On the cover...
The Toro Company has further strengthened its relationship with The PGA after agreeing to become a PGA Partner
ÂŁ7.50 golfmanagement.eu.com Issue 128 | November 2019
The essential business magazine for every golf course owner, director of golf, CEO and general manager operating a golf facility
Following his departure from Yas Links, experienced operator Howie Roberts discusses his plans for the future after leaving Abu Dhabi
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On the agenda november 2019 24
Silcock calls AA at Gleneagles
Thanks to a helping hand from Andre Andrade, Gleneagles director of golf, Gary Silcock, opted to invest in a new fleet of E-Z-GO buggies.
Howie Roberts, post Yas
After Troon took over the management of Yas Links, former general manager Howie Roberts speaks to GMé about his proudest achievements at the Abu Dhabi facility.
Stenson opens Österåker
In September, Henrik Stenson opened Österåker in Sweden, his first venture into golf design. Design partner, Christian Lundin talks about their unlikely partnership.
A Family Affair at Son Gual
Andreas Pamer, general manager at Son Gual on Mallorca, is a unique character, who runs his father’s golf club on the sunkissed Balearic Island.
PGAs of Europe re-brand
The Confederation of Professional Golf is the new name for the PGAs of Europe following a re-brand that was unveiled at the Centurion Club recently.
GMé a shortened form of Golf Management Europe is published and distributed six times per year by Portman Publishing and Communications Limited Deben House, Main Road, Martlesham, Woodbridge IP12 4SE Telephone (44) 01394 380800 | www.portman.uk.com
Michael Lenihan Tom Bentley, David Bowers, Blair Ferguson, Aidan Patrick, Charmian Robson, Ben Sharpe, Chris Stratford, Louise Taylor
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from the publisher
“I do not understand why clubs insist on scheduling qualifying competitions that affect a hardearned handicap in the winter months”
Reduction only the sensible option for winter competitions I’m not a fair-weather golfer, far from it. I’m happy to play in almost any weather conditions, but would probably draw the line at a typhoon, and for obvious reasons, a thunderstorm. I still play through the winter months despite the frostbitten fingers and the loss of the odd toe. But I do have a tiny gripe about winter golf, and one which needs addressing at my home club in Suffolk, and countless other clubs too. For the life of me, I do not understand why clubs insist on scheduling qualifying competitions that affect a hard-earned handicap in the winter months. My view – and I know from talking to a few other curmudgeons of my acquaintance, that I’m not alone – is that once winter rules are in play, if clubs wish to continue to schedule medals and stablefords, then they should be ‘reduction’ only. Winter golf is a completely different game to the rest of the year – and it’s a hard enough sport at the best of times. In winter the ball doesn’t fly or roll as far as it would in the summer (or even the spring and autumn) and, as a consequence, the ‘average’ golfer will need play really well, consistently, merely to retain a handicap they’ve spent the last nine months establishing. To get in one’s handicap buffer is akin to actually winning the event – and for some of us, myself included, that’s as close as we’ll ever come. Last year my handicap was edging up 0.1 every time I played in the winter
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RAIN DANCE The ‘joy’of winter golf
which left me faced with a Hobson’s choice. I choose either not to play in competitions – and miss out on my weekly, therapeutic golf – or accept that over the winter period my handicap will, almost certainly, increase. I realise it’s not going to increase a huge amount, but it’s the principle. What’s more, it’s hardly conducive to encouraging participation when it’s cold and damp outside, which then affects the club’s F&B and, ultimately, its bottom line. I’m not suggesting we hibernate for the winter – far from it, for, as I’ve stated, it’s essential a club’s cashflow continues along its budgeted path.
What I am strongly suggesting is to make competitions ‘reduction’ only, so when the wind and the rain really take control of one’s golf game, that dreaded 0.1 increase is not a threat, as nobody wants to be dwelling on that thought halfway through a round in a freezing blizzard. GMé
Michael Lenihan email@example.com
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Hold the front page The Toro Company has become a PGA Great Britain & Ireland Partner, further building on its previous relationship with the PGA as an Official Supplier.
“Toro has been a valued PGA Official Supplier for more than three years, so The PGA is delighted to welcome them on-board as a PGA Partner”
Cover sponsored by The Toro Company (1) 952 888 8801 firstname.lastname@example.org
6 | GMé November 2019
The Toro Company has further strengthened its relationship with The PGA after agreeing to become a PGA Partner in a milestone year for the American company. Toro first entered the golf equipment business 100 years ago with a mower designed to maintain the fairways at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Today, the US-based company has cemented itself as one of the world’s leading brands of turf and landscape maintenance equipment. Toro now has professional distributors, dealers and retailers in more than 125 countries, and offers a wide range of products for the golf course market. The company’s products are currently being used around the world at notable facilities such as Carnoustie Golf Links, St Andrews Links, Torrey Pines Golf Course and Pinehurst Resort. As part of the agreement, Toro will look to establish relationships with other PGA Partners and PGA Branded Properties to provide solutions that help golf courses maintain healthy turf and outstanding conditions for players. The partnership will also allow Toro to support The PGA National Training Academy with its educational objectives, providing educational material from
key industry experts at the continuing professional development (CPD) and degree level. Andy Brown, senior sales manager at The Toro Company, commented: “Becoming a PGA Partner is the perfect way to celebrate our landmark 100 years in the golf industry. “The PGA is at the heart of golf, and we share the same values of integrity and commitment. As a PGA Partner, we are proud to support The PGA in all of its work to advance the game and the success of the industry overall.” Robert Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, added: “Toro has been a valued PGA Official Supplier for more than three years, so The PGA is delighted to welcome them on-board as a PGA Partner as they celebrate 100 years serving the golf industry. “Many PGA Members work closely with greenkeeping staff on a day-to-day basis and through Toro, they have a unique opportunity to expand their knowledge base. We look forward to continuing our relationship with one of the most trusted brands in turf landscape and maintenance. “We recognise Toro as the leader in their field and the company offers a great service to PGA Members,” added Maxwell. GMé
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World Handicap System gears up for November 2020 launch date The current Golf Handicapping System maintained by CONGU will be replaced by the Worldwide Handicap System (WHS) which will unify the six different structures presently in operation throughout the world of golf. With one single, global system in place for the first time, golfers will be able to obtain and maintain a handicap index and use this on any course around the world. In addition they will be able to compete or simply play a casual round with fellow golfers anywhere on a fair and equal basis. As well as encouraging players new to the sport to obtain a handicap with ease, the WHS will also modernise the game for those already well versed in the game of golf. Under the new system a player’s handicap will be based on the average of eight best scores from their last 20 rounds. WHS will also take into account factors currently not fully represented in the existing handicapping procedure through a course and slope rating system. “We believe the introduction of the new World Handicap System will have a hugely positive impact for golf around the globe,” said England Golf CEO Nick Pink. “Our team are working hard to deliver the transition from the current system to WHS and will continue to confer with the clubs, counties and our technology
Handicaps around the world will look very different
partners to ensure that everything runs to plan ahead of the start date.” CONGU, the United States Golf Association, Golf Australia, the European Golf Association, the South African Golf Association and the Argentine Golf Association represent around 15 million golfers in 80 countries who currently maintain a handicap. The aligning of all six handicapping authorities behind the WHS is a hugely significant step in the modernisation of golf across the globe, which has been
introduced under the auspices of the USGA and The R&A. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A said: “The R&A’s purpose is to ensure golf is thriving in 50 years’ time and the World Handicap System (WHS) is one of the key ways in which we can ensure the long-term health of the sport. “We all want to encourage more people to take up golf and having a handicap which provides an accurate measure of playing ability is one of the best ways of achieving that.”
Singapore’s Walton Heath signs stroke of Genius Women in Golf Charter Golf Genius has continued to develop its international network by agreeing to a three-year partnership with the Singapore Golf Association. From January 2020, all Singapore GA tournaments will be powered through Golf Genius’ tournament management software, aligning the organisation with many of the game’s leaders across the Asia-Pacific region and around the globe. Commenting on the new partnership, Jerome Ng, general manager, Singapore GA said: “This is a very exciting step for the organisation, and I am confident that Golf Genius’ industry-leading software will enhance the quality and efficiency of our golf tournaments.” Trusted by the USGA and operating in over 40 countries worldwide, Mike Zisman, president, and CEO of Golf Genius, added: “We are delighted to be working with the Singapore Golf Association to support their tournament needs and provide a fantastic experience for golfers across the country.”
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Walton Heath female golfers
Walton Heath has become the latest English club to sign up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, with the former Ryder Cup venue committing to increasing the numbers of women and girls participating in golf. This strategy will see the club actively strive to increase membership, develop women’s, girls and family golf while also encouraging more women to become closely involved in the administrative elements of the club.
All this is in line with The R&A’s modernising vision of growing the game and the enthusiastic adoption of a fresh approach has already started paying dividends for the popular Surrey club. Walton Heath captain Alison Taylor and Kate Hill, who sits on the club’s general committee, are leading the drive as Taylor explained: “We already have an academy that started in 2016. It has been very successful and nine women have graduated to full membership this year. “Everyone in the academy has a mentor to help them integrate into the club. In addition to group and individual lessons run by the professionals, there are regular playing sessions with mentors. “We are now also hoping to introduce a similar initiative for girls.” Hill added: ‘’Among the seven core commitments which form the basis of the Walton Heath Charter is a desire to increase the ladies’ section to a minimum of 120 playing members.”
Burhill Group invests in significant new Club Car fleet
In brief... Cornwall’s 36-hole St Mellion International Resort is soaring after reporting a 20 per cent rise in group golf in 2019, as an increasing number of golfers take their holidays on home soil during a time of Brexit uncertainty. This year, groups who would normally book golfing trips in Spain or Portugal have instead been turning to St Mellion, a ‘bucket list’ destination for many golfers because of its famed Nicklaus Signature Course. The PGA Tour and Golfbreaks have announced a strategic partnership where the PGA Tour has taken a minority shareholding in Golfbreaks Limited, the UK parent company. This investment marks the PGA Tour’s entry into the global golf travel industry and underpins its commitment to fan engagement and growing the game of golf, with Golfbreaks now looking to accelerate the expansion of its North American business under the ‘Golfbreaks by PGA Tour’ brand. Portugal’s Troia Resort will be one of the highlights of the Global Junior Golf Tour next year as young golfers from across the world are invited to the home of one of Europe’s best courses. Troia’s championship course, renowned for its breathtaking sea views and challenging links holes, will host the tournament for the first time early next year – and the event is open to any youngster, aged between 12 and 18, looking to take their game to the next level. Troon has been appointed to provide golf course development services to the new Rumanza Golf Course, in Multan, the 133km2 residential community in Pakistan. “A golf course of this quality in Multan has the potential to change the positioning of golf in Pakistan,” commented Mark Chapleski, president of Troon International.
Club Car has delivered a new fleet of 175 golf vehicles – consisting of 162 new Tempo golf cars and 11 Precedent cars – to multi-course owner, Burhill Group Ltd. It is the fourth Club Car fleet the golf and leisure group has invested in over the past 11 years, underlining BGL’s commitment to maintaining the highest standard of customer experience at its ten UK golf venues. Colin Mayes, CEO of Burhill Group Ltd, said: “By upgrading our fleet to the latest Club Car models we know that we’re getting a reliable product that is easy to work with and that our customers will value the comfort and look of the cars. “Managing the vehicles at each of our venues has been easy and using Club Car has served us well over the course of our partnership. We look forward to that continuing and many more years of a positive relationship.” Delivered by Club Car’s UK dealer, Bradshaw, the high-spec vehicles feature a rust-proof aluminium frame, new alloy wheels, premium comfort seats and a spacious dashboard, as well as proven engineering and industry-leading durability, designed to deliver enhanced ride comfort. The new fleet comes on the back of significant investment across the
BGL portfolio of golf venues, including enhanced facilities and improved sustainability measures both on and off its golf courses. Furthermore, BGL recently reported an increase of 25 per cent in golf club membership over the past four years. Kevin Hart, sales director golf for Club Car Europe, Middle East and Africa, says: “BGL is a leader and innovator in the industry, and the root of that success is its clear, customer-centric ethos. “Club Car has an important role to play in the customer experience at contemporary golf venues and we greatly value the endorsement of the quality and reliability of our products, and the successful long-term commercial partnership we have with BGL.”
Colin Mayes, CEO of Burhill Group
Leadbetter University coach shares knowledge
One of David Leadbetter’s trusted lieutenants believes the knowledge available on the new online coaching platform can help rebuild a professional career and provide the knowledge for sustained coaching success. Sean Hogan – a key contributor for the new Leadbetter Golf University – established himself as master instructor under the wing of the legendary golf coach and has since forged his own reputation as one of the world’s leading coaches.
Originally from Dublin, Hogan has worked with PGA Tour winners including Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Trevor Immelman and Lydia Ko. But his module Evolution of the Golf Swing for the Leadbetter Golf University aims to pass on some of that knowledge which helped resurrect the career of Westwood after he plummeted down the world rankings before rediscovering the form that spurred him on to another 21 professional victories and seven further Ryder Cup appearances. Hogan explained: “I share David’s philosophy which is always about helping people get better, whether those are Major champions, elite-level players or those ‘weekend warriors’. “It’s been a fantastic coaching journey for me and I feel privileged to have been able to work with some incredible players who have gone on to achieve great things in the game. “Looking back, working with Lee Westwood back in 2003 was very satisfying and I always look back on that with a lot of pride.”
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Golf Saudi showcases the power of the game at Future Investment Initiative Golf Saudi has reaffirmed its status as one of the world’s most dynamic new golf markets after a series of industry events at the Future Investment Initiative. Held in the Kingdom’s capital city, Riyadh, the three-day programme of events was an opportunity for global leaders, investors and innovators to debate the future of global investment across several important sectors, including the golf industry. Central to this was an expert panel discussion, featuring Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of both the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi; Ernie Els, a four-time Major Champion, architect and former world number one; Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour and Camilla Lennarth, a Ladies European Tour winner. “This week has been a fantastic showcase for the Kingdom and proof that golf in Saudi really does mean business,” said Al-Sorour, who was instrumental in the staging of the inaugural Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers this year. “Not only was this the perfect time to debate the issues in the game today, it was a fantastic opportunity to talk about solutions and the role emerging markets such as Golf Saudi can play in that. This is an exciting time for the sport.” Debating the issues at the heart of the golf industry, in addition to their
preferred solutions, this was also an opportunity to discuss the role that a dynamic new market such as Saudi Arabia can play in influencing the future direction of golf – both in the Kingdom itself and internationally. “The Middle East has always been a very important part of our schedule,” said Pelley, who first joined the European Tour in 2015. “The climate here is terrific, the amenities are first-rate, and the golf courses are exceptional. Golf Saudi wants to use the game to transform the coun-
Property award for Las Colinas
New identity for golf at Tewkesbury Park
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club has triumphed at the 2019 European Property Awards for the second consecutive year. The award celebrates the highest levels of achievement and cements the resort’s reputation as one of Spain’s leading residential developments. Cristobal Guerrero, managing director of Las Colinas, commented: “To be awarded in the prestigious European Property Awards again recognises that Las Colinas continues to lead the way in the sustainable property industry in Europe. “The resort has a synergy with the natural environment, using the indigenous flora, fauna and topography to its advantage while simultaneously protecting and preserving it for generations to come. “This achievement signifies that the high quality and sustainability of the villas and apartments for sale at Las Colinas makes them the perfect choice for a first or second home.”
Tewkesbury Park, which is building a reputation as one of the UK’s finest golf resorts after a recent £10m investment, has new names for its two golf courses. The Deerpark is the new name for Tewkesbury Park’s 6,554 yard Par 72 18-hole course, a PGA tournament venue which is built on the town’s old medieval deer park. The 200-acre site was originally stocked with hundreds of deer in 1187 and the park remained a popular attraction for Tewkesbury residents for approximately 400 years. In the century following 1471’s Battle of Tewkesbury, a crucial turning point in the Wars of the Roses which took place on the historic Bloody Meadow adjacent to the park, the deerpark was gradually converted to agricultural land and in 1770 John and Mary Wall built the manor house which now sits at the heart of the resort. The Deerpark was originally designed in 1976 by famed Dutch golf course
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(L-R) Moderator Robbie Greenfield, with Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation
try and there is no question that Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of helping us to develop the game. Our game is so much about inclusivity and it’s fantastic that the Saudi Golf Federation shares that vision.” The expert panel was followed by a welcome reception attended by Saudi dignitaries alongside a host of leading professional golfers and industry stakeholders, and the following day, the first ‘Golf Means Business’ Pro-Am was held at Nofa Golf Resort.
architect Frank Pennink, and in 2016 Peter McEvoy upgraded The Deerpark with an extensive re-bunkering programme at the heart of the renovation. Tewkesbury Park’s Par 3 course has also been renamed as The Acorn, to honour the many magnificent old oak trees which are the hallmark of the property. The Acorn, which is ideal as a warmup or as a short course for beginners, was recently extended to nine holes.
The Deerpark Course
‘Specialist in Golf Course Construction’ Repton Short Course at Rudding Park Royal Birkdale, Royal St George’s Carnoustie, Goodwood
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Glenmuir acquires global rights to Sunderland of Scotland Sunderland of Scotland, the leading technical golf wear brand, has been acquired by Glenmuir, the Scottish golf clothing brand. The historic agreement brings together Scotland’s most loved golf brands with a combined 230 years of golfing heritage between them. Effective from January 1, 2020, Glenmuir will own the global rights and distribution for the Sunderland of Scotland brand outside of Asia. The agreement follows on from a successful ten year partnership where Glenmuir were the European distributor for the Sunderland brand. Both brands, in addition to the MacWet golf rain glove brand, will continue to be designed, marketed, embroidered, finished and distributed from Glenmuir’s Lanark headquarters in the heart of Scotland with no changes to employment planned. Warren Sunderland, the son of Toby Sunderland who started the brand in Glasgow in 1911 commented: “We are delighted that the brand will retain its Scottish roots and heritage and is in safe
hands with such a well-respected brand like Glenmuir.” Mikhel Ruia, managing director, Glenmuir and Sunderland of Scotland added: “Both brands are a natural fit, with their respective Scottish heritage, shared brand values and focus on crafting premium quality durable products.
Greenfee 365 joins CMAE
Spink pilots love.golf initiative to Canada
The Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) has announced a partnership with tee-time booking platform Greenfee 365, a Swedish-based company that connects with golfers in 12 different languages. Commenting on the new partnership, CMAE’s director of education Torbjorn Johansson said: “We are delighted to have Greenfee 365 on-board as one of our valuable partners. “Online tee-time sales is key in a modern golf club environment and we are excited about the knowledge and expertise Greenfee 365 can bring to CMAE and our members.” Marcus Ekeberg, CEO of Greenfee 365 added: “We are very excited to announce that Greenfee365 will partner with such a trusted organisation like the CMAE. “For us the partnership with the CMAE was a very natural step as it aligns very well with our long-term engagement in the industry. The partnership will allow us to support the CMAE wherever we can, and share insights and knowledge with a relevant audience. “The partnership will also allow us to meet many club managers face-to-face, and to always have our ears to ground.” Greenfee 365 is free to join, and 100 per cent performance-based.
love.golf has launched in North America and gained the support of PGA professionals, the PGA of Canada and Golf Ontario at a pilot event in Canada. The love.golf approach, which focuses on learning golf on the course with a group of peers rather than through technical lessons on a driving range, was piloted to a group of eight passionate Canadian coaches at Blue Springs Golf Club, Ontario, ahead of a roll out in 2020. The pilot took place over two days and included a mix of theoretical and practical education. It was supported by the PGA of Canada and Golf Ontario, and headed up by love.golf head coach and founder, Alastair Spink. Matt Allen, chief innovation officer for the PGA of Canada, who first explored the possibility of bringing love.golf to the country, commented: “There have been many attempts to grow female participation in Canada which have not worked. “From the moment we met Alastair we saw real value in what he and love.golf are doing, and the pilot is a vindication of PGA of Canada’s belief in the concept and product. It’s a potential gamechanger.” During the second day, a number of women took part in a love.golf session so that Canadian professionals could
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Sunderland of Scotland has been acquired by Glenmuir
“They also allow us to innovate our product offering for different customers with the Glenmuir brand focussed on traditional and elegant golf wear whilst Sunderland of Scotland is our technical high performance weatherwear brand. “We remain committed to serving the on-course golf professional shop.”
see the initiative in practice. Afterwards, these women were invited to share their feedback and reflections with the group. “This was truly a watershed moment for the coaches in attendance,” added Allen. “They have been trained to coach technique for the majority of their respective careers, so this switch to seeing the benefits of emotional and aesthetic learning was a profound one.” love.golf head coach and founder, Alastair Spink, added: “I have been blown away by the enthusiasm and appetite of the Canadian coaching community. “Their desire and open-mindedness to try something completely different was palpable during the two days, and I look forward to helping them develop and market love.golf in the coming months.”
love.golf in Canada
Movers & Shakers A brief pictorial round-up of some of the individuals shaping the golf business, including news that Gary Beves has taken over from Stuart Gillett as general manager at Goodwood.
In brief... Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond has added The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, venue for the Australian Open last November, to its list of 33 clubs in 15 countries with whom it shares reciprocal playing arrangements for members. The Lakes Golf Club becomes the ninth golf club in Australia to share reciprocal playing arrangements with Royal Mid-Surrey – along with Royal Adelaide, Royal Canberra, Royal Freemantle, Royal Hobart, Royal Melbourne, Royal Perth, Royal Queensland and Royal Sydney. Specialist sports and tourism agency Azalea has appointed luxury sector specialist Neil Docking as the company’s new head of partnerships. Docking, a former golf professional, has vast experience of the luxury business and travel sectors having worked in a number of specialist roles worldwide over the last 14 years, most notably for global travel and lifestyle concierge services Ten Group and Quintessentially. IT support specialist Silverbug has strengthened its reputation in golf by agreeing to extend its PGA Partnership status for another two years. The Milton Keynes-based firm was founded in 2002 by Owen Daley ,and delivers business-shaped technology solutions to a variety of industries. A trusted partner to some of the biggest names in IT, Silverbug has been advising The PGA and its 8,000 members on a variety of IT needs. PR agency Quatro has expanded its UK presence by opening its first base in Scotland following a continued growth in business, particularly in the energy and planning consultation sectors. Quatro, with headquarters in London, has acquired the team of Scottish agency System2 which enhances its presence across three seats of government in the UK.
Golf At Goodwood has appointed Gary Beves as general manager, replacing Stuart Gillet who has assumed a new role with European Tour Destinations. Beves started his career at Goodwood in 2007 when he completed his PGA training.
Sophie Burke has been appointed by Burhill Golf & Leisure to oversee all group marketing activities as group head of marketing, having served as head of marketing for BGL’s golf division for the past four years.
Led by PGA professional Amy Millward, the Claude Harmon III (CH3) Golf Performance Academy at The Els Club will become the first venue in the Middle East to introduce the awardwinning love.golf programme.
The Grove has appointment Tom Minshull as its new head PGA professional, who will oversee a team of five, taking day-to-day responsibility for managing the golf shop and leading the venue’s busy tuition programmes.
Foremost Golf has appointed IT expert, Tom Law, to support the development of the group’s digital marketing projects. With over 20 years of digital design expertise, Law will oversee all of Foremost’s digital touchpoints.
59club, the customer service, sales analysis and training provider, has enhanced its rapidly accelerating global footprint with the opening of a dedicated office in Dubai, signalling the official launch of 59club Middle East and Africa.
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Pro Shop & Retail A brief pictorial round-up of events from the retail side of the industry, including news that HONMA has introduced a new range of game improvement clubs.
In brief... Motocaddy has sold a majority stake in the company to a private investment group in a move designed to expand the business further on a global scale. The company formed 15 years ago retains its senior management team, while the Ethos Partners private investment group is strengthening the Board with the introduction of former KPMG Chartered Accountant Brian Phillips as the new chairman. The UK Golf Federation has announced that TGI Golf will become the body’s official retail partner in an arrangement that will give its members access to the group’s full suite of benefits. With more than 350 proprietary-owned golf facilities as members, the UK Golf Federation provides support in many business aspects and is now extending this support to include retail. Leading golf shaft brand KBS has completed the full set of club shafts with the addition of the new TD Graphite wood shaft to its Touracclaimed irons, wedges, hybrids and putter shafts. The most soughtafter shaft supplier in aftermarket fittings, KBS has responded to strong demand from Tour players and amateur golfers from around the world to launch its first entry into the driver/fairway wood market by renowned designer Kim Braly. Following the recent confirmation of Golfbreaks’ partnership extension as a Principle Partner of the PGA, the company has announced the launch of its exclusive Pro Travel Partner Programme. Working with a select group of ten professionals from across the UK, the exclusive programme will offer additional booking benefits in recognition of the loyalty given by the group since Golfbreaks first started catering to golf professional bookings over a decade ago.
HONMA has added a new range of clubs to its renowned T//WORLD Series aimed at golfers looking for confidenceinspiring game improvement performance, as well as stylish design features and top-quality build.
Arccos Golf has joined forces with SuperStroke to launch an accessory that enables its Arccos Caddie Sensors to be seamlessly integrated into all SuperStroke CounterCore and Traxion putter grips with an existing Tech-Port.
Motocaddy is giving trolley users a winter boost with the addition of its ‘plug and play’ Hot Mitts – providing maximum comfort in cold conditions – to a growing collection of game-enhancing accessories.
Inspired by the growing number of American university and college golf teams adopting its range of logoed Stand and Cart bags for competitive matches, Sun Mountain is now launching a similar Collegiate Programme in the UK.
Nippon Shaft has introduced its new N.S.PRO MODUS³ Hybrid Graphite On Steel Technology, or simply N.S. PRO MODUS³ Hybrid, the first hybrid shaft made of steel and graphite designed to bring the best of both materials together.
Golf Pride Grips has introduced its all new PRO ONLY™ putter grip series. As the leading manufacturer of putter grips trusted on Tour, Golf Pride has modernised the classic styles preferred by the world’s best putters.
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That’s Setting New Standards
R&A St Andrews Penha Longa The K Club Portmarnock Aphrodite Hills The International Royal Óbidos
Machinery & Turf A brief pictorial round-up of course management related events including news that Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the Biral lightning warning system.
In brief... Europe’s largest provider of grounds maintenance and landscape construction services, id verde, has signed a contract with The Toro Company. The new agreement establishes a three-year partnership with Toro as a preferred supplier to idVerde’s network of locations throughout France, the UK and the Netherlands. The Nicklaus Companies have signed a strategic golf marketing relationship with Atlas Turf International. To date, Nicklaus Companies and Atlas Turf have collaborated on more than a dozen golf projects in 11 countries for grassing of some of the top golf courses in the world. John Reese, CEO of Nicklaus Companies, said: “We have enjoyed a long, positive working relationship over the years and ultimately our clients stand to benefit.” The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and ICL have announced the five successful recipients of the fourth ICL Continue to Learn Scholarship. The successful BIGGA members are: William Curran, greenkeeper, Beaverbrook Golf Club; Phil Worth, head greenkeeper, Macclesfield Golf Club; Thomas Tomlinson, assistant greenkeeper, Boldon Golf Club; Joe Lamb, assistant greenkeeper, West Herts Golf Club and Melissa Winkworth, assistant greenkeeper, Goring and Streatley Golf Club. Essex-based Swan Golf Designs is to create a schedule of autumn and winter improvement work at Aspley Guise & Woburn Sands GC, in Bedfordshire. The family-owned practice is currently undertaking the initial assessment process for changes to the heathland/parkland course designed initially by 1902 Open champion Sandy Herd and then Robert Sandow – the first nine holes of which date from 1914.
Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the BTD-200 lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialists Biral, which can give course managers and greenkeepers up to 20 minutes to alert members.
Oulton Hall greenkeeper James Dawson has enjoyed quite a month in October: he was runner-up in the prestigious Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award 2019 and also became a father for the first time.
Ransomes Jacobsen, has added 12 new engineering trainees to their successful apprenticeship scheme. The programme is now into its seventh year with 27 local apprentices working in all areas of the manufacturing process.
Germinal has announced that it has gained exclusive UK, Ireland and European distribution rights for new browntop bentgrass cultivar, Musket, and that the new variety will be included in the company’s range in 2020.
Campey Turf Care Systems exhibited the new AllTrec Tool Carrier for the first time at SALTEX recently. The Dutch made machine is 100 per cent electric resulting in zero CO2 emissions and very low operating costs.
Hamilton Golf Club in Scotland, has opted for Toro for its irrigation refit. Course manager Bruce Cruickshak credited the Lynx central control system and Infinity sprinklers for being “years ahead of the competition.”
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“Going with new lithium battery buggies with the TFM system means we are at the forefront of the guest experience”
Silcock calls AA to Drive five-star service Thanks to a helping push from Andre Andrade, Gleneagles director of golf, Gary Silcock, opted to invest in a new fleet of E-Z-GO buggies, in order to drive the Scottish resort forward. Words by Blair Ferguson. READY FOR ACTION The E-Z-GO fleet at Gleneagles
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Since joining Gleneagles in March 2015, director of golf, Gary Silcock, has been on a four-year journey to provide a premium experience for golfers of all abilities from hotel guests to Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup competitors. Keeping the ‘Gleneagles experience’ at the cutting edge requires extensive research and investment. It’s as much about listening to what golfers at a premium course want as it is supplying them with technology they haven’t experienced. Fulfilling a set of practical and impressive criteria was top of the agenda when replacing Gleneagles’ previous fleet of buggies. Lithium batteries and an accurate GPS system were the stand out functional features while the customer journey had to be considered at every stage. This meant close attention to detail on the visual aspects of the new fleet. Any option under consideration needed to be customised with logos and branding to keep them in fitting with the rest of the equipment, but Silcock’s first action was to pick a model and brand from a range of dealers. For Gleneagles, lithium batteries are the forefront of golf car technology, with multiple environmental and practical benefits making them the key factor.
Lighter buggies allow guests to go on the fairways more often, increasing both revenue and the golfers’ experience, while reducing stress on the turf and preventing wear and tear on the course. Silcock assessed a number of lithium options, but it was the combination of features on the RXV ELiTE range that stood out. “Going with new lithium battery buggies with the TFM system means we are at the forefront of the guest experience,” Silcock explained. “One of the big points is that people see Gleneagles as five star, and they see it as expensive – it’s a very commercially run business. Everything does come to return on that investment, and we may well charge higher prices for buggies and green fees and other things like that, but the expectation lifts and in some ways it’s harder to match peoples expectation because what they’re paying and what they get can be slightly different. “Having lithium buggies means we can have them for more than five years, so we get the longevity from them, which creates a bigger return on that investment. You have more reliability with them where we can just plug the battery in, and it charges straight away, unlike the lead batteries that took a number of hours to charge.
DELIVERING EXCELLENCE (L-R): Andre Andrade, Gary Silcock, Wilson Morrison – Fairways sales manager – and Morgan O’Sullivan, E-Z-GO regional sales manager
“On the drive up to the hotel, we have the buggies on display. We have ten or 15 lined up, and that means they’re not getting charged because they’re in the display area, but the guys come in in the morning and flip them over, and you get a three or four hour charge, and they’re good to go again. “So, it’s allowing us to showcase the buggies as guests arrive and it gives us more confidence of getting them around the golf courses without having to recharge them all the time. The new buggies are lighter, and because of that, we are now allowing them on more often,” continued Silcock. “Through time we will see how far we can push them onto the course and not just keep them on the paths. “It gives us an option because I do think there have been times when we’ve been able to get the buggies on the golf course a little bit earlier, and that helps revenues and most importantly for us helps our guests journey and experience.” The long life of the lithium battery provides the user hours needed at Gleneagles and the TFM GPS, combined with the Intellibrake system, includes everything required in terms of usability and accuracy but the combination of the two also increased the safety of those using the buggies. “We looked at the TFM system E-Z-GO offers, and it did everything we wanted it
to, and we’ve been very surprised at the ease and usability,” added Silcock. “There are some extra features on there that we never had before and the braking system is very good. “When golfers are going around the course, they can’t get away from pushing the brake all the way down, and it’s a nice point of detail because you know your buggy isn’t going to run away when it’s on a slope. “When you look at the breaking and TFM, it reduces the risk of damage to the buggy, the course and the golfer. We were focused on health and safety when making our decision, and the braking system was an interesting piece that was unique to E-Z-GO.” With a selection of features in place, the aesthetics were next on the list. Any new fleet of buggies would be located on the driveway and provide guests with a valuable first impression, so it was vital for them to have a head-turning look. To show how that could be achieved, director of sales for E-Z-GO, Andre Andrade, produced a sample buggy with Gleneagles branding to show precisely how a high-specification RXV ELiTE would look and perform. For Silcock, this was a crucial stage in the decision-making process because he wanted to work with – and continue working with – a company that provided the best customer journey for himself and the guests of Gleneagles.
“Textron gave us an example, and by going to the lengths of getting it made and shipped off to us meant we saw quite an expensive product designed as we were going to purchase it in our hands. “Seeing everything on a bit of paper is one thing, but the reality is another. We got to sit in it and drive it, which helped the whole decision-making process,” added Silcock. “They even set the TFM system up on two or three holes for us to try, so even though we’d tried it somewhere else, they went above and beyond to take a lot of the risk-taking out of the purchase for us. “We try and give our customers fivestar service and getting a buggy made for us to trial I thought was a five-star service from Textron. “A result of that is we now have buggies that charge quicker, meaning we can display the product to build the revenue and get them out on the course. “It’s advantageous because when they’re in the buggies people love taking their photograph with the logo on the seats and it’s another level up on the experience.” The high level of engagement from E-Z-GO and Scottish dealer, Fairways, throughout the design and demo process led to Silcock choosing a fleet of 45 bespoke RVX’s to enhance the ‘Gleneagles experience’. GMé
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SUITED TO THE ROLE Howie Roberts at Yas Links
HEADQUARTERS The Aldar Building in Abu Dhabi
Howie Roberts. From Middle to East After Troon took over the management of Yas Links earlier this year, former general manager Howie Roberts speaks with Chris Stratford about his proudest achievements at the Abu Dhabi facility, and his plans for the future.
When Howie Roberts was a top amateur, representing Wales in the Home Internationals and coming up against the likes of Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood on a regular basis, he dreamed of golf becoming the gateway to a life travelling the world. This dream was realised, but – due to a succession of injuries – not as a tournament player alongside three-time major winner Harrington and former world No 1 Westwood. Instead Roberts, who qualified as a PGA professional, has carved a successful career in golf management. It has taken him on a journey that began in Porthmadog in north Wales, switched to Austria via Cornwall, and then on to Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Indonesia, Borneo and Abu Dhabi, where he was general manager at the prestigious Yas Links. Roberts, the 1992 Welsh amateur champion, is waiting to see where next on the world map he will be placing a stick pin after his three-and-a-half year tenure in the capital of the UAE
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was ended following golf management company Troon’s involvement with Yas Links, which complemented its partnership with Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. The owners of all three properties are now Aldar (Properties PJSC). Consultations led the 49-year-old to believe he would be overseeing the management of all three when Aldar added Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat to its portfolio, but with Troon’s involvement Aldar decided to go in another direction. “It makes a lot of sense [all three resorts being under the same ownership]. It makes it easier to come out to Abu Dhabi as a golf destination if it’s all under one management,” says Roberts, “so they did that last May and the deal was I would always be managing all of them. “But once they’d bought the other two, which were managed by Troon, they found out that the contracts expired in 2025 on one course, and 2026 on the other, with no exit clauses, despite a change of ownership.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN Former general manager at Yas Links, Howie Roberts
“So they changed their plans, and they didn’t share that with us. We felt things were starting to shift in the last couple of months and they pretty much announced it to us [in July] and said, ‘You’re done today’.” He added: “‘I’ve been around the block enough times, so expect the worst and hope for the best, so when you expect the worst and the worst does come it’s not that much of a surprise. “When you work for a big company like that you just become an employee number, there’s no names any more, not when it comes to things like that.” Roberts left content that he had not only matched but surpassed the brief handed to him on his appointment,
namely to ensure that the visitor’s overall experience mirrored the high standard of the course. Roberts said shortly after his appointment that he did not think “the guest ‘journey’ has ever matched the quality of the golf course. There was a general consensus within the industry [in Abu Dhabi] and within the golfing community that the guest experience was not what it could or should be – though the course itself was amazing.” One of the first steps he took was, though, to underscore the quality of the course by ensuring that its status was officially recognised. “When I got there they didn’t even have a world ranking, so I started with
about three or four months left of the rankings,” he recalls. “I knew quite a few of the raters worldwide, and I managed to bring quite a few of them in during the period from when I arrived to the end of the rankings period. I also knew a few who had already played there, so encouraged them to submit their reports etc. “We were hoping for a top 100,” recollects Roberts, “and from memory, I think the Platinum Clubs of the World came through first and we were 62, and then Golf Digest came through about a week to two weeks later. “We were shocked at 62 because you’ve got to respect the other golf courses that are around the world.
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ON ADDRESS Howie Roberts with his team at his former employer The Address in Dubai
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“When you look at courses like Lytham, Turnberry, Hoylake, St Andrews, Muirfield, Troon – when you start adding them up plus the great American courses and some of the old Australian courses, you get to 60 very quickly and you’re not even talking about the ones that haven’t hosted majors. “And then Golf Digest came in about a week later. The Golf Digest office in Dubai contacted me and said, ‘Have you seen the rankings?’ I said no, that I was waiting, and he sent me a screenshot and we came through at No 46. “For me, if you’re a top 100 there are higher expectations for when people visit – if you go into the top 50 then it goes up again, and if you go in the top 25,30 it’s another level of expectation. “Being No 46 made us restate our believe that we had to make changes, to the visitor journey and the clubhouse experience, so they matched playing the course itself.” One of the first issues he dealt with was Yas Links’ staging areas, which he felt made for a fragmented and potentially frustrating pre-round experience. When the course was designed and built originally it did not cater for golf buggies, so sand dunes were removed at the back of the practice range to put in 100 parking bays for buggies. “Giving the Tournament experience is what we tried to do. If you look at your guest experience – and you think of the ultimate golfing experience - that would be what the boys on the Tours get week in, week out,” he says.
“Everything’s laid out for them, red carpet all the way through.” Changes at Yas Links included putting a player’s name on his allocated locker door along with the flag of his or her nationality if known. Away from the playing experience, Roberts oversaw improvements that included installation of a state of the art gym with a pilates/yoga studio, a new wellness spa with traditional barbers, and a new high-end Japanese restaurant MATSU. Course irrigation and drainage issues were attended to and a “live” on line booking system implemented that assisted members and visitors alike. Roberts reflects: “Whatever golf club I go to next my aim will be to set up the sort of system I had at Yas Links again because it makes things much easier for the staff, from an operational perspective, and it also gives the golfer the feeling, ‘wow, they’re really looking after me. This is nice’.” Where next for the Bridgend man, wife Grace and nine-year-old daughter Cariad remains up in the air. He expects it will most likely be in the East although he has not dismissed the idea of returning to the UK. Mind, the question: does he missing anything from home? proves the equivalent of an interviewer’s shank. Roberts pauses, laughs and then says: “I’ll send you a picture in a few minutes of where I was yesterday [Komodo National Park, Indonesia] and that will make you go, ‘Okay’.” Roberts one up. GMé
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EDUCATE EXHIBIT EVOLVE Continue to Learn 2020 | 19-22 January 2020 Harrogate Convention Centre | btme.org.uk
BIGGA’s dynamic and world-leading education programme returns to Harrogate in January. With 250 hours of education delivered by more than 90 of the industry’s most engaging speakers, Continue to Learn 2020 will deliver the best opportunity for professional development anywhere in the turf management industry.
BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition
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Stenson drives off in style as Österåker opens for play In September, Henrik Stenson officially opened Österåker in Sweden, his first venture into golf course design. Chris Stratford spoke with design partner Christian Lundin about their unlikely partnership, and the re-design that will mark the beginning of his new design practice.
“We always have our members on our minds, and to the extent that we’ve given up all our executive spaces in the parking lots and handed them over to our customers!”
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ostgk.se BOSSING IT Henrik Stenson (main image) tees off at Österåker Golf Club in Sweden
Former Open champion Henrik Stenson could not have known when he threw open the doors of his Florida home to a stranger in fellow Swede Christian Lundin that he would also be opening the gates to a new career in golf course architecture. Opening the gates? Well, the truth is he had to batter them down for accomplished architect Lundin was initially adamant that while he would be happy to connect the ex-FedEx Cup champion with people in the industry, a partnership with himself was out of the question. The recent opening of their first collaboration together under the flag of Henrik Stenson Golf Design (HSGD) – the Österåker by Stenson on a site 25 minutes from Stockholm – is proof that Lundin was forced to yield to Stenson just as Phil Mickelson had to in their epic Open battle at Royal Troon three years ago. The pair met through a common friend when the Ryder Cup player extended an invitation to dinner at his Orlando home, Lundin recalling: “It was supposed to be an hour and a half dinner or so in his house and it took us five or six hours.
“We chatted about golf and golf design for hours. He said he wanted to get into the golf design business and I worked with a few pros in the past and I knew 100 per cent that I never wanted to work with a pro again. I said, ‘I know exactly who to call, but it’s not me. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction, I know most of the guys in this business, but I won’t do it’. “He said, ‘Okay, I’ll get back to you when I’m ready’ and half a year later he phoned me up and said, ‘Yeah, I want to work with you’. I laughed and told him, ‘I’m not interested, but I can point you towards guys’, but Henrik’s a very good negotiator so he talked me into it and I’m very glad he did now. “I’m not saying the guys I’d worked with in the past were bad in golf design in any way, it was just that if I’m going to connect with someone my biggest passion in life is golf course architecture and I need someone to work with that shares the same passion; you need that passion to get something great. I’d learned if he puts his name to it he’s 150 per cent committed to it.”
“We chatted about golf and golf design for hours. He said he wanted to get into the golf design business” golfmanagement.eu.com | 25
österåker FRESH BEGINNINGS Left, the new practice facilities at Österåker; below left and top right assorted views of the course, and below-right, Christian Lundin (left) pictured with Henrik Stenson and Mike O’Leary of SOL Golf.
“I’m so pleased and proud to call this our first course, Österåker by Stenson”
The course, a parkland layout that Lundin believes has met their aims of being fun for everyone while at the same time allowing them to set an examination for the very best players, was opened to members in August, a month ahead of Stenson playing it during its grand opening. It was the culmination of four years’ hard work, and Stenson commented: “I was anxious to see how our vision from paper would turn out in real life and it didn’t disappoint. It was a lot to take in the first time I played it. “I had arrived from the US in the morning and was pretty jet lagged. I could see the details we discussed and planned, but didn’t really see the whole picture. “The day after at the opening ceremony I saw how all the details and the hard work we put in came together and I’m so pleased and proud to call this our first course, Österåker by Stenson. “I have always been interested in golf course design and I am grateful to have been lucky enough to be able to put some of my ideas down on paper and then watch them come to life. Working with Christian, we always set out to design a versatile and memorable course,
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which is playable for both professional and amateur golfers, and I am extremely proud to launch our first Henrik Stenson Golf Design project at Österåker Golf Club.” Both he and Lundin are in constant pursuit of perfection as was evidenced by their get-together the day before the opening to walk around their creation to assess not only what they had got right, but also areas in which they felt they could improve in future collaborations, which they currently plan to limit to one or two a year “and start creating a good reputation about what we do.” “This process started back in 2015 so it’s a long project, and it’s Henrik’s first project into golf design, so for him it’s been a new test, a new adventure into golf,” said Lundin. “We discussed a lot of what he likes and what he doesn’t like and tried to tweak different changes into that set-up. We had said that as soon as we finished it we would need to walk around and see how we could improve on stuff we’d done.” Stenson’s major championship win came a year into their partnership, a huge plus for those at Österåker Golf
Club who had given him his first opportunity as a course designer, but it presented logistical problems for HSGD given the increased demands on the Champion Golfer of the Year’s time. Fortunately, modern technology meant the two Swedes were able to stay in constant virtual contact throughout the design and construction process via Skype and Facetime. “The way we set it all up, Henrik has been involved in the start from everything and since we went into such detail of the design at the start we kept updating each other every day,” said Lundin. “He might phone me early morning and say, ‘You know, the 14th green, front left, I’m not quite happy, can we do something different?’ and I’d throw out a few concepts and he would look and say, ‘Yep, I like the second one, let’s do that’. “He was so involved that if I called him up he would know the percentages on the 12th green or the seventh green, he would have a very, very good general view of the golf course, and where the issues are and why we are doing certain things. He got to understand that building a golf course is about problem solving on a massive scale.”
Österåker invests in the future of golf
While the communications process was very high-tech, the starting point had been decidedly low-tech involving just a pencil and 18 pieces of paper. Lundin explained: “Working with a pro who’s never done a golf course before it was kind of beneficial to do it this way because we had no features to work with. “We had a few trees on it, but in general I sat down with Henrik and I had 18 pieces of paper with 18 strategies on and said it’s important that we have 18 strategies and each one creates a puzzle. They need to follow each other. “We can’t go crazy on hole number 2 and then don’t do anything on hole number 3, for example. Then it was up to me to add contours into it and add life at the 3D stage.” Does Stenson – a nominee for World Golf Awards’ Golf Course Designer of the Year – view courses he plays with a different perspective now he is a designer? “Yes and no,” he replied. “From a player view I can’t really say that I revised and changed opinion on what kind of courses I like or don’t like. “I have not changed strategy when I play a course, but I now have a better
understanding on the efforts and layers that goes into creating a golf course. For example, the elevation of a green needs to be at a certain level to get drainage to the closest drainage outlet or a mound in a green to separate the surrounding surface water from running across a green surface. “Those are things the normal golfer might never see or understand, but as a golf course designer I need to consider that for all our work.” Lundin added: “Working with Henrik over the last four years has been amazing and together we are delighted with how Österåker by Stenson has turned out. From the moment we started working on the project we both agreed on a few of the fundamental features that are going to make this golf course and it has been rewarding to see the hard work pay off. “We hope the visitors enjoy the course as much as we enjoyed building it.” Upcoming projects are likely to keep Stenson and Lundin busy in Sweden, Continental Europe, the Middle East and possibly Latin America – not bad for a partnership that was never going to happen. GMé
In the mists of time when Vikings still travelled the waters of Scandinavia, the land that now forms Österåker Golfklubb was a strategically important inlet to Uppsala, then an important centre of trade. In the early 1990s Sven Tumba decided to create a high-end golfing facility, with the original course receiving enthusiastic acclaim, hosting many major national championships as well as the European Amateur Championships in recent years. In 2015, following the launch of Henrik Stenson Golf Design, the club commissioned Stenson to redesign the site, which is one of the biggest golf facilities in Sweden and is investing in golfers and their future demands. Upon completion, the facility will include two 18-hole courses, one 9-hole par-3 course, a big practice area with four greens, two putting greens and a state of the art driving range. The par 72 layout of the first redesigned course is a classical parkland layout with a variety of risk and reward elements. Construction of the practice facilities and one of the 18-hole courses began in the autumn 2016 with construction undertaken by Irish contractor, SOL Golf, with Turfgrass providing agronomic services and Giles Wardle of Irriplan designing a new irrigation system, supplied by Hunter Industries. Andreas Ljunggren, club manager at Österåker Golf Club, said: “It has been fantastic to work with Henrik Stenson Golf Design and we are excited to see what the future holds.”
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“We decided to open with a green fee of €150 which was the highest on Mallorca at the time, and people thought we were crazy!”
A family affair in the Sun at Son Gual Andreas Pamer, general manager at Son Gual on Mallorca, is a unique character, who runs his father’s golf club as he explained to Michael Lenihan on a recent visit.
WELCOMING Andreas Pamer, general manager, pictured above at the entrance to Son Gual
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Andreas Pamer must be one of the most unlikely general managers running a golf club you will ever meet. Sat in a baggy polo shirt, cargo shorts and sandals, his laid-back approach to his attire emanates throughout the club that he manages with his sister. Aged 41, Pamer assumed the position of general manager at Son Gual in Mallorca after the course opened for play in 2007. His father Adam, who is a keen golfer, decided to build his own golf course after he grew increasingly frustrated at not being able to book a round on the island. Adam Pamer, a wealthy German business who made his money in uPVC plastic windows, first visited Mallorca in the 1970s and after falling in love with the Spanish lifestyle, decided to buy a holiday home in Son Veda as too have many of his compatriots. “We started playing golf on the existing courses on Mallorca,” said Andreas.
“We were members at Son Muntaner and Santa Ponsa when the golf courses were very, very busy, and I mean, really busy,” he empathised. “People were queuing all the time, and when my father wants to play, he wants to play. I remember him saying to me one day that the golf courses were too busy, and that the quality of the service for the members wasn’t great. “So, one day he turned to me and said, ‘I’ll build my own golf course’ and that’s how things started. “We started looking around for land and found an estate close to the airport – it’s 156 hectares so still enough space for another nine-hole course in the future. When we bought the land in 1995 there was just an old house and nothing – just flat space. But we bought it from one family which made it a bit easier. “In Germany when you want 156 hectares it’s impossible, as you’d have
DUSK SETTING The impressive clubhouse at Son Gual
to buy it from 50 guys and the last one in the middle always holds out for more money.” After securing the land, his father began the search for an architect to create a golf course which he hoped would set Son Gual apart from the rest of the courses on the island. “When we started looking for golf course architects, we had different offers from famous well-known guys, like I think Nick Faldo or Robert Trent Jones. “But when we looked at their plans, we hid their names just so we didn’t get confused with their names. When you read Faldo, you think, ‘God, this is the good one’ so we hid the names and we decided in the end for Thomas Himmel.” A fellow German, Himmel was given cart blanche to create a masterpiece despite his lack of brand appeal. “He’s not a very well know golf course designer, and he’s not a big name,” added Pamer, “but he came up with a good design.
“As my father doesn’t speak English, it was important that he could talk to the architect, and as Thomas is half German and half Venezuelan, he was able to speak both German and Spanish which was important to us.” After years in the planning, Son Gual opened to the golfing public in 2007, just in time for the economic crisis to strike. “We opened the golf course when the crisis started which was absolutely a bad situation,” recollects Pamer. “We decided to open with a green fee of €150 which was the highest on Mallorca at the time, and people thought we were crazy! “We opened in October – which is high season – and we had like ten players. After a while we realised that Mallorca wasn’t ready for a €150 green fee, so we dropped the price to €130, which was still a lot.” With no previous experience running a golf operation, Pamer was learning on the job, and over the past ten years has
helped elevate Son Gual to one of the must-play courses on the island. But as much as he enjoys his role, he’s the first to admit that he fell into it. “I was very young,” he recalls. “There was no plan, and I just kind of got into it. My father built a golf course and the next thing I’m running it – I mean, I had to help him. “Maybe now, after ten years I’ll find a management company that could run this, but I think nobody takes care of your property as well as you do. And I’m sure it would cost me more money than when I do it. “Or maybe I find some crazy guy to run it,” he jokes. “Maybe there’s a Chinese guy coming tomorrow who will offer me €100 million for the golf course and I can say goodbye!” With Pamer committed to running the show – unless of course that ‘crazy guy’ does shows up – he has turned his attention to growing the business, especially as by his own admission, this year hasn’t
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FLYING THE FLAG One of the flagsticks at Son Gual
ON THE ROCKS A water feature on course
been the best compared to previous seasons on the island. “This year was a little bit bad compared to other years,” he candidly admits. “I think everybody on Mallorca has like minus 20 per cent, but this year I really have no idea why it’s like this.” With German-speaking nationals prevalent on Mallorca, it’s perhaps understandable that Pamer will be looking to his fellow countrymen to help bolster numbers in the future. “The German speaking markets – Austria and Switzerland are very strong – because they don’t care about the money. They are ok if the green fee is €100 or €200. “The German, and of course the English market is a big market. I think German speaking and the UK is 80 per cent of our business, with the rest coming from Scandinavia, Russia, China, Japan and America.” And with around 15,000 rounds per annum, Pamer sees enough scope for improvement, both on and off the course. “We try to differentiate ourselves through the quality,” he states. “The layout is there, everything is perfect and we have the whole package including the clubhouse – the whole experience should not just be about playing golf.
“The competition is big on Mallorca – it’s very big – and I think most single figure handicappers know the difference when they play Son Gual because they like to play from the black tees at the back, which gives them a challenge. They can see the difference. “If you have someone playing off 36 then they might not have fun at Son Gual, and will probably complain that the planes were too loud,” he smiles. Pamer does however make a valid point, not only about the test that Son Gual presents, but also the close proximity to the end of the runway at Palma airport. During high season, planes take off literally every minute, but one soon becomes accustomed to the sight and sound of an Airbus 320 soaring into the blue skies returning visitors to their homes. At least if you’re enduring a bad round, they come as a welcome distraction. Son Gual has become a popular stop en-route to and from the airport, yet Pamer is keen to see guests extend their stay for a longer duration by building a hotel. But this wasn’t always part of the masterplan. “If we had asked from the beginning for a hotel with a golf course, we would never have built Son Gual as at the time,
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the authorities didn’t want more hotels and construction. Eventually my father realised that to fill the golf course you need to have hotel rooms. “People come to us to play one round, but we want them to stay here and play two or three rounds during their week. So therefore, we need a hotel, but it just takes time to get the permissions in place on Mallorca.” Despite his father being in his later years, Adam still flies to Germany twice a week to oversee his business empire, an empire that once included Andreas who worked for his father for a period of ten years prior to relocating to Mallorca and taking up the reigns at Son Gual. But Mallorca is now home for both father and son, who hail from a small German village with a population of only 8,000. “It’s pretty boring, and there is nothing happening,” he laughs. “But we all played golf at the local country club and my father is crazy about it. He needs to play every day with his friends.” And it is this love of the game, that will ultimately stand both father and son in good stead as they continue to build their German dream on the island of Mallorca. Unless of course, that crazy Chinaman comes along with a pocket full of cash. GMé
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grinding ON THE GREEN A putting green at de Enk Groen & Golf
Foley a cut above with de Enk Groen & Golf In-house grinding is becoming increasingly popular with clubs appreciating the benefits of establishing their own grinding operation. Article by Charmian Robson. Leading Dutch contractor, de Enk Groen & Golf, listened to the ‘experience of the dealers’ when establishing their own grinding operation with a Foley Company Accu-Master 653 and Accu-Pro 672 bedknife grinder from Milati Grass. As well as being Foley Company’s distributor in Europe, Milati Grass offers a number of machinery solutions including ride-on and pedestrian mowers, greenkeeping tools and GPS line marker the Intelligent One. With 25 golf courses to maintain and over 80 football pitches to mow bringing grinding in-house became a necessary time management decision for operations manager, Eric van Velzen, who needed machines that would improve the cut quality and easily be able to switch between different mower brands. To find what he needed, van Velzen spoke to dealers across The Netherlands who had previously carried out de Enk Groen & Golf’s grinding and after listening to their experience decided on two machines from Milati Grass. “Getting our own grinders was a cost saving and time management decision,” van Velzen explained.
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“It was the experience the dealers had with the Foley’s that led to us getting them. “I also checked the reviews and discussed them with different people and we eventually spoke to Arjen Spek at Milati Grass, a company that is very reliable with quick service, and he was the last step to take us over to Foley. “First of all, we had to find someone within the company who would like to specialise in grinding and we found a good guy who wanted to do it. “He worked on the older grinding machines first and when we got the new set up, he phoned the owner and told him ‘I’m the happiest employee at Enk,’ so that says a lot. “Purchasing the Accu-Master 653 gives you more opportunities because the basic machine gives you both spin and relief grinding. The installation of the reels is very easy and it’s all set-up within the machine itself and its quick to learn, so once you know the machine you’ve got a quick way of working. “Because we are a contractor when we take over a golf course for maintenance, we sometimes have to take over the
“Purchasing the Accu-Master 653 gives you more opportunities because the basic machine gives you both spin and relief grinding”
VERTI-QUAKE On-course maintenance
SCHOUTEN Orange is the new black
PROBOTIQ Out of the rough
machines as well. That means we have to work with a lot of different mower brands and the automation of the Foley system means we can easily switch between them and still get the high quality cut we want. “The automation is a feature that was added value for us because we didn’t buy them for that specific reason. Our specialist had to learn how the machines worked and get confidence with them, but now he has that confidence he can leave them to grind a reel and get on with other things, so it’s a factor we’ve come to appreciate.
“We’re using the machines from now [November] until the start of March and they’ll be working for four days a week and in the mowing season – we will be grinding for two days a week,” concluded van Velzen. Having their own machines has brought about a number of improvements to De Enk Groen & Golf’s precision maintenance with the ability to compose their own grinding schedule benefiting the reels and the turf they work on. The pair of Foley machines have also contributed to a reduction in disease pressure within a wider
programme because the sward is being cut precisely and not torn by dull blades. Adopting innovative technology has been a part of de Enk Groen & Golf’s ethos since they were established in 2014. While setting them apart in the turf industry it has also shaped their sister company, Terra Troniq, who develop autonomous mowing systems that are mainly aimed at golf courses. The addition of the Foley machines is seen by the company as a step forward in upping their own quality while expanding on the business ethos that has given them so much success. GMé
golfmanagement.eu.com | 33
FINE TUNING Golfers analyse data during a session
FINDING YOUR RANGE The beginning of a Toptracer Session
In conversation with Ben Sharpe As president of Toptracer, Ben Sharpe has had a front-row seat with relation to the technological advances that the game is making, both on your television sets and at your local driving range. GMé Talk us through your first 18 months as president of Toptracer. BS It’s been an incredible, exciting and game-changing 18 months. We recently confirmed our 100th European installation with Pine Ridge Golf Course in Camberley, which is a fantastic landmark. We’re at over 200 installs globally but the revolution certainly won’t stop there. Driving ranges are becoming desirable entertainment destinations, competing with the cinema, the bowling alley and we are committed to continuing to provide a new way for people to enjoy the game of golf through technology. The key for us has been finding a way to get people to embrace the idea of technology in a game that relies on such natural skill and artistry. We understood that trying to reshape people’s opinions on what golf should or shouldn’t be was an impossible task. So, we didn’t try to. We placed ourselves into a market that sits somewhere between golf and leisure, enabling us to appeal to an incredibly vast audience without diminishing the traditional form of the game.
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GMé Toptracer technology was first known for its presence in television broadcasts. How have you tried to translate tracing the shots of the world’s best players on TV to an interactive golf experience for the masses? BS Ball tracing technology has completely transformed the way we consume golf on television and has made it a much more immersive sport for us to enjoy. As well as a live ball tracer, Toptracer technology provides detailed shot data after contact is made with the ball, and this is something that has been received incredibly well by television audiences; the feedback has been fantastic. A Toptracer Range delivers the exact same ball-tracing technology that we see on TV. The live, accurate shot data creates a fun, engaging, tech-driven experience that can appeal to regular golfers as well as non-golfers. The technology can be used for serious practice sessions as well as to compete in exciting game modes on social occasions. With ever-evolving technology, the possibilities for range owners are endless.
SHARPE DRESSED MAN President of Toptracer, Ben Sharpe
GMé There’s more though isn’t there? Golfers can virtually play a round of golf at some of the world’s best courses. BS Yes, they can. Guests can access our Virtual Golf mode through the interactive display in their hitting bay. This mode gives players the opportunity to play some of the world’s greatest golf courses, like Pebble Beach and St Andrews, from their bays. GMé How will the launch of Toptracer Range Mobile make your technology available to even more venues? BS Toptracer Range Mobile has the potential to open a huge new space for the industry. The principle idea behind it was to develop better opportunities for all golf facilities, whether they have structured driving ranges or not. Particularly on the continent, many golf clubs have outdoor, uncovered
practice grounds without individual bays. Toptracer Range Mobile can help those clubs benefit from increased functionality and exciting modern technology. The mobile app gives people the option to enjoy a fun, enhanced practice experience or simply just store data for future reference. No matter what type of set up they have, range operators of all types can offer technology that allows their guests to play golf, receive instant data and be more engaged with their practice session. Golf clubs across the continent are constantly battling to get more members using their facilities on a regular basis and we are proud to be providing a solution. So many clubs have practice facilities which are under utilised or even redundant – we can now turn any range into a vibrant entertainment and practice hub for members and visitors. With us, they’re going to be spending more time at the facility and spending
more of their cash at the bar, the restaurant and in the shop. GMé What’s next in the world of Toptracer? BS In December we will be running an exciting global competition that will connect all our 200+ ranges around the world together. The competition will be a simple concept that invites golfers at each venue to compete in one game to try to reach the top of the worldwide leaderboard. It represents a unique opportunity for us to engage people on a global scale through golf and attempt to further grow the game. We have visions of it becoming the biggest golf event by participation in the world. GMé What are your thoughts on the current state of the game of golf and our industry?
golfmanagement.eu.com | 35
DOUBLE TOP A Toptracer doube-tier driving range
BS The most important thing to understand when considering how the game of golf could grow is that people are becoming much busier and have less social time than ever before. A round of golf rarely takes less than four hours, which is a huge barrier within the modern world. Many people are choosing not to play golf due to busy schedules or the intense commitment that playing on a regular basis brings. With Toptracer Range technology, we are giving them the opportunity to play as much golf as they want, within a stress-free environment, in a short amount of time. We think that providing people with an alternative way to play golf gives the game a unique opportunity to grow in popularity. The industry needs to introduce more people to the game. We’re the guys at the coalface making it happen because with Toptracer Range, ability is not a barrier and you can enjoy the experience whatever your level. We know that our product brings more people and different demographics to golf facilities and that is trickling down and leading to more people taking up the game. We’re not subscribers to the doom and gloom – golf is a growth game and we’re playing a different record! GMé Can and should golf fully embrace technology? BS Toptracer Range was first installed in London in 2012, ever since then we have been testing our facilities and technology to explore what works, and crucially, what doesn’t. Today, in 2019, we are very confident that we know the strength of
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our technology and have a clear understanding of where it can take us in the future. Technology is constantly growing around us. Whether that be with new phones, cameras, or computers, even washing machines are getting smarter. In a world that is constantly evolving, it is crucial that we also evolve as an industry to keep up with the times. GMé Is there a danger that new and/or experienced golfers will start favouring this kind of experiential activity over the traditional game? BS No. With our venue partners we’re proving that more range visits equals more rounds and business growth. We are obviously growing extremely quickly as an organisation, but more importantly the number of people we are introducing to the game is rising rapidly. Over 65 per cent of the people that visit a Topgolf facility have never played golf before. If we can provide them with an unforgettable experience that they associate with the game of golf, we have done our part in prompting them to explore golf further in the future. I think that us introducing non-golfers to the game through innovative technology can only benefit the industry as a whole. We have the capability to reach a huge audience with multiple users occupying a hitting bay at any one time, meaning the footfall of our facilities is far greater than a traditional range. Everybody in the golf business is looking to drive participation, and I think we are doing that better than anyone right now. GMé
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Concierge Golf Experience excels along the River Danube In August, Michael Lenihan was invited to cruise along the River Danube on-board the AmaMagna, and play four golf courses along the way thanks to the Golf Concierge package between AmaWaterways and LGT Golf.
“We always have our members on our minds, and to the extent that we’ve given up all our executive spaces in the parking lots and handed them over to our customers!”
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lgtgolf.com DRINKS ANYONE? The AmaMagna majestically cruises along the River Danube (main picture) and right, drinks are served
For many golfers, the thought of booking any holiday without dragging their golf clubs through an airport can seem alien. After all, if you’re planning on travelling to far flung exotic locations with guaranteed sunshine, surely it would be a wasted opportunity not to schedule in a round or two? I must admit that I fall into this category, and when I book any overseas excursion insist on taking my clubs unless that is when I set sail… then they remain in the garage for the duration of my trip pining for my return a week or so later. I’ve undertaken several sea cruises over the years, and although I’ve enjoyed them, I have always felt that something was missing. Sea days can often be long and monotonous, and even ships that install golf nets on the sports deck can’t seem to fill the void left in my life by a lack of golf. Hitting a ropy old nine-iron that has seen better days into a net that is bobbing up-and-down can be challenging. So, imagine my delight, when I was invited to experience a seven-night cruise along the River Danube which included the option to play four golf courses.
The brainchild of Nicholas Boekdrukker, managing director of LGT Golf, Boekdrukker has partnered with AmaWaterways to offer an exclusive golf concierge programme for discerning customers wishing to experience the very best in river and golf cruising. With AmaWaterways appealing largely to the US and Canadian markets, it became apparent to Boekdrukker that a large percentage of guests were embarking on a lengthy tour of Europe – of which the river cruise was just one element of their time outside North America – and six weeks away from golf was just too much for many keen golfers, hence hand-crafting a golf concierge package. Being new to river cruising, and admittedly unfamiliar with AmaWaterways, my experience – for to term this a holiday would be unjust – began the moment my welcome pack arrived at my home. Included within the leather travel pouch was my personalised travel itinerary, a pocket-sized destination guide for the journey and four exquisite luggage tags, three of which were very quickly commandeered by my good lady wife. Travelling light has never been her style.
“my experience – for to term this a holiday would be unjust – began the moment my welcome pack arrived at my home” golfmanagement.eu.com | 39
golf & river cruising MOVING VIEWS Left, Budapest at night; bottom-left a couple enjoy the view from a stateroom balcony; top-right, an aerial view of the AmaMagna on the River Danube and bottom-right, a stateroom
“the lure of teeing-it up from the back tees and playing it as a par six can prove too much of a temptation”
So, as first impressions go, we were off to a good start. Sailing from Budapest in Hungary to Vilshofen in Germany, our week-long voyage along the River Danube would be populated by stops at different ports as we sailed along Europe’s second longest river on-board the AmaMagna – the newest and largest vessel in the AmaWaterways fleet. Commissioned in July 2019, the AmaMagna is twice the width of traditional European river ships and offers more personal space, more unique dining venues and more leisure opportunities, redefining the river cruise experience. With 98 staterooms and a maximum of 196 passengers, the AmaMagna is refined and spacious, and offers a very personalised service to every guest. Culinary delights are plentiful, as expert chefs craft menus that feature exquisite, locally inspired cuisine as well as traditional, Western offerings. Furthermore, guests enjoy complimentary, unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks during lunch and dinner, as well as sparkling wine and fresh-squeezed juices during breakfast.
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The attention to detail is first-rate with an exceptionally high staff-to-guest ration that caters for your every whim as you majestically glide along the Danube. The Golf Concierge package is ‘boltedon’ as an extra at the time of booking your AmaWaterways experience, so while non-golfing passengers disembark at each port and participate in the numerous shore excursions that are included – all free of charge – golfers are collected by chauffeur-driven Mercedes and driven directly to the first tee. And it is this golf concierge service that really differentiates AmaWaterways from the competition. Key destinations such as Budapest and Vienna include overnight stops allowing guests who want to play golf the ability to enjoy the city, with options to visit Salzburg (from Linz) when golf was not scheduled. Joined by two American couples who had also booked the Golf Concierge package, we were scheduled to play golf in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany ensuring our own European Tour would be diverse and challenging. So, with our clubs cleaned and loaded into the private Mercedes transporta-
tion, we headed to the first of our four courses – Pannonia Golf and Country Club – which was a 45-minute drive from our berth in Budapest. Designed by Hans Erhardt, Pannonia opened in 1996 and is probably better known for its clubhouse and entrance – which is lined by 200-year-old Sycamore trees. The golf course lies in a valley, so the varied forms of its fairways provide a great golf experience. Lakes come into play on eight holes and pin placements may also present a challenge on the hilly greens. After my new-found American friends and I holed-out on the 18th green, we returned to the AmaMagna in-time for its departure to Bratislava later that afternoon, and a date, the following day at Penati Golf Resort, and a round on the Nicklaus-designed Legends Course. Built to USGA specification, Penati is a spectacular test of golf, and finishes with a par four onto an island green situated in front of the clubhouse. Yet, the course is probably more famous for the 15-hole, which can be played as a 778-yard, par six, although most of the year it plays as a par five.
Golf & Cruise The Danube in style in 2020
That said, the lure of teeing-it up from the back tees and playing it as a par six can prove too much of a temptation, even if you’ll need to drive the ball as well as Dustin Johnson to par it. Whilst playing Penati, the AmaMagna cruised along the Danube to Vienna, and after enjoying dinner at the clubhouse – again, all included – we rejoined the ship in Vienna. Granted we may well have missed some of the scenery whilst the ship cruised along the Danube, but the quality and playability of Penati more than compensated for this. It’s a real gem of a course and was arguably the highlight of the golf tour. With the following day reserved for sightseeing in Vienna, after repositioning overnight to Melk in Austria, we played the Diamond Country Club, host venue of Austria’s only European Tour Destination. Designed by Jeremy Pern, Diamond Country Club places the emphasis on accuracy off the tee, with water in play on many of the holes. One of the standout courses in Austria, the venue also includes a boathouse that sits on the man-made beach facing the ninth green,
one of four holes that requires a carry over water. As the AmaMagna again repositioned, we re-joined the ship in Grein, before sailing onto Linz overnight, and a day visiting Salzburg with a stop, en-route in Mondsee, the location of the wedding scene in the film, The Sound of Music. After an overnight sailing to Passau, the last course on the tour was the Bernhard Langer-designed Porsche Course at Bad Griesbach in Germany. Cruising, and indeed river cruising may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a way to see multiple destinations in absolute luxury, there can’t be many better ways to explore central Europe than cruising along the River Danube. The AmaMagna was a sheer delight with the food, service and attention to detail far superior to any sea cruise I have experienced. And to reinforce this, a week or so after returning home, a hand-written postcard from the cruise manager was received, thanking us for cruising with AmaWaterways. That level of service coupled with the option to play some of the finest golf courses in Europe, really is a match made in heaven. GMé
AmaWaterways offers river cruises on 24 ships sailing throughout Europe, on Southeast Asia’s Mekong and Africa’s Chobe River. The company offers the highestrated ships in Europe according to the third edition of Berlitz: River Cruising in Europe & the USA, while AmaMagna was recently included in Time magazine’s list of the ‘World’s Greatest Places 2019’. The river cruiseline is renowned for its innovative stateroom design featuring unique “twin balconies”; its wellness activities including a wide choice of included shore excursions featuring biking and hiking options for the active traveller; and its award-winning dining including The Chef’s Table speciality restaurant as well as complimentary fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Despite being double the width (and the same length) of other modern river cruise ships, AmaMagna only accommodates an extra 40 passengers, giving those on-board an unprecedented amount of personal space. A seven night ‘Magna on the Danube’ cruise (from Budapest to Vilshofen) including the Concierge Golf Programme on-board AmaMagna currently costs £4,118 per person for departures August 16, 2020. The price includes the cruise in a category D stateroom, plus return flights and overseas transfers and is valid until December 31, 2019. All AmaWaterways cruises include full board, wine, beer and soft drinks with meals, a choice of excursions.
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“This important announcement signals the start of an exciting new era of togetherness, collaboration and development”
PGAs of Europe re-brand as CPG The Confederation of Professional Golf is the new name for the PGAs of Europe following a re-brand that was unveiled at the Centurion Club recently, which will also become the new headquarters for the organisation. Words by Tom Bentley. HOME CLUB Centurion Club, the new home of the CPG
The PGAs of Europe – an Association of 32 National Professional Golfers’ Associations (PGAs) – has rebranded as the Confederation of Professional Golf [CPG], marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the organisation’s history. The new name and brand maintain elements of the previous identity to remain true to the traditions and progress of the past 30 years, whilst embracing a new strategic focus and intent steered through new guiding principles of togetherness, collaboration and development. TOGETHERNESS Taking each and every one of the CPG’s Member Country PGAs and bringing them closer towards a ‘single-organisation mentality’. This will not only help the CPG to achieve its mission more effectively, but will also allow each PGA, no matter how big or small, to exert their presence more effectively in the world of golf. COLLABORATION As part of the CPG’s desire to work more closely with all of its 32 Member Country PGAs, it has initiated multiple endeav-
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ours including the ‘Digitalisation and Collaboration Project’. All of this work helps develop stronger organisational links, enables access to economies of scale and generally benefits each and every organisation moving forward. DEVELOPMENT At the heart of the organisation’s vision is the advancement of golf globally, achieved through its expertise in golf development and delivered through the vehicle of the Ryder Cup European Development Trust [RCEDT]. By having a more collaborative approach to golf development with other PGAs, it will ensure this mission and its resultant impact is felt on a much larger scale. Whilst the organisation at its heart is the same entity, the collective strength and energy of its 32 National PGAs, combined with ever-changing market and business needs, therefore provides an opportunity to emphasise this collaborative and ‘one-organisation’ mentality more than ever before. Alongside this new identity was a fresh change in location for CPG as well, as
ON MESSAGE Chief executive, Ian Randall, explains the reasons behind the re-branding
London’s Centurion Club partnered with the organisation to become its official headquarters. Centurion’s close proximity to all of London’s major transport networks, alongside its world-class facilities and five-star hospitality, meant it was the perfect venue to collaborate and align with during the organisation’s refreshed identity. In September, Centurion Club played host to the CPG’s official brand launch event where attendees from across the organisation’s Member Country PGAs, Industry and Corporate Partners, media outlets, and representatives from various areas of the CPG’s own operations, met in North-West London to receive the news, the reasoning behind it and listen to key speakers from across the organisation. “This is a hugely exciting time in the history of the organisation,” said CPG chairman, Frank Kirsten. “The change of name and visual identity was unanimously approved by the Member Country PGAs and enables us to pursue a business strategy that would not have otherwise been possible.
“This change marks the beginning of a new chapter not only for us but for the whole collective.” CPG chief executive, Ian Randell, added: “This important announcement signals the start of an exciting new era of togetherness, collaboration and development. The strength of our organisation is through the collective influence and expertise of these PGAs and their memberships who provide a skilled and educated workforce for the game. “We will unite, promote and support our Member Countries to provide collective opportunities for PGAs, PGA Professionals and the game of golf.” Through enhanced collective representation and voice, business and development opportunities, and by continuing to provide international golf development expertise – not least as the sole member of the development arm of Ryder Cup Europe, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust – the CPG will continually support and offer value to its Members and the game. In embodying this vision, the CPG will not only be relocating its headquarters to the Centurion Club, but will
also utilise the offices of Member PGAs to have meeting and working space in major cities including Amsterdam, Madrid, Malmo, Milan and Paris. Beginning with the development of the Collaboration & Digitalisation Project in mid-2018, the CPG has taken steps to engage with its Member PGAs more than ever before, creating even closer and more collaborative relationships, largely facilitated by a digital platform, all whilst ensuring Members maintain their autonomy and control within the collective. The Project’s work has already seen a number of efficiencies created, as well as identifying a range of areas in which the CPG and PGAs can create activities and solutions together for overall benefit. This project activity has acted as a pre-cursor to the exciting new future for the CPG, with a variety of education, golf development and event initiatives and collaborations being announced over the coming months. The rollout of the new CPG visual identity and related digital and physical assets is well underway, allowing, stakeholders to embrace their association with the CPG. GMé
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Governance Guide to Help clubs Thrive England Golf last month issued a new governance guide for clubs in the ongoing drive to modernise and grow the game. Article by Aidan Patrick. Key stakeholders across the sport recognise the value of improving the organisation and structures of clubs in order to maximise their potential for profitability and growth. England Golf is committed to inspiring good governance within the game and has joined forces with The British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA), The Golf Club Managers’ Association (GCMA), The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), The R&A, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf to provide this invaluable resource for all clubs to consider. By co-ordinating a unified approach to good governance and setting this out in an easy-to-read format in the second edition of the guide, clubs the length and breadth of the country will now benefit from a strong template which can either be adopted or adapted to meet needs of individual organisations. The document provides tools, activities, discussion points and best practice ideas for clubs to take on board. It will also provide clear signposting for clubs in order that they may face the future with confidence. Clubs can find pointers on how best to tackle the challenges of an evolving membership struc-
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ture, constantly-changing legal requirements and all-important safeguarding procedures. A well-run club is a thriving club and the ‘9-holes of Excellent Governance’ feature of the new guide will help clubs to improve sustainability both financially and administratively. In an ever-changing marketplace, clubs can learn to manage resources, effectively recruit for staff and committee positions and meet the needs of members and golf consumers by following the good governance blueprint. Clubs – no matter how large or small their membership, how modern or traditional their facilities – can learn how to set their own standards of excellence to drive improvement and, at the same time, develop the culture of the organisation. The varied case studies from England, Scotland and Wales also provide realtime reference points to demonstrate the practical benefits of adopting good practice at all levels of club management. Richard Flint, England Golf’s executive director, said: “Encouraging and ensuring excellent governance has always been a key focus of England Golf. This is part of a wider strategy to inspire more people
“Encouraging and ensuring excellent governance has always been a key focus of England Golf”
to get into golf and enjoy the many sporting and health benefits associated with our sport. “In addition to the resources within this updated governance guide, our delivery team can assist clubs by providing tailored support to meet club needs and help grow their business.” The R&A’s backing for the governance guide underlines their ongoing commitment to the modernisation of golf. “We all have a role to play in growing golf and if we are to achieve that goal then we have to modernise and make the sport more appealing, accessible and inclusive,” commented Duncan Weir,
executive director – Golf Development and Amateur Championships. “Good governance in the running of clubs is a key element of ensuring that golf is attractive both to existing members and potential new members. “This guide is designed to promote best practice in governance and act as a reference resource for clubs to help them continue to improve and develop their management processes.” As part of a strategic plan to grow the game as well as raise levels of accountability and transparency, England Golf – as a long-term signatory to the Code of Sports Governance – is committed
to provide support and back-up for all affiliated clubs looking to develop their business. Downloadable PDF formats of the guide are freely available along with templates and other resources to help clubs make changes and improve their practices. Clubs can also gain access to video footage from one of England Golf and the GCMA’s informative workshops as well as a series of FAQs on the issue of good governance. Additionally, on the ground assistance – as a supplement to existing legal and accountancy support – can be provided by England Golf’s delivery team. GMé
golfmanagement.eu.com | 45
CONTEMPORARY The stylish en-suite
SWEET DREAMS One of the bedrooms
España Living at La Cala Golf At the end of October, Taylor Wimpey España launched its boutique Sun Valley golf development at the prestigious La Cala resort on the Costa del Sol, as Louise Taylor reports. La Cala Golf in Mijas, on the Costa del Sol, is one of southern Europe’s most respected resorts. This year, lavish celebrations were held in honour of it being 30 years since La Cala’s original course – Campo Asia – first welcomed golfers onto its fairways. Since then, La Cala has expanded considerably. It now offers three superb championship courses, all three of them designed by renowned golf course architect, Cabell B. Robinson. Campo Asia opened in 1989, Campo America in 1991 and Campo Europa in 2005. Each course offers a uniquely challenging and exhilarating experience, along with some spectacular mountain scenery. Not only have courses been added over the years, but residential properties too. Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España first began building at La Cala in 2014, when it entered 46 | GMé November 2019
into a €100 million joint venture with FBD Hotels and Resorts. Highly respected developer Taylor Wimpey España – the Spanish arm of the UK’s Taylor Wimpey – now has four developments at La Cala: Natura, Horizon Golf, Grand View and its brand new residential offering: Sun Valley. The Sun Valley launch was announced at the end of October 2019. The boutique development has been designed to offer all the benefits of golf homes at La Cala, but with a surprisingly affordable price tag. A boutique development of just 23 two- and three-bedroom apartments, Sun Valley will be built to Taylor Wimpey España’s usual exemplary standards. Designed to offer a blend of indoor and outdoor living that allows buyers to make the most of both the Spanish sunshine and the spectacular local
OUTDOOR LIVING The view from the solarium
scenery, the homes will include spacious south- or southwest-facing terraces. Sun Valley’s position at the top of the hill overlooking the Campo Europa course means that the development will also provide panoramic views of both the course and the sea. Sun Valley is located close to La Cala’s clubhouse, hotel and spa, meaning that they are the ideal choice for families looking to buy a holiday home that comes with an abundance of on-site facilities, as well as for investors looking for a well-located golf property to rent out. Buyers at Sun Valley (and at all other Taylor Wimpey España properties at La Cala) also enjoy discounted use of the resort’s golf, tennis, football, spa and
restaurant facilities as a result of La Cala’s residential privilege card. Marc Pritchard, sales and marketing director of Taylor Wimpey España, shares his excitement at being able to offer such well-designed, high specification homes at such a reasonable price: “Sun Valley delivers the whole package when it comes to what buyers are looking for in a Costa del Sol property, and at a fantastic price. “This style of affordable quality on such a well-known golf resort is an exciting prospect for both holiday home buyers and property investors. “We’re delighted to be able to bring such desirable homes to market and to further enhance the variety of exceptional properties on offer at La Cala Golf Resort.”
Construction has already begun at Sun Valley, where homes are available from €241.000 plus taxes. This makes them the most affordable properties yet at La Cala. The apartments are due for completion in Q4 2020, with buyers now able to purchase their ideal property off-plan. Sun Valley’s apartments are spread over three independent plots, integrated into a common architectural concept constructed around a roundabout, for easy access. With no nearby buildings, the homes enjoy a uniquely privileged and peaceful spot in the local countryside. The 23 apartments are split across two four-storey buildings. There will be 12 three-bedroom homes and nine twobedroom homes. golfmanagement.eu.com | 47
Each building will also be topped by an exclusive, three-bedroom penthouses, priced at €425.000 plus taxes. In a development where standards are already high, the penthouses are simply superb. The outdoor space exceeds that of the (already generous) indoor footprint, with a terrace that wraps around three and a half sides of the apartment. So large is the available space that each penthouse’s terrace has space for eight distinct casual seating/sunbathing/dining areas. But the penthouse apartments aren’t the only ones with impressive terraces. Every Sun Valley home includes a glass balcony enclosure around its large terrace, meaning that owners can make the most of the stunning views, with space to eat, sunbathe or simply relax outdoors. Ground floor apartments also come with private gardens that offer views of 48 | GMé November 2019
the pool, resort gardens and, of course, the famous Campo Europa course. Internally, the homes offer a contemporary layout in line with the ‘total living’ concept, meaning that all the space is fully utilised. Built-in wardrobes provide plenty of storage space, meaning that buyers can enjoy an uncluttered and serene feel to their properties, very much in keeping with the peaceful, natural beauty of the local environment. The Sun Valley apartments feature large windows to allow the spacious living rooms to integrate beautifully with the terraces for blended indoor/ outdoor living. As with every Taylor Wimpey España home, each property comes fully equipped, with air conditioning, fitted wardrobes, fitted kitchen with appliances, LED lighting package and fully fitted bathrooms with unit, mirror and shower screen.
There is also an extras package available so that buyers can personalise their home to suit their own particular needs. Extras include additional appliances, such as dishwashers and tumble driers, as well as practical features like safe boxes. Buyers also have the option to purchase additional lighting, as well as a choice of two types of breakfast bar. The variety of options means that each home can be shaped to work perfectly for those who plan to use it. Taylor Wimpey España’s Marc Pritchard added “We’ve poured 60 years of design experience into Sun Valley to ensure that the homes offer a superb contemporary living experience. “The fabulous location complements the outstanding design, making this an excellent choice for buyers looking for a holiday home that ticks all the right boxes. We’ve considered the living experience from every angle to
taylorwimpeyspain.com TAKING A BACK SEAT Left, the spacious living room; right the galley kitchen and below, an aerial view of the new development
“We’ve considered the living experience from every angle to ensure that owners have all they need to hand”
ensure that owners have all they need to hand – the properties at Sun Valley would serve equally well as full-time residences, given how well designed and equipped they are.” In keeping with the natural beauty of the local area, Sun Valley has been built with close attention paid to environmental considerations. The properties will be energy banding B, as a result of their low carbon dioxide emissions. The gated development comes with a parking area with pergolas – an absolute must during the long Spanish summer months! Each home has a designated space. Sun Valley also provides am adult pool and an infant splash pool, as well as landscaped communal gardens that overlook the valley. The surrounding area, meanwhile, is home to some of the Costa del Sol’s most popular beaches (between La Cala de Mijas and Fuengirola, just ten
minutes from Sun Valley), as well as to the impressive marinas at Benalmadena and Puerto Banús in Marbella. La Cala Golf Resort sits between Marbella and Fuengirola, so there’s plenty of lively entertainment options nearby for Sun Valley residents to enjoy. There is a wealth of options for those who like to shop, with everything from independent, local boutiques to internationally famed brands available. The new Designer Outlet Malaga, which opened last month, has further added to the area’s retail therapy opportunities, offering discounts of up to 70 per cent on clothing brands. Owners who enjoy eating out also have plenty of options. The local gastronomic scene in La Cala de Mijas, Fuengirola and Marbella is excellent, with highly regarded eateries that suit a wide range of tastes and budgets. Once the delights of urban life have worn off, Sun Valley residents can
return to their peaceful retreat, settling in for an evening of marvelling at how the light over the Mijas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea changes as the sun sets. The area is also home to a selection of charming Andalusian villages. The fabulous views and pretty, narrow streets of Mijas seem made for meandering. Other, smaller villages are just waiting to be explored. Fuengirola is also home to the historic Sohail Castle, while the mountaintop city of Ronda and the spectacular new Tajo bridge can’t fail to delight. La Cala is Spain’s largest golf resort, with 60 holes, a huge range of sporting and leisure facilities and two exclusive restaurants. Situated just 500m from the resort’s club house, Sun Valley offers a unique opportunity for holiday home owners to enjoy all that the resort has to offer. GMé golfmanagement.eu.com | 49
“Such innocence soon turned out to be complete b******s, of course – the wishful thinking of a naïve idealist”
The two extremes of Sporting Punishment When I was a small child, sport was the ultimate honourable thing. Try your best, work hard and, if you were good enough, success would come your way. Huzzah! For most of us, of course, it was a forlorn hope. But the concept remained, so we youngsters elevated great sporting achievers to iconic status, convinced they too held dear the Corinthian spirit and would fight the good fight in maintaining personal integrity and the legitimacy of sport. Such innocence soon turned out to be complete b******s, of course – the wishful thinking of a naïve idealist. Many (if not most) sports are awash with cheats, corrupt officials, illegal stimulants, backhanders and appalling and inexcusable behaviour. Some culprits are brought to book, others are still pursuing their nefarious activities undetected… or, at least, expediently overlooked by those who should know better. I have reconciled myself to this; I still love watching my football and my golf, though there is a completely different gulf between the two, when it comes to dealing with actions that bring the sports into disrepute. Over the past few weeks I have seen Korean golfer Bio Kim given a three-year ban for giving the finger to a spectator whose phone had distracted him while teeing off. A somewhat draconian punishment I felt. I appreciate it’s a cultural thing and it was the Korean Professional Golfers’ Association which handed down the punishment. But surely if an offence is committed in a professional golf
50 | GMé November 2019
SHAMEFUL Bulgarian ‘fans’ show no respect to racism
tournament, the penalty should be the same wherever it is being played – and whoever the offender. Then we witnessed the disgraceful scenes at the Bulgaria v England European Championship qualifier in Sofia, when the match was halted temporarily because of malicious and racist chanting and Nazi salutes. And the punishment? Bulgaria, a repeat offender, has been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors – one suspended for two years – and were fined €75,000 by UEFA. Yes, a fine of €75k to a national body: around 50 per cent of the weekly wage of a Premier League footballer. And, if you don’t know who or what UEFA is, well, it’s the completely toothless and ineffectual governing body of European football.
I decided I’d rather golf came down too hard on miscreants than not at all. It’s not often I quote the Bible, but this has always been rattling around my brain: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” But I shouldn’t have put them away; life seemed so much better then. GMé
David Bowers email@example.com
precision, reliability& qualitywhen it mattered most paul armitage, general manager Le GoLf NatioNaL, home of the 2018 RydeR Cup
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