GMé | May 2019

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On the cover...

Club Car unveils its lithium ion-powered Tempo Golf Car, featuring a lighter battery with zero maintenance and increased power


ÂŁ7.50 Issue 125 | May 2019

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

As general manager at Royal Norwich, Phil Grice is the man charged with the relocation of the 125-year-old club to a new site, just outside the city

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On the agenda may 2019 34


Royal Norwich on the Up

Armed with a £17 million war chest, Royal Norwich will open a brand new facility this September following the sale of its existing site to house builders Persimmon.


Kinkead Family Fortunes

Following in his grandfathers’s footsteps, Scott Kinkead is executive vice-president and co-owner of Turfco, a company which this year celebrates its centenary.


McGregor set to Shine at Eléa

Andrew McGregor is a man on a mission. Determined to position Eléa Estate at the forefront of Mediterranean Golf, the Scot has ambitious plans for the Cypriot destination.


New-Look for Alcanada

Club de Golf Alcanada in Mallorca has recently concluded a €700,000 on-course investment programme, as well as a new-look pro shop.



Woods Back from the Brink

Dr Ralph Rogers has been working with world-class athletes his whole life, and predicted a few years ago that despite three major back injuries, Tiger Woods would win once more.

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


Publisher Contributors

Michael Lenihan Frank Benzakour, David Bowers, Ed Hodge, Scott Kinkead, Scott MacCallum, Caroline Ratner, Yiannis Tsioukanis, Steve Wilson


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from the publisher

“Many more people in Europe and Asia were able to watch the events unfold from Augusta during the hours of daylight than ever before”

Storm Clouds at Augusta, a Silver Lining for viewing figures Wasn’t it wonderful to see Tiger Woods wearing a Green Jacket again following his seemingly against-all-odds victory in the 83rd US Masters. The industry is set to benefit enormously from the exposure Woods win will have on the golfing public, and most within the sport will be pleased to have the great man back to full fitness, and competing once again on the Tour. Given his well documented off-course problems over the last few years, it’s easy to imagine the Hollywood scriptwriters and agents scurrying around already to tie up the rights to the film version. But what made the experience even better for me – despite not backing him at 22/1 – was being able to watch the dramatic events unfold without the need for a bucket of coffee and an endless supply of energy drinks. The decision to start the final day early, and in three-balls, allowed the rest of the world to watch one of sport’s biggest annual events – an opportunity denied to many but the hardiest under normal circumstances. I’m happy to stay up until the early hours to watch the shenanigans at Amen Corner, but for golf fans living outside of the US of A – and there are many – that will simply not be an option. On this occasion the committee’s hand was forced by the oncoming storm, but maybe, before the 2020 event, they could look back on this year’s competition and count their blessings.

4 | GMé May 2019

MASTER CLASS Tiger Woods incredible win at Augusta

As the clouds moved in over Augusta, they certainly came embellished with a silver lining. Many more people in Europe and Asia were able to watch the events unfold from Augusta during the hours of daylight than ever before as Woods secured his 15th Major championship. It wasn’t just Tiger’s success that acted as a fillip for golf, it was also the increased exposure the morning start offered broadcasters and their customers. The mandarins at Augusta are not exactly renowned for their alacrity in changing their stringent rules, but, commercially, they have always been very switched on.

Maybe, for the benefit of the cash reserves at Augusta National and for the game of golf worldwide, they would be better served adopting permanently a change which Mother Nature imposed on them in 2019. After all, as the saying goes, mother always knows best... GMé

Michael Lenihan

+44 01925 244440 | |



Hold the front page Designed to automotive standards and fully integrated with Visage Fleet Management, Club Car’s all new lithium ion-powered fleet is looking to lead the electric golf car market.

“the TEMPO LI-ION also brings the potential for a fleet to evolve with the game and meet tomorrow’s challenges too”

Cover sponsored by Club Car (44) 01785 280344

6 | GMé May 2019

With the launch of its new lithium ionpowered golf car – the TEMPO LI-ION – Club Car claims to have re-imagined the modern electric golf car experience. Club Car, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, have created more than a drop-in battery solution with the TEMPO LI-ION, which has been named Best Electric Car at the Golf Digest 2019 Editor’s Choice Awards. This extension of the popular TEMPO range is actually a redesigned car with a lithium ion battery seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s construction and operating system. The battery itself has been developed with world leading automotive lithium ion battery supplier, LG Chem. This means that, unlike the systems that small electric vehicles have used in the past, the TEMPO LI-ION battery system has been tested to automotive grade standards, providing golf course operators with unprecedented reliability and performance assurance. The enclosed lithium ion battery system is also zero-maintenance, bringing a multitude of benefits for golf course managers including no more unpleasant gasses during charging; no more watering of batteries every few weeks with distilled water, and no more cleaning battery cables to prevent corrosion, to name a few.

The car itself is almost 100kg lighter than the traditional electric model, with a suspension system redesigned for safety and featuring an aluminium frame, which not only saves on energy, but also eases ground compaction and course damage. Add to that up to 50 per cent electricity savings, scheduled charging at twice the speed (three-four hours), as well as longer running time for the vehicles, and you begin to see why this technology is a game-changer for the industry. But the thing that really sets the TEMPO LI-ION apart from other lithium ion-powered golf cars is the option to integrate it with Club Car’s Visage Fleet Management platform, which delivers a wealth of benefits both to customers and to golf course operators. When integrated with the TEMPO LI-ION it allows operators to manage their fleet’s usage, performance and charging schedule remotely, as well as push system updates remotely. “We wanted to create more than just a solution for today,” said Mark Wagner, president, Club Car. “In addition to the immediate reliability, efficiency and savings it brings to a course in the short term, the TEMPO LI-ION also brings the potential for a fleet to evolve with the game and meet tomorrow’s challenges too.” GMé

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New Short game area at Moor Park opens for play, as club heads in a different direction Moor Park Golf Club in Hertfordshire, has opened what it describes as a “worldclass short game area.” The project, which took over three years to design, plan and build boasts over 1,000 sq. metres of practice facility and aims to further enhance the already renowned club. Edwards Design International (EDI) created the short game area, with principal James Edwards commenting: “Without doubt, Moor Park Golf Club is now home to one of the finest and most intelligent short game facilities in the country. “We are delighted that a club as prestigious as Moor Park had the vision and belief to engage EDI and embrace our design. Three particular points set this project apart from the rest; its sheer size with 360 degree approach areas from designated zones, its proximity to the clubhouse which gives easy access to members, and 18 perimeter tees designed to create a unique members short game course and championship venue.” The members only short game area opened on Saturday April 13, with complimentary canapes and fizz including a Q&A session from European Tour player and Moor Park ambassador Callum Shinkwin. “As a European Tour professional I am incredibly fortunate to practice and play on the best courses from around the world,” said Shinkwin.

“I can safely say that the Moor Park short game area is one of the best facilities I have seen and I am incredibly honoured to be a part of its opening today.” The area gives members the opportunity to play and practice a selection of shots within 60 yards from different lies with the flexibility to allow multiple members to use the area without interference. The facility strengthens the already very strong complement of game

PGA launches Business Club

Women’s golf launches sustainability plan

The PGA Business Club has been launched for people with a passion for golf to connect and engage with likeminded individuals and businesses. Membership includes an invitation to attend four PGA Business Club events a year, all of which will provide networking opportunities with a diverse range of businesses both regionally and nationally. Access to the PGA Members’ Marquee at The Open Championship is another benefit, along with direct contact with The PGA and its 8,000 Members. David Longmuir, The PGA’s partnership development manager, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of The PGA Business Club. The purpose of this new initiative is to bring together people who love golf so they can make new connections. “Members can also attend a special series of PGA events throughout the year which will provide the perfect platform to exchange ideas, network and engage with The PGA and other individuals.”

8 | GMé May 2019

Callum Shinkwin at the opening of the short game area at Moor Park


The organisers of the 2019 Solheim Cup have launched the event’s sustainability initiative which sees a wave of additional efforts to minimise the climate and environmental footprint of the event, while at the same time maximising the conservation of wildlife. Habitat destruction, exploitation, and climate change are driving the loss of half of the world’s wild animal population, and the comprehensive plan – which also integrates key elements

improvement facilities including a double ended driving range, swing studio and SAM putting lab. Moor Park CEO, Amy Yeates, added: “The short game area is a huge benefit to our members and one we are very proud of. We are working hard on enhancing the membership offering at Moor Park and this world-class facility is another step in the right direction for our mission to reinstate Moor Park as one of the best private members clubs in the South East of England.”

of social inclusion, diversity and equality – is being led by EventScotland in close partnership with the event’s Sustainability Partner, GEO Foundation. The plan is also supported by all event partners and stakeholders, including The Gleneagles Hotel, IMG, the Ladies European Tour, LPGA, Scottish Golf and BIGGA. Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I am delighted to see and support the 2019 Solheim Cup’s leadership in reducing its impact on our environment and climate by promoting public transport, avoiding single-use plastics and promoting sustainability to the tens of thousands who will descend on Gleneagles.” Jonathan Smith, executive director, GEO Foundation added: “The world is facing a rate of biodiversity loss that humanity has never seen before, and with our clear dependencies on the natural world, time is of the essence.”


Spain and Andorra reaping the benefits of

In brief... Ian Bonser, who has helped countless people to follow their golfing dreams, was honoured in March with England Golf’s Lifetime Service Award, sponsored by The Telegraph. Bonser, the owner of the 3 Hammers golf complex in Staffordshire and a committed volunteer in the game, was recognised at the England Golf Awards, sponsored by adidas Golf, at the Royal Lancaster London. Stefano Boni is celebrating after achieving GEO certification for Castelfalfi, one of Italy’s leading golf resorts. Working in his role as agronomist and ecology officer for the Italian Golf Federation, Boni has now guided 12 clubs to achieve ‘golf’s most comprehensive and widely regarded sustainability distinction’. Boni, who is based in Livorno, Italy, said: “This is the 12th club I have helped, on behalf of the Italian Golf Federation, to achieve certification or re-certification, and the first of 2019.”

As part of its mission to grow female golf participation, women’s coaching initiative has demonstrated its ability to cross borders and cultures, enjoying a successful launch in the nations of Spain and Andorra. The approach, which focuses on learning golf on the course with a group of peers rather than through technical lessons on a driving range, was piloted in October 2018 to a 10-strong group of passionate and highly qualified Spanish coaches at Centro Nacional de Golf, Madrid. President of the PGA of Spain, David Pastor De La Puente, head of education for the PGA of Spain, Jose Perez, as well as Jon Rahm’s personal coach, Eduardo Celles, are among the ten coaches running the programme across Andorra and Spain, where female participation has been in a steady decline since 2010. Jose Perez, coach and head of education for the PGA of Spain, said: “The programmes have kicked off across the country and are going phenomenally well. Our coaches are discovering a whole new way of seeing coaching and are excited about the future. “The feedback from the women participating has also been incredibly positive. I think it is clear that will be a great success here.” coaches in Spain

Arabella Golf Mallorca goes plastic-free

Argentario Golf Resort & Spa has joined The PGA’s growing list of branded resorts as the ‘PGA National Italy’. Located next to Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano and an easy drive from Rome Fiumicino International Airport, the Argentario Resort is surrounded by cork-oak woods and centuries-old olive trees in Tuscany’s Maremma region. Clubs to Hire is now offering Titleist products for the first time. The Dublin-based company hires sets of golf clubs in 29 golfing regions around the globe and is now stocking the brand’s range of TS woods, 718 AP1 irons, Vokey SM7 wedges and Scotty Cameron putters. David Howel, Clubs to Hire global ambassador said: “I’m delighted to be back working with Titleist after 17 years and equally delighted to see that Titleist products will be available at Clubs to Hire for the first time.”

One Spanish participant commented: “Honestly, I did not think that I would like it so much! Going out to the course early in the experience makes it very fun. “You are more relaxed because you don’t have to take on so much information all at once. Instead, you get in touch with what the sport really is and just get hooked!” Alastair Spink, head coach and founder of said: “The attitude of the Spanish coaches has been inspiring. They are focused, committed, and genuinely excited about the opportunity that the programme presents for Spain and Andorra. “The success there speaks to the universality of our approach, and I look forward to piloting the programme in other nations in the near future.”

A drinks station on-course

Arabella Golf Mallorca is firmly committed to caring for the environment and reducing plastic waste across its portfolio of golf courses – Golf Son Muntaner, Golf Son Vida, and Golf Son Quint – with all three courses ceasing the sale of plastic water bottles and, instead, providing players with reverse osmosis purified, mineralised water fountains that dispense both still and sparkling water. Each pro shop is selling refillable aluminium Arabella Golf Mallorca water

bottles for €5 that golfers can use to refill on the course and around the property as often as they wish. The introduction of the new water bottle policy is yet another sustainability measure that the resort has undertaken as part of its environment plan which has led to the reduction of CO2 emissions by 6.6 per cent year-on-year in 2018. In fact, Arabella Golf Mallorca has had a beneficial impact on the environment, absorbing substantially more CO2 than it releases, with a positive differential of 1,980 tons – the equivalent emissions of roughly 400 cars over a year. Bernat Llobera, area director, Arabella Golf, commented: “We have made it a priority to invest in ecological measures wherever possible, and our commitment to remove plastic water bottles at our courses is another example of how we are implementing this. “We fully embrace our role in helping to make positive changes and are proud to offer a first-class golf experience that goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and caring for the environment.” | 9




New clubhouse at Costa Navarino to feature two-Michelin-star dining experience When Costa Navarino’s new earthsheltered clubhouse on the renowned Bay Course opens this summer, its eco credentials won’t be the only thing turning heads – for, located within the clubhouse, will be the Funky Gourmet Pop-Up restaurant. Costa Navarino’s exciting partnership with the Athenian Funky Gourmet restaurant – based on a shared ethos of a common gastronomic vision and quality values – will be the first occasion in which a two-Michelin star restaurant has operated in the country outside of the capital, Athens. Overlooking the historic bay of Navarino, with its spectacular sunset vistas, the multi-award-winning chefs, Georgianna Hiliadaki and Nikos Roussos, will showcase a two-hour gastronomic journey, offering a degustation menu of avant-garde Messinian-Greek cuisine. The culinary experts behind the highly esteemed restaurant saw this partnership with Costa Navarino as an opportunity to study the Messinian food culture. Local ingredients and traditions will be brought to life, combining the high-quality raw materials of the region with avant-garde

cooking techniques and a unique presentation, to transform guests’ dinner into an unconventional culinary experience. The unique menu will come alive with colours, aromas and flavours, composing a delicious canvas that will appeal to all senses, and elevate Messinian gastronomy to new sensory heights.

Motocaddy has the Foresight

Wells thinks outside of the box when it comes to coaching

For the seventh year in a row, Motocaddy is celebrating being crowned the Foremost Golf ‘Electric Trolley of the Year’ with the popular S1 model taking home the coveted award. The top-selling trolley brand beat off stiff competition from competitors and was voted for by 80 per cent of the Foremost Golf membership that includes more than 1,000 PGA head professionals covering all brands, including any that aren’t approved suppliers. Motocaddy sales with Foremost Golf – the largest buyer and seller of golf products in the UK – are 25 per cent up on this time last year following the release of the compact-folding M-Series range last summer, along with the continued popularity of the S-Series range and four push trolley models, including the new Z1 and award-winning CUBE CONNECT. Motocaddy also claims to be the UK’s best-selling cart bag brand and launched the versatile AquaFLEX stand bag earlier this year. “Motocaddy continues to lead the way in trolley and bag innovation and it’s no surprise that our members have voted for the brand again in the latest awards,” said Andy Martin, managing director of Foremost Golf.

Portable golf range units converted from new shipping containers have been launched to provide dedicated space for coaching, fitting and practicing golf at locations lacking teaching facilities, plus corporate events. BOXGOLF is the brainchild of PGA professional Jon Wells – owner of Surbiton Golf Studio in Surrey – with a team of PGA professionals, James Sullivan and John Sullivan, who have a background of working in finance in the city. Armed with a wealth of experience, the BOXGOLF team believes there is a gap in the market for the niche range solution to help fellow professionals and those staging large scale events. Each container-style range offers a variety of built-in features – from astroturf decking to ceiling spotlights and power points for launch monitors and other technology. Space on the walls can be used to display golf equipment, teaching aids, memorabilia and wall mounted TVs, for a luxury touch. Collapsible overhead and side awnings offer protection from the elements and fold away after use, keeping expensive golf technology and equipment secure. “BOXGOLF is a self-contained facility and I’m confident that the concept can

10 | GMé May 2019

Chefs Georgianna Hiliadaki (left) and Nikos Roussos

Commenting on the forthcoming opening, The Funky Gourmet chefs said: “We couldn’t help but grab the opportunity to create a menu based on products sourced in the rich Messinian land. “We consider the Messinian diet to be a gastronomic landmark of the Greek culinary heritage.”

revolutionise teaching provision and events,” said Wells. “For golf clubs who may lack necessary planning permission to build, and pros looking to enhance their teaching facilities, BOXGOLF offers the perfect solution, as well as opportunities to gain additional revenue. “The various bespoke options, for one, two or four bays, enable customers to personalise the unit to their exact specifications, including adding golf club or business logos for a really professional look,” he added. The containers vary in size from the entry level unit at ten foot to a deluxe 40-foot container. The deluxe container features an astro-turf putting green on the roof terrace, perfect for practising.


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Ayla Golf Club commits to R&A’s Women in Golf Charter Ayla Golf Club has become the first venue in the Middle East to sign The R&A Women in Golf Charter, pledging to build on the momentum gained at last month’s Jordan Mixed Open, and drive gender equality throughout the region. Spanish Ladies European Tour player Carmen Alonso, Saudi’s first professional golfer Othman Almulla and former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane were all on hand at the Aqaba venue as Ayla’s director of operations, Chris White, confirmed the club’s support for the principles of the Charter. Upon signing up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, White commented: “As Jordan’s first championship course we believe that it is extremely important that we demonstrate that golf is a game that can be played by everyone, regardless of age or gender. “We intend for the Jordan Mixed Open to act as a catalyst to develop the sport locally and will build upon the success of the event, and the participation programmes already in place at the club, to continue to work towards growing the women’s game at the club and providing equal opportunities as an organisation,” added White. Unveiled by The R&A in May 2018, the Women in Golf Charter has been intro-

duced to help foster a more inclusive culture within the game of golf and to ensure that women across the world are afforded equal opportunities to maximise their potential, both on the course and within the golf industry. Ayla’s managing director, Sahl Dudin, underscored that Ayla has a long-standing legacy of supporting sustainable development in Jordan, of which the promotion of gender equality is key. “For Ayla, encouraging and supporting the participation of women in sports and other key areas of development is

Get into Golf at Goodwood

Adare Manor chooses Club Car for its five-star quality

The golfing season swung back into action at Goodwood on April 13, with its much-anticipated Open Day. Catering for all levels, from youngsters who have never held a club, to more experienced players keen to see what the Academy has to offer, the wellattended event saw over 100 people enjoy an action-packed itinerary. Throughout the day, Goodwood’s friendly team of PGA professionals provided taster sessions for juniors of all abilities. During these sessions, the activities mirrored those provided at the Junior Golf Camps which run throughout the school holidays, such as Fruit Smash and Footgolf, as well as introducing the basics of the game. Group ‘Get into Golf’ sessions for adults also offered the opportunity to try something new while individual lessons were taken up by those who were looking to refine their game. On the range, attendees tried their hand at the ‘nearest the flag competition,’ keen to net their share of the wonderful prizes on offer, while little ones enjoyed having their faces painted.

Adare Manor in Ireland has taken delivery of a new fleet of golf and utility vehicles, citing the Club Car brand as that most befitting the resort’s luxury status. Club Car, an Official Supplier of the European Tour, supplied a new fleet featuring 25 Precedent golf cars to service the redesigned golf course at Adare Manor, which recently joined fellow Club Car customers Royal County Down and Royal Portrush among Ireland’s top five courses. Andy McMahon, director of golf operations at Adare Manor, said: “We are a five-star venue and our key focus is to deliver the highest possible service. We chose Club Car because its quality, reliability and after-sales service make it the superior brand. “The aesthetic is paramount at Adare Manor, and with the upgraded seats and alloys, the integrated cool box, raincover and black roof, we have received a sleek and high-spec product that is well suited to our world-class resort.” The fleet, delivered and maintained by local dealers Buggyman, also features a range of utility vehicles to assist

12 | GMé May 2019

(L-R): Carmen Alonso, aspiring young golfer and Ayla Golf Club member Pera Demirsoy and Chris White

a crucial element in accelerating positive transformation on a grand scale, and Ayla will support all endeavours geared toward such objective,” he commented. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “It is important that we continue to highlight the progress being made to promote greater diversity, accessibility and inclusion within golf. “Ayla Golf Club has demonstrated its commitment to supporting these aims by becoming the first venue in the Middle East region to sign up to the Women in Golf Charter.”

Club Car at Adare Manor

with resort operations, including one Transporter 6, one Café Express, and two Housekeeping Utility vehicles. Kevin Hart, director of golf sales EMEA at Club Car, said: “The fact that Adare Manor, one of the finest resorts in the world, sees Club Car as the brand of choice is a powerful testament to the quality of our product and the service we provide.”

people news

Movers & Shakers A brief pictorial round-up of some of the individuals shaping the golf business, including news that Rockliffe Hall Golf has recruited a former World Boys champion to the resort.







In brief... Since reopening in April 2018, The Golf Course at Adare Manor has experienced great success on the world stage, being recognised in awards and accolades both nationally and internationally. April 20th marked this extraordinary 12-month period with special first birthday celebrations, with staff from Adare Manor taking to the golf course to leave guests in no doubt as to the significance April 20 is for all involved at the resort. Already regarded as one of Ireland’s top golf, lifestyle and business venues, Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf and Country Club has turned to marcomms specialists Azalea to raise its profile in the UK and Europe. The popular Cavan club has appointed the specialist golf, tourism and leisure agency to help increase awareness and visibility for the destination across key markets in the UK and selected continental markets. A group of intrepid staff members from Slaley Hall will be taking on one of Britain’s toughest challenges to raise vital funds for a local mental health charity later this year. The group of 11 will attempt to climb, and drive between, the three highest peaks of England, Scotland and Wales within just 24 hours as they take part in the National Three Peaks Challenge. Scottish golf professional Michael Bradfield has achieved a goal he set himself a year ago by winning The PGA’s most prestigious award for its assistants. Bradfield, who trained at Elie Links in Fife, Scotland, and has subsequently moved to The Dutch Golf Club near Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has been named Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year. In recognition of his achievement, Bradfield collected the Whitcombe Cox Trophy and a cheque for £3,500.


Rockliffe Hall Golf has taken on former European and World Boys champion, Simon Robinson, as its new head of instruction. Formerly from Sharpley Springs Golf Club, Robinson has seven years’ experience as a golf coach.


Ten-time Major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer, Annika Sorenstam, has been announced as an ambassador for the Ladies European Tour’s inaugural La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational, to be held later this month.


Wilson Golf has strengthened its behind-the-scenes Tour support services with the re-appointment of club builder Duncan Finch as its new European Tour technician, nearly a decade after he first worked for the brand.


Gloucestershire’s Jenny Clink has taken office as the 2019 president of England Golf. Clink, a member at Lilley Brook Golf Club, took up her new role at April’s annual meeting of England Golf, held at its Woodhall Spa headquarters.


Charlotte Bird, events manager from the City of London Club, has received the 2019 Young Manager Bursary award from the CMAE, and will receive £1,400 funding to attend an MDP 1 Course in Europe later in the year.


Gleneagles has welcomed young Scottish golf tour professional Calum Hill as a new brand ambassador, who joins fellow Scot, Hannah McCook, and former Open champion Paul Lawrie OBE, as representatives on the global stage. | 13


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14 | GMĂŠ May 2019

07/03/2019 10:26

merchandising news

Pro Shop & Retail A brief pictorial round-up of events from the retail side of the industry, including news that to celebrate TaylorMade’s 40th anniversary, they have introduced the original mini driver.







In brief... Matthew Paget, who heads up the Academy and Pro Shop at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond and three other golf courses in Kent and Sussex, has added Pachesham in Leatherhead to his MP Golf coaching and retail portfolio. Paget has acquired the license to operate the Pachesham Golf Academy and has also taken over the management of the former American Golf retail space at the site located close to the M25 and the nearby A3. Foremost Golf has launched another advancement to its Elite Marketing Programme (EMP) Premium service with the introduction of a local news ticker bar to its EMP Video monitor solution. Since EMP Video monitors were introduced in spring 2018, more than 240 stores have implemented the fully automated system which allows the retailer to co-ordinate brand marketing campaigns with impressive video content in-store. Foresight Sports, the golf industry’s fastest-growing launch monitor and simulation technology company, has added a new game to the hugely popular Foresight Fairgrounds feature of its industry-leading FSX 2018 software. The new darts-based mini-game provides the player the option of hitting shots from 50, 100 or 150 yards into a giant dartboard with the aim of scoring the most points over ten shots. OnCore Golf, an innovative golf ball manufacturer, and CHIP’d, an Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on bringing smart ball technology to the sporting goods industry, have entered into a partnership to accelerate the final development and commercial launch of the GENiUS Ball – the ball with a brain incorporating the latest in GPS, Bluetooth, antenna and battery design.


TaylorMade has announced the Original One Mini Driver, a new metalwood that pays homage to the brand’s history and utilises many of the most important product technologies in the company’s long lineage.


Golf Pride®, a division of power management company Eaton and an industry leader in grip innovation, has announced that it will offer the brand’s Z-Grip® with its popular ALIGN® Technology in 2019.


HONMA Golf, the premium Japanese brand chosen by leading Tour star Justin Rose, has introduced a limited edition set of irons made to his specifications, called the TW-MB Rose Proto, for the more accomplished golfer.


Motocaddy has addressed important environmental issues both on and off the course by leading the way in a seismic shift towards Lithium only powered trolleys and making all of its packaging ‘polystyrene-free.’


HONMA Golf has introduced a new 6-piece premium golf ball as the flagship model in its latest multi-layer golf ball range. The FUTURE XX ball joins the 3-piece TW-X & D1 Plus versions, plus the 2-piece D1 model.


European Tour star Alexander Björk has committed himself to wearing Galvin Green high performance golf clothing for the tenth consecutive season to help boost his prospects of winning more tournaments around the world. | 15


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For further details or a demonstration, please contact your local ISEKI dealer or ISEKI UK on 01473 599266 16 | GMĂŠ May 2019

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greenkeeping news

Machinery & Turf A brief pictorial round-up of course management related events including news that after 30 years, Scott Forrest has left Ransomes Jacobsen to join Bernhard and Company.







In brief... Campey Turf Care System’s outside service engineer, Mick Parks, has retired from his role after 27 years at the company. “Mick has been with us for a long time, and he epitomises everything that is good about the company,” said Richard Campey. “He has represented us out in the field and always delivered excellent work, and he has been an esteemed member of our team throughout his 27-years with us.” Leading the way with the latest technology in turfcare, Toro’s myTurf Pro fleet management software program is proving to be a popular addition at UK golf clubs across the country. Word is spreading about the software which automatically logs information about all machines in operation at the club meaning greenkeepers can track data for their Toro or non-Toro equipment, order parts, schedule services, and gain access to information such as parts and service manuals. BIGGA, Toro and Reesink Turfcare have launched their annual competition that seeks to uncover the brightest emerging talent in the golf greenkeeping industry. The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards are a nationwide competition to uncover the best student greenkeepers from among the ranks of BIGGA members. Avoncrop Amenity Products has demonstrated the strength of its relationship with BIGGA by becoming their latest Education Supporter. Avoncrop Amenity Products was established by Rod Feltham in 1990. BIGGA business development manager Lauren Frazer said: “Avoncrop Amenity Products has a long history of supporting BIGGA members and back in 1995 was one of the first companies to support the association’s Education and Development Fund.”


Scott Forrest has recently joined Bernhard and Company as its new turf technologies territory manager. Forrest has a vast experience in the turf industry, having worked throughout his 30 plus years at Ransomes Jacobsen.


Reesink Turfcare has secured the UK distribution rights for Core Solutions, a core collecting blade attachment from US-based Nordic Plow. Designed for both golf courses and sports surfaces, this product fits perfectly onto all brands.


Killeen Castle Golf Club in Co Meath, Ireland is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, as well as its recent investment in a state of the art golf course equipment fleet deal with John Deere.


Portsmouth-based family business, Water Garden, has won the prestigious 2018 Reesink Turfcare UK Otterbine Contractor of the Year award, with the company achieving the highest Otterbine sales figures for 2018.


Five former students who famously drove a Ransomes Matador mower nonstop from Edinburgh to London’s Hyde Park back in 1959, were reunited recently at the University of Hertfordshire to commemorate their epic journey.


Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club course manager James Bledge is on a mission to make the club a “bucket list destination” choosing to invest in the complete Toro Total Solutions package to help it get there. | 17



swing studios TAKING AIM Archerfield Links in Scotland

Studio Design by MIA Sports Solutions Scott MacCallum talks to Andrew Keast, managing director of MIA Sports Solutions about the growth in swing studios, and the benefits to clubs all around the world. One of the great advances in televised golf in recent years has been the ball tracker which has allowed the armchair golfer to see the shape of the shot and where it is heading. It is quite astonishing how accurate this is and we often know where the ball is going to finish well before the player does. It comes from technology which is now at the fingertips of PGA pros and club fitting services and it brings a whole new dimension to teaching golf and selling clubs. It also means that golf pros are not so dependent on weather when it comes to giving lessons, nor are they confined to the hours of daylight. Most of us want to use the wintertime to service our golf games in preparation for the season ahead but there are fewer hours available to do so. Modern technology enables lessons to go ahead in the comfort of purpose-built studios, fitted out with all the latest golf improvement aids no matter the conditions out on the practice range at the time. Huddersfield-based MIA Sports Solutions are at the forefront of ensuring that those new-style golf environments are as comfortable, stylish and fit for purpose as is possible. “Our studio design has evolved in recent years,” explained Andrew Keast, managing director of MIA Sports Solutions, “and in the early days it was very basic, we’d get a piece of graph paper and sketch it out – a powerpoint here, a network point there. “This has evolved into a sophisticated full scale CAD design process where we

18 | GMé May 2019

produce detailed and complex designs encompassing flooring, specialist lighting, visual display and the integration of the specialist technologies such as Trackman, Science & Motion and KMotion. “We are creating a fantastic working environment for the customer and immersive experience for the end user – the golfer. “It’s a little like retail. In the old days you’d walk into a shop and it would be a pretty shabby experience. Look at it now with stores like Apple and Bose. So much emphasis is placed on how those places look and feel for the customer and that is what we have done with golf studios.” The modern day PGA professional is keen to take advantage of today’s technology as he or she can see the opportunities that it brings. “I find that it is the younger generation of pros who consider this to be an absolute necessity and they will invest in creating bespoke teaching studios. It provides a controlled environment where they are in control of their own destiny at all times,” explained Keast. He cited a young golf pro working in the Midlands, who has invested heavily and now has two indoor teaching studios, a putting studio and a short game studio. “He’s an independent PGA pro in his early 30’s and has a very clear business plan. It does make sense.” In addition to home grown golf pros, MIA Sports Solutions have installed studios across the world for clients as prestigious as Royal Melbourne GC, in Australia; Golf Club Gut Larchenhof, in

“we are creating a fantastic working environment for the customer and immersive experience for the end user – the golfer”

SIMULATION Play the world’s best courses

ZEN STAGE Education City, Qatar

GUT FEELING Gut Larchenhoff, Germany

Germany; the Els Performance Academy, in Vietnam; Education City in Qatar as well as for Troon and IMG. “We have also installed studios at Archerfield Links and a collaborative project at Loretto School, with Southwest Greens, where they converted an old swimming pool into a dedicated golf academy – the show piece was an amazing indoor range with putting studio.” “Loretto is a good example. It has got a very strong golf programme run by a PGA professional. It is an important asset to the school, in particular in attracting international students.” MIA are not restricted to specific brands of specialist golf technology, as Keast explains: “Our approach is to supply the customer’s desired choice of core golf technologies and integrate them with the latest IT systems, visual display tools, cameras, lighting and interior design features.

“We work closely with leading companies including Trackman, Science and Motion Sports, TruGolf, V1 Sports, K Motion, GEARS, FlightScope, ZEN Green Stage and PuttView,” explained Keast. In addition to the teaching studios the company also services another growing area within the golf industry – the golf simulator. Simulators have been around since the 1980s but now they are so advanced it has opened up a whole new avenue for serious and occasional golfers alike. Individuals or groups can play world famous courses at any time of day or evening, in extremely convivial environments while enjoying a drink and knowing that they can spend as much or as little time as they wish. One of the game’s biggest bug bears is the time it takes, but by removing the time taken to walk between shots, an hour can be as much time as you need

to have a very fulfilling time while you might even birdie the 17th at Pebble Beach! Teaching Studios and Simulators are certainly taking off and MIA has enjoyed significant growth in recent years, and this is expected to continue but Keast sees the greatest potential outside of the domestic UK market. “The independent golf pros is a strong market for us, but we also do a lot of work with corporate clients run by management and development companies such as IMG, Troon Golf and Emaar. “This is an emerging market in other parts of the world so the majority of our growth is coming from abroad.” Wherever that market is, you can be sure, such is the growth of MIA, that there will be a golf pro available offering lessons at a time convenient to the golfer, even if it is late into the evening in the middle of winter! GMé | 19



royal norwich

Royal Norwich wins promotion to the Premier League of golf Armed with a £17 million war chest, Royal Norwich will open a brand new facility in September, following the sale of its existing site to house builders Persimmon. Michael Lenihan crossed the Suffolk-Norfolk border, to pay a visit and catch-up with general manager, Phil Grice.

“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!”

20 | GMé May 2019 SHINY AND NEW Designed by European Golf Design, the new course at Royal Norwich has been constructed on the previous site of Weston Park Golf Club

Moving home can be a painful process and is reputed to be one of the most stressful things any person will ever undertake during their lifetime. Dealing with estate agents, negotiating a deal and then praying that the chain stays together can lead to more than a few sleepless nights. So, just imagine if you will, what it must be like to move an entire golf club. Formed in 1893, Royal Norwich Golf Club in Norfolk, was originally constructed on the outskirts of the Norfolk city, and was granted Royal accent by King George V. Originally constructed as a nine-hole course, it was soon extended to 18 holes before James Braid re-designed the layout following the culmination of World War I. But the existing James Braid design at Royal Norwich is on borrowed time, as the club will soon relocate to a new 24hole layout this September, after a deal was struck with house builder Persimmon Homes to purchase the land upon which the club currently resides. With the land sold for a reputed £17m, Royal Norwich turned to experienced operator Phil Grice, 49, to guide the club through the relocation process, and

despite agreeing to stay initially for a year-or-so, Grice has overseen the entire process. “I was brought in to help facilitate with the relocation,” said Grice, “and work with the existing relocation committee which already had a number of very wise and financially astute people on-board which made my role far easier than it might have been. “The biggest single thing that I had to do in the early days was keep the club alive,” admits Grice, who joined the club in 2011 with a dwindling and aging membership. “In the first 18 months to two years, it was all about keeping the club alive, while trying to bring your ideas to the potential of relocating. “In order to sell the land to Persimmon and relocate to a new site, we had to convince the membership to vote, with a 75 per cent majority needed to pass the deal.” And in order to help convince the membership that a move was in their best interests, Grice quoted Jeremiah James Colman – the founder of Colman’s Mustard. “Mr Colman was one of our founders of Royal Norwich and it was

“to sell the land to Persimmon and relocate to a new site, we had to convince the membership to vote, with a 75 per cent majority” | 21



royal norwich NEW BEGINNINGS Left, Phil Grice, general manager at Royal Norwich; and top right, Toro machinery pictured outside the purpose-built Turfcare facility.

“It’s important for Royal Norwich to acknowledge our heritage and not build something completely opposite to what it was”

written down that he said they built the golf course at Norwich to allow people to come out of the city at the weekends and in the summer time, to get outside of the city walls to play golf and enjoy the fresh air and get away from town. “We’re now four miles inside the city,” stated Grice. “The city has grown past us. Our town has grown past us. You know, the city is the city. What we’re doing is like a phoenix rising from the flames… we’ve picked it up and we’ve moved it outside of the town again.” In March 2017, after 11 years of discussions, 82 per cent of the membership voted to move away from the city centre, and shortly after accepting the offer from Persimmon to relocate, and the hunt was on for a new location, although in truth, the desired site had been in play for some time. For back in 1996, a site outside the city had been identified when another property developer approached the club about selling the land for housing. Yet, the subsequent housing crash put paid to that deal, and eventually the site in question was developed as a golf course, but not as it transpired, for the benefit of members of Royal Norwich.

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“They’d always viewed the site as being perfect for a golf course and around that time Weston Park Golf Club was evolved,” added Grice. “Initially there were nine holes, which was developed into 18, and it was nice golf course. It’s a most phenomenal site and piece of land, but it was built on a budget to make it look a lot nicer than it actually was.” So, when the membership voted overwhelmingly in favour or a move away from their city centre location, a deal was struck with the proprietor of Weston Park for the land, and the club began the slow process of rebuilding the club – and the course – into what is destined to become one of the finest golfing venues in East Anglia. But agreeing to the move and acquiring the land for the new course is only part of the story, for as Grice explains, the ‘new’ Royal Norwich needs to be a club fit for purpose in the 21st century. And with that in mind, Grice has spent time on the road visiting other clubs in order to ascertain the type of club Royal Norwich needs to become. “From all of the research, all the development we’ve done, the club have sent me from San Francisco to New

York; to Castle Stuart, to Goodwood, to everywhere. They’re invested heavily in R&D to see what’s out there. The likes of Eddie Bullock – who’s on our board – has opened up a lot of doors for us, and we’ve been able to go and look at what’s actually out there and look at where the golf industry is headed. “It’s important for Royal Norwich to acknowledge our heritage and not build something completely opposite to what it was. We’re not putting ourselves in the middle of the middle market. We want to put ourselves at the top of the market. “That’s our aim. You know, there’s no bones about it, there’s no shame about it. We shouldn’t be ashamed about the fact that we have cashed in our chips and we’ve got one chance to create something that we think is special. “So, looking at where the marketplace is and everything being much more family-centric, we’re very conscious that family is absolutely the key going forward… it’s where the future is. “We need to make this place somewhere that isn’t just about the golf being fantastic and fun, whilst at the same time removing some of the barriers and removing some of the rules.”

Home comforts for Toro at Royal Norwich

The design contract was awarded to European Golf Design (EGD), who had been working with Royal Norwich for several years undertaking feasibility studies before Grice joined the club. And despite Grice’s lack of involvement in that decision, he appears to be in full support of the appointment. “The club entered into an agreement with European Golf Design, and in 30 years working in the golf industry, both Jeremy Slessor (EGD managing director) and Ross McMurray (EGD architect) are up there in my top five of nicest people I’ve ever met, and the most honest people I’ve ever met. “Jeremy should be running Brexit,” joked Grice. “He brought everybody round the table and mediated it really well. He made sure everybody got what they wanted and bearing in mind that I never had any experience of a project this size at all, he’s absolutely guided us with integrity. “When we’ve tried to push too hard, he’s told us to push back a little bit and stop. He’s really been brilliant and without him and Ross, we would have really struggled. The amount of risk they took on this job, doing the work before

we were able to pay them, was phenomenal.” And ‘phenomenal’ seems to be an apt word to sum up the ‘new’ Royal Norwich. Built to an exceptionally high standard by MJ Abbott, McMurray has crafted an East Anglian masterpiece that will be a fair test of golf for members and visitors alike. The main 18-hole course has been designed in two genderless loops of nine, with the ninth and 18th greens overlooking the renovated clubhouse that once was home to Weston Park. Each hole has five sets of tees, varying the layout from the shortest course in Norfolk to the longest at 7,200 yards. And with a six-hole academy course purposely tucked out off sight of the clubhouse so as beginners can take their first shots on a golf course without feeling intimidated by onlookers, every minute detail has gone into the design and feel of the club. When it opens for play in September, Royal Norwich will sit at the very top echelons of East Anglian golf, and with Grice at the helm, is destined to become a great experience – on-and-off the course. GMé

The state-of-the-art greenkeeping facilities and workshop at Royal Norwich are now complete, meaning Toro now has a home at the new site to work and live. Only the second all air-conditioned facility in the UK, the building was reclaimed from an old refrigeration warehouse and now houses a team room with pool table, stylish meeting rooms for business meetings, state-ofthe-art workshop and parts storage. It even has a boot-room, with washing machine and dehumidifier, and shower facilities. “It’s completely insulated, so will be highly efficient, said Peter Todd, director and estates manager. “One hundred per cent of its daytime power is generated from the solar panels on the roof as well as supplying 40 per cent of the clubhouse electricity needs.” The facility has been home to a loan fleet of used Toro equipment – supplied by Trevor Chard of Toro’s UK distributor, Reesink – and was compiled to accommodate the growing-in phase of the 18-hole main course, and six-hole academy. “With things on a new course moving so fast and so many different requirements at each stage, I knew I needed a machinery partner that would be flexible and accommodating,” added Todd. “I respect the Toro brand and have enjoyed working with Trevor for all these years, but I needed to know I had flexible and immediate support – Reesink’s East Anglia service division gave me that.” | 23



asian golf

Added Spice to Asian Market Writing from his Asian-base, experienced golf operator Yiannis Tsioukanis examines the cultural differences in the visitor experience between the European and Asian markets. For the past eight years I have been travelling to Asia to visit friends, discover new places, cultures and of course play golf. Whenever I visit a different golf facility I try my best to meet & greet the golf manager and some key people in their teams to discuss and learn more about their trials and tribulations and how they compare to mine. In 2018, I took the decision to emmerse myself into the Asian experience to further my knowledge and career, and I can say that four months into this adventure I couldn’t be happier. To those who are so inclined, like I have always been and are teetering on the decision, my simple advice is ‘go for it’. The same words my father used when I asked him the same question in May 1998 before leaving Australia and again in June 2018 which resulted in my current move. So, after working and experiencing golf in Europe, Australia and the UK, I am now happy to be experiencing Asia, and mainly Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam. The first difference you notice is that in Asia, the pure amount of staff that there is to look after you and the golf

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course and each relative touch point is far more than Europe. At even the medium level courses there are one-to-two people at the Bag Drop area to take your bag, check your tee time and guide you to the next step of the experience. Your caddy for the day is also there to take control of your bag for the remainder of the day. Reception normally has two-to-three staff waiting for you too. There is always a starter, marshal and plenty of on course maintenance. In my 20 years in Europe, the one thing that I’ve always lacked is staff numbers, and have always concentrated on certain aspects of the golfer’s experience to ensure a happy customer whilst filling in the blanks afterwards. We could have always done with more but had to make do with what we could ‘afford’. Of course there are exceptions to this, but in general, in Asia staff numbers definitely trump Europe and when trained correctly they truly impact positively on the golfer. The second major difference is the ‘Locker Room Experience’, which is so, so important in South East Asia.

In fact it could be considered as equally important when compared to the quality of the golf course. Practically every golfer prepares themselves for using the locker rooms with the essential bag containing a complete change of wardrobe. For this reason all locker rooms are very well staffed from the first thing in the morning until the last golfer leaves. Their job is to look after your every need from extra towels, to cleaning your shoes and returning things you may have forgotten in your locker or shower. I’m certain that the tips you give them are the main source of their income so whenever you use a locker room do not forget to leave something behind for their efforts. Many courses are judged by their locker room staff and facilities as much as their F&B and course conditions, and this is definitely not the case in Europe, from my experience. The third main difference is based around the F&B structure and facilities, with these differences directly due to different cultural expectations. All Asian courses that I have played have a great

asian golf CADDY SHACK Mission Hills golf reception (left) and caddies at a golf course in Asia

“Golf courses in general will use in excess of 150 caddies, spending many hours training them”

concentration towards on-course F&B services, with huts well placed every four-to-five holes, staffed by staff who seem genuinely pleased to help. With the heat in these countries this frequency of huts is a godsend for golfers and also a revenue gold mine for the facility. Food is mixed but there is a strong concentration on quick Asian varieties and always the take away options is well catered for. In Europe, the F&B is important but mainly concentrates on the halfway point or after your round. Sometimes there are huts and even Buggy Bars but in Asia there is generally no exception. Lastly, and the one with the biggest impact one the golfers experience when compared to Europe, is without question the caddies. Golf is so different and in my opinion, easier because your every whim is catered for by these unsung heroes. It is so well done that you are really playing a completely different game in Asia to that in Europe. In Europe there is a growth in the use of buggies but because of a lack of available people and the expense, caddies are generally an afterthought. In Asia though it is considered to be a great work opportunity for local people – primarily girls/ladies – and provides much needed income for them.

Golf courses in general will use in excess of 150 caddies, spending many hours training them to prepare them for the golfer. It is expected that every single golfer that plays will use one, and on some occasions, certain VIP’s will ask for two each – it is so ingrained in the golfing culture that your green fee includes the caddy. They’re the unsung heroes because they work in steaming conditions, wrapped up from head to toe to avoid the sun whilst looking after all that you do, from club selection to cleaning, distances, information regarding trouble areas like water or OB, filling in divots , raking bunkers, fixing pitch marks and even marking and re-marking your ball on the greens. The good ones can also read a green very well too saving you many strokes as Europeans are not used to the nuances of the grasses that are on South East Asian greens. Even though there is a Caddy Fee included in your green fee, ensure that you give them an extra tip after the round, and only on one golf course have I been informed that this is not allowed. Of course there is similarities to the Asian/European experiences. There are differing levels of golf courses from the high-end to the local courses, and there

is not a great deal of difference in the pricing – golf is still considered an elite sport, which is somewhat understandable considering the enormous and increasing costs that is essential to build a good golf facility. Golf owners and operators need to have the opportunity to recuperate their investment, but sometimes this can neglect the grass root growth within the game. Slow play is a burden too, and the culture of not letting groups through who are quicker seems to be neglected almost like it’s a feeling of shame to do so. So there it is in nutshell. No doubt that golf in Asia is a completely different experience to that in Europe with the primary reasons centred around the cultural and financial differences. It’s great to experience these differences first-hand, so you can grow your awareness and experience which will help you when you encounter Asian golfers in Europe. By understanding their different requirements, as an operator, you will be better placed to meet and exceed their expectations, which is why we work in the hospitality business. Asia has some amazing courses, but don’t just take my word for it – try it yourself. GMé | 25



scott kinkead

“Anywhere there are golf courses we work with them. Antarctica has been slow for us. Europe and Middle East are big areas of growth for us”

In conversation with Scott Kinkead Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Scott Kinkead is executive vice-president and co-owner of Turfco, a company which this year celebrates its centenary.

BROTHERS-IN-ARMS Scott Kinkead (left and main image) with his brother, and co-owner of Turfco, George Kinkead

SK Yes my co-owner and brother George Kinkead and his son John Kinkead. John Kinkead Jr is starting out as a product demonstrator. My Father is 88 but still enjoys coming into the company for a visit. We don’t make him tow a trailer anymore!

SK I had spent my early years working summers in the factory, at golf courses and around the business. My father probably broke some child labour laws way back when with my brother and I. I didn’t plan on joining the business after I graduated from University, but my father asked me to help with the business for a few years and that was 28 years ago! I started out as a product demonstrator and would head out for two weeks at a time with a 20-foot trailer loaded with equipment. Once I got into the business and started working with the great people and experiencing the amazing industry we work in, I was hooked. The great thing about our industry is its hard work and you must love it to stay with it. What a blessing it is to work with customers who love their jobs and are excited to help us be more effective in finding solutions for their challenges.

GMé From a personal perspective, what age did you join Turfco; what was your first role and was it always assumed that you’d one day join the family business?

GMé Many of our readers may not have heard of Turfco, so can you explain what the company manufacturers, and how your products can be of benefit?

GMé The Turfco Company is celebrating its centenary this year, and to this day remains a family business, so who started the company and why? SK My grandfather started National Mower company, or as some people in the UK know it as, ‘The Allen National’ in 1919. My father started working at National Mower in 1953. In the early 60s he bought what is now known as Turfco. GMé Apart from yourself as executive vice-president, are there any other family members still involved with the business?

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ACTION WAVE The Turfco TriWave 45

SK Turfco invented the first mechanised topdresser in 1961 and has continued to be the number one brand in the US for years. We have the most comprehensive line of topdressers from pedestrian drop spreaders, tow behind drop spreader, to truck mount spinners all the way up to fairway topdressers and material handlers. Now labour shortages are a key challenge, and productivity has become more crucial to achieve the same results. At Turfco, we listen to superintendents and ask crews what would help them be more productive. Their suggestions lead to new and sometimes surprising innovations. Not just improvements to products, but entirely new products like the Torrent™ 2 Debris Blower and the TriWave™ 45 Overseeder. Our focus when we design new equipment is on how to make staff more productive and free up a superintendent’s time.

GMé What would you say are the main advantages of top dressing, and how often should a club undertake this type of remedial work? SK Topdressing is an important part of any clubs’ cultural practices. It is critical for thatch management, improving greens composition and smoothing of the playing surface. There are numerous benefits. Little and often has become a mainstay. The importance now is to make sure you are as efficient as possible with the least amount of disruption. If you are going to do it more often than doing it right and efficiently becomes more important. GMé On average, how long would you say it takes for a golf club to see the returns – both financially and out on the course – from purchasing a Turfco topdresser?

SK You can start seeing the benefits almost immediately. We call it the beauty of being productive. Everything we focus on is how to make the staff more productive and freeing up the course manager to do what they do best, make the course the most beautiful and playable course it can be. We have the largest hopper opening so it’s the easiest to load. We have angleable spinners so you can drive the topdressing into the turf canopy minimising brushing. The least amount of mechanical adjustments to get everything from light to heavy without turning a wrench. You can save four of your preferred settings so you can literally do your greens, approaches and tees all at the same time with just the push of a button. You can calculate your rate and know how much topdressing your putting out and how much on a yearly basis you need to budget for it. | 27



scott kinkead

THE WIND BLOWS A Turfco Torrent blower in action

Our spread is designed so you can do edge-to-edge spreading instead of having to do overlapping spreads. This minimizes passes on the green and traffic by up to 360 less passes on a green a year. All of these things means the course managers don’t have to spend their time resetting up their spreader each time they want to topdress. Don’t have to deal with complicated adjustments and can accomplish their agronomic goals.

The Triwave seeders have multiple patents like floating heads giving us a 30 per cent higher germination rate over traditional methods. This is the design time spent on the 1550 topdresser. Its not good enough to spread sand, it needs to free up the course manager time and deliver the applications they need. Reliability is also critical. We are the only topdresser manufacturer that offers a three-year warranty that also includes the smart controller

GMé Is there also a cost saving to the club when it comes to its sand usage?

GMé How many countries do you work in outside of the US, and do you see Europe and the Middle East as a growth area for Turfco?

SK Yes, with the on-board calculator you know your application rate and can dial in at what point are you picking up the sand with the cylinder mowers and are possibly wasting it. The calculator also makes sure you can probably budget for the year and not under buy or overbuy your topdressing. GMé In your opinion, what differentiates Turfco from your competitors? SK We don’t build category fillers. I am constantly out in the field looking at how we can help course managers accomplish what they need to do and looking at ways we can help them be more productive. That’s how we came up with the magnapoint technology on the torrent 2 blower. We found being 15 degrees off on your blowing angle could cost up to two hours a day.

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SK Anywhere there are golf courses we work with them. Antarctica has been slow for us. Europe and Middle East are big areas of growth for us. The most important thing is for course managers to demo our products and they will see the difference. GMé What is your route to market? SK We are proudly independent and have enjoyed working around the world with dealers who handle different ‘colours’ of mower lines – we have John Deere, Jacobsen and Toro dealers. What’s important to us is that we’re represented by dealers that share the same passion as we do. Last year we refreshed our network and the new dealers really appreciate how our products work and how we support them. GMé

We run this ad every 100 years. I

t reminds us of what it takes to maintain and grow — 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


eléa estate

BIG MAC 38-year-old, Andrew McGregor

STRONG FOUNDATIONS The impressive clubhouse at Eléa

McGregor ready to shine at Eléa Estate Andrew McGregor is a man on a mission. Determined to position Eléa Estate at the forefront of Mediterranean golf, the Scot has ambitious plans for the Cypriot destination as Michael Lenihan discovered on a recent visit. When Eléa Golf Club opened for play in October 2010, the estate that was painstakingly crafted around mature carod and olive trees overlooking the Cypriot coastline was described by course designer Sir Nick Faldo as a “Mediterranean Masterpiece.” With aspirations to become one of the leading destinations in the Mediterranean, Eléa was imagined with luxurious residences overlooking the golf course, and a five-star hotel adjacent to the clubhouse which would cater for a discerning clientele seeking the finest hospitality that the island could muster. Yet fast-forward nine years, and due to economic conditions post 2008, only a small part of that dream has been realised. The clubhouse, which was designed to sit at the very heart of Eléa, affords panoramic views across the course together with uninterrupted views of Paphos and the glistening Mediterranean. Although spectacular, the skyline is devoid of any real estate, with just a solitary show-

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house in the distance selling the dream of a lifestyle yet to be realised. But on the golf course, signs are emerging of a sea change in direction and a passion to finally deliver on the promises of Faldo’s “Mediterranean Masterpiece.” Under the stewardship of golf operations manager, Andrew McGregor, Eléa has evolved, and is beginning to win plaudits for the quality of its golf offering. Yet McGregor, 38, would be the first to admit that there is still some way to go before Eléa can be regarded as a masterpiece. “There’s a lot of things to be done, but there’s a lot of plans going forward,” said McGregor. “What we’re trying to do currently is make sure that the members and guest experience is at the level you would expect, and that the golf course is being maintained correctly as well. “We’re doing quite a lot of work on our greens at the moment, looking at different grass species and their suitability for the hot Cyprus summers and cool

ACCENT ON QUALITY A panoramic view across the golf course at the Eléa Estate in Cyprus

winters. In addition, we are doing different projects around the golf course to try and maintain the quality of the experience. “We’re looking for investment at the moment in the business,” added McGregor. “And once that investment comes online we’ll be able to start on the residential phase of the project, and really be able to drive a way back as one of the premium golf resorts in Europe. “And that really is the fundamental goal of the business… to make Eléa something special.” Clearly McGregor had little involvement with the grand masterplan for the resort, with his primary responsibility to make the golf offering at Eléa as good as

possible, given the financial constraints placed upon him. For the lack of investment off the course, has also had some impact on the course, although many visitors may struggle to see too many loose ends, which is testament to the tenacity of McGregor and his team. “I think it’s just made everything a little bit more challenging,” admits McGregor. “It’s a little bit harder to maintain certain things, with certain budget restraints. So, when we get the property phase of the project moving, we will be able create a high standard golf resort, which I anticipate will become a leading destination in the Mediterranean.” McGregor, who hails from Scotland, has an impressive cv having worked in

Australia, Qatar and Hong Kong before accepting the challenge that Eléa currently presents. With a coaching background, and a member of the CMAE, Eleá is McGregor’s first venture into management, so does he miss the coaching side of the business? “That’s an interesting question,” he smiles. “I’m definitely more operations, although I love coaching, and love to teach kids more than anything else. But the operational side, I feel is more of my strength. I have a passion for customer service, and I want to develop an environment where people feel special.” McGregor took up his role as golf operations manager in January 2017, and effectively runs the entire golf operation. | 31



eléa estate

IN RANGE The academy at Eléa

FLAG HAPPY Andrew McGregor pictured in the pro shop

“Although I’m the golf operations manager, I’m basically the director of golf here. Everything golf goes through me,” he said. “My remit at the moment is to develop our membership offering, but also continue to improve our visitor experience. We’re currently looking as different ways to drive member and visitor rounds, and we’ve limited our membership to 150 full members, and 60 offpeak members, and ended last year with about 134 full members. “We’re looking to just maintain if not improve our offerings to our members,” he added, “and we’re looking to make sure that our members are the focal point of what we do, and to give them a premium experience whilst at the same time trying to make sure that we maximise our visitor revenue on the golf course. It’s an interesting balance trying to achieve both. “We need to make sure that we’re getting the balance right across the business, and in my opinion, it looks like we’ve managed to achieve that over recent years,” added McGregor. “We’re looking to improve our academy; we’re looking to encourage local participation; we’re looking to increase the number of local golfers that play. So, we’re trying to do that through youth golf. Which again brings me back to my previous experience.”

Change can often be a slow process in the southern Mediterranean, and one gets the distinct impression that the pace-of-life in Cyprus was one of the original draws for McGregor, and his young family. “That was the primary reason for taking the job,” he comments. “I knew there was work to be done. I knew there was the vision of the golf club to move back to becoming recognised as one of the best in Europe. “And that’s what I’ve tried to take primarily to the role. It’s a challenge but it’s something that I can see happening which was attractive to help and be a part of that process. “It’s certainly allows me to guide our board level into the needs of the business, and where we should invest the money wisely. So, from that point of view it’s very interesting to allow me to work on that plan in conjunction with the GM and really shape the future of this golf club, in a vision I would see as being the best way for us to move forward.” And that vision could involve some remedial work under the watchful eye of Nick Faldo’s associate Guy Hockley, and possibly a return to Cyprus for Southern Golf who constructed the course. With the course yielding 32,000 rounds a year currently, there is room for expansion, and also mutterings of a change to one of the most talked about

32 | GMé May 2019

holes in Cypriot golf… the par four 17th which divides opinion. Entitled ‘Bobby Jones’ the 17th slopes from right to left and requires a precise tee shot in order to hold its line against the slope. Faced with a 140-yard carry over native vegetation, the big hitters may fancy their chances of hitting the ‘island’ green, whilst the average golfer plots a course to lay-up before the scrub, placing pressure on the approach shot to the green. Walk off with a five, and you’ll feel like you’ve won the lottery. The hole can detract from a fascinating and picturesque layout that is a playable test of golf for club members and visitors alike, and a re-design to lessen the likelihood of a ruined scorecard could be a welcome addition to the ongoing development of Eléa. And perhaps, McGregor will be able to make his mark on the course as well as off it, when the investment he seeks comes online. For he has committed himself and his family for the long-term and sees his future in Cyprus. “Certainly, there’s growth for myself in this role,” he admits, “as there’s a lot to be done. There’s a lot of opportunities that I can look to develop over the next few years. So, I think there probably is some longevity to this role that you maybe wouldn’t have in other roles. “There’s exciting opportunities ahead with the Elea Estate project.” GMé

International Golf Contractors and Consultants

Southern Golf are proud to have been the constructors of the Faldo Design signature golf course for Elea Estates UK: +44 1926 400985 / +44 7764 809070; Portugal: +351 912 290 024; Middle East: +971 507 098 605

Email: | | 33



All gain, with just a little pain, as new-look Alcanada takes shape Club de Golf Alcanada in Mallorca, has recently concluded a €700,000 on-course investment in 18 new greens, as well as a new-look pro shop in order to help reinforce the Porsche-owned club as one of the foremost golfing destinations in Europe. Article by Steve Wilson.

“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!”

34 | GMé May 2019 SHAPED BY PERFORMANCE The pro shop at Alcanada (main picture) has been re-designed over the winter, together with all 18 greens on the course

Embracing the future sometimes calls for some courageous decisions. At Club de Golf Alcanada, a radical plan to renovate all 18 greens was seen as a necessary evil if it wanted to maintain its standing as one of Europe’s leading courses and aim even higher. To the uninitiated, there was nothing particularly wrong with the existing surfaces – but the decision was made that they simply weren’t quite good enough for a course of this calibre. Very good simply wasn’t good enough for Alcanada. Just how long do you attempt to make repairs to your favourite pair of shoes before you go out and buy some more? After the investigations and the assessments were complete, the answer was conclusive. There was a collective will to improve and it was backed with some serious financial muscle – to the tune of around €700,000. This was no quick-fix and certainly wasn’t a cheap option – but there would be an unavoidable element of pain involved in an attempt to maintain Alcanada’s standing and continue its upward trajectory.

And as with any worthwhile project: no pain, no gain. As a result, in December 2018, the diggers moved in and the three-month shutdown started. Major renovations like these tend to throw up the odd curveball but the detailed preparation from those overseeing the project minimised the impact of those unforeseen difficulties. So as of March 2019 – and bang on schedule – the revamped Alcanada now shines even more brightly than the iconic lighthouse in the Bay of Alcudia, which is visible from many of the holes. Since the course opened in 2003, Alcanada has established itself as a top European golf destination. A 50-minute drive from Palma airport, the north of Mallorca remains relatively unspoilt in contrast to some of the mass tourism areas in other parts of the island. Of course, there is still nightlife, culture and plenty to see away from the golf course. But it is a more authentic Mallorca and well worth venturing north for some of the incredible scenery and experiences waiting to be discovered. Those who stay in the south on their visits to the island are simply missing out on so much more.

“Yes, it was a major investment. But we are striving for perfection and this shows we are improving the course and we are serious” | 35



alcanada BOTH WAYS Left, Kristoff Both, director of golf at Alcanada (far right) pictured with friends; below left, renovation work on site this winter; top right, the 16th hole with the famous lighthouse in the distance, and below right, the new halfway house

“We like to think Alcanada has plenty of ‘wow’ factor but we wanted that little bit more”

And Alcanada is one very good reason in itself to make the trip. Their ambition remains to bring a high-profile event to its fairways and the return of the European Tour elite to the Mallorcan sunshine. That may yet be several years down the line but it at least underlines that this is a club which is not content to stand still. The Porsche-owned club is a Robert Trent Jones II-designed layout. And in keeping with the owners’ attention to detail in manufacturing luxury cars, Alcanada has not cut any corners, utilising the same superior variety of grass which can be found at Ryder Cup venues Valderrama and Golf National, in Paris. Alcanada director of golf, Kristoff Both, believes the project had to be done and is confident it has now taken the course to a new level. Both said: “The work was necessary. We felt we needed to stay ahead of the competition and ensure Alcanada is at the forefront of golf in Europe. “The grass we have on our fairways is a great grass because it was very heat resistant, resistant to disease and bad water, but in our case, it has one bad characteristic – it’s invasive.

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“Over the past ten years, it had crept onto the greens and grown inside them, despite huge efforts to stop it. It was a losing battle and it made no sense trying to do small repairs. We needed to take more drastic action. “Yes, it was a major investment. But we are striving for perfection and this shows we are improving the course and we are serious about always looking to improve the quality and the enjoyment and experience for every visitor who plays Alcanada. “It was stressful and exciting at the same time. But we know the hard work will be worth it in the long run. We think it was great before – but now it will be even better.” In addition to the 7,108-yard course benefiting from the new greens, there will also be work to upgrade 7,000 metres of the underground irrigation system, while also revamping and improving the pro shop and cart paths. This follows on from a host of other improvements over the last year or so, such as a new halfway house called the Lighthouse Bar, the introduction of TagMarshal – a course management system designed to speed up play by an average

of 14 minutes – and the Lighthouse Golf Academy offering the ideal spot to hone your swing, including a spacious short game area and covered driving range. Those modern touches complement its existing historical and traditional roots like the centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse and first-class dining facilities that allow visitors to relax on a sun baked terrace that boasts spectacular sea views. “We have continually done other improvements over the past couple of years – some you see, some you don’t,” added Both, who studied golf management in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “The same goes with other aspects of the course, such as replacing all the sand in every bunker. The pro shop needed attention so we have taken the opportunity to upgrade this at the same time. We are now in a better position than we ever have been before.” Of course, Both is not the kind of person to rest on his laurels. Those marginal gains all add up as the course continues to evolve and mature. He said: “After those works, it was impossible to have everything at 100 per cent on the first day when we re-opened. Most people understand it takes a cou-

New pro shop adding value and service

ple of additional weeks for those other re-turfed areas to be perfect. “As well as the greens, we renewed the entrances to the greens – around five metres of new turf – which took just a little while to settle but everything looks great and is how we want it now.” And receiving positive feedback from some notoriously fierce critics has also given everyone associated with Alcanada a huge shot of belief and reassurance. Both said: “Not long after we reopened, we hosted a tournament for the staff members of the other golf courses in Mallorca, which was a good test for us. “Of course, these people are friends and colleagues who also know the inside of the golf industry in Mallorca. These people all know golf and they all know how hard it is to maintain a golf course. But let’s say they would never be too shy in being critical about us! “We had some of the local club pros, restaurant workers, maintenance workers, marshals, pro shop staff and directors of golf. It was great fun. “They were all saying ‘Wow. You guys did a great job this winter’. It was very positive for us and the professionals who played thought the greens were amazing.”

And as the course settles in and those finishing touches can be applied, Both expects more of the same. He said: “The course is a living animal. It is already really good but will only get better and better in the next few weeks and months as we add a few more finishing touches. “The greens were playing very, very well from the first day and they look awesome. We kept them a little slower to begin with – they were around 9.5 on the Stimpmeter when we are usually at around 10.5-11. But they are up to full speed now. “We like to think Alcanada has plenty of ‘wow’ factor but we wanted that little bit more. You don’t want golfers to come to play our course and find faults or be left in any way disappointed by the experience. “Now I am confident we have achieved our ambition. It took some serious investment and a long-term view of what was best for the club to pave the way for a bright future. “But I’m delighted with the end results. It was definitely worthwhile and I hope everyone agrees when they come to play here.” GMé

Finding the way to maximise revenue is a key component to success for all golf clubs. Customer service is of course a priority – and offering an experience you can’t get when shopping online. You may save yourself some small change with a lower price, but you don’t get the “hands-on” feel of checking out new clothing or footwear, making the most of advice from the experts or trying out new equipment. So, during the renovation works, Alcanada took the opportunity to improve the shopping experience as well as the golfing experience. It’s a unique setting anyway, but a new entrance was created, new products, new lighting and a more customer-friendly feel. Alcanada director of golf, Kristoff Both, said: “It made sense to make these changes to the pro shop as the course was closed. It was about making things work a little better – repositioning the till, making the most of the available space and adding some nice touches to enhance the whole experience. “We’ve seen an increase in revenue already and we are expecting that see an increase of around ten per cent over the rest of 2019. “If you make the pro shop more welcoming, people will want to stay in there a little bit longer and might be tempted to make an extra purchase, especially as we work with some great brands – including Kjus, Colmar, Röhnisch, JLindeberg, adidas, Footjoy, Lotusse, HONMA and TaylorMade.” | 37



hospitality excellence

“To acquire employees who are the best fit for the job, your hiring practices and day-today operations need to be directly aligned with your club’s values”

Frank Talking from Benzakour A Cornell graduate and also Professor of Contemporary Club Management, Frank Benzakour has 25 years experience working in the hospitality industry and has just published his first book, entitled 12 Golden Keys of Hospitality Excellence. STAFF MORALE It’s important to motivate, encourage and ensure that your staff are happy in their work

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A company’s most precious asset is its staff. In other words, your employees are crucial to the success and viability of your private club and well worth any cost. To acquire employees who are the best fit for the job, your hiring practices and day-to-day operations need to be directly aligned with your club’s values. Also, you have to be able to describe the duties and control points of the position that you’re interviewing for. So, design jobs based on what your club needs, and target the right candidates. The best applicants are usually found through referrals. Once you have suitable candidates there are several qualities to look for when choosing the best person for the job. One is attitude because anyone can learn skills but honesty, courtesy, enthusiasm, and friendliness – which employees of a private club critically need to

deal with members and coworkers in the best way possible – aren’t easy to teach. Another trait you want in a candidate is integrity. Search for displays of ethical behaviour in their previous jobs as well as honesty. Interview any senior level candidate at least three times and ask the same questions including those regarding important values to ensure their answers are consistent. You also need someone who is very competent. Look at what the candidate accomplished at the previous club they worked in regarding improving operations, impacting member services, and how many people they mentored. Most likely they’ll repeat their work performance in the past in their new job at your club. Another key quality is compatibility. The candidate’s management style should fit within your club’s culture. Your company culture is the cement that holds your private club together.


Researchers have found that cultural incompatibility is why half of new employees fail in the first 18 months of a new job. Some key points to observe in the interview, to prevent this, are how well the candidate articulates their thoughts, their body language including eye contact, and the types of questions they ask. If you don’t pay your employees what they’re worth another club or organisation will. Therefore, inadequate wages can result in other clubs poaching your prodigious workers one by one, which gives the competition a tremendous advantage over your club. Additionally, low pay can result in low productivity and high turnover rates. Employees who are unhappy with their wages and are looking for a better job aren’t productive. Also, if you aren’t paying the highest income reflected in the market you won’t be able to recruit the best of the best. Moreover, if an employee feels underpaid and unap-

preciated they won’t care about their job and might be rude to the members. So, paying low wages can lower your club’s reputation and credibility. When you show your staff you prize them more than revenue, they’ll compensate you with high employee morale and engagement. By paying liberal salaries you can raise your expectations and hold your employees to a higher standard. And, your workers raise the bar for themselves to excel in the position. Also, it’s easier to recruit members to your club if they feel you are good to your employees. That is why your club’s high expectations and service ideal, as well as the value you place on employees, must be mirrored in the wages you pay. Calculate the top salary each worker could make in a similar position at other companies and pay the maximum. But, it takes more than just money to inspire workers to give their all at work. Also, offer a rock-solid benefit package to differentiate your club from the

competition and attract and retain top talent. And keep emotional currency in mind as well – the numerous benefits your staff wants besides a raise or promotion, such as having pride in what they do. And, they need a life apart from work, some time to spend with friends and family. They also want to be treated fairly. Nobody wants a job where the bosses’ favourites are rewarded and recognised over those who work harder and achieve more. Another thing workers are looking for is a job where they are coached instead of being micromanaged. It’s also important that they have some say or influence in the club, and that their contributions have value. Moreover, employees want less stress. They want to work for a club that plans ahead, predicts potential problems, and sets realistic goals, so the workers don’t burn out. And, job security is of major importance to employees. | 39



hospitality excellence

STRIKE THREE Ensure to interview senior level candidates at least three times

Though they don’t expect lifetime employment, they don’t want to feel that at any moment they may be let go or the company may close down. Another emotional benefit employees value is to be on the winning team. Employees want to help their company beat the competition. Workers also want a boss they can respect, a leader worthy of their loyalty. Your staff also wants to be challenged, to contribute to projects beyond the normal scope of their duties, to avoid tedium and help the club succeed. When a club upgrades their employees’ skill set through company training it heightens the staffs’ productivity and motivation because they work even harder, and at a higher level, plus they also care more about their coworkers and the growth of the club. Moreover, it shows the staff how much management appreciates them which boosts retention. Additionally, when employees are taught new skills or better ways of doing their job they want to share what they learned with the team. And, it inspires them to come up with ways to improve procedures. The advantages of acquiring new skills is also an effective reason for seasonal workers to return. Cross-training ensures employees are flexible, efficient, and capable in more than one aspect of the club. It’s also beneficial when it comes to scheduling and filling in for absences plus it cultivates team spirit since it

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helps the employees understand the challenges their co-workers face. Enabling your employees’ development ensures you’re creating future leaders for your club who are adept at inspiring growth, change, and innovation. The most productive and prosperous businesses produce their own leaders through training and development. Also, most employees are loyal to, and stay long-term with, companies that provide that career path. Training is also a recruiting tool for potential employees who are impressed by companies that help their staff grow. Club members prefer to join a club that invests in their employees over one that doesn’t. Additionally, internally promoted employees usually perform at a level that far surpasses those who are hired externally. Furthermore, cover the cost of your employees’ certifications. Having certified employees boosts your club’s credibility. It indicates how much you care about your members and that they can count on you to stay up to date with the latest standards and offer as much if not more than other clubs. What’s more, your certified employees can hold workshops for their team or the entire staff to share what they learned, which escalates the return on your investment in them. In conclusion, you can see that when you invest in your employees they will drive your company to success. It’s an investment your club is guaranteed to reap rewards from. GMé


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ugolf iberia

FRESH CHALLENGE Eduardo Ruiz in Ugolf attire

BUILDING BRIDGES Hacienda del Alamo

Ruiz raises the bar with Ugolf in Murcia Following successful spells at Valderrama and La Manga Club, Eduardo Ruiz has joined Ugolf Iberia to manage and improve their golf offering at three clubs in the Murcia region. Article by Scott MacCallum. A pedigree developed at some of Spain’s best golf venues has prepared Eduardo Ruiz for a wonderful new challenge – and he is truly relishing the opportunity. Ruiz has recently been appointed manager of Ugolf Iberia, the management company which operates 55 golf courses across France and Spain, and will be responsible for the success of three Murcia courses – Hacienda del Alamo, Saurines and Mar Menor. “The guys from Ugolf called me and said that they were going to make a huge investment in the three golf courses and made me a very good proposal,” explained Ruiz, of an offer which was good enough to entice him a way from the role of general manager at the La Manga Club. “They want to improve the quality of the golf courses and I thought that after four years at La Manga, it was a good time to move,” he added. Ruiz has already enjoyed a stellar career encompassing Valderrama, one of the finest golf clubs in the world, where he was operations manager. He actually joined the club, which was the first conti-

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nental European club to host the Ryder Cup in 1997, in the same month as Jaime Patiño, the owner of the golf club, passed away. He then went from offering high quality service to a small number of members to La Manga where he could be dealing with up to 700 golfers per day and managing a staff of 105. It was that experience and the ability to raise standards that saw Ugolf seek him out. “I will be the manager for the entire region and will be running everything in the business, with responsibility for our commercial success right through to human resources. I will be reporting directly to directors at the company’s headquarters in Bilbao.” Ugolf was founded 40 years ago and has grown into a network of 55 golf courses in France and Spain. With 700 employees and 1.5 million rounds a year it has built its success on appreciating the fact that when it comes to golf courses it certainly isn’t a case of ‘one size fitting all.’ Ugolf has identified three different types of golf course to ensure maximum

ALL SMILES Director of the Murcia region for Ugolf, Eduardo Ruiz

enjoyment for guests – Daily Golf, for daily and quick practice in an urban environment; Garden Golf for family and friends in attractive surroundings and Exclusive Golf on ‘signature’ high-end courses. Another feature of Ugolf venues is the importance they place on the environment and the courses are operated with a view of achieving an uncompromising ecological standard. Ruiz is particularly excited about taking over the running of three golf courses for which he has always had a great deal of respect. “Hacienda del Alamo is a proper championship golf course at over 6,700 metres from the back tees. It was a qualifying venue for the Europa Tour and I

would say that the course is absolutely unbelievable. “I’d like to bring tournaments back to the course, but first we need to work on the course because it hasn’t been in the best condition over the last couple of years. I want to focus on increasing the quality of the course and after that we will see what the future holds for it as a tournament venue,” explained Ruiz. He will therefore be interested to read a recent review from a local resident who said that there had been an “impressive transformation in the resort, course and hotel over the last three months. “There has been recent investment in the resort facilities and golf course which make being here pleasurable.

“The course has in the past suffered from water restrictions brought about by four years of drought but it looks like sustainable remedies have been found and the course is once again approaching peak condition,” said the reviewer. Certainly that will be music to Ruiz’s ears, who is equally praiseworthy of Saurines. “It is probably the most beautiful golf course in Spain,” he said, in a matter of fact manner, with a hint of the hyperbole more associated with a talented salesmen. “It is a Jack Nicklaus course and the layout is amazing.” A par 72 it is a desert style golf course and its main characteristics are undulating fairways and greens among desert | 43



ugolf iberia

CHANGING DIRECTION Eduardo Ruiz in his time at La Manga Club

DESERT SUN Saurines Golf Resort, Murcia

dunes, with few bunkers. There is however, a large lake, which features strongly on both the 9th and 18th holes. The third member of Eduardo’s stable is Mar Menor which was opened in 2005 and was the first of the Nicklaus Golf Trail courses at Polaris World. “Mar Menor is a proper resort and it is a proper resort golf course – a little bit more like La Manga. It hosts around 50,000 rounds a year and people like it because it is flat and people can score well around it,” explained Ruiz. Lakes play a key role while it also boasts palm trees, native grasses and shrubs. While Ruiz will have overall control of the three sites and will pay his usual attention to the quality of service in the clubhouses, he knows that it is the quality and conditioning of the golf courses which make a reputation and keep golfers visiting and returning. Although not a greenkeeper he has accumulated an extensive knowledge of greenkeeping matters and agronomy, and he has been helped by having greenkeeping in his family and a wife who has also been a head greenkeeper. “My father was a greenkeeper and my wife, Rosa, is a head greenkeeper while having worked with the very best greenkeepers for many years I know about grass, particularly about grass in this part of the world,” he explained. Stepping into a role where he will be judged by the bottom line at a time

when there is some much uncertainty could be deemed a risk but Ruiz has watched the Spanish golf industry pick up over the last three or four years. “Brexit is having an influence on the British visitor market while we have also seen Turkey coming back with very attractive packages to entice the holidaying golfer. However, my sense is that it is going to become easier for us in Spain as 80 per cent of our customers come from Scandinavian countries.” While he has a bucketful of experience at two of Spain’s best known golfing venues there is one thing he will be facing for which he cannot dip into his well of knowledge. “I am running three golf courses in three different resorts separated by 20 km. The distance between them is not the problem but we must create new procedures to operate all of them under the same concept of management,” he explained. He is also in no doubt as to what his bosses expect from his three new charges. Two of the courses were part of the same management company – Mar Menor and Saurines – but Hacienda del Alamo was run by a different management company. “As owner of the three resorts Ugolf Iberia wants to position them on the top of Spanish rankings, not only in quality of the course but also in quality of service. We must offer a proper golf experience,” said Ruiz.

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“We have good colleagues with us,” added Ruiz. “Sheraton will be our main partner in Hacienda del Alamo and Intercontinental is the chain in Mar Menor. We have everything in place to succeed.” He is well aware of the need for the courses to achieve and then maintain a reputation. “I want to start step-by-step, but in the first two years I would like to position at least one of them in the top 25 of Spain and, in four years’ time, have all three of them in the top 50. It is a challenge, but we believe in our product.” Ruiz is equally sure that his new employer has a winning formula and he is extremely keen to be a key player in the future success of Ugolf. “Ugolf is a consolidated company in France, working under different ways of management – own, management and renting. “We offer different alternatives to those owners who want to transfer the control of the course. We are growing as golf management company in different countries and we hope to increase our volume of business by 15 per cent in the next three years.” Speaking with Ruiz, it is clear that he carried out his due diligence before moving from a very good job, and the authority with which he speaks of the Spanish golf business points to the fact that Ugolf have made a very shrewd appointment. GMé

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channel manager

“We feel crowdfunding the next stage of our business fits our ethos perfectly, as it allows both golf businesses and golfers around the world, to invest and be part of changing the future of the game”

Jacklin invests in Zest.Golf technology As Ed Hodge explains, Tony Jacklin has endorsed a new crowdfunding initiative led by Zest.Golf designed to raise capital for investment in channel manager technology.

ENDORSEMENT Tony Jacklin CBE pictured above, who has lent his support to the crowdfunding venture from Zest.Golf

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Tony Jacklin CBE, a pioneer throughout his esteemed career in golf, has decided to invest in a new technology company making its own bid to drive change within the golf industry. Zest.Golf Technologies, with offices in Scotland, the ‘Home of Golf’, and tech partners in the Netherlands, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to help the business grow and change the face of the global online tee time marketplace for the benefit of stakeholders across the industry. Fast tracked by Scottish Enterprise into their High Growth Programme, Zest.Golf is seeking an investment of €790,000 to build core infrastructure in Dundee – a world-recognised technology centre – and invest in ongoing product development and continue to drive market uptake and penetration. Established in 2018, over 120 golf courses across five countries and 25 sales channels have registered with Zest. Golf’s Channel Manager, an industrychanging technology that allows golf courses to manage multiple tee time

sales channels from one place, setting the price and availability with each separately. The company believe their open, independent technology has the potential to revolutionise the golf industry – in much the same way channel managers have for the airline and accommodation sectors – and literally connect a golf course’s teesheet to the world. Jacklin, the most successful Ryder Cup Captain of all time and British player of his generation, will participate as an investor in the crowdfund and is high up the leaderboard of golfing trailblazers. The Englishman celebrates the 50th anniversary of his Open win at Royal Lytham & St Annes this summer, his victory in 1969 the first by a British golfer in 18 years. The following year he became the first Briton to claim the US Open for 50 years. Well versed in breaking down barriers, Jacklin helped transform the Ryder Cup on and off the course and led Europe to a first-ever victory on American soil in 1987.

ON MESSAGE Oliver Dury, commercial director of Zest.Golf

Now the 74-year-old believes Zest. Golf can achieve their own form of change and said: “Golf is a global sport with innovation and technology at its very heart. “I know that for many players booking a tee time can be a frustrating experience, as it can take extensive searching of websites and numerous phone calls to make a tee time reservation. I also know that clubs who should be making valuable income from selling tee times are, in fact, losing money,” Jacklin said. “The system is out of date and not delivering for players or clubs. This needs to change and Zest.Golf have the answer with their new technology for the global tee time market. “It makes golf tourism more accessible and the tee time industry fairer, more open and more profitable for clubs whilst providing a superior experience for the golfer. I therefore urge golf businesses and those with a passion for the game to follow me and invest in the Zest.Golf Channel Manager via their crowdfunding campaign,” concluded Jacklin.

Zest.Golf was launched after industry research demonstrated a frustration among golf courses at the lack of opportunity to sell tee-times. “Our channel manager delivers the first truly open, independent and global tee time market place that changes the way tee times are distributed and sold online across the globe, ultimately for the good of clubs, players, the industry and the game as a whole,” added Oliver Dury, commercial director. “Courses around the world can use the Zest.Golf channel manager to list available tee times and rates. We aggregate all the available tee times globally so that any sales channel can access the inventory and sell on to the golfer, who can then make real-time bookings. “By connecting with the Zest.Golf Channel Manager, tour operators can log into multiple tee-sheets and book teetimes simultaneously. This saves a huge amount of time and resources when compared to the current requirement of emailing and calling golf courses to understand availability and make separate bookings at each course.

“To put the growth potential of the golf travel sector into context, there are 60m golfers worldwide – 8m in Europe – and 70 per cent of golf travellers are looking to visit a new destination. “The latest IAGTO report states Tour Operators are reporting a year-on-year booking increase of five per cent and we believe an incredible 90 per cent of these bookings are still happening offline.” Zest.Golf have already made considerable investment in research, development and testing and now wish to attract further commercial interest by opening the opportunity to the entire golf industry and lovers of the game globally. Dury continued: “The goal is to become almost the ‘voice’ for distribution, providing one connection that can benefit courses, tee sheet providers and sales partners. “We feel crowdfunding the next stage of our business fits our ethos perfectly, as it allows both golf businesses and golfers around the world, to invest and be part of changing the future of the game.” GMé | 47



dr ralph rogers

Woods Bounces Back from the Brink Dr Ralph Rogers has been working with world-class athletes his whole life, and successfully predicted a few years ago that despite three major back injuries, Tiger Woods would return to Major glory once more. Words by Caroline Ratner. “I have been telling people for years that Tiger Woods would be back on top form,” stated Dr Ralph Rogers – one of the world’s top sports medicine doctors, and current medical advisor to the NBA – after Tiger Woods won his 15th Major at Augusta National last month. “On a physical level Woods has had to endure many painful injuries and difficult surgeries but he understood about the importance of rehabilitation, he took it slowly, listened to advice and did the work to get back to peak physical fitness. “But that is not what got him back to where he is. What makes him different from other athletes and what makes him an exceptional champion is his mental strength and that’s why I knew he’d be back,” added Dr Rogers. It has always been clear to Dr Rogers that Woods has something extra that has been instilled in him since childhood. He has always had an unshakeable selfbelief in his talent that his competitors just don’t have and that is what makes him exceptional. He has the mindset of a winner. Is Tiger Woods the greatest golfer that ever lived? Dr Rogers thinks he might be. “His mental game is the very best in any sport and has even got living legend Jack Nicklaus ‘supporting him’ as Woods looks to eclipse Nicklaus’ position as the greatest golfer ever. Nicklaus, has also said of Woods that ‘he’s playing a game I’m not familiar with.’ “You know the saying – show me the boy at seven and I’ll show you the man. Woods has been pushed to greatness his whole life, since he was a small boy, by his father, an ex-US army colonel.

48 | GMé May 2019

“You can see his inner strength when he’s playing – people are afraid of his focus – and it’s intimidating to play opposite someone so determined to succeed. “There has never been an option for failure in his life, setbacks – sure – of course, everyone has set backs, but his mindset is all about success. I’ve seen other athletes like this, often influenced and driven, like Woods, by their fathers. “The Williams sisters are two obvious examples. They also have that incredible inner drive and like Woods, they have to achieve; that’s how Woods has been trained and that’s what makes him remarkable,” explained Rogers. After years of back pain that left him with injuries so severe that he had four surgeries, Woods was left on the side lines. He skipped the entire 2016 season because of his injuries and leading pundits declared that he was done, that he would only play a mediocre game at best, but as we have all seen, Woods has proved them all wrong. Dr Rogers treats athletes and patients in his Harley Street and Windsor practices, and was the first person in the UK to practice some of the innovative, minimally invasive treatments, like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) which Tiger Woods had last year. “I have seen the incredible impact these treatments can have on athletes and non-athletes alike,” stated Dr Rogers, ”and it was soon after these pioneering treatments that Woods was able to get back to the top of his game. “At Rogers Regenerative Medical Group we see many amateur golfers, runners,

“I have seen the incredible impact these treatments can have on athletes and non-athletes alike”

tennis players to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s and older suffering from pain and osteoarthritis who are benefitting from these cutting-edge treatments. “The way medical technology is developing means amateurs and professionals alike don’t have to suffer with ailments and injuries that traditionally they would have been told that they would have to live with. “I treat patients who have seen a return to full fitness and are back on the golf course, tennis court and living a full pain free life after some of these minimally invasive regenerative treatments. “Rapha Nadal has also had PRP treatment and I know from the people we see, of all ages and fitness levels, who feel rejuvenated. Treatments like PRP and something called Lipogems (using the patient’s own body fat for conditions like osteoarthritis) are game changers.”

Dr Rogers believes there are four things that Tiger Woods does consistently that convinced him that he would make his remarkable come back and would always be a champion, despite the setbacks. “Firstly, he sets himself very high standards and always holds himself accountable – he never blames anyone else,” said Dr Rogers. “He sets a goal of trying to win every game he plays, every competition and truly believes he has a chance, despite the odds. “Secondly, his major mental tool is his control of his mind. He can focus his mind on command, he does this all the time, whether he’s practicing or competing. He knows, instinctively how to continually stay laser focussed on his performance. “Thirdly, Tiger builds his confidence and ability by intense and endless prac-

tice of his swing. He practices directing his energy, and trains and trains until he has burned the physical process into his mind and body, so that even under intense pressure his swing holds up because the movements are instinctive. “As another golfer, Gary Player once said of his success: “the more I practice the luckier I get.” Tiger knows that inner discipline is as important as physical discipline. “And finally, Tiger focuses on the process of the game and knows that living in the moment is vital for achieving success. He is completely committed to his mental game, not just when things are going well, but on every shot he takes, even when things have been extremely tough.” Based on his performance in Augusta, who would bet against Woods winning another Major this season? GMé | 49



signing off

“it left Booth at the centre of a row which was, almost certainly, not of her own making”

Sympathy for Booth after ill-timed social media posts The furore that greeted Carly Booth’s now infamous tweet of April 24 was understandable – but I did feel some sympathy for the Scottish LET star. In case you missed it, the post came just 24 hours after it was revealed that Saudi Arabia had executed 37 people – including some who were juveniles at the time of their arrest – to much condemnation by human rights groups. Booth wrote on both Twitter and Instagram: “I am honoured to represent @Golf_Saudi as they acknowledge that women in sport is of paramount importance. Although culturally they are in a different place to some countries, they are doing everything they can to introduce girls and women into sport and lead healthy lifestyles.” Although the Scottish Golf ambassador – or more likely her management company – deleted the ill-judged posts just hours after they were published, at the time of writing, Saudi Golf was still listed on the 26-year-old’s website as one of her sponsors, with no suggestion of her breaking links with the brand. It won’t have been Booth who negotiated a deal with Saudi Golf – she would merely have taken advice and had somebody sign on her behalf because it was deemed sufficiently lucrative. Whether it was just bad luck in terms of the timing or a huge faux pas in an attempt to garner some positive PR for the often controversial country, remains to be seen. But it left Booth at the centre of a row which was, almost certainly, not of her own making.

50 | GMé May 2019

CARLY BOOTH Tweet caused outrage

With the LET struggling for exposure and events, its golfers, sadly, can’t afford to be that fussy. Like you and I they need to pay the bills. But, sitting here in an admittedly faux-ivory tower, one wonders if the deal should have been considered in the first place. Is it ever wise to ally oneself to a brand that has the potential to turn toxic overnight? Clearly, management companies consider it worth the risk – after all, one never knows what surprises lay in store at even seemingly squeaky clean brands when proverbial rocks begin to be turned over. Personally, I feel sorry for Booth. When golf has on previous occasions recently shot itself in the foot in terms of headline-making, it has been the fault of the individuals concerned.

We should not forget, either, that the executions were sanctioned by royal decree. Morality, like beauty, it would seem, is in the eye of the beholder. But it would seem sensible, when dealing in sponsorship contracts, to at least consider the potential consequences before clutching at a rope that seems likely to fray precipitously at any moment. GMé

David Bowers

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