SZ We’ve all had a go at switching faces and it’s dead easy. Five screws are applied with a torque wrench so you can’t overtighten them. In many ways it’s easier than a traditional adjustable driver because there is no guesswork involved and you don’t have to worry that you’ve put it on wrong. You can’t! Also, the screws don’t come out so you can’t drop small screws all over the place. Each face comes with its own set of embedded screws. GMé Asides from the Switch Face technology, any new developments you’d care to share? SZ We’ve always got irons in the fire! We’ve launched two driving irons under the Prowler VT ‘Stinger’ range which work tremendously, along with the new Prowler Forged Irons.
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GMé Besides your involvement with Lynx Golf, you are also an executive board member of the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA), so what impact does the association have on the wider industry? SZ We want the BGIA to have a greater impact on the industry as there is a collection of very good people and fine minds on board. We are all keen to help grow the game of golf, to inspire juniors to start playing and to encourage greater female participation. As a lady who came late to golf, I am personally very vested in this aspect. GMé As the only female board member of BGIA, do you believe that other women should be represented? SZ The BGIA is an organisation that has senior members of various golf manufacturers on their Board. It’s sad that it took until very recently for there to be a
female representative on it, but then golf has always been a very male-dominated game, so this is not a surprise. Of course, I’d love there to be more women represented, but until the companies who make up the Board’s representation employ or have more women at their heads, this is unlikely to happen. I’m not one for tokenism, so something needs to change at the highest level of these companies, but it’s not the BGIA’s fault. GMé Are you aware of the love.golf programme to encourage more females to take up the sport, and if so, have you joined any of the sessions? SZ It’s a terrific idea. I have worked with IMG for the past five or so years on their similar initiative to get professional career women into golf at what was the SSE Women’s Invitational (now the ISPS Handa Women’s Invitational), both sponsoring the event as a company and by being a guest speaker on their Panel. When it comes to playing golf, I’m a bit of a fairweather player and being stuck behind a desk running the company doesn’t help either! I’m recovering from shoulder surgery at the moment and am hoping to be back on the fairways by the time the weather warms up again. GMé
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Education City Golf Club the Seat of Learning in Qatar With learning at the very heart of Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, Michael Lenihan paid a visit to general manager, Michael Braidwood, to see first-hand the Olazábal-designed course, and Centre of Excellence which is winning plaudits the world over.
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ecgolf.com SPANISH FLAIR José María Olazábal, right, the mastermind behind the 33-hole complex at Education City, and main image, one of the signature holes
A quiet sporting revolution is taking place in Qatar, a peninsular Arab country that until recently, had little influence on the global stage. For too long perceived to be the poor relation to neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar is beginning to put a marker down in the sand as a major force within the Middle East. And with the world’s largest natural gas field, it has the financial resources to hold its own. Buoyed by this new-found wealth and ambition to promote itself as a destination in its own right, Qatar bid for – and won – the right to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will, as it happens, be staged at the end of 2021. Qatar is also one of the only countries in the world to host a National Sports Day – a public bank holiday which is held every February – and has just marked its eighth successful year. Sports activities are common and diverse in Qatar, with football, basketball, and volleyball very popular with Qataris and ex-pats. Yet whisper it quietly, and you may just hear that golf is slowly beginning to grow in popularity. Historically with only one course in the capital Doha, golf has been the reserve of the ex-pat community whose passion for the game was inbreed years before relocating to the region.
Yet with the official opening this month of Education City – also in Doha – golf is about to change beyond all recognition. And never was a golf club more aptly named. Located in the middle of a university campus that has a staggering nine universities – six American, one British, one French and one Qatari – Education City Golf Club has been designed from the ground up to educate the game of golf, with designer José María Olazábal focussing on developing the game to the local and wider community. With one of the finest Centre’s of Excellence at any golf club, anywhere in the world, Olazábal has created a state-of-the-art learning facility that will be the envy of many, and will surely become the focal point for golf development in Qatar. “Being set within Education City, Qatar Foundation’s spectacular university and science community, our design pays respect to this environment and places our teaching and training facilities right into the heart of the club,” said Olazábal. The Spaniard has created a 33-hole complex at Education City, which includes the main par-72 championship course, a nine-hole, par 3 course and a six-hole course which uniquely acts as a stepping-stone between the academy and the main course.
“our design pays respect to this environment and places our teaching and training facilities right into the heart of the club” golfmanagement.eu.com | 25
education city EDUCATING MICHAEL Left, Michael Braidwood, GM at Education City Golf Club; below left the par-3 course; top right the Centre of Excellence and below-right, the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Doha.
“there’s one-eye firmly on the local market, trying to get the Qataris to play golf – men, ladies, kids, students, the whole lot”
“The thinking behind the six-hole course was the desire to reach out to people, especially the young, to try the game ‘proper’ after they are ready to progress from the range and the par-3 course, but perhaps aren’t quite yet prepared to graduate to the championship course,” added Olazábal. “And we hope to encourage inactive golfers to start playing regularly again. “The six holes are of tournament standard; can be played in less than 90 minutes and they offer time-pressed golfers a tremendous alternative to the 18-hole course. Families in particular will be delighted as we included not just one but two kids’ tees on these holes.” Learning the game of golf through education is the corner-stone of the project. Featuring Swing Studios opening out towards the driving range – all designed by MIA Sports Solutions – to an electronically adjustable Putting Lab Studio, every element of learning the game has been meticulously catered for. Biomechanics, proper mindset and wellbeing are also covered too. And co-ordinating everything is general manager, Michael Braidwood who took over the reigns 18 months ago.
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Having started his career at Gleneagles, Braidwood spent four years in the Scottish Glens before moving into his first management role at Riffa Golf Club in Bahrain, and his first taste of life in the Gulf. And one of his claims to fame was the introduction of floodlighting at Riffa, as he explains: “We had no problem selling golf in the available leisure time, but weekends were sold out, as too were late afternoons. But during the day, and during the week, there was no one playing golf as there are no tourists in Bahrain – it was pretty much empty. “So, we needed to extend our tee sheet, and we needed to make golf available when people had time to play, which was at night. That was an interesting project for me as I had to sell it to the board, who didn’t want to give me any money.” Braidwood spent 11 years working in Bahrain, overseeing the change of name from Riffa Golf Club to The Royal Golf Club, and is well versed in Middle-Eastern culture and Arabic, a language which he is learning. Golf in Bahrain shares similar characteristics with golf in Qatar, so perhaps it
was no surprise when Braidwood got the call from the Qatar Foundation to look at the Education City project, although the 48-year-old admits that the timing could have been better. He was working for the CMAE as the association’s director of education following a four-year spell as operations director with Braemar Golf, and had harboured ambitions to return to club management when the time was right. “I kind of agreed with my wife, that once the kids had gone to university we were going to go overseas again anyway, and this job in Qatar came probably a year too soon, but I came out,” said Braidwood. “I got the phone call, came out, had a look around, and I liked what I saw from a country standpoint of view, and any country that has a public holiday for sport gets a tick from me,” he smiles. “And I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to infrastructure as well, so underground railway networks and tram systems and stuff like that I think, wow. Here’s a country that’s getting its act together. It’s going in the right direction. “And then of course the lure of FIFA 2022 as well.
The Marquis is the superior hotel in Doha
“There’s a lot of really exciting things happening. And then the golf product here that’s been developed is phenomenal. It was very attractive, so I finished the three years at CMAE and came here.” One could be forgiven for assuming that a project the magnitude of Education City would attract interest from management companies, but as Braidwood explains, it was his predecessor who persuaded the owners that this was not a path that they needed to tread. “Ed Edwards, who was the original GM on the project and who helped develop the concept, just told the owners that if you get the right people in place you can do it yourselves. You don’t necessarily need an over arching management company if you can assemble the team, and if you set up a good team, they should be able to run it themselves anyway.” And with his team in place, Braidwood is determined to develop golf in the country, and utilise the world-class facilities that he has at his disposal. But are the local Qatari fraternity really interested in golf? “Yes,” Braidwood emphasised. “The expats are the low hanging fruits in the obvious markets and we have to do
that to make it a viable business model, but there’s one-eye firmly on the local market, trying to get the Qataris to play golf – men, ladies, kids, students, the whole lot. “Education City is all about education, universities, schools, development and we’re the same at the golf club. We want to educate people about the benefits of golf, and obviously learn this great sport.” And Braidwood seems genuinely determined to develop golf in Qatar. As destinations fare, Qatar will struggle to compete with the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, if only for the sheer number of courses on offer to visiting golfers in the UAE. But perversely, perhaps the lack of courses, and the focus on education, is what will separate Education City from every other facility in the region. From beginners, to tour pros seeking to hone their game, Education City has everything any golfer will ever require, on one all-encompassing campus designed from the ground up to focus on education. It may well be the start of term, but Braidwood is on course for a first-class degree with honours. GMé
The Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, centrally located in Doha’s West Bay business district and only 30 minutes from the Hamad International Airport, features panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and Doha skyline. This contemporary hotel is directly connected to the City Center Mall and walking distance from the Corniche, offering guest rooms that are expansive and comfortable with full amenities to pamper all. Offering a full-service hotel experience with a large variety of international restaurants, executive lounges and 35m rooftop pool, this hotel is the perfect choice for the modern business executive and fun-seeking leisure traveller, with Education City Golf Club a 15-minute drive away. Encompassing various elements from Qatar – ranging from its design to cuisine – the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha provides its guests with a unique environment and comforts in forms of luxurious bedding, spacious rooms, high-speed internet and amenities. The hotel also offers colourful fabrics, innovative designs and local artworks featuring Doha architecture. Among the dining options are the New York Steakhouse, Ipanema Brazilian Churrascaria, Cucina Italian Kitchen, and Crossroads Kitchen with its international buffet and Aqua Lounge by the outdoor pool on the 7th and 8th floor. In addition, Quick Bites Café, Champions Sports Bar and Glo Cocktail Bar offer excellent refreshment options.
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“The board and I believe that the club needs to redefine its direction and turn the focus back to the people that count most – its membership”
Yeates New Vision for Moor Park Peter Simm talks to chief executive of Moor Park, Amy Yeates about her plans for the historic club, and the desire to return to a private members club.
REFLECTIVE Chief executive of Moor Park, Amy Yeates and above, a close view of the lake from the 16th tee
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When it comes to golf clubs with a distinguished, historic past, you’ll have to go a long way to find a venue to match that of Moor Park’s. From a Grade I-listed 17th century mansion clubhouse dating back to 1680 and 300 acres of mature woodland originally designed by famous landscaper Capability Brown, to two high-class 18-hole championship courses designed by golfing legend Harry Colt, the prestigious Hertfordshire club has plenty to get the golfing juices flowing. Add in a collection of the game’s most famous names that have taken part in the numerous high-profile tournaments and events that Moor Park has hosted over the last century – including Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Severiano Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Sir Nick Faldo – and you’ll see the point that I’m making. Fast forward to the present day and the club continues to be heavily involved
with golfers on the world stage, playing a pivotal role in the careers of European Tour stars Matt Wallace and Callum Shinkwin. And Moor Park is making waves and headlines at the grass roots level of the game as well, having taken the momentous decision at the end of last year to go back to its roots and become a private members’ golf club again. Under the leadership of recentlyappointed chief executive Amy Yeates, the historic club has decided to move its focus away from the wedding sectors towards repositioning itself as one of England’s premier golfing venues. Yeates outlined the plans to Moor Park’s members last winter, with the proposals including significant investment in the club’s golf and clubhouse facilities and services over the next five years. “Moor Park has been through a period of commercialisation, with mixed
ON THE TEE The first tee on the West Course at Moor Park
messages and a non-defined role for members and the club’s position in the golf industry,” said Yeates, who took up her new role last summer. “The board and I believe that the club needs to redefine its direction and turn the focus back to the people that count most – its membership. “With this in mind, we have created a new vision to take Moor Park back to being a private members’ golf club in the sense and tradition of a golfing experience. By positioning Moor Park as a premium golf club with facilities and courses to match, we believe that we can secure a lasting legacy that will reinstate us as one of England’s top private members’ clubs.” Set near Rickmansworth and only 19 miles away from the heart of London and Big Ben, Moor Park features two 18-hole golf courses – the High Course and West Course, both designed by Colt in 1923 – and extensive practice facilities, as well as its magnificent clubhouse.
Regularly ranked as one of the top 100 golf courses in England, the High Course has staged numerous high-profile local, national and international events since being founded. The prestigious Carris Trophy (English Boys’ Open Strokeplay Championship) was launched at Moor Park in 1935 and returns to the club every four years, while the venue has been chosen as a Regional Open Qualifying venue from 2020. Moor Park has concentrated in recent years on promoting itself as a luxury venue for weddings and corporate events but, with Yeates leading the way, will now change direction with, at the heart of the new vision, the overriding aim of “enriching members’ lives through an exceptional club experience.” And boasting an impressive pedigree in golf club management, Yeates is the ideal candidate to deliver the new vision having spent her whole career working for some of the biggest names in the industry.
After gaining a degree in sports management at the University of Louisville, she worked for the likes of The Belfry, Mannings Heath, the Old Course Hotel & Spa in St Andrews and Golf At Goodwood, before winning the Golf Club Manager Association’s Manager of the Year award in 2017 after a three-year spell as director of golf, spa and leisure at Fairmont St Andrews. Rather than making any immediate knee-jerk decisions, Yeates spent her first six months at Moor Park getting to grips with the club’s complex structure before, alongside the team and board, she formulated a strategic five-year plan detailing the direction the club should to take in order to secure a prosperous future at a time when many other UK golf venues are struggling. She said: “The aim of the new vision is, simply put, to ‘enrich our members’ lives through an exceptional club experience.’ Visitors will, of course, still receive a warm and friendly welcome but it is
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STEPPING-UP Amy Yeates pictured at the entrance to Moor Park
our members and their guests who will come first. “Our vision is underpinned by four key pillars of focus which are, delivering exceptional golf courses, heightened levels of service, exceptional food quality and an innovative social calendar. “Golf is entering a new phase in its place in the world, not just with the way it needs to embrace families, but also in the levels of service and the quality of experience that people have come to expect from every aspect of their lives,” she said. “Golf clubs are no different. In fact, in the face of so many competing elements on our leisure time, golf is having to work much harder to keep itself relevant and attractive.” Having completed a £1million-plus investment over the last three years on areas including the High Course and a world-class short-game area, Moor Park is, under the new plans, proposing a further period of investment on and off the course to improve the members’ experience – both in the short and long term. As part of the drive towards delivering a more upmarket experience, changes planned over the next two years include further investment on the golf courses, increased levels of greenkeeping staff and investment in course machinery.
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In addition, other exciting initiatives will see the relaunch of the Harry Colt restaurant, the conversion of the Thornhill Room – which overlooks the West Course – into a new members’ club lounge and the opening of a new sophisticated al fresco dining area overlooking the courses. The food and beverage offering is receiving an upgrade, with the focus moving away from the mass catering provided for large banquets and weddings, and replaced with a much more refined dining experience for golfers. Yeates added: “We are proud to have 36 holes of championship golf set within this idyllic and historic estate and are dedicated to delivering top-class golfing facilities, as shown with the opening of our new short game area in April. “We are fully committed to delivering our vision, and the changes and improvements will result in an elevated reputation and enhanced status within the overall golf industry. It’s our desire to give members a club to be proud of and that, first and foremost, starts with delivering two exceptional golf courses.” Moor Park may be heading in a new direction but one thing seems certain, with Yeates at the helm, the club is in safe hands and can look forward to plenty more good times ahead. GMé
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Topturf Irrigation is a family-run company that has become one of the leading irrigation companies in the UK and Europe. A design, supply and installation service is available for all new irrigation systems; in addition we offer bespoke services to all clients with new and existing systems for private gardens, recreational facilities, golf course and sports stadia. Topturf have now expanded to designing, building, supplying and installing single or multi-pump pump sets. Topturf are the leading agents for the supply and installation of Otterbine Barebo decorative and industrial aerators, providing quality aeration for the water management of all lakes and ponds.
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We run this ad every 100 years. I
t reminds us of what it takes to maintain and grow â€” the purpose, the pride and the passion this business requires. From our grandfather who started National Mower in 1919, to our father who launched Turfco. We recognize the privilege of being part of an industry where we all love what we do, and pledge to continue the tradition of bringing innovations to beautify the game. We look forward to working with you for the next century.
Thanks, The Kinkead Family
THE DRIVE A pair of Yamaha gol cars pictured on a course
The Vikings are coming... and they’re Driving Yamaha Immy Barclay talks to Tony Trigell, owner and operator of multiple golf courses in Sweden, about his golf operation, and why when choosing a golf car, he decided to partner with Yamaha. Across the smörgåsbord of sports in Sweden, golf is the one that seems to dominate. For a population of nearly ten million, we’re looking at approximately 500,000 active players registered in the Swedish Golf Federation. While this official information doesn’t even include those under the radar casually going to the range, stats like these start to reveal how the Scandis have really sunk their teeth into the game. One has to wonder what clubs are doing to satisfy this appetite? And for a sport that is so popular, how can individual businesses in the industry stand out? We spoke to Tony Trigell, owner and operator of multiple golf courses in Stockholm, who has recently turned to Yamaha as his solution. Trigell’s company, GolfStar, is a Golf subscriptions service company that allows members open access to play at
any of its 20 courses in the country. Its chain of clubs is growing, with also a course just outside Barcelona, available for those keen members who can’t wait to play until the snow defrosts on the greens at home in Northern Europe. With all this expansion, what is GolfStar’s appeal that sets them apart and how does Yamaha’s involvement help? Firstly, GolfStar subverts the old expectations of club memberships with their “get more for your money” pricing structure and by revolving everything around the customer. Their primary objective is to create a fun experience for their members. “It’s important that golfers feel free,” said Trigell. “Golf is already a hard game as it is, so I want the members to feel that after 18 holes they’ve had a good time with us no matter what.”
“We always have our members on our minds, and to the extent that we’ve given up all our executive spaces in the parking lots and handed them over to our customers!” It’s a warm-hearted way of operating that challenges the pervading approach where players can often be required to refer to a worn out clubhouse rule book. And it’s the rule book that Trigell has happily tossed in the bunker as he builds up his vision for GolfStar. They are clearly respecting the game but doing so in an innovative way. While the company’s goal over previous years has been about fast growth, the aim is now centred on achieving a high quality standard across its courses. “As a brand we want to develop our courses in a better way, we want to attract attention, offer something new. In a word, we are doing a rebellion.”
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PLAY YOUR BEST A four-ball enjoying their Yamaha experience
“We always have our members on our minds, and to the extent that we’ve given up all our executive spaces in the parking lots and handed them over to our customers!”
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Following along this line of fresh thinking, it comes as no surprise that GolfStar found a long-term partnership with Yamaha. As a key step to consolidate a quality experience, Golfstar have had to unify the features they offer across all their courses. This called for a total overhaul of the golf cars and it’s Yamaha who have been chosen to supply and manage the entire fleet at all the locations. “Yamaha makes sense,” explained Trigell. “When we were looking at potential partners, we just asked ourselves: why do what everyone else is doing?” The intention is to rev up the golf club member’s downtime. “When you take over a course, you get whatever cars they had in the garage. It’s a mess. Different battery lives, looks, features. I want to help my staff manage these, but most importantly, I want our golfers to know what to expect when they come here.” It’s these details that impact the customer’s overall impression of the GolfStar brand and it’s Yamaha who elevate this experience. The focus isn’t only on club management or aesthetic consistency. Paramount is the driving experience of the cars. “What happens when my customers need to charge their phone? Of course, there’s a USB port in the dashboard. There’s even a non-slip pad in the front shelf to stop their things sliding around,” added Trigell. “Drinks? There’s a huge icebox ready for them. And there’s always something to reliably protect their clubs when it rains. Every time they come, players will know how to use these cars without any guesswork, and they’ll know that they are getting the best.”
Trigell is also pleased to see how Yamaha can appeal to their younger members who are the ones that most regularly request the cars. “Yamaha can speak to these young guys in a way golf hasn’t seen before. As a brand, they are already about having fun, and that complements our vision.” The decision to team up with Yamaha goes deeper than that on the manufacturing side. “The company is exceptionally technical. We all know that the Japanese are renowned for this, and Yamaha especially, they don’t build anything ordinary. “So when it came down to it and I looked at the figures around battery efficiency, maintenance and so on, it was not a hard decision to join them and do this in a smart way together. I could see that we were setting ourselves up to be better off.” Even the retailer Yamaha have decided to work with boosts Trigell’s confidence in the manufacturer. “It’s Hako here in Stockholm, and they are a great dealership, so that shows me that Yamaha know a good thing when they see it.” Yamaha is now trusted to play a major role in defining the GolfStar facilities. As Trigell establishes the high quality playing experiences across all his golf clubs, the next move will be another round of expansion overseas. In his own words: “The Vikings are coming!” In selecting partners to collaborate with, Trigell’s final requirement was that they jump on board with the business long-term. This kind of commitment is a unique asset that sits at the core of Yamaha’s company ethos. So for Trigell, GolfStar and Yamaha, we are clearly looking at a genuine example of a future made together. GMé
Drive2. Drive your business to the future. www.yamaha-motor.eu
ISLAND OASIS The 3rd green at Royal Greens
PALATIAL The 18th green and clubhouse at Royal Greens
Ryans Purple Patch at Royal Greens From breaking ground to hosting a European Tour Event; Patrick Ryan of Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rises to the test welcoming some of the worlds best golfers. Article by Maddy Pearce. The first professional golf Tour event ever hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi International sponsored by SBIA, represented a landmark moment for golf this year with a collection of the world’s best players descending on the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. The competition firmly placed Saudi Arabia on the golfing map, and Dustin Johnson’s victory was heralded as the beginning of a new era for sport and entertainment in the Kingdom. At the helm of the course preparations was director of agronomy, Patrick Ryan. Having started his career at Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale, Ireland, Ryan was set on achieving great standards within the world of agronomy, which the Saudi International has allowed him to do. “I completed my HND in Sports Turf & Golf Course Management at the University College Writtle, Essex and undertook the Ohio State Intern Training Program,” commented Ryan. “It was during this that I set off to Pinehurst in the USA. It was an amazing experience and gave me some invalu-
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able knowledge that I still utilise, and of course it was an incredible place to be a part of.” Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, part of Troon’s International Division, had its royal opening just under a year ago with some of the world’s golfing stars leading the celebrations. Four-time Major winner and President’s Cup Captain, Ernie Els, was joined by European Tour winner, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, to witness the first tee shot over the spectacular European Golf Design, par-72 layout. This opening tee shot was struck by His Excellency Yasir Bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, president of the Saudi Golf Federation. He was closely followed on the tee by European Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley; with Els, Johnston and Ladies European Tour players Amy Boulden, Camilla Lennarth and Maha Haddioui teeing up next. Ryan joined the Troon team a little over two years ago, following his tenure as the golf course superintendent at Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai.
SAND SHOT Patrick Ryan pictured at the front of his greenkeeping team, with Dustin Johnson
“I have a number of colleagues who have worked with Troon over the years, and I was really excited to become part of the team with this opportunity,” said Ryan. “I can’t believe it has been over two years since I arrived in Saudi. “Fortunately, I have been able to be based here with my wife, Heidi and five-year-old daughter, Zindzi too and we have loved it from the moment we arrived.” Like many courses in the desert, there have been a number of challenges and issues to overcome in developing the course. As Ryan joined towards the tail end of the construction phase, it was pivotal that key systems were in place and irrigation was functioning.
“The main challenges we faced were that not only is Royal Greens a course in the desert, but it is also a very young course which still required time to mature,” continued Ryan. “As such a young course, water and irrigation were one of our main concerns, but we have been strategic in the initial placement of sprinklers and watering schedules. “In addition to this we also struggled to get the key nutrients and organic compounds to help feed the course and build up its fertility and strength,” he added. Working within the Troon network, Ryan was able to source the organic materials to give the course nutrition and
begin the processes in good time. With so many elements requiring attention, from bunkers to greens, teamwork was of the utmost importance for a successful course condition. For the greenkeeping team, this came as second nature and was the key to overcoming issues. “Throughout the months of preparing the course the whole team has worked seamlessly to make sure that every aspect of the course has been cared for, even when we were up against it,” Ryan said. “Just with us pulling together we were able to overcome all the challenges thrown at us.” In the months ahead of the event there were some significant time pressures to
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HOST VENUE Hospitality at the recent Saudi International
COAST-TO-COAST The 16th at Royal Greens
have the course ready in time and with staffing being a key concern this is where Troon’s training initiatives came into full force. “Our biggest challenges were training the team for the tournament,” remarked Ryan. “Most of the team arrived on-site in August and, utilising previous Troon frameworks, we implemented the training and development of the team straight away. “In total we had 64 greenkeepers and we assigned everyone key tasks and actions to take care of before, during and post event. We worked on ten simple rules that all members of staff now know off by heart. We were able to overcome language barriers and get all the team trained and deliver the high quality agronomy standards we strive for at Troon. “By getting the team into a situation where they all had their own assigned roles meant that we could go through our daily tasks, quickly and efficiently. We also brought in two superintendents from other Troon facilities in the region, for tournament week, which was a huge help to us.” In a country where it rarely rains, Royal Greens endured two days of non-stop rain in the build up to the event. Ryan stated: “I was really pleased with how well the course performed over the week.
“We did experience the freak weather with some significant amounts of rainfall however the course drained well, and the overall colour and playability was amazing, and I think the players were happy and the course was actually tougher than they expected.” Looking ahead to 2020 and learning from the first few months of operation small changes are being made; it is important to keep the growth and development of the course sustainable. “To help aid sustainability for Royal Greens we have now altered the water pattern and re-positioned the sprinkler heads to improve the range of water being distributed on the course,” Ryan said. “In addition, we have also cancelled and removed 27 heads and although this may not sound like many in the grand scheme of things, this is a really significant amount of water being reduced over a year. We are going to continue in this manner and as the course matures it will need less input from us and become more sustainable. “Water is arguably the most important element in the agronomy framework, and the key thing for any golf course in the desert is water management, controlling the systems as well as the movement and amount of water. “Having a sustainable and methodical irrigation pattern makes for stronger and
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healthier grass. At Royal Greens we do something called deep soaking, so we in effect over-water and then don’t water for a few days. This increases the root strength as the roots go deeper into the earth looking for the water.” With such a successful event now completed, Ryan reflected on the awards ceremony where the whole agronomy team gathered to cheer Dustin Johnson lift the trophy. “Everyone worked so hard. The sheer comradary, teamwork and effort put in by everyone was amazing to be part of. During the last day the whole team followed Dustin on the back nine and they could experience and appreciate golf at its highest level. “The great news too, is that many of the team are interested in taking up the sport now,” smiled Ryan. “Following Dustin Johnson’s closing remarks, he commented that he really enjoyed the golf course and that it was beautiful,” said Ryan proudly. “Naturally I am delighted that a player of Dustin’s standard has been so complimentary about Royal Greens and it just goes to show how much hard work the team has put in. “We heard Dustin say that many of the players have commented on the green complexes and the general layout and playability of the course which was just brilliant to hear.” GMé
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Does your club need a new coaching dynamic? Do you want to set your club apart from others in your area? With established academies in ten countries around the world, the Easiest Swing in Golf is looking to expand. Specialising in SENIOR COACHING, the Easiest Swing in Golf is a unique coaching programme developed by Brian Sparks that touches every aspect of the game. Knowledge is shared with coaches giving them special tools to help the older golfer – both MALE AND FEMALE – as well as those who have, or are recovering from, injuries or disabilities. To find our more, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit EASIESTSWING.COM golfmanagement.eu.com | 39
Royal Bled is the Crown Jewel of Slovenia Originally constructed for the King of Yugoslavia in 1937, Royal Bled in Slovenia has been transformed in recent years thanks to father and son design-duo, Howard and William Swan, who have designed a real gem of a course. Words by Sarah Forrest.
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royalbled.com BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT The lake dividing the 14th and 16th holes on the King’s Course (main picture) and right, the first tee box
Golf is in the blood of some families, but few have made the long-term commitment ‘to build a golf course that is to be one of the top venues in Europe.’ That was the brief, along with other considerations, given to Swan Golf Designs by the Solak family of Serbia for Royal Bled in Slovenia. Initially built and opened in 1937 for the then King of Yugoslavia, the golf course has been through a series of improvements and redesigns to bring it up to the modern standards and expectations, with the 12th tee box still paying homage to the original design dating back to 1937. In the late 90’s early 2000, Howard Swan was drafted in to run an audit for the course, but in truth it wasn’t until 2013 when the future-proofing team of Dragan and Gordana Solak really took the venue to the next level by re-instating the Swan design group and appointing son William to work alongside his father Howard to oversee the new and proposed changes.
Not to be complacent but to incorporate his father’s well-balanced thoughtthrough design suggestions – coupled with the layout of the 1930’s and 1970’s – working alongside clients who are keen golfers and ‘in the know’, the task can’t have been easy. There were no fundamental changes to the routing of the King’s Course, but some holes have been extended, tees moved back, and greens moved forward to give us the challenging course that Royal Bled is today. As the disturbed beast begins to settle back into its picture postcard back drop of the Julian Alps close to the Triglav National Park, the reputation of this amazing find is also growing and fast making its way on to golfers ‘must play’ list, and in truth, the King’s Course at Royal Bled is a delight to play. In places there are some tight target fairways edged by the thick grass, with an by Alpine forest strategically placed to catch any wayward shots – eagle eyes are a prerequisite!
“But whether you can stop yourself being distracted by looking across to the Alps and the town of Bled and the beautiful scenery beyond is another question... ” golfmanagement.eu.com | 41
royal bled KING PIN Left, the 8th on the King’s Course; below left a small sample of the quality merchandise on sale in the pro shop; top right, the third tee box with views across the valley, and bottom right, the final green in front of the King’s House
“Royal Bled has a wonderful history and the improvements and investment into the facility have made this quite a special place to play golf”
The fairways meander around the course flowing from one hole to the next, and it is easy to forget to look up and take in the fresh air of Slovenia and the outstanding vista views over towards the Castle and towards Bled itself. The course climbs high before dropping back down again before reaching holes 9 and 18 which culminate in a large shared green, bearing all to spectators on the large terrace watching with interest, and no doubt delight, as the ball races towards the flag then just as sharply drops away again as the undulations take hold and send it in a different direction. Whilst the 18-hole King’s Course is the one talked and revered in equal measures, the 9-hole Lakes Course could be a great addition to the overall project bringing three loops of nine holes to present a broader variety of options for visiting and resident golfers. “We created different layouts so as the owners could have the course as three quality nine-holes loops, and explored different options for different course design concepts, such as an academy course, or a different course in addition to the King’s Course,” said Swan.
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With so much energy expended into the King’s Course, not to mention the onsite King’s House, there remains scope for the future development. Royal Bled pulls you in from the moment you drive through the gates, not really letting you into its fold until you take the short walk to the other side of the clubhouse and onto the terrace, and breath in those spectacular views over the golf course to the mountains in the distance with clear blue skies contrasting with lush green grass, before tearing your eyes away to behind you and the imposing alpine-style luxury of the King’s House. Boasting ten luxury bedrooms, all different in design and decor, and all offering luxury restful places to soak in the atmosphere and reflect on your day of golf in Slovenia, the King’s House is a luxury retreat located on-site. In fairness it isn’t the biggest of hotels, but it does exude a welcome beyond its bedroom quota. The staff are hand-picked to fit the experience, and simply can’t do enough for you with exemplary customer care extolled upon each individual visitor with a passion and understated compliance.
Course designers Howard and latterly William Swan have made the golf course what it is today, with its elevated tees, water on course, ravines and great conditioning but what would be William’s favourite hole? “Well the tenth hole is an island par 3, but I wouldn’t say it was my favourite though,” he smiles. “There’s a couple of good holes which I really enjoy, including the sixth which is a short par 4; a good risk or reward over water, with a green that is lots of fun and has clear areas; good places to attack; good places to miss; good places not to miss. “It’s a really interesting hole with lots of options; you’ve got excitement and different playing strategies. The fourteenth is different, probably one we’ve published and taken most notice of,” he adds. “An elevated tee makes it a lovely driving hole, with lakes left and right, and a wide landing area culminating in a green that is very narrow with a steep slope on the right and water on the left. “But if you only concentrate on hitting that nice shot, and you don’t keep your drive to where it needs to be, your second shot is close to impossible.
King’s House fit to host Royal Blood
“But it’s all laid out there in front of you, so you can see it beautifully,” added Swan. “But whether you can stop yourself being distracted by looking across to the Alps and the town of Bled and the beautiful scenery beyond is another question... it’s fantastic.” Royal Bled can be enjoyed by golfers of all standards, but the design of the course had to be long enough – or as long as it possibly could be – so that it could host professional tournaments at some point in the future. In fact, it is a good 750 yards longer than it was in the 1970’s and a course that Swan has said is the one of the most prestigious jobs that his design practice has been involved with, attributing that to the commitment to the project by the current owners. And if further endorsement was needed, former senior vice-president of IMG, Michael Pask, who worked with the owners during the renovation of the project added: “When I first visited Royal Bled I was so impressed with not only the natural beauty of the place but also the vision that Gordana and her husband Dragan had for the development.
“Royal Bled has a wonderful history and the improvements and investment into the facility have made this quite a special place to play golf in wonderful natural surroundings with simply breathtaking vistas. “As the jewel in the crown of courses in the country combined with the practice facilities and academy it also has the potential to significantly enhance the long-term development of the game in Slovenia. “As the course looks to also engage the international audience for golf fans through international membership, I think many who go will simply be wowed by the offering and the sense of welcome.” Royal Bled is a short five-minute drive from Bled itself, a stunning retreat for all outdoor activity enthusiasts. Retaining its olde world charm of yesteryear, Bled boasts restaurants, bars and hotels and of course a quick punt in the pletna, a gondola like rowing boat on the crystalclear lake to The Church of Mary the Queen, with its steep stone steps to the top to take in the whole lake views and a visit to the church. ‘Heaven on Earth’ it truly is. GMé
The King’s House, originally built in 1938, is a testament to regional Slovenian architecture and its unmistakable facade speaks clearly of its time and place. Following its extensive renovation, the King’s House has been restored to its original grandeur and the refined interiors, open fires and comfortable furniture create a unique and familiar atmosphere that encourages guests to linger, relax and enjoy the unrivalled surroundings. Inspired by local, seasonal ingredients and with a focus on modern, regional and international dishes, dining at Royal Bled is an integral part of the experience. From relaxed, outdoor dining on the expansive terrace overlooking the course, to a more refined ambience in the unique glass-fronted restaurant, there is a place and menu to suit all occasions. Ten timelessly styled rooms are available within the King’s House each offering their own distinctive tone but all with the same sense of grandeur and elegance. Private terraces offer views over the golf course and warm, traditional furnishings create a cosy feel from home. Given its unique location, Royal Bled offers the perfect base from which to explore the wider region, and the beautiful country of Slovenia. The historic town of Bled – famed for its unique island on the Bled lake surrounded by mountains and overlooked by a majestic castle – is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is only a five-minute drive away.
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Motocaddy Boost to Rental Income Following the introduction of its compact-folding M-Series last summer, Motocaddy is now seen to offer golf resorts and clubs the best return on investment in the rental market according to Adam Smith. The success of the Motocaddy M-Series powered trolley range has seen a growing number of Europe’s most prestigious golf resorts and courses enhance their rental income and boost trolley sales by taking on a fleet of the efficient compact-folding models. The M-Series range offers the widest choice of car-boot friendly and easy-tofold electric trolleys on the market and Motocaddy has calculated that as many as 15 folded M-Series rental trolleys can fit into the space occupied by a ride-on buggy. It’s perhaps no surprise then, that golf facilities are leaving behind unreliable rentals and turning to the brand’s spacesaving compact models to enhance business returns and reputations. Today, almost 1,000 premium golf facilities across Europe now offer Motocaddy rental trolleys, along with compatible safer and longer-lasting Lithium batteries. Among them is the award-winning Foxhills Country Club & Resort in Surrey, England. “We’re celebrating our tenth anniversary with Motocaddy this year,” said head professional, Sean Graham. “Our Motocaddy rental fleet is popular with members, guests and visitors and the brand has played a key part in the growth of the club for over a decade. “Motocaddy has always been a reliable partner and the trolleys match the service that we strive to offer. They’ve always been transparent as a provider with no hidden charges or on-going costs and the products offer a great return on investment.
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“Also, stocking a range of Motocaddy trolleys provides our members and guests with the perfect opportunity to ‘demo’ the stock before making a purchase, which has boosted our yearon-year sales,” he added. The lengthy partnership with Motocaddy has also allowed Foxhills to upgrade to the latest trolleys on the market and helped to maintain the resort’s premium feel. “We choose to upgrade to new rentals every year to maintain the quality and service for our customers, but also keep the rental models under warranty,” continued Graham. “This also presents the trolleys in their best condition year-on-year, which is important for a customer paying potentially for just a single use. Also, by adding new trolley options as part of our rental programme, it helps us improve continuously on the overall product we offer. “This year, M5 GPS models will be available to hire for members and guests of the club, increasing the variety of options and enabling players to get the best from their round,” he said. With performance reliability being such a key factor, another busy golf facility to have chosen Motocaddy is the former Open Championship venue Prince’s Golf Club in Kent. More than 30,000 rounds are played over two courses at Prince’s a year, so there is a high demand for electric rental trolleys that won’t breakdown during a round on the famous links. The head professional at Prince’s, Charlie Wilson, is clear about why the club elected to invest in Motocaddy trol-
“The rental market is very competitive and we switched to Motocaddy because I found they were very reliable and cost effective”
leys: “The rental market is very competitive and we switched to Motocaddy because I found they were very reliable and cost effective,” he said. “Ever since making the change, the service and experiences I’ve had with Motocaddy are what encouraged us to choose them in the first place. Word travels fast in the golf industry and you get to know the companies that value their customers and offer reliable products. “If any other golf facility is considering making the switch, then I’d advise them that the initial investment can be repaid within four-to-six weeks, and I now work to the philosophy of having a rental fleet which is reliable everyday with no hidden charges for future servicing and maintenance. “It’s proved an effective way for us to make a return on our investment and is proving a vital revenue stream for us. I tried a Motocaddy demo model for a few
rounds and the sales support from the brand was very good. “We were offered a fleet programme of compact-folding M1 trolleys and off the back of this we then purchased stock for the pro shop. “Since then, we’ve doubled the size of the fleet to ten M1 trolleys and see them all regularly booked out during weekend periods. Last year, we doubled our revenue generated through hire trolleys. “I’m now looking seriously at upgrading to the new M5 GPS model, as it’s a feature I really like which also allows us to charge more for a rental product. We’ll review how our M1 rentals perform during the first half of this year and then make the decision based on the potential for increased profit,” added Wilson. The unrivalled reliability and superior compact-folding capabilities has seen Motocaddy outsell all other compact models by 17 per cent, according to
recent figures from leading industry research specialists, Golf Datatech. “If you ask golf industry professionals what they regard as the key ingredients that make a successful rental business, they’re likely to tell you the same thing,” said Neil Parker, sales director for Motocaddy. “Reliability; a high return on investment; the prospect of future sales; and a chance to build relationships with members and guests will no doubt be part of a thriving plan. “We’ve made significant investments in R&D to ensure that the space-saving M-Series maintains the Motocaddy reputation for providing the most reliable trolleys for golfers and stockists alike. “We’ve also seen a tremendous response from customers to our most attractive pre-order packages across the full range of electric, push and bag lines,” added Parker. GMé
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food & beverage
STARTER F&B expert, Yiannis Tsioukanis
DESSERT Quality food and presentation is essential
A Feast for the Eyes with a Tasty Margin Food & Beverage plays an important role in the day-to-day success of your golf operation, and Yiannis Tsioukanis, an experienced golf operator with first-hand F&B knowledge, shares some advice as to how to get things right. When it comes to a golf operation or even a hotel operation, the second most important element is the Food & Beverage (F&B) set-up. People love to eat and drink as much as they love to play golf so if you get this right then you’ll see the benefits in everything else. Why? Because people will choose your facility for the F&B rather than choosing another facility for a better golf course. As they say, ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ and this is so true. What is the right way to go? What is the design of the space? What is your price point and your choice of products, ingredients and type of service? All these need to be agreed and a plan agreed prior to doing anything else. You must also match and preferably exceed the levels of service of the golf operations section. They should never be worse as this will immediately drop you off the radar.
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This is an error that you should avoid at your peril. In an F&B operation you have five different entities that you need to cover, which are breakfast; lunch; dinner; on-course options and finally, the staff canteen area. The issue with the first three items on that list is that golfers, because of different starting times, want to eat each at different and overlapping times. The first and second options are self explanatory as only the changeover needs to be smooth. My recommendation is that you incorporate the most popular breakfast dish into the lunch menu to satisfy breakfast hunters. Also because both breakfast and lunch include smaller, quicker meals they have a greater chance to overplay. The lunch to dinner crossover though is devilish due to the much different level of everything that is involved in an F&B operation.
ALL-DAY BREAKFAST The breakfast transition into lunch is a difficult time for F&B operators, but a tasty and quick breakfast bap will always cut the mustard
food & beverage
Lunch is quick whilst dinner is when the chef and service team get to show off all their skills and its the highest price point too. This crossover is always tough on either the F&B team and/or the customer. We can all understand both sides of the scenario as the golfer wants to have a quick and less expensive meal after their golf whilst the F&B team needs the time to set-up the usually more detailed, high-end and expensive dinner, so what do you do?
The best option is to have an area that you can use for the last golfer to have a quick meal and another for the more detailed dinner, but what does this actually mean? We have to return to the beginning of this article and plan accordingly the space you have to offer. My suggestion is to build a small area separate from the main dinning area where you can house two or four tee-times for a quick lunch and have a very simple, quick menu for them to select from which does not
include any dinner options, and which can both be serviced from the one kitchen. Now you may think this is not ideal but with a little planning and experience it will all come together. Price point is another thing that needs to be conceived based on the level of your green fee and membership. One thing that you will never compromise on is the quality of the ingredients. Limit the selection or the detail of the menu but never cheapen the ingredients.
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food & beverage
ON-COURSE A refreshment cart is always a wise investment
HALFWAY HOME The impressive Lighthouse halfway bar at Alcanada Golf Club in Mallorca
Make sure you take the time to find the suppliers and options you have naturally around you and then create the menu. Never create the menu before that or have items on your menu because they are popular somewhere else. If you don’t have the ingredients either handy or affordable for your price point then don’t offer the food. You can make fresh ingredients tasty and create unique menu’s as they will generally always taste good rather than try to make what are considered popular and tasty with bad ingredients. What I see as most successful is to grow your own seasonal ingredients in an area nearby. Of course this isn’t always possible but again we return to the original planning process, so try and include this space in your plans. Your on-course F&B is vital to making the game fun, and this is definitely based around how the facility is designed and built. Do you have huts in strategic areas on the golf course, or do you have a halfway house in the middle of your course? Alternatively, do you have a beverage cart service? All are feasible and possible with the best option in my opinion being strategically placed huts where a golfer passes at least once but preferably twice during the round.
The design of the golf course though can take this out of your hands so make a selection either prior to construction or use the best suited to the current design. What F&B should your on-course stations include? Well this is so culturally dependent as in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America all have different food, culture and tastes. Again in my opinion I would always lean towards local items that will have the best taste and flavour. The key to on-course food is quick service, tasty meals and options to satisfy all. For instance a banana is an essential; water is another, but nothing that takes over five minutes to prepare. Finally, and always most importantly, is the F&B team – always remember that people are the most important facet of any successful golf operation. Choose the right chef, with passion and innovation, coupled with an organised front of house maÎtre d’ with class. Change them or train them but don’t delay in replacing them if they are not the right fit. Allow these professionals to choose the individuals to work on their teams. Do this and the team members will have more respect for their leaders because they personally picked them, and the
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chef and maÎtre d’ will have more confidence because they chose their teams, giving everyone a emotional boost that can keep you ahead of the game. As in anything we do the interaction between people is always the key ingredient. Smiles, organisation, plan, focus and concept will guide these people to bring home and deliver. Always include a well serviced staff canteen with a good variety of tasty food as close as possible to the customers experience – well fed staff are happy staff. In conclusion, F&B is a crucial part of any golf operation and can be the reason people choose to use your facility over others. It can also attract non-golfers that one day may become new members/ regular guests/golfers. From the design concept to the ingredients and suppliers, selecting the right price point and lastly but not least, the best people, you will have the ingredients to make a successful F&B operation with a happy team. Never rush decisions, always monitor results and adjust and be innovative. Food & Beverage is a human essential, whilst golf isn’t, so good decisions will win hearts and winning hearts will win you profits. Happy planning and happy eating. GMé
‘Specialist in Golf Course Construction’ Repton Short Course at Rudding Park Royal Birkdale, Royal St George’s Carnoustie, Goodwood
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“I believe there should be two sets of rules: one for handicaps 15 and below; and another set for the rest of us”
New rules don’t go far enough... My game needs much more! January 1, 2019, saw some changes to the rules of golf. Some have been well received, others – such as dropping from the knee – less so. But I don’t think the rule changes have gone far enough. I believe there should be two sets of rules: one for handicaps 15 and below; and another set for the rest of us. Well, actually, I’d be quite happy for a set that applied just to me, and would include: 1.1 Unlimited mulligans on the tee, naturally... 1.2 Relief can be taken to the length of one-and-a-half Peter Crouchs – a Crouch soon to be recognised as an unofficial, if oft-used, unit of measurement or area, like double-decker buses or ‘football pitches’… I envisage the day when a boss praises employees by saying ‘they went the extra Crouch’. 1.2a The ability to play, out of order, any hole upon whose fairway a ball lands – of particular benefit to people like me who slice like the periphery of a protractor. 1.2b Coloured concentric circles around the hole, so scoring can be registered in a similar way to archery. This would then be converted to a Stableford score by means of a similar process to cricket’s unfathomable Duckworth-Lewis method, known only to those who created it… in other words, me. 1.3 The golf ball can be manufactured out of any suitable material. My personal
50 | GMé March 2019
A LOAD OF BALLS Soft, bouncy and go for miles
favourite would be of similar construction to those amazing Superballs we had as kids, which is, according to Wikipedia, “an extremely elastic ball made of Zectron which contains the synthetic polymer polybutadiene as well as hydrated silica, zinc oxide, stearic acid, and other ingredients.” This is particularly useful when taken in tandem with rule 1.2a, above… 1.4 Special glasses which add a directional arrow to the line of a putt, similar to that used in many console games and of which I have become something of a devotee. I seldom miss a putt in GolfClash on the iPhone… (I recently saw a snooker table that had directional lines underneath the surface to show how a ball would react when hitting a cushion,
so I think it’s only a matter of time until golf develops a similar technology). 1.5 Extra shots given in relation to girth. Male golfers, for example, should be benchmarked around a 32-inch waist – for every two inches above that an extra shot should be awarded. By this method, I’m well on my way to becoming the first three-figure handicapper. GMé
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