GMé | November 2018

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On the cover...

John Deere partners with Education City in Qatar, signalling the first major deal in the Middle East for the global brand


ÂŁ7.50 Issue 122 | November 2018

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

Las Colinas on the Costa CĂĄlida in Spain, has turned to Jon Brook to enhance the golf experience at the Troon-managed destination


On the agenda november 2018 46


Building a Golf Ops team

A former journalist, and current golf operations manager at Costa Navarino, Yiannis Tsioukanis shares some experiences about the value of building a successful golf operations team.


On-board with Kevin Hart

Club Car’s director of sales EMEA, Kevin Hart, talks about his fascinating journey from commanding ships for the Royal Navy to working at the top of the golf industry.


The Mechanic at Las Colinas

New director of golf at Las Colinas, Jon Brook, talks to GMé about his latest position and the association with veteran European Tour star Miguel Ángel Jiménez.


BTME ‘Goes Large’

Think of Harrogate in January, and BTME conjures images of busy exhibition halls and equally busy bars and restaurants packed full of turf care professionals.



Jonas the choice for Glendinning

An avid user of Jonas Club management software, CEO of The Wisley, John Glendinning talks about how the system benefits his position at the prestigious Surrey club.

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


Publisher Executive editor Contributors

Michael Lenihan David Bowers Ella Boyden, Angelique Crosnier, Lauren Frazer, Kevin Hart, Ellie Parry, Aidan Patrick, Maddy Pearce, Yiannis Tsioukanis


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from the publisher

“Distance off the tee should be irrelevant if you can’t hit the ball straight”

Distance vs Accuracy... Power is nothing without control Phil Mickelson’s post-Ryder Cup comments were widely reported, so I’ve no intention of repeating them here. But, for me, they did resurrect a personal bête noire… Quite simply, if a professional golfer is unable to hit the ball on to a fairway that’s been designed and conditioned to welcome the ball – like a bean bag caresses a backside – then they deserve to be punished. Distance off the tee should be irrelevant if you can’t hit the ball straight. And for Mickelson to moan about not having a shot to the green after continually finding the long stuff shows exactly where the emphasis in the modern professional game lies. If, as he maintained, a five per cent margin of error is not catered for over the distance he’s hitting, there are two obvious solutions: either reduce the margin of error or reduce the length off the tee. Given the five-time Major winner is one of the modern game’s most creative golfers his outburst seemed incongruous. One would have thought he would have been in favour of shot-crafting rather than simply going for distance at every opportunity. Personally, I seldom watch professional golf on TV now – especially when it comes to the PGA Tour – as its becomes a long-drive fest which is boring to watch. I find it simply ridiculous that a pro can fire the ball 50 yards off-line yet still have a relatively simple shot from what is very loosely called ‘rough’.

4 | GMé November 2018

IN THE ROUGH Phil Mickleson strays off line at Le Golf National

Even more disconcertingly, this attitude is starting to pervade the amateur game too. I’m not the longest hitter in the world, but I’m normally pretty straight, especially off the tee. Yet in order to chase an extra 15 yards in distance with the big stick, I’ve lost some accuracy – presumably because my required margin of error is a lot worse than Lefty’s five per cent. I had expected my PGA pro at my club to rein me in a little and emphasise the need for accuracy over the Holy Grail of distance. But I’m told it’s fine to be longer and off-line... when I’m sat behind a tree and forced to chip out sideways, the words of my pro tend to ring hollow.

It’s clear I would have been far better served just landing on the fairway, albeit 20 yards or so further back. And I feel golf would be far better served if the pros did likewise. Rough should be penal; inaccuracy should be punished not rewarded; after all, golf is not a game of darts. GMé

Michael Lenihan

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Hold the front page Recently opened Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, has partnered with John Deere in the first major Middle East venture for the global brand.

“John Deere products are aligned to our vision in sustainability and to supporting our environmental initiatives in reducing fuel and waste”

Cover sponsored by John Deere International (49) 7251 924 7941

6 | GMé November 2018

A major investment in John Deere golf course maintenance equipment has been made by the brand new Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, which officially opened last month. A landmark project for Qatar and the world of golf, the facility features three golf courses including an 18-hole championship course; a floodlit 6-hole course and a floodlit 9-hole par 3 course, all designed by two-time US Masters winner and 2012 Ryder Cup winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal. It also comprises a range of short game formats, a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility housed in the Centre of Excellence and a TrackMan driving range. The golf courses are serviced by a clubhouse and academy building, which will both offer all-day dining options. Surrounding the clubhouse are large gardens where a number of lawn sports will also be available, including footgolf, frisbee golf and croquet. The facility will be maintained by golf course superintendent Darren Smith and deputy superintendent Andrew Ikstrums, and the choice of John Deere as the preferred supplier to Education City Golf Club was made on Smith’s recommendation, following an intensive examination of the equipment’s technical and environmental features.

In line with the club’s sustainability vision, John Deere was considered a perfect match due to the hybrid electric technology used on over 90 per cent of the mowing fleet. Seif Al Ghaly, managing director of Progressive, John Deere’s official supplier in Qatar, said: “As the exclusive dealer for John Deere in the region, Progressive Trading is proud and honoured to supply Education City Golf Club for the first time with our largest ever fleet of golf and utility equipment. “We are committed to providing first class products and service from our well trained and dedicated team of employees, with the full support, back-up and experience of the international John Deere business.” Education City Golf Club’s general manager Michael Braidwood added: “Our core product is the golf course and therefore it must be presented in immaculate condition, and the equipment has been carefully selected to ensure an excellent guest and member experience. “John Deere products are aligned to our vision in sustainability and to supporting our environmental initiatives in reducing fuel and waste. Furthermore, John Deere invests worldwide in education and training, which is another of our core values.” GMé

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Costa Navarino announces José María Olazábal as designer of a major new course development Costa Navarino has announced a partnership with two-time Masters champion, José María Olazábal, to design two new courses in the region of Messinia, Greece. The two new 18-hole courses at Navarino Hills will overlook The Bay Course and the historic Bay of Navarino, set high above the coastline offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Ionian Sea. Stretching over 150 hectares of garrigue landscape typical in the region famed for its natural beauty, the Navarino Hills property will allow two courses of the highest international standards that will complement and adequately expand the renowned quality golf offering at Costa Navarino. Work on Olazábal’s signature design, his 20th course construction, has just begun and is expected to open for play by 2021. Costa Navarino is already home to The Dunes Course and The Bay Course – designed by Bernhard Langer and Robert Trent Jones II, respectively – and The Navarino Hills development will bring the total number of golf courses at Costa Navarino to four, all within a 13km distance and under the same management. Stephanos Theodorides, vice-president and managing director of TEMES, developers of Costa Navarino, believes partnering with Olazábal, who has placed a sustainable development strategy at the

Golfing legend, José María Olazábal

heart of the design, will enhance Costa Navarino’s position as one of the world’s most distinctive environmentally-friendly golf destinations. He said: “This announcement represents a milestone moment for Costa Navarino and the region. We are excited to introduce our plans for Costa Navarino’s evolution. “Our vision for the destination development always included Navarino Hills as an instrumental component, based on the principles of an eco-retreat.

“José María Olazábal stands for passion, integrity, and quality. These are principles very close to our hearts and made the decision an easy one to partner with him for this special project.” José María Olazábal added: “What TEMES has created in Costa Navarino is extraordinary and for us to have a chance to play our part in the destination’s legacy fills us with immense pride – the Navarino Hills property is truly spectacular and the views are simply breathtaking.”

NBC aligns with Morocco set to host 2019 Golf Genius International Golf Travel Market NBC Sports Group and tournament management software company, Golf Genius Software, has announced a strategic partnership that includes the integration of Golf Genius Software technology across multiple golf brands within the NBC Sports Group portfolio, designed to better serve golfers and golf course partners around the world. “We have been collaborating with the Golf Genius team for more than a year in order to refine, and now offer, great new services and integrations to our customers,” commented Will McIntosh, Golf Channel executive vice president, Strategy. “Golf Genius Software is one of the fastest-growing companies serving golfers and golf course operators. This partnership is exciting because not only are they software experts, but also very knowledgeable about the game of golf.” “We’re very excited to announce this partnership,” added Michael Zisman, CEO, Golf Genius.

8 | GMé November 2018

Assoufid Golf Club, Marrakech

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), the world’s premier global event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, has announced that the 22nd edition of IGTM will be hosted in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Morocco, the IAGTO 2015 Golf Destination of the Year in Africa & Gulf States, will welcome IGTM to Marrakech, from October 14-17, 2019. The fast-emerging golf destination, which welcomed more than 11 million

tourists in 2017, now boasts 23 golf courses, including Assoufid Golf Club, Marrakech – the only facility in Morocco to be a member of David Todd, event manager for IGTM, commented: “We couldn’t be happier with our location for IGTM 2019. There’s exciting momentum in the Moroccan golf industry and it’s obvious that golf is a growing force in the nation.” Mustapha Zine, deputy chairman of the Royal Moroccan Federation of Golf, said: “The development of the golf product in Morocco is not only an asset of promotion for the Kingdom, but also an activity to generate jobs. “Golf in Morocco already employs 2,700 people, and another 1,000 jobs will be created upon completion of the planned golf course developments.” IGTM, organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions, attracts more than 400 buyers and over 550 golf travel suppliers, highlighting its reputation as the premier event for the golf tourism industry.


Dubai Golf enters long-term deal to manage Jumeirah Golf Estates

In brief... Former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher has said he is “honoured and humbled” to have been invited to become captain of The PGA, and will succeed Peter Hanna as PGA captain in April 2021. “Despite my success in tournaments and involvement with the Ryder Cup as a player and captain, first and foremost I have always regarded myself as a club pro,” said Gallagher who turned professional in 1967. BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has been confirmed as the host of the England Golf Awards 2019. Walker was a huge hit when he presented the 2018 Awards for 500 guests at the Royal Lancaster London. The journalist and broadcaster is a keen golfer and commented: “I loved hosting the England Golf Awards last year so it’s an absolute pleasure to be invited back again. I look forward to another wonderful night of celebration.” Wensum Valley Hotel, Golf & Country Club has extended its 12-year relationship with Club Car ensuring the brand will continue to supply the prestigious venue until at least 2022. Located in Norfolk, the former PGA Europro Tour venue, with its 36 holes and onsite hotel, has updated its fleet of golf cars with 50 new Precedent i2 vehicles, supplied and serviced by official Club Car distributor, Ben Burgess. Gleneagles, the Scottish hotel and sporting estate, has added to its growing roster of important accolades after being named ‘European Golf Resort of the Year 2019’ at the annual IAGTO Awards. This most recent of awards – determined by member votes from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) – was announced at a ceremony in Ljubljana, Slovenia, attended by tour operators, golf and travel industry executives.


Dubai Golf has entered into a longterm management deal with Jumeirah Golf Estates to manage its golf operation (courses and clubhouse), leisure facilities, and all dining outlets for one of the world’s most prestigious golf developments. The new agreement, effective October 1, 2018, means that Dubai Golf now offers five championship courses for residents and overseas visitors to enjoy across its portfolio, which includes Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, both of which celebrated significant anniversaries this year – 30 years and 25 years, respectively. Yousuf Kazim, CEO of Jumeirah Golf Estates says: “We are all eagerly anticipating the opportunity to work with Dubai Golf who have a long-established history within the region. “It is an exciting time for Jumeirah Golf Estates as we look forward to welcoming a significant number of the winning European Ryder Cup team to the Earth course in November for the DP World Tour Championship, as the Race to Dubai celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.” Christopher May, CEO of Dubai Golf, added: “We are proud to announce the addition of Jumeirah Golf Estates to the Dubai Golf management portfolio.

“The prestigious club will sit alongside the magnificent Emirates Golf Club – which is home to the annual Omega Dubai Desert Classic – as well as the renowned Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. “We approach this exciting relationship with optimism and extreme enthusiasm, and will continue striving towards delivering the very best golf and leisure experiences for our members. “Apart from a great opportunity for Dubai Golf, this is an extremely positive move for the members of all three clubs, as they will be exposed to a number of benefits across all three properties,” says May.

Dubai Golf CEO, Christopher May

Newenglish Design completes redesign of Wisley clubhouse

The redesigned clubhouse at The Wisley

Award-winning creative agency Newenglish Design has completed a multimillion pound redesign of the bar and restaurant at The Wisley, in Surrey. Wendy Bebbington, Newenglish Design creative director, said: “Golfers now enjoy a clear and uninterrupted view of their 27-hole golf course from a clubhouse they can be proud of. “We’re interested in how a space looks, feels and works,” said Bebbington. “So we asked what were the problems and issues with the space and we then set

about solving them using our creative flair and design expertise. The result is a clubhouse that has been opened up, flows better and looks great.” The Newenglish Design team removed pillars and walls, introduced a new wine cellar and halved the length of the bar after consulting staff to find out what changes could be made to improve efficiency. A new glass balcony now showcases the upper level of the clubhouse, which also features drawings of British wildlife. John Glendinning, The Wisley chief executive, said: “The Wisley is genuinely unique and now our clubhouse is too. We’re very forward thinking in terms of the golf industry – we are interested in the next generation who want something more modern – our clubhouse is now part of that. “Our members travel the world and visit the finest clubs, bars and restaurants and they want the same experience at their golf club. One of our biggest challenges with this was to meet the high expectations.” | 9




Troon adds to success in Middle East with Dubai Hills Golf Club appointment Troon has announced its International Division’s latest partnership in the Middle East, with Dubai Hills Golf Club, located in the heart of Dubai Hills Estate, the vast, serene lifestyle development – a joint venture of Emaar Properties and Meraas. Not only does this help consolidate the influence that Troon has in the Middle East, making this the 16th course under their management, but it also further enhances the successful relationship that Troon has developed with Emaar over many years. To be overseen by Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality and leisure business of Emaar and the Expo 2020 Official Hotel & Hospitality Partner, Dubai Hills Golf Club is an 18-hole par-72 championship course which aims to challenge golfers at all levels. The course has been carved out of the sandy desert and meanders through a series of valleys and wadis, demonstrating the amazing natural scenery of Dubai to all golfers. The course also features a network of lakes which feature on many of the holes, adding to the stunning experience on offer at Dubai Hills Estate. The layout not only focuses on the natural elements of Dubai, but as the course is set against the striking Downtown Dubai skyline, a dramatic touch of the man-made beauty of the city is added.

Dubai Hills Golf Club

“Very few courses in the world interact with a city in the way that Dubai Hills Golf Club does, as it is only 15 minutes from Downtown Dubai, and yet boasts amazing natural components too,” remarked Mark Chapleski, president of Troon International. “This facility is yet another testament to the expertise of Emaar and with the success that we have had with them on other UAE projects, we very much look forward to working together on Dubai Hills”

Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “The Dubai Hills Golf Club is another spectacular addition to our portfolio of leisure attractions in Dubai, with the luxury golf resort Address Montgomerie, and the desert links course Arabian Ranches already serving as mustvisit destinations for golf enthusiasts. “Working with Troon International will help to provide growth and development for the club and position it as another exceptional golfing destination in the heart of the city.”

Ladies retail key Business is Booming at for Foremost World of Golf London Foremost has announced partnerships with two specialist ladies’ clothing brands. Following the impressive growth of the women’s game at grass roots levels through new participation initiatives such as Women and Girls’ Golf Week, #ThisGirlsGolfs and, it has never been more important for club professionals to deliver a proper retail offering to their female customers. However, many members have neither the retail space or inventory capacity to offer the best proposition to ladies in-store, so Foremost has developed a simple solution that directs their female customers to the Foremost members e-commerce support solution, with many Foremost members witnessing a growth in ladies’ apparel. Foremost managing director, Andy Martin, said: “This will provide a great solution for Foremost members who now are able to engage their lady customers and provide them with a 21st century retail solution.”

10 | GMé November 2018

World of Golf London, one of the busiest driving ranges in Europe with an average of 13 million balls hit each year, is enjoying a record period and has seen its business boosted by Ryder Cup fever following Europe’s victory in Paris. Already 20 per cent up on the same period last year, the floodlit facility at New Malden in south-west London was packed during the week following the winning performance by the European Team with queues forming to access many of its 60 bays. Visiting golfers can now have a haircut or take a golf lesson, as well as drive the balls from a two-tier set up and play virtual courses such as Pebble Beach with Toptracer technology to define each shot. “We’ve bucked an industry trend with business booming in recent months and it was topped off by golfers turning out after the thrilling Ryder Cup contest,” said Tom Roberts, marketing manager at World of Golf London.

“There has been an exceptional rate of return on the range this year as we’ve also ventured into new business opportunities to provide the ultimate customer experience. “Virtual golf is constantly growing thanks to modern-day technology. It’s a fun way to enjoy the sport, while still staying in the warm and spending much less time than you would if you were out on the course,” he added.

World of Golf London

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@gme | 11


news crosses borders to champion female participation in Spain Women’s coaching initiative,, has piloted its innovative teaching method to a ten-strong group of coaches in Madrid, Spain, as part of its commitment to growing female participation globally. Following great success in the UK, where it has pledged its support to the R&A Women in Golf Charter, the programme has drawn significant interest from international coaches wishing to engage potential female golfers in their own countries, including Spain, Sweden and Germany. For the programme’s first venture into Spain, head coach and founder Alastair Spink, supported by fellow love. golf coach Jo Taylor, demonstrated the programme’s methodology to a group of Spanish coaches, led by head of training for the PGA of Spain, Jose Perez, at Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid. Coaches were educated on the love. golf concept, which focuses on learning through playing on the golf course, rather than technical lessons on a driving range, alongside the need for the coach to ‘step back’ at various times to allow female

participants to benefit from the group dynamic that the programme creates. Reflecting on the pilot, Alastair Spink said: “It’s thrilling to see that the desire to bring more women into golf is something that transcends borders, and that there is a universality to our approach that professional coaches in other nations feel they can connect to.”

Topgolf partner England Golf

Brocket Hall’s chairman promises bright future

England Golf has announced that Topgolf has joined its affiliation programme. Topgolf’s three UK venues in Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey currently attract over one million visitors each year, and the brand’s significant expansion plans make them a key player in growing the game of golf. The opportunity to affiliate – with wide-ranging benefits – has just been extended by England Golf to include ranges and short courses, as well as golf clubs. The move recognises that people play golf in different ways and at different venues and that all should be offered the same support. Affiliation offers the chance to make use of England Golf’s extensive business support and to achieve the new SafeGolf accreditation, demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding children and young people. Topgolf’s decision to affiliate strengthens their partnership with England Golf, which was announced earlier this year. It brings the two organisations together to learn from each other to attract more people into golf, to improve the image of the game and to make the sport more inclusive and accessible. The partnership is also an opportunity to swap information and test new ideas between the two organisations.

The chairman of Brocket Hall joined the celebrations on the country estate near Welwyn in September at the launch of Brocket Hall’s new look golf club to be known as The Melbourne Club. Zhou Feng – chairman of Brocket Hall UK Ltd, which acquired the business of the stately home, country estate and golf club in 2016 – teed off in the inaugural Melbourne Club Trophy which marked the opening of the new club. The 18-hole competition involved over 100 new members and was played over both the Melbourne and Palmerston courses, named in honour of the two British Prime Ministers who once lived at the Hall. As a nod to Brocket Hall’s illustrious past, the unique men’s and ladies trophies were specially commissioned by Brocket Hall’s managing director Michael Longshaw and feature two steering wheels from Ferraris formerly owned by the current Lord Brocket himself. “I was delighted to see so many of our members participate in The Melbourne Club Trophy on Saturday,” commented Zhou Feng in September. “It was a beautiful day, the courses were in excellent condition and the competition was extremely keen! “It is my hope that The Melbourne Club Trophy will become a new tradition at

12 | GMé November 2018

Alastair Spink, introduces the coaching methodology to the group

Speaking after the first training session, Perez said: “Our coaches have been inspired from what they have seen of and see it as a great opportunity to engage new female golfers in Spain. “They are looking forward to putting what they have learned in Madrid into practice at their respective venues around the country.”

Brocket Hall, played for many years to come. “I am passionate about Brocket Hall’s heritage, and as its new custodian, I am committed to its bright future. This relies upon a thriving golf club. “To this end, the management team has already affected improvements to the golf facilities and introduced a full calendar of golf competitions and exceptional social events. The new club will stand for quality golf and an unparalleled membership experience. “It is my hope to one day establish the Melbourne Club as one of the best clubs in England.”

Zhou Feng

people news

Movers & Shakers A brief pictorial round-up of some of the individuals shaping the golf business, including news that Motocaddy have appointed John Helas as the brand’s new managing director.







In brief... Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course witnessed history during the 12th edition of the Portugal Masters as Oliver Fisher recorded the European Tour’s first ever 59. In his second round, the Englishman posted the record-breaking sub-60 score, a feat that has taken nearly 700,000 rounds to be achieved on the European Tour, and to mark the historic achievement, Dom Pedro Golf made Fisher an honorary member of its Victoria Golf Course. Smarter Golf Energy, an energy service and solutions company tailored specifically to the golfing industry, is aiming to save PGA Members and golf clubs money after becoming an official PGA Partner. Run by golfers for golfers, Smarter Golf Energy (SGE) was founded by former PGA Member Stuart Harris who has combined his two areas of expertise and created SGE with the aim of providing both PGA Members and their facilities with improved service and lower tariffs. Club de Golf Alcanada is basking in the glow of a new solar-powered link-up with one of the world’s leading environmental technology companies, DAS Energy GmbH. The club has teamed up with the Austrian company and fitted stateof-the-art, flexible solar panels to all of its buggies to harness the sun’s power and further reduce the club’s carbon footprint. Club Systems International (CSI), has been recognised as a ‘Preferred Partner’ of England Golf, as the governing body looks to prepare small clubs for the introduction of the new World Handicap System (WHS) in 2020. The new partnership will see grants of more than £500 available to qualifying clubs to enable them to purchase a CSI 10” PSiTouch screen, allowing club members to input their own scores.



Motocaddy, a world leader in powered golf trolleys, has strengthened its executive team with the appointment of John Helas as the brands new managing director, and will take up his position with immediate effect.


Saeed Elgazar, who boats over 20 years experience in the golf and hospitality industry, has assumed the position of general manager at the Troonmanaged Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia.


Trump Turnberry has welcomed the arrival of two new PGA teaching professionals – Oli Foster and Stephen Spiers – who will mentor golfers as they take advantage of Scotland’s most prestigious collection of courses.


Titleist, the #1 ball in golf, has announced a key change at the top of its business within the UK region, welcoming the appointment of Michael Creighton as Titleist brand director who succeeds Matthew Johnson.


The award-winning Belfry Hotel & Resort is proud to announce that executive head chef Robert Bates has been successfully shortlisted as ‘Hotel Chef of the Year’ in The Caterer’s Hotel Cateys 2018 Awards.


The CMAE’s latest Management Development Programme took place in Malaga, Spain. The MDP part 1 course, which focuses on club operations, was hosted by the Asociación Española de Gerentes de Golf (AEGG). | 13


merchandising news

Pro Shop & Retail A brief pictorial round-up of events from the retail side of the industry, including news that FootJoy have launched a new version of the popular StaSof golf glove.







In brief... Galvin Green, Official Supplier of Weatherwear to the victorious European Team in Paris, enjoyed a record Ryder Cup of its own with sales of the exclusive Team and Trophy garments far exceeding the sales seen at Gleneagles four years ago. And despite a lack of rain or gusting winds at Le Golf National, sales of Galvin Green’s waterproof jackets and trousers were extremely strong, as well as windproof jackets worn by several of Europe’s heroes. Danish golf footwear innovators, ECCO GOLF, have continued their ground-breaking BIOM story with the launch of the ECCO BIOM G3 which showcases an evolution of comfort, style and innovation. ECCO BIOM G3 utilises a range of industry-leading technologies to deliver exceptional performance that will last round after round, while hard-wearing ECCO YAK leather uppers and a waterproof GORE-TEX construction keep feet dry and comfortable in even the wettest weather. Foresight Sports Europe has introduced a new finance option enabling new and existing customers to spread the cost of their technology investment with nothing to pay for the first 90 days. The new scheme allowing business users to ‘Play Now & Pay Later’ has been introduced to help golf professionals, clubs, fitters, and retailers install Foresight’s cutting edge technology to generate additional revenues from day one. FootJoy has introduced an all-new version of the the Pro/SL. Currently the market-leading model across the UK & Ireland and on the majority of worldwide professional Tours, Pro/SL combines a soft, comfortable, waterproof leather upper with a midsole/ outsole system that features three distinct layers for comfort, perimeter stability and superb traction in all conditions.



FootJoy has announced the introduction of the all-new StaSof golf glove which has been designed to provide enhanced feel and grip, which according to Paul O’Hagan, FJ marketing manager is “the #1 Glove in Golf.”


Chervò, the leading Italian luxury golf and leisure apparel company has launched the latest range, which underlines their progressive design and adds to the growing reputation of the brand in the UK.


Wilson Golf is extending its awardwinning Wilson Staff INFINITE putter range for 2019 with three new models incorporating eye-catching design and a black anti-glare finish to accentuate the sight lines to improve alignment.


With a focus on a softer feel and lively response through multi-layer face technology PING has introduced the Sigma 2 putter series including the Fetch model that is designed with a golf-ballpickup feature.


Sun Mountain is introducing a brand-new flagship waterproof stand bag as part of its comprehensive range for the 2019 season, and in total has launched nine eye-catching bags to keep equipment dry in the harshest of elements.


PowaKaddy has launched an exciting cart bag promotion for winter. Golfers will receive a free cart bag when purchasing any new PowaKaddy lithium trolley until midnight on December 24 worth up to £229.99 | 15


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greenkeeping news

Machinery & Turf A brief pictorial round-up of course management related events including news that Royal St George’s is working with Toro Irrigation in readiness for the 2020 Open Championship.







In brief... BIGGA has announced that Daniel Ashelby of Wilmslow Golf Club is the 30th winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. At the same time, Danny Patten of Lee Park Golf Club, became the third winner of the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. Ashelby, 25, joins a proud tradition of former awards winners that stretches back to Mark Proctor, who won the first hosting of the award in 1989 while a student greenkeeper at Portal Golf Club in Cheshire. Pure Seed and Atlas Turf International are proud to introduce PurePro® Seeded Bermudagrass, a blend of the industry’s highest performing hybrid bermudas. With the goal of delivering the ultimate playing surfaces, PurePro combines the attributes of multiple varieties to produce a fine-textured, dark green, elite blend. BIGGA and John Deere have revealed the six members of the association who will be heading to Ponte Vedra Beach next March to help prepare the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship. Each of the BIGGA members underwent a rigorous application process, consisting of an online application, submission of a short video and an interview with BIGGA and John Deere representatives. Innovative Cardiff firm EcoBunker is using recycled material on its bunker and lake edging for golf courses in four continents of the world – including Hong Kong where EcoBunker even withstood the recent Typhoon Mangkhut as it wreaked havoc across the region. In Australia, for example, the company has gone from no business at all nine months ago to being involved in major construction work on four world famous golf courses.



With The Open Championship returning to Royal St George’s Golf Club in 2020, the club has chosen Toro irrigation to ensure the famous old course is looking its best when the world’s top golfers arrive in under two years’ time.


Greenkeeper Neil Smith has become Slaley Hall’s latest appointment after being named as the new course manager, bringing a wealth of experience having previously spent 14 years on the greenkeeping staff at The Belfry.


Thomas Sherreard from The London Club has become the first Golf Greenkeeping Apprentice to achieve the new City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Golf Greenkeeping associated with the new apprenticeship standard.


Matt Gilks has been appointed by Rain Bird Europe as golf sales specialist for the UK and Ireland. Closely involved in golf irrigation throughout his career Gilks joins Rain Bird from Farol where he specialised in sales to golf customers.


Dunston Hall’s new greenkeeper, David Fraser, can boast a number of big-name venues on his CV, including Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina; Loch Lomond GC; Verdura Resort, in Sicily; and The Wisley, in Surrey.


Sandy Lodge Golf Club has experienced the benefits on-and-off-the course with the Foley United Accu-Master 653 and Accu-Pro 673 grinders, which were supplied by importer Ian Robson of ProSport UK. | 17



golf operations

“Teach your team to express themselves; make them believe in your project”

The Best Secret to Building your Team In the first of two articles, current golf operations manager at Costa Navarino in Greece – and a former journalist – Yiannis Tsioukanis writes about the value and importance of building a successful golf operations team at your facility. DESIGN PLANNING Yiannis Tsioukanis (main picture) and above, architects of the Dunes Course at Costa Navarino, Bernard Langer (left) with Ross McMurray

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So you’re looking to operate a golf course? Over the next two issues of GMé, I will share some of my experiences of how you begin to set-up the golf operations section at your facility – the meat of the sandwich, if you will – that will become your business. The everyday work that will not only set the initial first impression, but build your brand loyalty and your destination’s reputation, which in turn, will solidify your successful and long future. As we all know in this global community competition is getting greater and greater and everyone’s reach is growing too, so making sure you have this section clear, concise and on course (excuse the pun) is vital to achieve ultimate success. So let me begin with a question... what is your idea behind the golf course? Is it membership, is it resort or a mixture of both? What is your market? Is it young, old or both? You might ask why am I asking all these questions if I am to discuss golf operations? The answer is really quite simple – you can’t begin to build your operations team if you haven’t cemented these things into your own mind and on paper.

My current employer, Costa Navarino in Greece, has done this amazingly well and it was achieved over a long period of time. A dream of an individual was carefully constructed and expanded in every facet so by the time it was to be sold to the prospective team, the founder and his family knew exactly what the path was for their future, making it easier to bind them to the vision of Costa Navarino. Once you’ve answered all these questions and worked out your vision and the future path you need to follow, then you can start to concentrate on finding your team. I am a true believer that this choice of people will be the most important thing that you will do, as the entire success of a golf course – once it has opened – is mainly dependent on two things... the conditioning and layout of the golf course coupled with your team. For the golf course, you will need to either choose the right site and work with an architect who can design something that will attract your market, or inherit something that is already there with a reputation that you can enhance.

golf operations

ATTENTION TO DETAIL The practice range at Costa Navarino

And of course a very good head greenkeeper/superintendent is vital, so no cutting corners there. When it comes to the team it is key from day one to provide the guest with a high level experience, no matter the condition or quality/reputation of the course. Always keep in focus that people buy and flock to other people, not to golf courses or buildings. There are many top performing CEO’s, owners and leaders that always say it was the people that ensured their success – their team. If you can crack the secret to a service that is genuine and creates a memory then the golfer will definitely come back. Before you start to seek out your team have a clear idea of the type of people that you want, and ensure that they suit what you’re trying to achieve. For me the most important thing is attitude (desire to work) and smile. A good friend of mine once told me that we don’t work in the service industry for the money, and this is so true. We do it for, amongst other things, the smile of the guest; the thank you we receive and most importantly for the customer relationships that are created. I’m sure you all have other reasons too. Your team members need to buy into this and you need to be able to choose wisely from the pack.


I am also often asked if a golf operations team needs to consist of a core of experienced golfers? Again my time at Costa Navarino has taught me very clearly that this is definitely not the case, as the vast majority of our team are not only non-golfers, they are not even from the service industry. They are just everyday people from all walks of life that needed work and because of the above strong structure set-up by the owners, now truly believe in the ethos of what Costa Navarino represents. The golf operations team have the right attitude – the smile, desire to please, and never wanting to say ‘no’. After that they have a genuineness that is reflected and felt by each and every guest. Each member of the golf operations team is allowed and encouraged to show their personality which adds to this authenticity. Although to some trained eyes they may look like they are without structure, the guest is nearly always happy and positively overwhelmed with the personal quality shown towards them. In my 20-year career in golf operations, I have never had so many guests tell me that the golf operations team provided them with their best experience as I have at Costa Navarino.

To me that will always be the key. Teach your team to express themselves; make them believe in your project; paint them the picture of what it’ll be like and then let them create their own part in this. Let them feel like they are an important and valued part of the project everyday. Of course we need SOP’s and these will, and should always be in place to ensure the outside structure is correct, like the framework of your home. These will allow the team to measure and be measured so to maximise the financial potential of the business. Please, though, do not forget that once that front door is opened people want to feel the warmth of your team, the genuineness of their service so they feel like they are actually in a home away from home. I will be forever grateful to Costa Navarino as it taught me this very valuable lesson. I used to believe in procedure, structure and direction only, and that is why, in my opinion, Costa Navarino will always have a bright future. Not because the area is stunning and pristine or the golf courses are great to play, but because when you visit there you leave knowing you’ve felt a belonging that stays with you, and you can’t wait to come back, again and again and again. GMé | 19




MIRACLE WORKER Kevin Hart (left) pictured with José Maria Olazábal at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah

TEAM EFFORT Kevin Hart with the victorious European team at Le Golf National

In conversation with Kevin Hart Club Car’s director of sales EMEA, Kevin Hart, talks about his fascinating journey from commanding ships for the Royal Navy to working at the top of the golf industry. GMé Before joining Club Car in 2000, you spent 12 years working as an officer in the Royal Navy, so how did you embark on a career at sea? KH My father served in the Navy and spent much of this time in the Middle East and Far East. I think it was seeing pictures of him in distant lands surrounded by palm trees in exotic locations that originally attracted me to the idea of joining up. GMé You would have been in service during the first Gulf War, so were you involved with any military action? KH I joined Britannia Royal Naval College as a junior officer in September 1981, and within a year the Falklands conflict started. My first experience of operations was a few years later hunting Russian Nuclear submarines in the North Atlantic during the Cold War, where I was an officer of the watch on-board a frigate. I had a number of postings to Hong Kong where I worked closely with the Hong Kong Police, patrolling the border with China. My last two jobs in the Navy were as the navigating officer of HMS Liverpool, a type 42 destroyer, where we

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deployed twice to the Persian Gulf for the Tanker War and the start of the first Gulf War. After my time on-board HMS Liverpool I was lucky enough to command my own warship for two years involved in counter terrorist operations around Northern Ireland. GMé You jumped ship – if you pardon the pun – to work for Club Car at the turn of the Millennium, so why the change of direction and how did the role come about? KH During my 12 years in the Navy I spent nine years at sea. Wanting to focus more on my family, I took a career break option to leave in 1993. From the Royal Navy, I went straight to Manchester Business School, where I completed a two-year full-time MBA. Not having any prior business experience, this was a very steep learning curve, but naval discipline – and a lot of burning the midnight oil – got me through it, and I was proud to finally graduate with a Distinction. My first job in Civvy Street was as an export manager for Dunlop, covering a region from the US to India. After five years as the export director, I left to join Club Car.

DRIVING FORWARD Kevin Hart pictured in the driving seat next to Paul Armitage, general manager of Le Golf National before the Ryder Cup

GMé What do you think differentiates Club Car from any other golf car manufacturer?

When I left, I thought I would struggle to find a workplace that fulfilled the same things for me, however at Club Car I can honestly say that I have.

KH There is an old saying that people are measured by the friends they keep. I think this statement is very fitting when you look at the world-class organisations, golf courses, resorts and hotels that Club Car is very proud to be associated with around the globe. As well as being one of the most respected brands in the golf industry, our company is fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest names and organisations in golf, such as The European Tour, The Ryder Cup, The PGA, The Solheim Cup and St Andrews Links. On a personal level, the company stands apart for me as well. The thing I loved about being in the Navy was the very close team work; we worked hard together, but also played hard.

GMé The golf car has evolved quite a bit since you joined Club Car 18 years ago, so what’s the single biggest technological advance that you have seen?


KH When I joined Club Car our golf car was the DS model, which took its name from the designer, Dom Saporito, back in 1980. It was built like a tank, and even today I visit courses where DS cars are still in operation and going strong. We launched the Precedent in 2004 and the Tempo just this year, both of which were huge leaps forward in design and technology. I think that one of the biggest technological advances I have experienced, though, was our involvement with the Visage ‘connected’ GPS system.

It provides a range of remarkable features for golfers, such as digital scorecards, flyover graphics and helpful information on each hole, distance from the pin and so on, as well as the ability to order refreshments from your golf car. What venues really love is that it connects the cars to their operations team, allowing them to set no-drive areas on the course, implement speed limits where needed and keep track of the pace of play on the course, just to name a few features. The technology is spectacular and a complete game-changer for the golf car industry. GMé What percentage of Club Car vehicles are electric compared to petrol, and has that changed in recent years? KH The move to electric has been a seismic shift in the industry, driven by the need and desire to become more environmentally-friendly. Back in 2000, | 21




HOME OF GOLF Club Car at St Andrews Links Trust

CAPTAIN MONTY Kevin Hart (left) with Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor in 2010

over 85 per cent of production was petrol cars, while today over 95 per cent of it is electric.

From a more practical standpoint, over the last 21 years we have supplied in excess of 3,000 vehicles to The Ryder Cup, and in September we had a record fleet of just under 600 vehicles on the ground at Le Golf National in Paris. Our ability to undertake and support one of the largest sporting events in the world is a massive testament to the team at Club Car, and that inspires confidence from our customers when it comes time to buy. And when we win, it gives a massive impetus to the golf industry in general.

GMé How has the new Tempo car been received, and when will the new lithium battery be available? KH The Tempo, which we launched in January 2018, is the first new golf vehicle that Club Car has produced since the Precedent launched back in 2004, and it is proving hugely popular already. It has a more automotive-style front cowl, which is really stylish, and the car will become the platform for the new Lithium-powered battery, due to be launched in EMEA in January 2019. GMé Club Car’s association with The Ryder Cup is long-standing, so what benefits does it bring to you as a sales director when it comes to closing a deal? KH Of course it’s very difficult to measure the true value of being tied to a brand as powerful as The Ryder Cup. The event is like no other in golf, the way that it moves, excites and inspires people. Our Captains’ Cars in their patriotic red and blue have become a symbol of the Ryder Cup, and that, as a mental association, carries some real weight.

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GMé What would you say has been the biggest deal that you’ve won in your time with Club Car? KH This is a tricky one to answer for a number of reasons, but if I had to pick one it would be St Andrews Links Trust (SALT) in Scotland. Over a number of years, we built up a very good relationship with the team at SALT and this culminated in securing a long-term contract to supply them with a wide selection of our vehicles, which are in use on all seven courses today. GMé What does the future hold, and any plans to sail off into the sunset and enjoy retirement?

KH For many years the subject of retirement never crossed my mind. However, I must admit it is starting to loom larger in my thoughts as each year passes by. Nonetheless, one thing I am certain of wanting to continue in my retirement, is my close association with Battle Back Golf – a military initiative designed to utilise the sport of golf to support the wounded, injured and sick. When I had the good fortune to meet founder Lieutenant Colonel Tristan Crew, the programme had only 20 members and just £200 in the group’s bank account, and I saw that I could be of help by raising some funds and introducing them to contacts in the industry. I organised a team made up of leading golf industry figures to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in under 24 hours and we raised a staggering total of £30,000. It’s a great satisfaction to think that this money has helped in excess of 200 injured service personnel to take up the game of golf over the last ten years. GMé When you play golf, do you prefer to walk or use a buggy? KH That’s simple... I try to take a buggy every time! I have to practice what I preach! GMé

Le Golf National has been in partnership with Jacobsen since 2011. The quality of machinery, the back-up support, and the shared culture of innovation are the reasons we choose Jacobsen year after year. Together, we have created a world-class golf course that hosted The 2018 Ryder Cup. Paul Armitage, General Manager,

Le Golf National


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



“Preparation for this event began many years ago, even before we had signed any kind of agreement”

Jacobsen shares in Ryder Cup success Following the successful conclusion of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National – both on and off the course – Ella Boyden of Official Suppliers, Jacobsen recaps on an historic week in the French capital. SAFE HANDS Staff from Jacobsen and Le Golf National pictured at The Ryder Cup

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The dust has settled on another historic Ryder Cup. Jacobsen, an Official Supplier to The 2018 Ryder Cup, played a crucial role in providing a pristine surface for the world’s best golfers to battle it out for the sport’s most prestigious trophy. At the conclusion of the tournament, Andre Andrade, golf sales director at Jacobsen, shared his thoughts about The Ryder Cup experience, being an official supplier and what’s next for Jacobsen. Jacobsen signed an agreement to be an Official Supplier to The 2018 Ryder Cup three years ago, in 2015. Since then, lots of work has taken place behind the scenes at Jacobsen’s European manufacturing facility in Ipswich to build the 60 additional machines that were required for the tournament, adding to the course’s existing fleet of 42 pieces of Jacobsen machinery. “Preparation for this event began many years ago, even before we had signed any kind of agreement,” Andrade said. “Fifteen years ago, Alejandro Reyes, the golf courses and estate manager at

Le Golf National was a student on the Ransomes Jacobsen-sponsored Polaris World scholarship, and since then, he has always used Jacobsen equipment. “Forming such a strong relationship has built trust, and it is from this that our product was chosen as the only option when it came to grass cutting machinery at The Ryder Cup.” It was a first for Jacobsen to be named as an Official Supplier to The Ryder Cup. The turf machinery manufacturer used the opportunity to share the experience with its customers and dealers, with many being invited along to the event to witness The Ryder Cup matches as well as the greenkeeping operation firsthand. Commenting on the experience of being at the event, Andrade added: “The Ryder Cup was a special atmosphere. Spectators started arriving at the course at 6am to get a spot on the first tee grandstand, and by the time the first player’s made their way through the crowd to tee off, the place was absolutely electric.

EUROPE UNITED Jacobsen machinery adorned with the European flag

“Thousands of fans chanting ‘Olé, Olé, Olé’; people dressed up in all kinds of outfits, and the Icelandic ‘Viking Thunder-Clap’ were just a few of the highlights. I’m sure you got a sense of the atmosphere on television but being there in person is something that I personally will never forget!” For the greenkeeping team, The Ryder Cup will be an experience they will never forget. Long days were rewarded with acknowledgement from the crowds and preparing the course with an audience would certainly have been a novelty for those involved. During the week of the tournament, Reyes divided the group into six teams, each with a team leader. The teams were responsible for everything from cutting fairways, preparing greens and measuring green speeds, to bunkers, surrounds and removing dew from the course in preparation for cutting.


The machinery played a crucial role in this set-up, and had to be extremely precise. Fourteen technicians and mechanics were on-site to set all of the machinery within a 0.1mm tolerance of the correct height of cut. The fairways were cut from tee to green in one direction, the sight of which was similar to a military operation. Each fairway mower was clad with a European flag which made for an impressive photo opportunity for passing spectators. All of the technicalities of the course set-up were decided by The European Tour in conjunction with Reyes. The rough was very demanding and forced the players to hit the fairways and play with a certain finesse. “The fact is, they had brutal rough, almost unplayable, and it’s not the way I play,” said US-team member Phil Mickleson. “I don’t play like that. And I’m 48.

“I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that any more. It’s a waste of my time. I’m going to play courses that are playable and that I can play aggressive, attacking, make a lot of birdies, style of golf I like to play.” The way the greenkeeping team prepared the course was undoubtedly a crucial factor in Europe regaining the trophy, and you could say a job well done to Reyes and his team! Following the success of The 2018 Ryder Cup, Andrade explains Jacobsen’s plans for the future: “Now, we look to build upon the success of The Ryder Cup. “It allowed us to showcase the quality of Jacobsen machinery and we are already seeing lots of interest from potential customers who have never tried our equipment before. “It’s a very exciting time, and we hope we can be involved in future Ryder Cups as well.” GMé | 25



roumieh golf village TEE WITH A VIEW The view from the 8th tee to Beirut and the Mediterranean

Lebanon calling for Swan Golf Designs As Aidan Patrick reports, Swan Golf Designs are embarking on a unique design project in Lebanon, which will form the centrepiece of the new Roumieh Golf Village. From the hills above Beirut you can see the entirety of the city and far across the Mediterranean Sea beyond. The modern city skyline belies its history, a history that has seen many empires rise and fall and so many societies leave their mark. Today Beirut is a good way along the road to restoring the reputation that caused it to be known as “the Paris of the Middle East”, a hub of vibrant cultural and intellectual life as well as the financial centre of the region. Tourism has once again become a major force in the economy, with the city awash with visitors from every corner of the globe. Lebanon does not have such a rich golfing history, with until recently only one course in the whole country. The Golf Club of Lebanon continues to thrive, although the course itself is under increasing pressure from environmental and political factors as well as the surrounding urban developments. That is not to say that there isn’t interest in the game, with the longestablished Lebanese Golf Federation hosting national championships and participating in international events whilst also pursuing its agenda to grow game domestically. The climate is well suited to golf, even if the limited summer rainfall creates challenges to maintaining courses. However, these issues are much less than those that have been overcome in the UAE and the other emerging golf markets of the Middle East.

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It is in this context that Swan Golf Designs has embarked upon creating the first golf course of true international standard. Working alongside Lebanese engineering multi-national Khatib & Alami, the father and son team of Howard and William Swan has designed a layout that is likely to transform the plight of golf in the country. Around 10km east of Beirut city centre and in the municipality of the hill town of Roumieh, construction will soon begin of the 18-hole golf course that forms the centre piece the New Roumieh Golf Village. The development site rises from lower slopes of the Mt Lebanon region that form a natural barrier to the Beirut metropolis, climbing to a height of almost five hundred metres above sea level as it reaches the outskirts of Roumieh itself. From there the western aspect offers uninterrupted views of the city’s skyscrapers, markets and beaches, with the sea stretching onwards to the horizon. The golf course will be built into existing and newly created terraces, with the sea visible from almost all of the holes. The dramatic natural topography will generate interest and challenge at the same time, with golfers having to overcome very significant changes in elevation as they traverse the layout. The design has been a challenge, trying to balance the difficulties of fitting a golf course onto steep terrain whilst still preserving as much of the natural

“Golfers will have to contend with the severe terrain, required carries over valley and ravines and the ever present surroundings of the pine forest”

FOR OPENERS Setting out trees to be retained on the 1st hole

CLOSING OUT Old terraces on 18th fairway site

ON-SITE Surveying the site

features and pine forest that covers much of the site. This has required spending a lot of time on the ground to get to know its every detail, accessing sections of the hillside which are unlikely to have been walked upon for many decades. The use of modern surveying techniques has been a huge advantage, as has the use of drones to get aerial photography of difficult to reach areas, but in the end it has been the hard yards hiking through the valleys that has been most productive. Great effort has been made to limit the removal of trees from the site, although inevitably it has been necessary to clear areas of fairway, green and tee sites. In response the client has pledged to replace three times the number of trees removed throughout the site, with three thousand specimens already purchased at a leading local tree nursery.

Also included in the design is the retention of much of the historical agricultural infrastructure such as small scale terraces and livestock herding routes. SGD are clear on their role in what is a project of national significance. “It is our responsibility to make sure that Lebanon’s first major golf development not only meets the client’s expectation of being to true international standard, but also that it remains rooted in Lebanese culture and traditions,” said William Swan. “As with all of our projects, we must marry the needs of a global sport with the characteristics of the locality.” What is certain is that the finished product will provide a stern test of golf. Although it will measure 7,000 yards, this will be compensated for by the difficulty built into the course. “The fairways may well be wide, but missing them will lead to trouble and the

likelihood of some high scores,” added Swan. “Golfers will have to contend with the severe terrain, required carries over valley and ravines and the ever present surroundings of the pine forest.” And all of that is before taking on the tests that SGD have designed into the holes. Also included on the New Roumieh project will be a hotel and conference centre, municipal parks and sports facilities, plus additional local infrastructure such as new roads, potable water storage tanks and a sewage treatment plant. The project won’t be fully realised for several years but the impact will go far beyond just golf, with the economic, environmental and social benefits spreading outwards from the site boundary. However, it is golf that will remain at its heart, demonstrating the game’s power to deliver benefits to a wider society than just those that play. GMé

@gme | 27



golf-club pfalz

CONSTRUCTION A green under construction

LAKE WORK A lake during construction

Troon on-hand at Golf-Club Pfalz Maddy Pearce visits Golf-Club Pfalz in Germany to discover the extent of Troon’s involvement in the extensive course renovations that are currently in progress. Golf-Club Pfalz, nestled between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, is home to a beautiful parkland golf course. As the club approaches its 50th anniversary, the club has decided to embark upon a redevelopment project to give the course a fresh new look to ensure all members and guests of Golf-Club Pfalz receive the customary high-quality standard that they are used to at this leading German layout. The dual key ambitions for the course redevelopment are extensive works on drainage and the renewal of the green complexes. This work began in August and will be completed in May 2019. In order to achieve these ambitions for the project, Troon were called upon to assist with the redesign of the golf course through its International Division. Simon Doyle, European director of agronomy at Troon International, and Greg Letsche, lead architect, are working on this renovation together, taking inspiration from the original vision of Neil Lubbock, Golfquip Management & Consulting, who has been leading the project for Golf-Club Pfalz. Doyle, who is responsible for delivering the agronomical vision and philosophy of Troon’s International Division across all of its European developments, is the perfect candidate in supporting

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and aligning the vision of Letsche and Lubbock. Doyle utilises reliable and proven techniques alongside new technologies, to achieve agronomic excellence with some of the most celebrated playing surfaces in the world. Doyle’s career began when his parents decided to turn his family farm into a golf course and his passion for agronomy was sparked. Having started employment by earning money from cutting lawns at his local pitch and putt to now servicing facilities in over 22 countries, his knowledge and experience is highly sought after and enviable. With Troon’s portfolio in the International Division expanding, Doyle looks to visit all the facilities on a quarterly basis and so is travelling for around 40 weeks of the year. He is able to offer advice and consultation to many superintendents at various times in the annual golfing calendar, so that agronomy programmes and timelines can be modified and altered when needed. “The most challenging thing about course management is staying engaged with each facility to make sure you understand the site’s specifics,” he said. “Understanding the practicality of what a certain course can achieve is key, as there is no point in pushing a course further than its limits.


“The biggest reward is being able to see a golf course develop and improve over time – there is nothing better than seeing the smiles and content of owners, members and golfers alike.” Since the vision at Pfalz is to create a golf course that plays to an excellent standard throughout the year and its quality is consistent across each of its holes, Doyle has visited the facility frequently to assist with the ground-breaking and getting the foundations right. Golf-Club Pfalz envisions becoming a course renowned for its high-quality greens and fairways, which are able to be played year-round. This will mainly be through well-constructed surfaces with good drainage, extensive irrigation and the careful selection of grass types. “Getting these elements right is key to formulating the necessary foundation for good golf course conditioning,” said Doyle, when describing his vision for the course.


With drainage such a pivotal requirement to allow for all year round play, there will be great improvements made to these systems. And, in Doyle’s opinion, these are aspects of golf course management that can never be underplayed. “Irrigation is very important in the maintaining of the course,” he said. “With climate change we are seeing long, wet periods and long, dry periods, and this course will be able to cope with both of these extremes. “Back to back part circle sprinkler systems have been introduced, with four to five used on every green, each of these with independent control from the new state of the art central control system, also with remote access,” continues Doyle. “This allows us to independently manage water usage while separating the green surrounds from the green itself, giving us more accurate and more efficient watering.

“Most clubs are guilty of over watering and underwatering certain areas due to a full circle sprinkler system without independent valve in head capability, we have combated that with our new irrigation system. “Irrigation, specifically, has the biggest impact on golf course conditioning and I’d argue that with anybody that says differently. “Dry-side agronomy is what I have learnt the most from in my tenure, it has helped me understand how to maximise turfgrass health and conditioning and taught me that over-watering is the single biggest reason for losing grass. “And of course, fertility is key, there will always be a certain number of pests present but with adequate plant nutrition we can ensure plant health is always at its best.” However, Doyle is adamant that there is no single interpretation of what constitutes a well-conditioned golf course. | 29



golf-club pfalz

WATCHFUL-EYE Neil Lubbock, Jon Schauder and Simon Doyle

For him, there are more factors for consideration than simple aesthetics when judging the standard of maintenance of any particular golf course. He added: “There are many amazing courses that I have seen, many of which fall within the Troon management portfolio. I think it would be very difficult to pick just one because it depends on their location. “I think what is most important therefore is understanding that we are moving away from a time in which a course being green meant that it was well looked after. Today designers look for fast and firm courses which boast good quality, rather than the colour of the course. This needs to be recognised, as a course is only good if it plays well not because it is lush and green. “I can list Abu Dhabi Golf Club and The Grove in London as examples of fantastically well-conditioned golf courses, but for entirely different reasons.” The course will not only be agronomically impressive, but Doyle and Letsche are striving to make it fun to play, too. New tee locations will be introduced to allow younger and older players options when teeing off each hole. As Letsche explained: “We will also place strategic fairway bunkering, which will increase shot values compared to the previous design. In addition, the surrounding green areas will also create

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and encourage strategic play due to their grass hollows and trapping bunkers.” The aim is to give each hole its own character to make Golf-Club Pfalz a course which people play time and time again without the experience ever becoming stale. Golf-Club Pfalz will profile their picturesque new golf course with great charm and a special atmosphere alongside perfect greens and a new bunker design. At the same time, attractive, redesigned water landscapes and new undulations should make Golf-Club Pfalz one of the most beautiful and best golf courses in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region – if not one of the leading locations in Germany. With the re-opening of the course on a demanding schedule, ProGolf, the contractor engaged to undertake the redevelopment are working tirelessly to meet the tight and strict deadlines in place in order to meet the high and necessary standards of Troon. The re-opening is set for May 2019; however, Doyle’s involvement will continue as he will be engaged with the facility well into the future. Once re-opened and the all-new golf courses are available to the public, Golf-Club Pfalz will be at the forefront of German parkland golf clubs in the eyes of golfers, both domestically and further afield. GMé

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

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EDUCATE EXHIBIT EVOLVE BTME 2019 | 22‑24 January 2019 Harrogate Convention Centre |

The turf industry is rapidly changing. Autonomous machinery, pioneering grass species and state of the art turf health products are redefining how turf professionals achieve their goals. BTME, too, is evolving, and 2019 will see the exhibition expand into alternative facilities in the Harrogate Convention Centre providing visitors with an enhanced BTME experience.

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20/08/2018 15:15 | 31


las colinas

No fixing required as Mechanic visits Las Colinas GMé publisher Michael Lenihan popped in to Las Colinas, on the Costa Calida in Spain, to catch up with the new director of golf, Jon Brook, and chat with veteran European Tour star Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

32 | GMé November 2018 BRIDGING THE GAP New director of golf at Las Colinas, Jon Brook, and main picture the par 3, 14th hole

The silhouette is instantly recognisable. And the subsequent pre-shot stretching routine is unmistakeable. All that’s missing is a cloud of cigar smoke. Sure enough, that comes a little later when I’m fortunate to have a chat with 21-time European Tour winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who, just a couple of months before our meeting, had won the Senior Open Championship, at St Andrews. The venue for our meeting was a little warmer than the Home of Golf: Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, in Spain. Jiménez – known as the Mechanic to his fellow pros – was in town to celebrate the first anniversary of the resort’s shortgame facility, which he designed and launched. Spread across 5,000m2 and incorporating two large practice bunkers, it has been a huge success – as has Jiménez’s association with Las Colinas, according to the resort’s director of golf, Jon Brook. But more of him later… At 54, with this facility and 18 holes at Prosper Golf Resort, in the Czech Republic, behind him, Jiménez could be forgiven if he started to concentrate on course design. But he thinks there’s plenty of time for that in the future.

He smiled: “I prefer playing golf. My life is the competition; I’m not the one who is knocking on the door. My preference is competing, but if (design work) is coming I’m more than happy to do it. I’m enjoying life playing full time on the Champions Tour.” He was delighted to be able to design the short-game facility – and proud to return a year on – because, as he stressed, “professionals spend 80 per cent of their time practising the short game.” But interestingly, he favours a revolutionary step to combat excessive length off the tee. While he will get the chance to design courses in the future to do just that, for the here and now, he has a radical idea… “I think maybe instead of playing with 14 clubs we start to play instead with 11 clubs – you’d need to start having to create shots,” said Jiménez. A Spaniard favouring the creative over the long drive… who’d have thought it? It’s a concept perhaps Jon Brook, the resort’s director of golf, could consider as he grows into his job. Brook, took on the role as director of golf at Las Colinas in the same month that Jiménez won the Senior Open.

“I think maybe instead of playing with 14 clubs we start to play instead with 11 clubs – you’d need to start having to create shots” @gme | 33



las colinas A WORLD APART Left, Miguel Ángel Jiménez pictured at the short game practice area at Las Colinas; below the 11th hole; top right, the clubhouse, and below right, the 8th with modern properties featuring views across the course

“It’s up to me to bring my experiences from around the world, of things that make a difference, no matter how large or small”

His previous employers have included Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, Golf D’Augerville, in France, Velaa Private Island, in the Maldives, and The Wentworth Club, in Surrey, where he was deputy director of golf for more than eight years. “I knew of the resort, how it has evolved, and I’d seen all the prestigious awards,” commented Brook. “And I did, obviously, research it thoroughly when I found out about the opportunity. But, I hadn’t been to Las Colinas before I was given the position. “However, my first impressions were as good, if not better, than I thought they might be. You know about the facility, you know about the golf club, but what you’re not prepared for is driving through the gate, over the crest of that first hill, to see the whole of Las Colinas just open out in front of you. “You can see all of Las Colinas, you can see the golf course, you can see the expanse, you can see the landscape and countryside out in front of you. And that’s what really excited me. I had my wife with me at the time and we both thought ‘this is where we know we can really make a difference’.”

34 | GMé November 2018

Upon arrival he was not known by the staff and was really impressed with the way he was welcomed onto the resort. “They treated me exactly the same – as I know now – that they treat every single person who walks through the door. There was no special treatment for me, only special treatment for everybody,” he observed. “The customer journey here has always been very good. It’s quite a tight operation. The clubhouse, the range, the first tee, everything is very close together, so the journey for the customer is very smooth: through reception, into the golf shop, straight out into the caddie area for the buggies, and then the driving range and first tee are just 100 metres away. “What was really exciting was that the service levels were already beyond what I expected. I actually think here they go over and above what I’ve seen elsewhere.” While the value of ‘signature’ course designs still sparks debate, Brook is convinced having Jiménez’s name attached to the club has proved very beneficial for the resort. Brook added: “It’s a big catch – to have a very successful Spanish golfer attached

to the facility. Putting this alongside the course design by world renowned architect, Cabell B Robinson, adds a huge amount of value to the entire facility. “We’ve been fortunate to win some very prestigious awards – best golf course, best resort, best international resort – that’s fantastic, so when people see those alongside collaborations with two high-profile people, they know the golfing side of things, and the extras we do, are at the top level as well. “And what we have got is, I believe, an exceptional golf course. It is perfectly suitable for playing from the back tees, as well as being perfectly playable from the blue and yellow tees on a daily basis. Everybody can have that great experience regardless of their ability.” Like many other industries worldwide, golf does not escape the old adage of a ‘new broom sweeping clean’, with many people taking up senior positions determined to make their mark, sometimes literally, at the expense of the bigger picture. But Jon will not ‘Brook’ with such selfaggrandising. He’s not averse to change, but there needs to be sufficient reason for it.

Las Colinas really is a World Apart

“Certainly, we don’t want people to come off the golf course feeling like they’ve been 12 rounds with a heavyweight boxer,” he said. “They have to come off thinking: ‘Wow! That was a great experience. I don’t feel as if I’ve been beaten to death’. So, it’s about looking at it and making it more playable. “I’ve repositioned a couple of bunkers, since I’ve been here, but again, it’s purely down to the playability of the golf course. We’re just trying to change the angles from certain tees, to make it easier for golfers, to encourage them to go in certain directions. Nothing would be changed unless it really needed to be done.” However, he feels there is a need to tweak the membership offering and is looking to ensure that Las Colinas has a wider appeal. “We currently have two types of membership,” he explained. “We do a standard membership, individually or for couples, for seven-day access to all our golf and leisure facilities. This also includes discounts in the clubhouse and bar. We also offer a points system style membership, which is designed more for the overseas visitor.


“It allows them to visit and use all the facilities whenever they are here, without having to commit to a full membership subscription. They can come and utilise their credit allowance on green fees, buggies and merchandise in the golf shop. “However, I’m currently looking to update that and want to try to make our memberships a lot more family friendly. We do have a lot of families visiting Las Colinas, and I’d like to be able to offer them a lot more access.” He concluded: “It’s up to me to bring my experiences from around the world, of things that make a difference, no matter how large or small. So, when our guests arrive, everything is of the highest quality. So, if we do things slightly differently to everybody else, that’s fine. “It’s what works for us and how we can make that the best for what we have. There were small things we’ve done in my previous roles – in the Middle East, in France and even at Wentworth – that you can bring back to a place like Las Colinas that lift you up to that next level.” This new broom may not be enforcing a clean sweep, but he’s certainly adding a little gloss. GMé

In Campoamor, to the south of Alicante on the Costa Calida, there is a place which is different: Las Colinas Golf & Country Club. An eco-friendly development with low housing intensity, Las Colinas blends into the surroundings and is the ideal place to escape to and enjoy 200,000m2 of beautiful countryside and scenic walks through indigenous flora, and orange and lemon groves. The property for sale at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club includes a range of homes or plots of land for you to build your own bespoke villa, with the houses designed to respect the environment, quality and privacy – all overlooking either the golf course or the Mediterranean woodland. There are different types of homes available to purchase at Las Colinas, including detached and semi-detached villas, and apartments. The rooms in all of them look outwards through terraces and porches which makes them light and spacious, and takes you to a world apart of privileges and a quality, healthy way of life. Just a few minutes away from Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, on the seafront at La Glea beach in Campoamor, there is a private hideaway overlooking the sea: Las Colinas Beach Club. It is the perfect place to get away from it all and to enjoy the sun, sand and sea: reclining on a sun bed beside the infinity pool or sitting on the deck of the café bar among magnificent palm trees, with idyllic views over the Mediterranean. | 35



turf health solutions

Turf Health Solutions from Bernhard & Co Angelique Crosnier of Bernhard and Company discusses the various turf health solutions that are on offer to ensure that your golf course remains in pristine condition. Quality is vital in today’s amenity turf market because of the focus on the environment and demands on maintenance budgets. Turf health is what every greenkeeper aims to achieve in order to provide the best presentation on the golf course. At a time when chemicals are being scrutinised, there are ways that can help your facility provide the healthiest grass and the best presentation. To do so, you need to achieve the optimal conditions of air, light and nutrition. This can be done through the right equipment and the knowledge of its correct use. Air or the lack of it, is a major factor limiting turf health. In a pocketed green surrounded by trees for instance, if grass is not transpiring correctly, it will not be able to cool itself down, reducing the plant physiological abilities to recover and increasing the susceptibility for diseases. TurfBreeze fans have been developed to provide appropriate airflow on the surface. The wind blowing on the grass helps the evapotranspiration process, cooling down the canopy and reducing soil temperatures, keeping humidity controlled and drying out excess moisture. Excess moisture is a factor that many golf courses in Europe suffer from. SubAir systems provide both vacuum and pressure modes, distributing water once it accumulates on the surface, pulling air and water down to the soil profile and pushing it out through the drainage pipes. In pressure mode, SubAir introduces fresh air into the plant, assisting with temperature moderation.

36 | GMé November 2018

Incorporating SubAir technology into your routine turf management will extend the life of the plant surface and simplify water management. It will also provide daily aeration to increase stronger plant properties and reduce turf threatening conditions. Without disrupting the surface, you can deliver one of the most effective aeration programmes without having to put machines on the course. The SubAir System brings many benefits including the ability to control the temperature of the root zone. It allows users to easily manage water usage whilst controlling the water delivery to the root system. Excessive rainfall can also be dealt with by using the system to take the water down through the root zone 36 times faster than any other method. Being able to provide the optimum balance of oxygen and moisture to the root zone is integral when growing and maintaining world class playing surfaces. Shade problems and the lack of light are elements that will also affect turf health. Lighting rigs will provide the plant with PAR (photosynthetically active radiation). It refers to all the wavelengths of light between 400 nm (violet, blue) and 700 nm (deep red), which is exactly the kind of light/energy the grass needs. HPS lamps also provide radiation heat. The balance between soil temperature, air temperature and the PAR light is the most important factor in growth yield and plant health. Supplementary lights are able to distribute optimal light intensity, increasing soil profile temperature, stimulating growth and resulting in a stronger root

“Bernhard’s turf health solutions are used at top 100 courses and famous sporting venues around the world”

system, healthier grass with better yearround playability. It is used to treat turf areas that are suffering the effects of lack of light. When grass does not receive enough energy for photosynthesis, it will present thinner leaves, elongation of the blade, depletion of carbohydrate reserves and even the roots will be affected through depth reduction. Consequently, you will see an overall unhealthy and unappealing grass that suffers more from damage from wear and is more susceptible to diseases. A lighting rig works as a substitute of natural light, providing to the plant enough energy for its own maintenance. Just through light, your greenkeeping team will prevent shade and wear and tear problems and considerably reduce the use of irrigation, chemical applications and resources for recovering: an economical, sustainable and healthy solution.


Sharpening lawnmower blades will ensure golf courses can benefit from a cleaner cut, minimising the damage to turf and improving turf health, disease and drought resistance. Repairing and regenerating the plants requires a greater demand for chemicals, driving up costs and impacting budgets. Agronomically speaking, a reduction in the use of water, fertiliser, fungicide and the correct use of top-dressing is a benefit. Through sharp blades, not only is the use of these expensive consumables decreased, but also costs associated with handling of the materials, generating electricity to pump water and even fuel consumption reductions. Going a step further, one can translate fuel reduction into increased mower life, reduced engine wear, fewer replacement parts – and it soon becomes clear that the benefits are very attractive to your facility’s bottom line.

Most importantly, the most visible benefit for a golf course will be in the playing conditions enjoyed by golfers as perfectly demonstrated at Le Golf National for the 2018 Ryder Cup. A specialist in sports turf technology, Bernhard and Company is committed to providing leading turf care solutions to golf course and pitch care specialists worldwide. From blade sharpening systems to sports surface air movement and moisture control solutions and supplementary lighting solutions, the Bernhard product portfolio is focused on providing its customers with world-class playability. Bernhard’s turf health solutions are used at top 100 courses and famous sporting venues around the world, and Bernhard and Company pride themselves in supporting your course and working with you to provide you with the best possible long-term solution to your turf problems. GMé | 37


Green, Tee & Bunker Reconstruction Drainage Schemes, Lakes & Reservoirs Practice Facilities Tel: 0116 269 6766

If you can measure it, you can manage it. Understand your members on a different level. | +00-800-1800-0400 |

38 | GMĂŠ November 2018

btme harrogate 2019

NETWORKING BTME is a great way to network with industry colleagues and meet stakeholders

BTME ‘Goes Large’ as BIGGA expands Think of Harrogate in January, and BTME conjures images of busy exhibition halls and equally busy bars and restaurants packed full of turf care professionals. But as Lauren Frazer writes, BTME is evolving with larger halls and a more extensive education programme. Europe’s largest turf management exhibition returns in January, with larger halls and a more extensive education programme than ever before. The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) is perfectly placed in the golfing calendar of northern Europe for golf course owners and operators to take advantage of the incredible wealth of industry expertise that comes together for one week in January. While most golfers are hibernating for the winter, those working in the golfing and other turf management industries come together at the Harrogate Convention Centre in North Yorkshire, England, to showcase the latest innovations across five exhibition halls and enjoy more than 250 hours of worldclass education as part of the industryleading Continue to Learn programme. Harrogate is ideally placed for over-


seas visitors to attend, with Leeds Bradford International Airport just ten miles away and excellent rail links to London and further afield. The historic spa town also has excellent hotel accommodation within a short distance of the convention centre. Over the years the show has expanded and in 2019 a new layout will see the show utilise new space within the Harrogate Convention Centre that will allow the exhibition floorspace to expand by around 25 per cent. BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “As BTME expanded over the years, it rightly gained the attention of golf greenkeepers, course owners and operators from all across Europe, drawn to Harrogate by the countless education and networking opportunities the show offers. “I’m delighted that each year we welcome so many overseas visitors into

the halls of the Harrogate Convention Centre where they can engage with Europe’s largest education programme for the turf management industry, Continue to Learn. In 2018, ten per cent of the 5,000 visitors were from outside the UK and that number seems set to continue to grow. “BTME is leading the way in education, innovation and networking for turf professionals across Europe. If you want to keep ahead of the curve, BTME is the only place to be each January.” BTME 2019 itself begins with the everpopular Welcome Celebration taking place on the opening evening. Housed in a new location in the Harrogate Convention Centre’s main auditorium, television presenter Naga Munchetty will once again host the event, which will see a number of BIGGA members recognised for their achieve- | 39



MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Elaine Jones from BIGGA discusses membership with Andy Slingsby, assistant greenkeeper from West End Golf Club

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ments throughout the year, including the announcement of the winners of the annual BIGGA Awards, revamped to coincide with the new, expanded BTME offering. At BTME, 4,800m2 of exhibition space will feature Golf Course Construction!, a product and innovation area and a TED Talk-style theatre, where short presentations will be delivered by some of the leading names in the industry. Neil Fraser, operations manager at Greenacres Artificial Grass, will be exhibiting once again at BTME and said: “We come back to BTME year-on-year primarily because it gives us an opportunity to reach out directly to large parts of our target audience in one place, rather than having to travel the country. “Harrogate provides the perfect venue for such an exhibition because of the great facilities at the Harrogate Convention Centre and the numerous bars and restaurants nearby, that can definitely help with the networking side of things! “Exhibiting at BTME also allows us to see current trends in the market and assess our client’s requirements. We never fail to learn from visitors to our stand, whether that be from knowledge that they have gained or the new problems and requirements they have. Hopefully we will have the solutions, but if not, it gives us food for thought in terms of product development. “In addition to this, it gives us the perfect platform to meet face-to-face with some of our key partners to discuss

the latest projects and plans for the coming year.” As always, Continue to Learn will kick off the week. Taking place from Sunday 20 to Wednesday January 23, the association’s Learning & Development team has put together its largest-ever package of education. There will be a Deputies’ Conference, a Links Forum, an Ecology and the Environment Forum sponsored by Aquatrols and a panel discussion looking at how the industry will change in light of The R&A’s Golf Course 2030 plan. Among the speakers will be Craig Cameron, course superintendent at Golf Club St Leon-Rot in Germany and Steve Chappell, golf course superintendent at Royal Bled Golf Club in Slovenia, giving a European feel to the event. Throughout the show itself, which runs from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 January, there has been an increased offering for members, including more social space for networking and a larger BIGGA stand featuring a Wellness Area where skin cancer screening, hearing screening and mental health advice will take place. Croxton added: “The expansion of BTME arose due to the exhibition’s incredible popularity among our exhibitors, of which in 2018 there were more than 140, and we’re due to expand on that number this year. “In providing more space, we had the opportunity to create a greatly improved visitor experience, further enhancing BTME’s position as the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.” GMé

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rain bird

Rain Bird designed for Drought Defence With recent summers across Europe reaching near record temperatures, Castelconturbia Golf in Italy – designed by RTJ II – turned to irrigation experts Rain Bird for guidance in order to maintain their course in pristine condition. Article by Ellie Parry.

42 | GMé November 2018 ITALIAN BY DESIGN The picturesque clubhouse at Castelconturbia Golf (main picture) and right, one of the fairways

With scorching summer temperatures and predictions about conditions in southern Europe getting tougher, the 2017 drought was the spur that prompted Castelconturbia Golf’s decision to invest in a new irrigation system. South of Lake Maggiore, Castelconturbia Golf is one of the most desirable golfing venues in the north of Italy. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the course covers over a million square metres of gently undulating Italian countryside against the backdrop of the mountainous massif, Monte Rosa. Severe drought in 2017 proved to be very challenging for this top-rated, 27-hole course. After an unusually dry spring, Italy suffered its worst drought in 60 years. At one point 26 cities including Venice and Rome were placed on the maximum extreme heat alert, many of Rome’s fountains were turned off and the city narrowly averted drastic water rationing. A brutal August heatwave nicknamed ‘Lucifer’ saw temperatures soaring over 40ºc. Although Castelconturbia Golf had its own water source, those extreme summer temperatures resulted in low reservoir levels and lakes and wells

that simply failed to refill. No surprise then that the club’s irrigation system struggled to cope. Once water use was capped, the quality of the course, play and the member’s experience were badly affected. Club director, Giovanni Malcotti explains: “Since the course was built in 1986, our irrigation system had served us very well and in all that time we’d only made one significant improvement by adding the double rank system. “But after 30 years the plant was showing signs of structural weakness which meant turning the system off for repairs, which was not effective and also affected the quality of the turf. “For Castelconturbia which needs to maintain its highest standards, the quality golf experience was being put at risk by plant obsolescence. The second negative aspect which affected our motivation for investment was an economic one. “Stopping the system for maintenance meant extra working hours and spare parts which weighed heavily on the club’s overall budget and continually disrupted planned schedules for staff working on the course,” continued Malcotti.

“For Castelconturbia which needs to maintain its highest standards, the quality golf experience was being put at risk” @gme | 43



rain bird

“Having evaluated the options, we shared these with our club committees and chose to use Rain Bird, for its system technology and for its great expertise in the golf sector.” Driven by the club’s urgent need to have an easy to use, easy to maintain and reliable system that would improve irrigation efficiency, irrigation consultant Lorenzo Simoni was commissioned to redesign a brand-new irrigation system for fairways, tees, greens and approaches, from the pumping station right through to the rotors. “The club’s old system would break down on a weekly basis as a result of issues with the hydraulic piping, the water pressure and the lack of a filtration system,” said Simoni. “Typically, system life expectancy is about 20 years so this 30-year old one simply could not guarantee any degree of reliability. We took account of the normal direct costs – the power, water, plus all the time that staff spent irrigating by hand and maintaining solenoid valves and sprinklers. “Then we looked at all the indirect costs; managing water flow without the pump station being optimised, the lower yield of fertilisers and plant protection products and poor growth after seeding, as well as the potential adverse impact on the club’s reputation over time,” continued Simoni.

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“All these were factors that influenced what is always a difficult decision for any club – whether to invest in more remedial work on an inefficient system which deteriorates further over time, or completely replace an old system, with modern technology and components by phasing installation over several years.” The new system design at Castelconturbia Golf – which has twice hosted the Italian Open – centres on Rain Bird’s IC™ V8 Nimbus II Central Control with MI software, Windows 10 functionality and mapping. On the fairways, triple rows of Rain Bird 751 rotors will provide easy, topadjustable full and part-circle operation and use a lot less hardware and wiring compared to a system using satellite and decoders. Rain Bird’s latest 500/550 rotors are being installed on the tees and will make watering precise. As part of the tender process, with input from the irrigation consultant, Rain Bird’s technical team, the contractor and client, the project was divided into three distinct phases, with a clear plan for each of the three teams working on each phase. Two of the four contractors who tendered also agreed to work together to shorten the overall project timeline. At the end of July 2018, phase one irrigation for the driving range had been completed ahead of schedule with over 50 per cent of the main cable

line installed, connected to rotors and running on Rain Bird’s IC™ system. Playing surfaces recovered quickly and showed little scarring. The club was delighted that work was done on tees, rough and perimeter without closing off holes and golfers were back playing on fairways after just two weeks. The club then allowed work to continue over the summer bringing forward the second phase, irrigating the first 14 holes to the south and four to the east of the course. Depending on weather over the winter months, it is very likely that the final third phase for the remaining holes on the north side could be finished by April 2019 with the final handover at end of 2019 achieved earlier than the club had originally anticipated. Adriano Notarianni, Rain Bird’s golf sales manager for Italy & Malta added: “As phase one drew to a close the club also appointed a new greenkeeper who has been using our Rain Bird PC based system. Having used many other systems before, he tells me that Rain Bird’s IC™ is much easier to use and practical too. “While weather patterns remain as unpredictable as ever, having the most advanced technology available gives the club’s greenkeeping team a great fighting chance when it comes to having a more robust defence against drought in place.” GMé


jonas club

HOME RUN The headquarters of Jonas in Canada

INTERIOR DESIGN The new-look clubhouse interior at The Wisley

Jonas Club the best choice for Glendinning An avid user of Jonas Club management software, CEO of The Wisley, John Glendinning, talks to Michael Lenihan about how the system benefits his position at the Surrey club. When you have a club as prestigious as The Wisley in your corner, one could be forgiven for thinking that the world – or in the very least Europe – was your oyster. But for Jonas Club Software, the Canadian-based global leader in management software for the leisure industry, cracking the UK and European market has, to-date, proved a little harder than envisaged. And with 80 clients in the EMEA region compared to over 2,300 worldwide, clearly there are a high number of clubs not fully appreciating just how much of a difference installing a Jonas system can make to their day-to-day lives. Step in John Glendinning, CEO of The Wisley in Surrey, and a member of the Jonas steering committee, which was setup specifically to bridge the gap between the software developers and the users at the sharp end.

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Although Glendinning inherited a Jonas system when he took over the role of CEO from Wayne Sheffield in 2016, Glendinning was already sold on the Jonas concept and was in the process of commissioning the system at his former employer, Close House near Newcastle. And when asked why he chose Jonas over the myriad of other suppliers in the market, the answer was clear and concise: “Quality.” Glendinning is rapidly forging a reputation as one of golf’s prominent leaders in club management, so when he says that the Jonas system is one of the best there is, his comments carry some authority. “One of the primary reasons why I endorse the Jonas brand is due to the number of top-end clubs around the world that continue to use the system,” he said. “There’s a confidence in the brand, and as we’ve been using the Jonas

HIGH PRAISE John Glendinning, CEO of The Wisley who uses the Jonas Club software at the prestigious club

system here at The Wisley since 2005, we know the system inside and out. “The Wisley was one of the first clubs in the UK to install Jonas,” added Glendinning, “and throughout my time here, the quality of the customer service – not to mention the ease of use – has been excellent. “We have a 24/7 support line, and the support team can respond to any issues quickly and professionally. “When I was at Close House, I recall demoing other systems, yet none came anywhere close to Jonas. But it’s not just my opinion that counts – last year, I spent some time with Jonas in Nashville and met with my peers from leading clubs across the US, many of whom have looked at and continue to test other


alternatives, only to continually return to Jonas. “Jonas Club Software is high-end software which is perhaps more relevant to the top clubs,” added Glendinning. “Changing any element of your management system can be filled with fear, and when there is a cost difference between the system that you’ve been merely living with, and the system which you know would make the running of your club operation far simpler, all too often it’s easy to remain with the status quo. “But if you can get past the fear factor, the benefits far outweigh the negatives, and I for one would never look anywhere else.” High praise indeed for an Enterprise Management System that is one of the

most customisable available in the club industry today. Seamless integration between over 60 applications ensures accuracy, eliminates manual effort for club management and staff whilst providing exceptional member experiences. And it is these member experiences that continue to drive the team at Jonas forward, as Trevor Coughlan, director of marketing explains: “We do our best to know the industry well and understand what makes clubs unique. “Because we provide custom solutions, tailored to the unique needs of each geographic area, we have ample experience overcoming differences in language, payroll, tax, golf rules, and more. | 47



jonas club

FINISHING TOUCHES The clubhouse at The Wisley with the final green on the Mill Course in front

“we work with our clients, every step of the way, to ensure that they have the right mix of software, communication and service solutions. It’s that simple.”

48 | GMé November 2018

“Our solutions are fully integrated, allowing clubs to handle their business information once. This adds efficiency, accuracy, and decreases redundant, and often manual, efforts between point of sale, membership, banquet and catering, financials, billing, payroll, purchasing, and inventory departments. “In order to get this right, we work with our clients, every step of the way, to ensure that they have the right mix of software, communication and service solutions. It’s that simple.” Besides heavily investing in R&D, Jonas has a truly innovative approach to golf, and in particular the sensitive subject of pricing, as Coughlan continues: “As with any good investment, software should continue to grow, meeting the ever-changing needs of the business it serves. It should remain dynamic and protected against time. “Our Software for Life Maintenance Policy is our commitment to accommodating rapidly changing business environments and reflects our continual consideration of the trends and economic realities that impact our clients daily operations. “In its simplest terms, this is our commitment to continually enhancing

the software our clients have purchased, and the result is more than 300 enhancements to the system each year,” concluded Coughlan. So, in the long-term, the cost-factor becomes less of an issue, with the focus shifting back towards the software, and how it can benefit your club and you as a club manager. But let’s not forget about another important element of the offering… your membership. “One of the more recent developments has been the club app,” added Glendinning. “As a private members club, our members want all the club information and bookings at their fingertips and available on multiple devices, and the latest developments have streamlined all the online processes. “The improvements have really been noticeable, and the membership has really benefitted from the upgrades that Jonas have continued to implement. “One of the straplines that the company uses in its marketing is ‘understand your members on a different level’ and talking from experience, that statement is so accurate. “Jonas helps me be a better manager, and that alone is a price worth paying,” concluded Glendinning. GMé

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TURF HEALTH SOLUTIONS Bernhard and Company is a specialist in sports turf technology, committed to providing leading turf care solutions to golf course and pitch care specialists worldwide. From blade sharpening systems, sports surface air movement and moisture control to supplementary lighting, we will provide you with the solution to achieve the best turf quality and playability.






signing off

“I struggle to even comprehend why a golf club would regard ‘trainer socks’ as unacceptable all the while the golfer is happy to wear them”

Why does golf continue to Shoot itself in the foot (or sock)? Twice in 24 hours recently I saw golfers on Twitter complaining about the way they’d been treated at golf clubs merely because they were wearing ‘inappropriate’ socks with shorts. Firstly, they’re socks – how the hell can they be inappropriate unless they have obscene images or phrases on them? Socks are there to provide a barrier between one’s shoes and one’s feet. If they do that job, surely they’re appropriate. I struggle to even comprehend why a golf club would regard ‘trainer socks’ as unacceptable all the while the golfer is happy to wear them – don’t though, you’ll regret it. But insisting on knee-length white socks in 2018? Again, I could understand it if golf was proven to cause deep-vein thrombosis and knee-length compression socks might prevent litigation. But none of this is the case. The two examples on Twitter were merely a result of archaic and draconian club rules, which should have been put to the sword ... well, once people stopped wearing swords in the clubhouse. One of the clubs concerned lost out on a £60 green fee because the visiting golfer – who had the audacity to wear black socks – balked at being asked to pay £7.50 to purchase an ‘appropriate’ pair of white socks from the pro shop. Kudos to him. The other club, while turning up its snooty nose at white sports socks, was perfectly happy when the golfer concerned returned to his car and put on white, knee-length football socks instead. How is that an improvement?

50 | GMé November 2018

DRESSED TO UNIMPRESS Appropriate sock attire for the golf course?

Football shirts aren’t permitted, but club socks? Yeah, that’s fine… Golf really does need to stop shooting itself in the foot. For every Ryder Cup which cultivates massive interest and column inches for the sport, there are dozens of incidents such as these which get shared on social media and put people off visiting golf clubs – particularly young people. I’m not suggesting for one second that golf lowers its standards completely, but the dress code needs to move with the times – I understand no jeans on the course, but in the clubhouse? Tour players are wearing collarless shirts, yet most clubs still demand that golfers wear shirts with a collar. The reaction of non-golfers to this is likely to be ‘what do we expect from a

sport which still allows some clubs to deny women equal rights?’. And, if you’ve been reading this magazine for the last 20-odd years and think ‘I’m sure the daft old duffer has written about this before’, I’m sure you’re right. I probably have. But I have two good reasons for doing so – nothing much has changed, and I’m a daft old duffer with a very dodgy memory. GMé

David Bowers


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