GMé | October 2014

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On the cover...

As official wine supplier to the Ryder Cup, Mouton Cadet is celebrating success both on and off the course at Gleneagles


ÂŁ6.50 Issue 98 | October 2014

Golf Management ĂŠurope is the essential business magazine for golf course owners, operators, managers and directors of golf

Last month, Wentworth became the latest golf club to be sold to overseas investors, a trend which appears to be gathering momentum





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On the agenda october 2014 18


Kilby set to Stay Primed

With over 28 years experience working within golf, Jerry Kilby has seen it all. Tasked with the role of advisor to Stay Prime Global, Kilby looks back and forward on his career-to-date.


Townend... an Asian Master

As senior vice president of The Els Club in Malaysia, David Townend has worked his way up the career ladder starting out as an apprentice PGA professional.


Thracian Cliffs


A sofa view of The Ryder Cup

Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Bulgaria, has become the first Eastern European destination to be invited to join IMG Prestige.

Sky Sports coverage of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles received mixed reviews, with some commentators suggesting that the event should be shown on terrestrial television in future.



Sale of the Century

This year’s property market has been set a light by a series of high-profile sales, so could these headline-grabbing deals be the start of happier times?

GMé 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 |


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Michael Lenihan David Bowers Mark Alexander, Luke Frary, Jerry Kilby, Nick Nixon, Scott MacCallum, Kevin Marks, Aidan Patrick To ensure your regular printed copy of GMé, delivered six times per year, subscribe online at View our library online at

ISSN 1368-7727. Printed by The Manson Group.


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from the publisher

“If you went out for a meal, to a decent restaurant with friends, you wouldn’t expect to be hurried along by the maître d’ mid-way through the dessert course”

Time to call for the Marshal when it comes to Slow Play Much is currently being written about slow play and how to rid the game of it. This is a worthy campaign, at the professional level, but there are two sides to the story when you look at the (non-elite) amateur game. Golf can be an expensive pastime and, if one has paid north of £50 for a round of golf, it hardly seems fair that there should be constant calls to ‘hurry up.’ If you went out for a meal, to a decent restaurant with friends, you wouldn’t expect to be hurried along by the maître d’ mid-way through the dessert course, because somebody was waiting to use your table. You’d want to be given time to savour the experience. So the question is what constitutes ‘slow play’? Chances are if you ask a golfer and a golf club official they’d have a different perspective on the debate. Personally, given that when I play golf it’s the only time my phone is on silent all week, I want to enjoy the experience without feeling rushed. And, like many, if I start to feel pressurised into playing quicker my game suffers and so do my enjoyment levels. It’s fine for clubs to stagger flight times to six or eight minutes, but if there is no starter, or course marshal on the first tee ensuring groups wait until their allocated start time, then it can all go hideously wrong. Clubs need to take far more responsibility for the control of their courses and, if they can’t afford a starter, at least have a volunteer course marshal.

4 | GMé October 2014

TIME FOR CHANGE A Marshal on the tee can help to ensure that tee-times are adhered to

They can then tell groups not only to increase their pace, if necessary, but, also, conversely, to ease up and give the group in front some breathing space. I accept that if you are playing in a group that loses a hole on those in front then, of course, you need to quicken the pace; but if you’re a three-ball teeing off immediately after a four-ball, then hang back, and give yourself a bit of time, or you’ll spend the entire round waiting to play your next shot. It’s just common sense. It’s a hobby to most of us so golf should afford the comforting feeling of escaping from the everyday hustle and bustle of being rushed all over the place.

Whisper it quietly, but personally, I don’t feel that four-and-a-half hours, for a round of golf, constitutes slow play: 15 minutes per hole (walking for a four-ball), for 18 holes, comes in at 270 minutes. Marshal it correctly and everybody should be happy. GMé

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Hold the front page The European team were not the only team to be celebrating a successful week at Gleneagles last month, as Mouton Cadet embraced their relationship with the Ryder Cup.

“I am delighted to see that nearly a century later we still share the same values of tradition, elegance, conviviality and respect”

Cover sponsored by Mount Cadet (33) 5 56 73 20 20

6 | GMé October 2014

As Europe celebrated a famous victory over the United States in the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles last month, Mouton Cadet closed its first participation in the Ryder Cup as Official Supplier of Wine after a week to remember. With an unprecedented presence at Gleneagles, Mouton Cadet and the 2014 Ryder Cup Wine, together with the Mouton Cadet Ryder Cup selection, have shared with spectators, VIPs and teams, an exceptional week of golf. Under the shared values of tradition, elegance, conviviality and respect, Mouton Cadet and the 2014 Ryder Cup started their journey last year when the partnership was announced, in the presence of José Maria Olazábal, winning captain at 2012 in Medinah. At a later meeting with 2014 captain, Paul McGinley, it became obvious that the 2014 Ryder Cup would need its own special wine, so the official and limited edition Mouton Cadet Ryder Cup Selection and The 2014 Ryder Cup Wine was born. Commenting on their association with the Ryder Cup, Hugues Lechanoine, managing director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA said: “Baron Philippe de Rothschild created Mouton Cadet in 1930, three years after the first Ryder Cup.

“I am delighted to see that nearly a century later we still share the same values of tradition, elegance, conviviality and respect.” During a week of celebrated golf, Mouton Cadet has been a proud supporter of the event, offering Mouton Cadet Ryder Cup Selection across the entire Gleneagles site, from official receptions to public and VIP hospitality, in the media centre and the team rooms. In the heart of the Tented Village, the Mouton Cadet Wine Bar was a big hit during Ryder Cup week, gathering spectators all willing to share a glass of Mouton Cadet in an elegant atmosphere, and also former Ryder Cup team winners including Nicolas Colsaerts, Pier-Ulrich Johanssen, Thomas Levet, Grégory Havret and Hidetoshi Nakata. Produced by the family-owned French company Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Mouton Cadet was created in 1930 and has remained true to its origins whilst evolving into what has now become the world’s leading brand of Bordeaux AOC wines. Sold in 150 countries around the world, Mouton Cadet has been associated since its creation with exclusive and prestigious events, and is Official Supplier to the European Tour and to the 2014 & 2018 Ryder Cup. GMé



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Assoufid officially opens for play in Marrakech Assoufid Golf Club, situated close to the vibrant ‘Red City’ of Marrakech in Morocco, has officially opened for play. Set against the backdrop of North Africa’s snow-capped Atlas Mountains, the desert-style 7,042-yard, par-72 golf course, complete with luxury golf clubhouse and international-standard dining, is a debut design for Scottish PGA professional and former European Tour player, Niall Cameron. The eco-friendly course was sympathetically designed to be integrated into the existing landscape and to encourage the site’s indigenous flora and fauna to thrive, whilst minimizing water consumption. Guy Maxwell, golf director at Assoufid Golf Club, said: “Our objective is to provide the finest golfing experience by delivering a beautifully maintained golf course and exceptional levels of service whilst protecting the integrity of the indigenous natural landscape. “Already, feedback from visiting local and international golfers has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are confident Assoufid Golf Club will quickly establish itself as one of Morocco’s finest courses, and become a must-visit stop off for the discerning golf traveller.” Assoufid Golf Club forms part of an exquisite 222-hectare development, to include a five-star hotel and residences, and offers golfers an excitingly diverse

Guy Maxwell, golf director at Assoufid Golf Club

challenge across a rolling desert landscape featuring cacti, palm and olive trees. The development is situated just 20-minutes from the old town (medina) of vibrant Marrakech – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and a ten-minute drive from the international airport. Morocco is among the fastest growing golf destinations in the EMEA region and Marrakech, within a three-hour flight time of most European capital cities and famed for its souks, world-class cuisine and clubs, is a legendary haven for

artists, fashionistas, movie stars, business people and statesmen. The city’s must-visit sites include the Djemaa el Fna Square, Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Tower, the largest mosque in Marrakech with a 70-metre high minaret, and the Saadian Tombs. For those with a taste for the outdoors, skiing, walking and 4x4 driving in the Atlas Mountains is a 90-minute drive away, while the beach is a two-hour trip. Lake Lalla Takerkoust, just 30km from Marrakech, offers a wealth of water sports including jet skiing.

Royals look to Investors rediscovering flatten fairways value in European resorts Reading Football Club has submitted plans to transform a golf club into its new training ground. The Royals are hoping to move into the former 120-acre Bearwood Golf Club course after buying the club last October. The plans, which were submitted to Wokingham Borough Council in September, include levelling the ground to create three full-size team pitches to house the club’s first team and academy, five other pitches for use by under-18s and two goalkeeping practice areas. Work would also include extending and converting the golf course clubhouse, security gatehouse and visitors’ cafe whilst adding new changing rooms, medical suite and gym. Golf club members believed the land was worth around £800,000, but understood the football club’s bid to be around £1.4 million, a figure that crushed any hopes of golfers raising a rival sum, which led to the nine-hole course closing in March.

8 | GMé October 2014

Fairmont St Andrews which was sold this year

A report from global hotel consultancy HVS London says hotel investors are rediscovering the appeal of European golf resorts as the sector starts to regain its momentum. This year has seen in excess of €386 million worth of major (more than €10 million) single-asset transactions in golf resorts compared with none in 2013 and €128 million-worth in 2012. These properties are now being viewed as attractive investments as they offer multiple revenue streams as well as potential for future development.

Many have the benefit of well-built hotel properties with highly regarded golf courses and a diverse guest profile. Much of the new investment comes from the US. “American investors are seeking high profile trophy assets on the back of the high level of home demand, a familiarity with the business and intense competition for assets signalling lower returns stateside,” commented report author Harry Douglass, associate, HVS London. “We have found the difference now is that today’s golfing clientele demand very exacting standards of golf course, facilities and food & beverage. To be successful resort owners need to invest in these, maintain them and continue investing to stay ahead of the competition. “Scotland and Ireland have proved key places to invest in golf resorts but France and Spain now have a number of largescale destinations with the benefit of a strong leisure and commercial base.”


Huxley Golf launches new Chinese venture

In brief... Chris Trimble, greenkeeping supervisor at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Knutsford, Cheshire, is this year’s recipient of the Ransomes Jacobsensponsored best student award at Myerscough College. For the past three years, Trimble has been studying for his BSc Sportsturf Science and Management degree and graduated this summer. David Cromie, the recent secretary of Royal Liverpool, has been appointed as secretary of Denham Golf Club in Buckinghamshire. Denham chairman, David Jones, who oversaw the selection process, said: “I am delighted at the prospect of David Cromie taking up the position of club secretary at Denham. He brings a wealth of relevant experience following his many years at the top echelons of golf club administration, including of course, his recent success at Hoylake in July. I have no doubt that Denham will continue to thrive under his leadership.” Ipswich Golf Club has embarked on a bunker renovation project that will see the famed course’s sand traps returned to their original style. The club has called in renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree to oversee the project, 88 years after his grandfather Fred, along with legendary golfer James Braid, designed the course. The multiphase project will be implemented over a number of years, with work having already started on four holes. Another exciting chapter in the history of La Manga Club resort in Spain has been marked by the opening of its new world-class golf tuition facility by David Leadbetter, who was in Spain to cut the ribbon on what promises to be the finest golf tuition facility in Europe following a €1 million redevelopment of La Manga Club’s already extensive teaching and practice centre.

Huxley Golf is expanding into Asia with the launch of Huxley Golf China. This strategic decision reflects a significant opportunity for business growth, reflecting increasing interest in the game of golf throughout China, where the number of golfers is rising by 7.5 per cent each year, and the country already plays host to three annual world tour events: the Volvo China Open, the BMW Asian Open and the WGC-HSBC Champions. Keen golfer and successful businessman Song Tan has been named as chief executive officer of Huxley Golf China and he will be ably assisted by his partner and chief administrator Chris Huang. The Company, which will be based in Shanghai, aims to reach both the commercial market with its bespoke designed and installed all-weather greens, tees, practice nets, pathways and lawns, as well as the domestic market with smaller and modular greens and portable practice nets. These will be of particular interest where land is at a premium since they will enable those who live in apartments without private gardens to practise at home. A 20x30ft (6x9m) outdoor green and an indoor putting green measuring 15x15ft (4.5x4.5m) have been installed

near Shanghai for demonstration purposes. Commenting on the new venture, Tan said: “It’s extremely satisfying to see interest in golf here in China surging and making us one of the biggest emerging markets for the sport. “As a golfer myself, I know that our hot and humid conditions sometimes make it difficult to get out on the course. This is why I firmly believe that Huxley Golf’s premium quality all-weather surfaces will be of huge interest to a wide range of customers, from golf courses, teaching establishments and hotels to people like me who like to practise at home. “I find the surfaces extremely realistic with true ball roll and speed characteristics, yet no maintenance is necessary to keep them in excellent condition.”

Richard White (left) of Huxley Golf with Song Tan

R&A appoint Martin Slumbers as new chief executive

Martin Slumbers with the Claret Jug

The R&A has announced the appointment of Martin Slumbers as chief executive and secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, with effect from October 1, 2015. Slumbers will succeed Peter Dawson who is retiring in September 2015 after 16 years leading the body which organises The Open Championship and governs golf worldwide, jointly administering the sport with the USGA. Slumbers will join The R&A in March 2015 as chief executive designate and

spend six months working with Dawson before his retirement. Born in Brighton and educated at Lancing College, Slumbers (54) is a keen golfer and a member of Worplesdon Golf Club in Surrey where he plays to a handicap of two. He is married with two sons. “The R&A is one of the most influential bodies in world sport and I am delighted to be taking up this position,” he said. “Golf has always been close to my heart and I am very much looking forward to living and working in St Andrews. I am honoured to be appointed to lead The R&A and to serve such an historic and prestigious club.” Professor Wilson Sibbett, chairman of The R&A, said: “I would like to congratulate Martin on his appointment. He has enjoyed a long and successful career and will bring a great deal of experience to the position. “He has a passion for golf and is absolutely committed to the work of The R&A in governing the game, running The Open and supporting development initiatives around the world.” | 9




By Royal Appointment for Creative Golf Design Creative Golf Design (CGD) has completed the first phase of a multi-year project to renovate the course at one of the world’s oldest golf clubs. Work on the first phase at Royal Blackheath, including bunker modifications on the 2nd, 17th and 18th holes, started in August 2014 and was completed in the second week of September. The three-phase project includes new tees and bunkers, extensive alterations to existing bunkering and teeing grounds, plus a wide range of general course improvements. CGD is working closely with John Nicholson Associates in a holistic series of improvements, including a coursewide parkland restoration programme which will restore the golf course aesthetically to its authentic 1920s state. CGD is owned by Ken Moodie, who is the second Scottish golf architect to be chosen to update Royal Blackheath, after James Braid last modernised the course in the 1920s. “There’s a natural thrill, and also a certain weight of responsibility, when you’re asked to make alterations at one of the world’s most historic golf clubs” said the 48 year-old Scot. “But even the most cherished golf courses change as a result of wearand-tear, past maintenance practices, in-house alterations and inappropriate tree planting.

“Successfully interpreting what makes the course special, and refining the challenge which golfers face at venerated clubs like Royal Blackheath requires experience, a deep appreciation of the history of the game, and a knowledge of the design style of the original architect. “To be entrusted with revitalising the course at England’s oldest golf club is a great honour. We have received tremendous support and trust from the club and its members, and are looking forward to seeing the proposals we set out in our Course Review take shape.”

Taunton Vale now farmland

It’s an early divorce for weddings at Close House

Golfers who attempted to put together a £2 million fighting fund to keep their Somerset club open have been told it has now been sold for farmland and will close at the end of November. The fairways and greens will be ripped up and the clubhouse and other buildings bulldozed once Taunton Vale Golf Club shuts after 24 years to be returned to agricultural land. Angry members have desperately appealed to anyone who can think of anyway of halting the £1.8 million sale to contact them urgently. A letter to members said: “The owners have announced this morning that the golf club has been sold – it’s been confirmed that the new owners will be converting the land back to agricultural. It is with regret, therefore, that we have to inform you all that the club will be closing its doors for the last time on Sunday, November 30. “The club wishes to thank members for their support over the years and again to the staff for their loyalty.”

Businessman Graham Wylie is to invest a ‘six-figure sum’ into his golf business as he prepares to close the adjoining Close House Hotel and transform it into his family home. Earlier this year Wylie, founder of Sage software, revealed plans to shut the hotel and turn it back into a residential house. The hotel, at Northumberland, closes after hosting its final wedding on October 27 and Wylie said it was the nuptials side of the business that has caused issues. He said: “With the wedding side of the business, the main ceremonies were held earlier in the day in the main house and then down at the clubhouse for their evening party. But that didn’t mix well with the golfers who were coming off the course, wanting to go for a quiet drink and finding a party. “That’s why I wanted to move into the house. I knew if I stopped the wedding business the golfers would be happy, so we took no more bookings but agreed

10 | GMé October 2014

New approach bunker and remodelled greenside bunker at Royal Blackheath’s 18th hole

Club secretary at Royal Blackheath, Gordon Hogg, said: “CGD won our unanimous vote after a three-way competitive pitch in January 2014. I had worked with both Ken and John at previous golf clubs, so I knew their capabilities. Their standards are high, and they are very professional and easy to work with. “The club has been considering parkland restoration work for several years,” he continued, “and the bunker work, which will be in several phases, will take place over the next few years with disruption to play kept to a minimum.”

to honour the weddings already booked. I couldn’t turn to those couples and say ‘sorry, you can’t have your wedding because I’m moving in’.” After the closure of the hotel, the remaining golf facilities will be developed, starting with an extensive refurbishment of the clubhouse, while existing accommodation at The Courtyard and The Terrace outbuildings will serve as accommodation for guests wanting to ‘stay and play’.

Graham Wylie’s new home at Close House

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Wallett looking to cash-in on the growth of Elite Coaching The Elite Coaching Golf Academy is actively looking for new golf facility partners to help grow the brand, whilst also looking for a new European HQ. Jonathan Wallett, a fellow of the PGA and coach to a number of European Tour players, started the Elite Coaching Golf Academy brand 11 years ago, and in that time, Wallett has forged successful partnerships with golf facilities in Australia, Switzerland, Spain and for the past six years at the Evian Resort in France – host to the only major championship held in continental Europe. Wallett said: “We have had academies based at a variety of different types of facilities, including resorts, private and proprietor clubs, and believe that the key to building a successful relationship is to understand in detail the facility’s objectives, and then work together to build a plan whereby the Golf Academy acts a catalyst and accelerator in the achievement of those objectives.

“We always look to build a specific strategic plan, then together with the facility, we track and amend that strategy where necessary. Almost every facility that we have had an agreement with has desired an extension of the contact once the initial contract has expired.”

Fire destroys clubhouse

Braidwood to head-up education for the CMAE

The generosity of neighbouring clubs has convinced the owners of a Manchester golf club to fight back after a fire destroyed the clubhouse. Northenden Golf Club’s 100-year-old building was torn apart by the blaze which required the attentions of more than 20 fire-fighters, who spent several hours tackling the fire, before the property was pulled down, after being branded unsafe by building inspectors. But, after holding an emergency meeting, bosses have vowed to keep the club alive. And their cause was helped by neighbouring clubs – Withington, Didsbury, Chorlton and Sale – offering Northenden members free use of their facilities until the club is back on its feet. Club captain Larry McDonald said: “We’ve received tremendous offers of support and the entire golfing community has really rallied around us, which is not unexpected, but still very touching. “We’re still dealing with the initial shock but we want to get going again as soon as possible. It’s sad to see what’s happened to the building, but the most important thing for us is that no-one was hurt – everything else we can put right. “Our members will be able to use the other courses until ours is open and after that they will still be able to use our course and have a shower or a change or borrow golf clubs from the other clubs,” said McDonald.

The Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) has appointed Michael Braidwood as its new director of education. After a Europe-wide search, led by Colt Mackenzie McNair, Braidwood – a PGA Advanced Fellow Professional and Certified Club Manager with 20 years’ experience of the golf industry – was identified as the preferred candidate for this newly created position. Braidwood will oversee the CMAE’s Management Development Programme, the educational pathway that has been created by the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and is

12 | GMé October 2014

Students practicing their putting techniques with Elite Coaching Golf Academy

Wallett is regularly engaged by PGAs to give workshops to its members on how to deliver performance to golf club proprietors, directors and committees, and the academy has worked closely with International Golf Business Consultant Bill Sanderson over the last five years.

now being rolled out across Europe and the rest of the world. Arnaldo Cocuzza, president of the CMAE said: “Michael’s management skills, aligned to his experience of the European club and golf industry, positioned him as a stand-out candidate and I am personally looking forward to working with him to develop training courses that span the whole leisure industry and enable us to form valuable relationships with sports unions.” Braidwood added: “My love for education started in 2004 while I was general manager of Riffa Golf Club in Bahrain.”

Michael Braidwood, the new director of education for the CMAE

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PGA pros smash thousand free lessons barrier at Gleneagles The Ryder Cup wasn’t just a roaring success for Paul McGinley and Europe with a team of PGA pros smashing through the one thousand free lessons barrier at Gleneagles. Indeed such was the demand for coaching that hundreds had to be turned away daily from the PGA Swing Zone as spectators eagerly sought the chance to get swing and putting advice. And while the majority of the 40,000 plus spectators swarming over the PGA Centenary Course were Scottish, there was a melting pot of nationalities visiting the PGA Swing Zone including Americans, Canadians, Mexicans and Europeans. Among the PGA pros dispensing lessons was Dalmahoy-based teaching pro John Murray – a Scotland-based Dubliner: “It was a great week, with all standards of golfers coming in for lessons,” he said. “I had an eight year old from Blairgowrie with an unbelievable swing who hit the ball fantastically and was just very naturally talented. One of the best I’ve ever seen. “At the other of the spectrum I had a rugby player who’d never picked up a club in his life but his rugby days are coming to an end and after trying golf here decided this was going to be his new sport.”

The PGA in Scotland stand which proved very popular at The Ryder Cup

Heather Gaunt, coach education and development manager for Scotland, branded the exercise a huge hit and is already looking forward to next year’s Open Championship at St Andrews were PGA pros will again be on hand to give free lessons. “It’s been a really positive experience, we’ve had everything from absolute beginners through to golfers who play off

scratch and just wanted to work on a few things such as posture and alignment,” she said. “The quality of the coaching has been fantastic and bar the odd break to go and watch a bit of the golf they worked from eight in the morning through to seven in the evening. “Their enthusiasm and energy has been incredible.”

Golf could solve Flanagan joins the board housing crisis at Castiglion Del Bosco The British Government’s Business Secretary, Vince Cable, says Britain’s golf courses should be built on to solve the country’s housing crisis. Cable said most families would rather have a garden outside their front door than protected greenbelt miles away from their home. He was commenting on research earlier this year from the London School of Economics that showed more of Surrey is devoted to golf courses than housing. In a meeting on the fringe of the Liberal Democrat party conference, he said that if he were in a middle-income family in Surrey struggling to find a suitable home he would “ask myself is a golf course sacred or are there better uses of the land?” He said it was a “cliché” to rely on brown-field land for new developments and insisted there must be a focus on using up agricultural land. He told the meeting: “Most people do want green, they want green but they would rather have it outside their own house than sitting 20 miles away where they have no access to it.”

14 | GMé October 2014

Niall Flanagan has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the exclusive Castiglion Del Bosco Golf Club in Tuscany. The founder of Club Inc. will join owner Massimo Ferragamo, CEO Simone Pallesi and members’ representative Riccardo Celli at a time when Castiglion Del Bosco is developing a reputation as one of the most prestigious new private members’ golf clubs in Europe. Flanagan will use his experience working at Club Inc. and in senior management positions at the likes of Loch Lomond, St Andrews Links Trust and Wentworth Club to enhance all aspects of the strategic and functional management of the club and to hone the service it provides for its members and their guests. His specific remit is to refine operations and to drive membership sales at a time when the club has recently welcomed its 100th member following its launch. “I was delighted to be asked to join the Board at Castiglion Del Bosco and genuinely believe it has the potential to

Niall Flanagan

develop into one of the most prestigious Clubs in world golf,” said Flanagan. “I have been fortunate enough to work both at, and with, many of the most prominent clubs in the game and have no doubt Castiglion Del Bosco will soon be right up there with the very best of them. “It is an exciting time to join Massimo and his team because membership is thriving and work has already started on a bespoke clubhouse the first part of which will be open early next year.”

picture gallery

In words & Pictures A brief pictorial round-up of events from around the industry, including news of a change of job for John Bambury who takes over as course manager at Ballybunion.







In brief... Toro distributor Lely UK has recently staged a brand new, open-air customer event. Called Turfcare Live, it gave users and new buyers the chance to see and test drive all the latest Toro turf equipment, and learn more about the company’s golf irrigation products. TYM Tractors and Otterbine water aerators, also distributed by Lely, were part of the show, too. The Golf Show has, once again, welcomed Europe’s largest gathering of golf industry professionals to the Harrogate International Centre, for the 2014 staging of the threeday event on October 7-9. Now in its fifth year, the continent’s largest golf trade and education event welcomed PGA professionals for a packed programme of educational seminars, networking, and a first look at next year’s products and services at an exhibition of more than 60 industry-leading brands. Castle Stuart Golf Links has scored a notable double with the award of a prestigious international sustainability accolade and the success of a flagship conservation project involving hundreds of rare bumblebees. The GEO Certified ecolabel, an international symbol of ‘great golf environments’, recognises golf clubs that have met high standards for performance in nature conservation, water and energy efficiency, ethical and environmental supply chain, pollution control and community engagement. De Vere Slaley Hall has taken the lead with the brand’s mission to grow the game across all levels by introducing a free junior membership scheme. All members of the Slaley Country Club will receive a complimentary junior membership for their children, encouraging them to take advantage of the resort’s golf courses and practice facilities.


Experienced agronomist and greenkeeping expert John Bambury has been appointed as the new course manager at Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland, and will oversee the club’s two 18-hole links layouts.


Royal Blackheath Golf Club in London, has chosen Toro for the first time to look after its 110-acre, 18-hole landscaped parkland course, which is unchallenged as the oldest golf club in England.


Tacit Golf extended their involvement with the Ryder Cup dating back to 1989, by supplying the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles with tournament flagsticks and aluminium hole cups for the recent Ryder Cup.


Bill Allchurch, a 95-year-old war hero and lifelong golf fanatic, was invited to hit the opening tee-shot at his home club, Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, to mark the opening of the new £3 million Ramside Cathedral Course.


Sittingbourne and Milton Regis Golf Club have taken delivery of £300,000 worth of new golf course maintenance equipment following their fifth consecutive preferred supplier agreement with Ransomes Jacobsen.


Branston Golf & Country Club has invested £52,000 in new John Deere course machinery for the first time, in a drive to improve the condition and presentation of its 18 and nine-hole parkland golf courses. | 15



company profile

“Recharge the battery as soon as you can after you have used it and make sure you leave it on charge until the charge has completed its charge cycle”

Think Positive this winter As winter is set to take grip across Europe, Scott MacCallum reports on how best to maintain one of the most important elements of your buggy fleet... the battery. FLEET DRIVEN A fleet of golf cars, charged and ready to go out on the course

Company Profile sponsored by Easy Start Batteries (44) 01536 203030

16 | GMé October 2014

We all know the benefits that we derive from looking after our property better. For the first few uses we make every effort to dry and polish our new golf shoes and the same careful attitude is taken with our new clubs too. At home we know that we have to maintain our houses otherwise gutters become clogged, paint begins to flake and boilers become unreliable. Often, however, our diligence drops off after a time and those shoes start to look a little careworn, our clubs dull and repairs start to be required more regularly on our homes. With certain batteries if you don’t keep that care programme going the speed at which it loses its effectiveness certainly gathers pace. But as they are under a bonnet, attached to our powered trolley

or hidden within our mobile phone we tend to forget the need to provide a little love and attention. So we only have ourselves to blame when the we find ourselves reaching for a charger on a much more frequent basis than before, or run out of juice just when it is least convenient. This is most apparent with the flooded batteries which are generally used to power golf buggies for whom responsibility for maintenance often falls on the golf club mechanic or even one of the assistant pros. “These batteries do need constant care if they are going to maximise their effectiveness,” explained Trevor Horner, managing director of Easystart Ltd which specialises in providing batteries to the automotive and leisure industries.

CHARGING AHEAD It’s important to ensure that your golf batteries are kept full charged throughout the winter months

“A battery manufacturer will give you a run time for a battery which is accurate when the battery is brand new but each time you use the battery it deteriorates– very much like the tyres of your car. The battery is not going to be as good after 12 months as it is when it is brand new,” explained Horner. It is vital to recharge your battery as quickly as possible after use and running it down flat should be avoided wherever possible – unlike the advice we get to run our mobile phones down to nothing every once in a while. “The wisdom that your run a battery down to avoid it becoming lazy is not something that applies to batteries which are used in golf. It is a bit of a myth which crept in when mobile phones first came out with advice given to periodically discharge your battery,” said Horner. “Wet flooded batteries for golf carts must be topped up correctly, fully charged and kept fully charged in the winter, but I reckon this is often overlooked by the operator. “It’s not a surprise as, the battery is hidden under the bonnet and it’s not a

job people like to do. But if the battery is not filled with distilled water the plates will become exposed to the air and corrode the plates very quickly,” added Horner. “I would recommend that these types of batteries should be checked once a month until you get a feel for how often they will need watering.” While it is generally the responsibility of the golf club or resort to maintain its buggy fleet, the efficiency of the humble motorised trolley is very much the responsibility of the end user, and while modern day sealed acid or lithium batteries do not require the same on-going care as wet flooded batteries, there are still actions which can be taken to ensure their lives are stretched as long as they can. There are some clubs which have large fleets of buggies for rent and many of these have looked to extend the length of the lease agreements from three years to four or five. The leases exclude batteries and these are more likely to fail in the fourth or fifth years so the golf clubs will be looking to replace these batteries.

“I don’t believe that golf club managers or pros would know where to go and get a replacement battery. Some would, no doubt, return to the supplier of the buggies, who would supply them, but at a price,” explained Horner. “Recharge the battery as soon as you can after you have used it and make sure you leave it on charge until the charge has completed its charge cycle. “The charger is designed to keep the battery on a maintenance charge and will not damage it when it is left on charge constantly – there is no issue of overcharging. Once fully charged, the charger will sense that and switch to float mode – firing milliamps at the battery to keep it at a fully charged state,” he said. So there is no issue with leaving your trolley plugged in at the trolley shed back at the golf club. The emergence of the battery over the last 20 years has revolutionised so many aspects of our lives but our knowledge of how to maximise the benefits of our batteries has not increased at the same rate. A little bit of care and attention could make these wondering additions to our lives even more effective. GMé | 17




AMONGST FRIENDS (L-R) Andy Brown of Toro, Jerry Kilby and Barry Beckett also of Toro

CHANGING ROLES Jerry Kilby addressing delegates at the EGCOA Golf Business Conference in 2008

In conversation with Jerry Kilby As one of the industry’s most widely respected individuals, Jerry Kilby has worked with the PGA, CMAE and UKGCOA, and now, in an advisory role, StayPrime Global.

GMé With over 28 years’ experience working in the golf sector, how did you get involved with golf? JK I was working for Burmah-Castrol, the oil company, as a sales rep selling Castrol GTX, and was looking for a change. I saw an advert in the Daily Telegraph – the PGA were looking for two regional secretaries, so I applied and got the job. GMé You joined the PGA in 1986, and then two year’s later, became the PGA marketing manager, so are you a qualified PGA professional? JK No. When I was good enough to make the playing standard, I was in my mid-thirties and working as marketing manager of the PGA. In order to have become a professional, I would have had to leave that role and take on an assistant pro’s job, so I decided against it as I would not have been able to support my family and pay my mortgage at the time. GMé Having spent seven years working for the PGA, during which time you were involved in the 1989 and 1993 Ryder Cups at The Belfry, in your opinion, how much more of a commercial animal is the Ryder Cup now than then? JK There is no doubt that the Ryder Cup now is a much more commercial enterprise than it was when I was involved and played a small part.

18 | GMé October 2014

The Ryder Cup now is a year-round business, with commercial endorsements, global merchandise sales, multimedia exposure as well as the staging of the event itself here in Europe every four years – all credit to Richard Hills, the director of Ryder Cup Ltd and his team for taking the event to the very pinnacle of the world’s great sporting events. Perhaps only the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are larger sporting events than the Ryder Cup now. GMé In 1993, you started Kanda Golf Services. What does ‘Kanda’ stand for, what services do you offer, and who are those services designed to help? JK Kanda stands for Kilby and Associates – as I have always believed in working with others as and when required to help companies, clubs and individuals in the golf industry achieve their objectives. Principally, I offer consultancy, education/training and marketing services to companies such as StayPrime Global, a GPS golf cart management system; organisations like BIGGA, for whom I am currently working on a governance review project; and golf clubs/courses (both member-owned and proprietary) for whom I help with business planning, membership acquisition and retention programmes, governance reviews and revenue generation. I have recently designed a membership recruitment service for golf clubs

COMMERCIALLY MINDED Jerry Kilby addressing the CMAA World Conference

that they can secure on a performancerelated basis, so making the service very affordable. I am hoping that this will be popular among clubs that want and need to boost their membership numbers. GMé In 2000, you embarked on a fiveyear role as general manager at the Nad Al Sheba Club in Dubai, overseeing a wide remit. Having advised general managers, and then become one yourself, which side of the fence do you prefer? JK Prior to 2000, I had spent most of my time as Kanda Golf on event management, working with governing bodies such as the Malaysian and Hong Kong Golf Associations on the staging of their national Open Championships. I also started (with my friend and partner Wayne Stephens) the much-loved Hippo Tour, which helped in the development of Tour players who are now in the European Ryder Cup team.

When I was offered the position of a golf club general manager, I quickly realised that the role of a GM was a wide and varied one, and detailed knowledge of many areas of business was needed very quickly, from F&B management and service, to golf course maintenance, people management, accounts etc. On reflection, I liked the daily challenges and the ever-changing landscape of golf club operations and would be happy to do that again if asked, but I also like the satisfaction of helping others, passing on my knowledge and experience, and watching them develop and grow into successful golf managers and golf businesses themselves. GMé In your career, you have been involved with various trade organisations including the PGA, UKGCOA and CMAE, so in your opinion, is there still a need for all of these trade bodies, or have we reached saturation point?

JK I do think we may have reached the saturation point, indeed I can see the day when there is some consolidation and perhaps even some mergers between like-minded organisations. My personal view is that it is fine for each of the professions to have their own professional body, so long as that body concentrates on raising the education and qualification standards of their members and future members. GMé What’s the relationship between Kanda Golf Services, and Stay Prime? JK StayPrime Global LLC is a client of Kanda Golf, and I fulfil a role of part-time sales & marketing director for StayPrime, with the focus on developing sales and marketing strategies, recruiting sales agents, dealers and distributors for StayPrime range of products in all golf markets throughout the world and growing the business. | 19




USER-FRIENDLY The StayPrime Elite Pro System in use at Dubai Creek Golf Club

“I think many more golf clubs in Europe should take a fresh look at GPS and that is what the team at StayPrime have done”

20 | GMé October 2014

GMé The GPS golf cart sector has always had the potential to be a big revenue earner for golf clubs, yet in Europe for some reason, it has struggled to take off. Is the time now right for GPS in Europe to really take hold? JK Yes. I think many more golf clubs in Europe should take a fresh look at GPS and that is what the team at StayPrime have done. I think there are two issues for a golf club to consider. The first is the ability for the golf operations manager to be able to track the location of all their golf carts in real-time, monitoring pace of play, making sure the carts are not driven into areas that they should not go etc… and know where the cart has been whilst it was rented. This we feel is the principle reason that golf clubs, courses and resorts should consider a GPS cart management system today, as they need to maximise the efficiency of their cart fleet and ensuring that golfers get around the course in a reasonable time. The second issue is revenue. Yes, golf club, courses and resorts can increase revenues by having a GPS system installed, and our clients in Europe are already seeing net revenue growth after installing a StayPrime system, but this does not come from third-party advertisers – advertising revenue is not the magic bullet that it was once claimed to be. There is a growing trend towards a golf club having ‘sponsors’ or ‘corporate partners’ with a limited number of brands, sold and controlled by the club themselves, thereby maximising revenues and developing worthwhile relationships with valued clients.

In addition, golf clubs tend to charge a few Euros more for a cart rental with a GPS system than a cart rental without GPS, so increased revenues and more cart rental rounds per cart are what our golf club clients have been experiencing. We also have golf club clients that are enjoying considerable revenues from F&B sales on course, as an order placed through a GPS unit on a cart is sent via a text message to the operator of a mobile refreshment cart, who can then take the ordered items directly to the golfers who placed the order. GMé Apart from yardages, what are the other benefits of having golf carts equipped with GPS, from both the club and golfers perspective? JK The distance-measuring aspect of a GPS system is not the reason why a golf club will invest in a GPS system today. We think the fleet management benefits mentioned previously are the main benefits to a golf club from having a StayPrime GPS system. The StayPrime screens are designed to make the golf experience better, with 3D visualisation and fly-throughs of each hole, the ability to record scores on screen for all players, and the ability to order refreshments and snacks. GMé Is there a minimum number of golf cars that a club has to have in its fleet to make GPS technology viable? JK We have installed StayPrime at clubs where they only have eight carts, so the system is flexible for all types of golf facilities, and not just for those golf facilities that have large fleets. GMé

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in profile

Townend ushers in new era for Asian golf Aidan Patrick speaks to The Els Club Malaysia’s new senior vice president, Dave Townend on the new resort destination and what the future holds for the brand.

For many people, it wasn’t until YE Yang achieved the seemingly impossible by overcoming Tiger Woods down the closing stretch of a Major Championship that Asian golf became a focus of attention. Yang, surpassing near misses by KJ Choi, Tze Chung-Chen, Isao Aoki and Lu Liang-Huan before him, was the first to write his name into the record books. Simultaneously, he emerged as the embodiment of Asia’s rapid development in the sport, much of which had gone previously unheralded and unreported in golf’s traditional markets. Despite our collective ignorance, golf in Asia is no new phenomenon. Indeed, for the past 25 years it has provided the career path for many, David Townend, the new senior vice president of The Els Club Malaysia, among them. Having assumed responsibility of the brand’s burgeoning global reputation following his previous role as director of Troon’s Australia, Asia-Pacific region, the Aussie has arrived at the dawning of a project at the heart of one of Malaysia’s most stunning regions and finest new golf courses.

22 | GMé October 2014

A stalwart of golf in Asia since first arriving from Down Under in 1989, Townend has a decorated background, one which makes his newly-assumed position his most exciting challenge yet. “My start in golf came in an apprenticeship as a PGA professional at Helensvale Golf Club on Australia’s Gold Coast at the age of 16,” said Townend. “After completing this and playing on several tours, I had the opportunity to work with the Japanese owners of Royal Pines Resort which was undergoing construction at the time. “This led to the opportunity to undergo a one-year stint in Japan to broaden my experience and I never returned to Australia as I found that Asia was the place for me. “After 25 years here, having operated some of Asia’s finest golf clubs and resorts, run many professional championships and worked for an amazing company in Troon, my career has been one great progression. “Appropriately, The Els Club Malaysia was a concept I created when I was the head of business development and operations for Troon in Australia, Asia/Pacific.

THE VIEW FROM ABOVE David Towned, pictured top-left, and an aerial view of the impressive course at The Els Club, Malaysia

“The idea was to take the already successful model that Troon had created with our Els Club Dubai project and ramp it up three times more, making it even bigger and utilizing all of the benefits that Troon offers to develop a membership model that was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. “When the opportunity arose recently in the role of heading this project, I

knew I was the right person, as I knew the background of it intimately. I already lived in Kuala Lumpur and I have strong relationships with the owner, Ernie Els and his team, and the construction and operations crews.” It’s an especially thrilling time for Townend to come on board, with the official grand opening of The Els Teluk Datai, the first of three Els Club Malaysia

designs to launch over the next two years, taking place this month. Four-time Major Champion and South African golfing legend Ernie Els is set to attend along with a host of dignitaries and VIPs, all of whom will celebrate the landmark achievement for owner and developers Destinations Resorts and Hotels (DRH), as well as Els himself as his first signature layout in South East Asia. | 23



in profile MALAYSIAN MASTERPIECE A selection of images of the simply stunning Els Club Malaysia course

“To see how far the game has come over my time in Asia is incredible. It’s on the same scale as the evolution from first years of the game in Scotland up to the turn of this century but in an much more condensed timescale”

On the influence of the Golf Hallof-Famer in the creation of one of the world’s most idyllic courses, Townend continued: “A signature designer like Ernie Els brings with him a ton of experience of playing golf courses all over the world at a competitive level. “In addition, these guys also play a lot of golf with amateurs in Pro-Am events, giving them an understanding of how golfers at all levels play a course. From this, Ernie has been able to strategise a fun but challenging layout. Ernie also has one of golf’s most respected architects, Greg Letsche, as his senior designer, who has made sure his brand develops a strong reputation. “From an owner/operator standpoint, we are looking to maximise the marketing potential someone of Ernie’s status brings as a four-time Major winner and a member of Golf’s Hall of Fame. Langkawi is a destination where golfers fly in from

24 | GMé October 2014

locations all across Asia, so having a world-renowned golfer associated as the designer is a huge plus for us, and tourism in Langkawi as a whole.” While clearly having an understanding of the most likely markets from which to attract inbound travellers, Townend has already earmarked more distant and perhaps previously untapped locations in which to source new visitors to The Els Club Malaysia. At present, Langkawi is only accessible from domestic airports and connections through neighbouring Singapore, but Townend is highly confident the natural beauty of this largely untouched setting, will help to drive tourism from regions far and wide as its reputation grows. “The major focus on developing our core repeat business is from domestic markets here in Malaysia and Singapore. However, we are a world-renowned travel destination with amazing resorts, beauti-

ful waters and an abundance of activities to be enjoyed whilst on the island. “As such, other markets of great interest and focus for us will include, China/ Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia. “Already we have hosted many FAM trips for tour operators and travel writers from Europe, the Americas and Australia, and they have been amazed by the sheer beauty of the Els Club Teluk Datai and our five-star sister hotel property, the highly-acclaimed Datai Hotel Langkawi. So, we expect to see more and more international tourists converging on Langkawi in 2015.” Further Els Club developments in the offing on the Desaru Coast and in Desaru Valley, situated in Malaysia’s southernmost state of Johur Bahru, will only serve to enhance its status as one of the world’s most impressive destinations for golf.

Townend one of the leading lights in Asia

While the Els Club Desaru Coast is set to feature a 27-hole design; a nine-hole par-3 course; and South East Asia’s first Els Performance Academy, the Els Club Desaru Valley incorporates an 18-hole layout conceived by Els’ great friend Vijay Singh. Each eagerly awaited course is now well into development and will see ground broken on state-of-the-art clubhouses early next year in preparation for launching in the second quarter of 2016. Additionally boasting multiple luxury hotels, theme parks, conventions centres, retail malls, Ernie Els Signature Villas and the first Big Easy Bar & Grill in Asia, Desaru is destined to become a worldclass resort destination. Even for Townend, a key influencer for a quarter century in creating new worldclass courses and enticing the game’s star player to cast their gaze eastwards, the appetite for golf in Asia, perfectly

illustrated by The Els Club Malaysia, is still astonishing. And, for his part in assisting this progress across the continent, highly rewarding. “To see how far the game has come over my time in Asia is incredible. It’s on the same scale as the evolution from first years of the game in Scotland up to the turn of this century but in an much more condensed timescale. “In 1996, I hosted the Volvo China Open at Beijing International GC, which saw the European Tour partnering with the Asian Tour for the first time. Now we see all major tours hosting events in this part of the world and world-class players from Asia playing all around the world. “To have been involved in this at an administrative and operative level has given me great satisfaction and the next challenge with The Els Club Malaysia looks set to be the most exciting one yet.” GMé

With over 30 years’ experience in the golf, leisure and hospitality industry, David Townend made the move from his role as director for Troon Golf’s Australia, Asia-Pacific region, and will take control of The Els Club’s growing Malaysian portfolio, with the responsibility of increasing awareness of the country as a leading destination among golfers worldwide. With a career comprising roles as general manager, director of business development and director of operations, Townend has been employed across Asia for more than 20 years, and has developed an impressive resume in properties that he has managed in China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, where he has been responsible for pre-opening and operations management at numerous highly-acclaimed facilities including China’s exclusive Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club, host of the WGC-HSBC Champions event, among them. “It is our aim to put Malaysia on the world map for bespoke luxury with a clutch of sophisticated properties, said Hanley Chew, chief operating officer of DRH. “David is a strategic addition to the management team as we needed someone who understood the level of quality we are focusing on, as well as the ability to steer the developments and market them on a global basis. “David’s experience nurturing the growth of the golf properties will be key as we continue to attract the discerning golfer to our locations.” | 25



club car

Club Car helps drive Europe to Ryder Cup glory

CAPTAIN’S ROLE European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, on-course at Gleneagles

As the world’s third largest sporting event, the Ryder Cup can be a logistical nightmare for those behind the scenes. Nick Nixon talks to the team at Club Car who were responsible for co-ordinating a staggering 540 vehicles on-site at Gleneagles. In a partnership that will celebrate 20 years in 2015, Club Car has proven to be a critical ‘driving force’ behind yet another successful Ryder Cup, according to Paul Dunstan, The European Tour’s assistant operations director. As Official Supplier to The 2014 Ryder Cup, staged at Gleneagles, the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emissions electric vehicles supplied its largest ever fleet to assist operations ahead of, during and after the 40th edition of the biennial match.

26 | GMé October 2014

In total, more than 540 vehicles were provided by Club Car, for a wide variety of users, from the captains of each team, to support staff such as scaffolders, plumbers and electricians. Reflecting on The 2014 Ryder Cup, Dunstan said: “The greatest compliment I can pay Club Car is that I didn’t have to think about them once throughout the event. “Thanks to the reliability of its products and their outstanding on-site support network, any minor problems

that did arise were dealt with expertly and efficiently before becoming an issue. He continued: “The trust we can place in Club Car is invaluable. The strains of staging an event of The Ryder Cup’s magnitude, not to mention the weekby-week requirements of The European Tour, can be challenging, but we have yet to ask a question of Club Car that can’t be answered with consummate professionalism.” Sentiments that were shared by European Ryder Cup director Richard ALL ABOARD The victorious European Ryder Cup team pose with the trophy and the captain’s car (right), and below, the US and European cars pictured outside the Glenagles Hotel

“The greatest compliment I can pay Club Car is that I didn’t have to think about them once throughout the event”

Hills who said: “Club Car makes The European Tour move.” As an Official Supplier to The Ryder Cup since 1995, Club Car has supplied over 3,000 vehicles to the event, and the fleet supplied for the 2014 match was its largest ever. In excess of 300 cars were shipped from the company’s headquarters in Augusta, with a further 240 sourced from the UK. The fleet included 40 Precedents, 490 Carryalls, 13 Trailers and 12 Tractors, plus seven support vehicles, three lorries and 20 staff. In its capacity as Official Supplier to The 2014 Ryder Cup, Club Car provided each team with seven vehicles, including the familiar captain’s cars, enabling the squads’ skippers, vice-captains and

support staff to navigate the course quickly and efficiently, and keep up with each day’s play. However, the vehicles were also used for a wide-variety of purposes from security details transporting VIPs to electricians, plumbers and scaffolders being called out to the more distant areas of the course at a moment’s notice. “There are approximately 7,000 staff and volunteers involved in the staging of a Ryder Cup, including marshals, hospitality, merchandising, rules officials and media – all of whom need to get around the site easily and quickly,” explained Club Car’s Kevin Hart, sales director Golf for the EMEIA region. “The television crews alone require more than half the vehicles supplied by

Club Car to help broadcast the biennial match to millions of viewers around the globe who will be watching the action unfold at Gleneagles.” This year, a dedicated media compound housed 192 vehicles, which were made available to broadcasters including NBC and Sky TV. Each of The Ryder Cup’s partners was also provided with cars to ensure the smooth running of the part they each played. For example, a technician from Rolex used a vehicle to help with the servicing of the clocks on each tee. Of the involvement Club Car has had with biennial match over the years, European Ryder Cup director Richard Hills has said: “Over the years, the Club Car fleet has provided an invaluable | 27



club car

HANDING OVER Kevin Hart of Club Car (left) with José María Olazábel at Medinah Country Club, in 2012

“For the captain, it is important to be as close to your players as possible. You need to get to each match as fast as you can, so the golf cars are crucial”

28 | GMé October 2014

service to our TV company without which the team that delivers the TV pictures wouldn’t be able to function. The pictures of Seve driving around on his Club Car at Valderrama in 1997 were legendary, for example.” Memorable images include Colin Montgomerie driving through rain and puddles on route to victory at the Celtic Manor Resort in 2010. In 2012, Ryder Cup European Team captain José María Olazábal said the fleet of Club Car vehicles set to be used by him and his four vice-captains in the 39th Ryder Cup was to have a “crucial” role in team management at Medinah Country Club, Chicago, where Europe won 14½ to 13½. “For the captain, it is important to be as close to your players as possible. You need to get to each match as fast as you can, so the golf cars are crucial,” Olazábal explained. “You need to know how your team is getting on and how your opponents are doing, and to share that information you need to cut through holes, cut through the crowds to cover the distance.”

Of the event, the Spaniard said: “The emotions at that Ryder Cup were incredible. To be part of the winning team was very special. After we won, everyone was happy and was singing and doing all kinds of crazy things.” Commenting on Club Car’s longstanding partnership with The European Tour, the company’s vice president in EMEIA, Marco Natale, said: “We have been fortunate to forge such a close relationship with the European Tour and be integrally involved in The Ryder Cup. “Over the years, we have come to understand what the job entails as well as the demands of the various stakeholders,” continued Natale. “Our experience at servicing big international events means The European Tour can put its trust in Club Car for the on-course logistics of the ultimate tournament in matchplay golf, and watch the drama, camaraderie and incredible sportsmanship unfold. “Each time, we aspire to go beyond expectations to fulfilling the part Club Car plays in helping promote a first-class Ryder Cup.” GMé


berliner golf & country club

Bodo ‘Sees’ the difference at Berliner Golf & Country Club Kevin Marks visited Berliner Golf & Country Club Motzener See earlier this year to speak to long serving head greenkeeper, Bodo Bredow. Located just outside Berlin, Berliner Golf and Country Club Motzener See celebrated its 20th anniversary in June 2013, which coincided with the opening of a new nine-hole loop created out of virgin Brandenburg forest. The course was designed by Kurt Rossknecht, with construction work beginning in May 1991 and the ninehole executive course opening for play in August 1992. The 18-hole championship course opened three months later and the official opening took place in the newly completed clubhouse in June 1993. Operated by the CCA group, Berliner Golf and Country Club is situated within a 160 hectare grass and forested estate with 60 hectares of managed turf, plus 30 hectares of rough ground. The greens are sown with Penncross agrostis with the tees and fairways a mix of fescue and agrostis.

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Bodo Bredow joined Berliner Golf and Country Club during the grow-in period in 1992 and was promoted to head greenkeeper in 1996. He leads a team of 14 including a mechanic during the golfing season, which reduces to four in the winter months. With the opening of the new nine holes in 2013, the facility now consists of three nine-hole sections imaginatively titled A, B and C. Loop A consists entirely of old holes on the former 18-hole course; loop B utilises four holes on the old course and five new holes with loop C using four new holes and five old holes on the back nine of the old course. The new nine holes have been created out of 45 hectares of virgin forest, with just 17 hectares devoted to golf course. “We seeded the new holes in 2012 and opened in June 2013, but I accept that it was a little too early,” commented Bredow.

“We closed during the mild spring of 2014 to help the density of grass cover and that has worked for us. “When we were planning the new holes, I worked very closely with Kurt Rossknecht and I had professional input into the finally accepted design. The greens have enough light due to the extensive removal and thinning of trees in areas related to the passage of the sun. This has removed any possibly agronomic issues associated with shade. “Brandenburg is the most forested area of Germany and tree removal was a major part of the construction process. On average we removed 10,000 trees per hectare; that’s 170,000 in total,” continued Bredow. “We sold the timber and this was re-invested in the construction of the golf course. We have no rough in this forest loop – the trees form the natural boundary to the fairways.” SEEING IS BELIEVING The large feature lake comes into play on three holes of loop C (main picture) where divers recover in excess 80,000 lost golf balls a year from the water hazards around the course. Right, Bodo Bredow, and below right, his greenkeeping staff

“We sold the timber and this was re-invested in the construction of the golf course”

The original flat landscape had to be transformed back in 1992 to create the character of an inland links. This was achieved through the construction of a large feature lake, a water course running through the facility and linking several large ponds. In all, water is pumped 2.5 km to the far side before cascading around the course. The links style has been compromised over the years, with various club managers having had their input and trees have been planted which have altered the character of the course. With the rough growing to 700mm in high summer, it plays entirely differently from spring to autumn. The typical northern European climate is mainly mild; but in winter frosts can go down -25°c. The course has irrigation on all greens, tees and fairways with water coming from an on-site bore hole. Ransomes Jacobsen equipment forms the majority of the turf maintenance machinery used by Bredow and his team which has been purchased from Golf Tech, based in Munster. Bredow currently has four Jacobsen PGM 22 pedestrian greens mowers, an Eclipse 322 diesel-electric hybrid greens mower with another on order, two LF 570 light fairway mowers and one of its predecessors, the LF 3800.

For the semi-rough he uses an AR 522 and a R311T for the higher rough areas. Tees and surrounds are maintained with a Tri-King and he has five utility vehicles, two Cushman Haulers, two E-Z-GO MPTs and a new Cushman Turf Truckster. Bredow also has the first Jacobsen AR722 to be sold into Germany; this new contour rotary mower, which was launched into Europe in March this year, features seven 56 cm rotary cutting decks and a 3.2 metre cutting width. Bredow first saw the mower when it was previewed at Demopark last year, before testing it here and eventually purchasing the machine. Most of the equipment was delivered last autumn and commenting on his decision to purchase the Eclipse 322, Bredow said: “This is the latest technology for mowing greens; because it uses electric power there is no hydraulic system, so no chance of an oil spill. “It’s also much quieter than a standard diesel powered hydraulic mower, which is good because we have a restriction on our mowing times at weekends due to the proximity of local housing and cannot begin maintenance before 8am. “The other significant benefit is the ability to change the number of cuts per metre that the machine can do. Once this is programmed into the mower it cuts

every green exactly the same, ensuring consistency of the putting surfaces for our members and visitors. “At present we have set this to match the frequency of cut (FOC) of our Toro greens mower, but when our second Eclipse is delivered we’ll see what the optimum FOC is and set both Eclipses to the same setting. “I’m also considering purchasing tees cutting units for both machines; I could then change the FOC to accommodate the reduced number of blades on the tees cylinders and it will give me more flexibility if I lost the use of the Tri-King for some reason. That’s another reason why I made the decision to purchase the Eclipse.” Completing the machinery fleet is a Turfco top dresser and from Smithco a bunker rake, Tournament Ultra greens roller and a Spray Star 2000 with GPS for highly accurate chemical distribution. As I was saying farewell to Bredow and his team, I noticed what looked like a very ancient Cushman Turf Truckster in the maintenance facility which was built in 1991, making it 23 years old with over 10,000 hours on the clock. “Excellent multi-purpose machine,” said Bredow, “Great turning circle with only one wheel at the front and it’s still running!” GMé | 31


irrigation BIRD’S EYE VIEW Rain Bird is the official supplier of irrigation equipment to Pebble Beach

Kneale is a polished Diamond at Rain Bird Scott MacCallum speaks with Kneale Diamond of Rain Bird, and discovers that business is fairly brisk.

In life there are many brand names which we all know, seemingly from birth. Mere mention of “golden arches”; “distinctively shaped bottles of black fizzy liquid” or “oven baked chips” and we all instantly know the name associated with them. In the golf business there are a number of brand names which we all know and which require very little description. On any of those lists would appear the name, Rain Bird. The American company has been one of the leading irrigation manufacturers in the world since its formation in 1933, and as a result many golf clubs have been extremely grateful for the advances that have been made by Rain Bird’s engineers. Their hard work has been matched only by their ingenuity with over 4,000 different products produced and over 130 patents awarded. The man charged with ensuring that the Rain Bird not only maintains but grows its considerable market share on this side of the pond is golf area sales manager for the UK, Ireland and Iceland, Kneale Diamond, who joined the company around ten years ago having previously been course manager at the Hanbury Manor Resort, just north of London. “Our order book going forward is very strong at the moment and it comes on the back of three very good years for us,” revealed Diamond, adding that, such is

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the protracted nature of a decision to install new irrigation he has some dates pencilled in the diary as far into the future as four or five years. “Irrigation is the most expensive piece of machinery any golf club buys and because it is such a big financial commitment they have to plan ahead carefully and organise financing before any agreement can be completed,” explained Diamond. In such a competitive world, however, a golf club which doesn’t have a modern state-of-the-art irrigation system will soon be left behind by their neighbours, so far sighted committees know that bullets have to be bitten – while the even more enlightened have put provision for upgrading or new systems in the budget over a period of years to lessen the impact when the time is right to move on the matter. It is true that a wet summer can slow sales but a modern irrigation system is far more than a mere replacement for reluctant precipitation. In the hands of a skilled course manager an irrigation system can be used to ensure that the grass plant receives exactly the amount of moisture it needs to thrive. Amounts are now applied very accurately down to the nearest millimetre, while sophisticated pop up sprinklers are tuned to make sure that an even coverage is applied with no overly wet or dry patches left behind.

“Irrigation is the most expensive piece of machinery any golf club buys and because it is such a big financial commitment they have to plan ahead carefully”

“I remember working at The London Club when they had a brand new irrigation system installed and it was a PC system, DOS based, with no graphics just numbers,” recalled Diamond. The fact is that an irrigation system has moved from being operated by a computer the size of a fridge to something which can be run off a mobile phone, by someone not even in the same continent, is a measure of just how far the irrigation industry has come in a relatively short space of time. “Soil sensors are the big things of the last few years,” added Diamond. “They measure moisture levels and temperature in the soil and pass on the information to the irrigation system which reacts accordingly. “For example, if you get rainfall five minutes before you had programmed the irrigation to go off the sensors will automatically adjust your controller and change the irrigation accordingly. Or if the temperature reaches a set threshold or the moisture level reaches a certain level in the rootzone an email will automatically be sent to the course manager to alert him.”

Rain Bird is also at the forefront of the irrigation world with the introduction of ICS – Integrated Control Systems – which have added still further to the technology, simplicity and control available to a course manager. “Rather than traditional decoders which were basically a switch buried in the ground, with ICS each module carries its own microprocessor so it is the equivalent of having a small computer in every sprinkler,” said Diamond. “ICS gives the course manager far superior control at their fingertips with advanced diagnostic tools and electrical capabilities.” As a former greenkeeper, Diamond is adamant that such advances do not replace or reduce what a course manager has to offer but merely allow more decisions to be made on a factual basis. In effect it is taking away some of the guess work, something which occasionally causes even the finest and most experienced of greenkeepers to sport the reddest of faces. Another area in which a new irrigation system can prove its worth is in the area of conservation.

“The most expensive commodities for a golf club are electricity and water, and it has been proven that a modern day system covering tees, fairways, greens and surrounds can use significantly less water than an older greens and tees system, and if a golf club is operating with mains water that is a huge potential saving to the golf club, never mind the benefits to the environment.” Diamond travels the country securing new business for Rain Bird as well as an annual visit to Iceland where he is growing his share of the market, while he sees the next few years as key, with many of his existing clients ready to upgrade Rain Bird systems which were installed 15 to 20 years ago. “We’ve just recently won a contract for Wrotham Heath Golf Club in Kent which will be installed shortly and work has recently began at Little Aston Golf Club in Birmingham and several other venues throughout the UK. It is contracts like that, and those which may well flow from it, which will ensure that the name of Rain Bird will continue to be one of the most recognisable in the business. GMé | 33



junior golf

Golf should live the Teenage Dream A new report which has just been published, still suggests that too many clubs are not focusing on the 14-18 year age group. Aidan Patrick takes a closer look at the figures.

“From a business perspective, youth participation is an important strategic opportunity for golf as a sport and a business”

EASY GIRL A young girl practicing her swing on the range

New research offering insights into how more young people could be encouraged to play golf has been published by Syngenta. Published after the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup – which was staged at Blairgowrie Golf Club, Scotland – the report sheds light on the important role of family and schools in introducing young people to golf, and how factors such as affordable equipment rentals, shorter courses, fasttrack learning, relaxed dress codes and friendly, social environments could help clubs recruit and retain young players. The report, The Opportunity to Grow Golf: Youth Participation, is based on specialist qualitative research with golfers and non-golfers in the 14-15 and 17-18 year age groups. The findings, which have been welcomed by the leading children’s golf organisation, The Golf Foundation, are designed to help clubs and courses iden-

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tify potential solutions to retain current junior golfers and attract new players. Syngenta head turf & landscape EAME, Simon Elsworth, said: “While some of the responses from the series of focus groups might have been expected, listening carefully to what young people have to say about sport and golf, what interests them and what would engage them further is enlightening. “In many ways, what youth say about golf in terms of its friendliness (spending time with friends and family; customer service) and flexibility (opportunity to play nine-holes rounds; dress codes) is consistent with what many existing golfers and prospective players say and want. “From a business perspective, youth participation is an important strategic opportunity for golf as a sport and a business. Giving young people opportunities to engage in golf in a way that will

enable them to enjoy the many benefits it offers as a sport and social activity will help develop long-term participants and customers.” Brendon Pyle, development manager and acting CEO of the Golf Foundation said: “This report is greatly appreciated by the Golf Foundation. It confirms much of our own understanding of young people and their perception of golf whilst also offering new insight into ways of recruiting and retaining more young people in the sport. “Reassuringly, several of the factors identified by the study to encourage young people to start golf are already being applied by the Golf Foundation and its partners. “The negative perception of the golf club environment by young people, both golfers and non-golfers, reflects previous insight as well as the view of golf as a technically difficult sport played over

ON THE TEE... Teenagers in the important 14-18 age group, at a Ben Hogan Learning Center in the US

the traditional 18 holes for a long period of time. “The importance of family and schools is also understood, although the Golf Foundation has made great strides in England in recent years with its adapted school initiatives, Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme, helping to grow the number of schools delivering golf from 14 per cent in 2004 to 44 per cent in 2010. “Since 2010, changes in the sporting landscape and the demise of School Sport Partnerships have made the reach into schools much more challenging, which is possibly reflected by comments from young people in this study.” Commenting on the report’s findings, Sue Gledhill, qualitative director market opportunity & innovation at GfK – who managed the youth research on behalf of Syngenta – said: “The big headline is that it is not easy for youngsters to access golf.

“I was pleasantly surprised that there was an underlying interest in the sport, but to get them into golf and make them golfers is a long journey. There is a feeling among young people that they don’t belong in the golf club environment – it is seen as something for mature men. “However, existing juniors golfers expressed their sense of belonging in a competitive sense and really valued their coaches. This is where the golf industry can reach out to younger players, help them hone their skills and develop their performance. “I was interested in how keen some of the regular golfers are to improve and how much time and effort they put in during the holidays – they really wanted to improve. “They also spoke very positively about how golf is different to other sports. I was interested in how enthused they were to Top Golf – they spoke about it

spontaneously and it ticked a lot of the boxes in terms of what they wanted,” said Gledhill. “They could stay for just an hour, compete and spend time with friends, all in a safe and fun environment. The less competent golfers knew they wouldn’t look foolish there, which is important because they want to project a positive image.” Gledhill is of the opinion that the PGA professionals have a vital role to play: “In my opinion, professional coaches should lead junior golf. They are going to form the ongoing relationship and help develop performance.” Syngenta’s golf market research is designed to provide golf clubs and course owners with information that will help them make customer-focused decisions to help maximize market opportunities and deliver long-term business benefits. GMé | 35



thracian cliffs SCENIC VIEWS The spectacular view of the Gary Player designed signature course at Thracian Cliffs

Thracian accepts IMG Prestige invite Thracian Cliffs is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the best golf courses in the world, as Luke Frary reports. When Gary Player describes the site of your golf course as being better than Pebble Beach, it’s safe to assume you’re on to something good. So, perhaps, it comes as no surprise that a recent announcement confirmed that Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, on Bulgaria’s Cape Kaliakra coast, has become the first Eastern European destination to be invited to join IMG Prestige, an exclusive collection of some of the world’s most celebrated golfing venues. The spectacular cliffside resort, which features a world-renowned, Playerdesigned course, joins an illustrious portfolio of worldwide courses which includes Kingsbarns, Carton House, Legend Golf & Safari Resort, Yas Links and Le Touessrok in Mauritius. IMG Prestige’s global reciprocal programme brings together a collection of the finest golfing facilities in the world in recognition of the exceptional experience they provide members and guests both on and off the course. Full members at participating clubs are entitled to the preferred access, special rates, discounts, benefits and privileges offered by the other clubs and selected IMG Prestige partners. Thracian Cliffs’ general manager, Claudio Marini, said: “It is a great honour for Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort to be invited to become a part of IMG

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Prestige, not just because we are the first resort in Bulgaria to make the grade, but also because we are the first – and the flag bearer – from the geographical region of Eastern Europe. “It is not just a significant step for Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort, it is also indicative of the progress being made in golf terms by the nations in Eastern Europe. This would not have been possible 20 to 30 years ago and we are hugely honoured to be at the vanguard of this step-change in the region.” The golf course’s designer, nine-time Major winner Player, described it as a site unlike any other he’s seen during his long career in the game. He said: “I’ve been playing golf for 56 years and have never seen a site like this anywhere in the world. It is truly incredible. Pebble Beach is renowned as the best site and I would say Thracian Cliffs is twice as good as Pebble Beach.” No expense was spared in the construction of the resort – 30 per cent of the site was cut by hand – with the aim of attracting golfers from all across Europe to one of the most incredible golf settings anywhere. And it’s justifiably starting to rack up honours and awards. The luxury venue has gained many admirers since opening in 2011, with images of the sensational cliff-top Gary

“Pebble Beach is renowned as the best site and I would say Thracian Cliffs is twice as good as Pebble Beach”

TARGET GOLF No room for error with this approach shot

PATCHWORK The beautifully manicured fairways

PLAYING DOWNHILL Gary Player tees off on a par three

Player golf course being transmitted around the world. It also successfully hosted the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship and scooped the ‘European Golf Resort of the Year 2014’ award, bestowed by IAGTO. Designed over 164 hectares of wild, scenic terrain, the 7,025-yard, par-72, signature Course is one of the most dramatic anywhere and is simply breathtaking in places, with each hole offering views of the Black Sea. The much-pictured 231-yard, par-three sixth hole is rapidly becoming one of the most recognised short holes anywhere in Europe, as you play from a cliff-top tee to a green 40m below, with the Black Sea lapping all around.

And many of the other holes also boast 200-yard-plus carries if you choose to play from some of the back tees. But, to ensure all levels of golfer can enjoy the experience, Player has provided a mixture of five tees on each hole, while there is also wide abundance of wildlife to marvel at on your way round. Offering a choice of two residential villages – many with panoramic sea views – gourmet restaurants, a bijou spa and its own beach club, Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort offers plenty for both golfers and lifestyle seekers, all within the unique environment of the Cape Kaliakra coast, which benefits from plenty of autumn sunshine, lying, as it does, further south than Monaco.

And the apartments in the villages have bucked the trend on property prices during the last few years, having increased in value by more than 20 per cent in seven years. There’s plenty to keep non-golfers happy here too as the resort offers facilities and activities to improve physical fitness, reduce stress, or, simply, to just have fun. These include archery, swimming, kayaking, trekking, tennis and claypigeon shooting; plus the luxurious spa which offers a gym, hammam – a Turkish bath – steam room, Jacuzzi and ‘coldwater bucket’. Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort really is spearheading a new era in East European golf tourism. GMé | 37



tv coverage

Did Sky Sports pass the Screen Test? Our insatiable appetite for the Ryder Cup created feeding frenzy for all the latest action from Gleneagles in September. But how did Sky Sport’s presentation shape up and what next for the event? Mark Alexander finds out.

38 | GMé October 2014 THE WORLD IS WATCHING Webb Simpson of the United States hits the opening tee shot of the Ryder Cup, as his playing partner, Bubba Watson, looks on , whilst right, the Sky Sports team debate inside the studio

As we have come to expect, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was a spectacle of fevered passion and raw spirit. From the first tee shot to the last decisive play, it was the high point of the golfing season bar none. It was the stage on which golf freely unruffled its feathers and strutted its stuff to the world. Even the European team’s dominance couldn’t dampen the mood, so much so that when it came to Jamie Donaldson’s approach shot which he hit to within a couple of feet of the pin, the collective sense of relief and joy was felt from the Highlands of Scotland to the beaches of the Mediterranean. The golden cup was staying in Europe. Donaldson’s 146-yard pitch wasn’t simply the shot that sealed the Ryder Cup; it was also the high point of a visual feast that had been distributed to 180 territories around the globe. For executive producer of golf at Sky Sports, Jason Wessely, it was a moment to savour. “The high of the Ryder Cup has to be the shot that Donaldson hit into the 15th green. It was a fantastic way to win the Ryder Cup, and the celebrations that ensued – you just don’t see that in golf; that kind of euphoria,” he says excitedly. “It was a great moment – Jamie Donaldson; a British player, one of our guys and not a superstar, to hit the kind of shot he will always be remembered for was a fantastic moment. The raw nature of the Ryder Cup really came

to the fore. There was a great sense of fantastic chaos.” It was also the moment when Sky’s all-important audience figures reached their zenith. “The Ryder Cup channel peaked at 1.745 million on Sunday afternoon and it averaged at just under a million for the whole three days of the coverage,” says Wessely. “It rated as the second highest Ryder Cup coverage of all time, so that was very pleasing.” But it didn’t all go to plan for Sky, which was one of 50 broadcasters worldwide to showcase the biennial event. On the opening morning’s play, the broadcaster’s coverage was criticised after viewers missed the immediate aftermath of a skied drive from Webb Simpson during the fourballs. The broadcaster had cut to a commercial break. One incensed fan grumbled; “I’m tweeting because the adverts are on and I’ve turned off for 4mins. @ SkySportsGolf Sky clearly making a packet out of the Ryder Cup!” The accusations were clearly a low point in a week of highs for Wessely. “I didn’t enjoy getting the criticism on the Saturday morning after choosing to miss out Webb Simpson’s shot. “Any criticism is not great when you’re giving your heart and soul to a project and you know your whole team is doing the same. Being criticised for taking a commercial break when you are a commercial station; that’s not a pleasant

“Being criticised for taking a commercial break when you are a commercial station; that’s not a pleasant experience” | 39



tv coverage

experience but it comes with the territory.” Although the missed-shot allegation was quickly forgotten about as play got underway, it highlighted the difficulties of broadcasting an event where so much is as stake, on and off the course. “We have to take our commercial breaks and it is up to me to take those breaks at a time when the least important golf is happening,” he says. “But there is so much happening on the course that you’re going to miss something. When you come back, you can catch up on a certain amount of the play, but at some point you’ve got to show the action live. We are a live broadcaster.” He continues: “There was criticism that Webb Simpson second shot to the

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green hadn’t been seen. We were in a commercial break at the time because I had deemed it important to show all the opening tee shots,” added Wessely. “Webb Simpson did make the front of the green, but because Bubba Watson had hit his second shot to 8ft and had a birdie putt, it was far more important to get some coverage of that from our on-course commentator rather than waste time on a shot that was not going to be relevant. As it played out, I was absolutely right.” The difficulties of showing continuous live sport are clear, after all golf is unique in as much as there are few natural breaks in which to accommodate advertisers. The reverse is true for sports such as football and tennis where suspensions

in play provide the ideal opportunity to feature the ads. But would a free-to-air broadcaster, void of any commercial interruptions, done any better? Not so according to Wessely. “Sky has been instrumental in taking the Ryder Cup to the position it is in now,” he says defiantly. “Pre-1995, the BBC never showed the first tee shot – all that drama, excitement and stadium atmosphere would never have been shown on BBC. “There is a symbiotic relationship here – because Sky put the first tee shot on TV, it therefore became more important and the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe decided to build the stadium around the first tee. And so it when on. Sky has invested so much in the Ryder SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS Captain Paul McGinley (left) is showered with champagne at the closing ceremony, and below, executive producer of golf at Sky Sports, Jason Wessely

“Pre-1995, the BBC never showed the first tee shot – all that drama, excitement and stadium atmosphere would never have been shown”

Cup that it has become part of the fabric of the Ryder Cup.” Mark Lichtenhein, head of television, digital media and technology for the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe, agrees. “No-one had seen the Ryder Cup live in its entirety prior to it being shown on Sky,” he says. “Sky really invented showing every shot.” He continues: “Golf in general is shown on dedicated sports programming around the world because free-to-air broadcasters don’t have the bandwidth to give 20 hours of programming a week which is what we produce. “Free-to-air broadcasters are ideal for showing the highlights, and that works very well with the BBC because that guarantees coverage to a broader audience, but dedicated live coverage should

be on a channel that has the bandwidth to show it. “The BBC wouldn’t do away with the morning news to show the first tee shot, which is understandable because the BBC is general interest broadcaster.” Interestingly, while Sky’s audience figures peaked at 1.745 million on Sunday, the BBC’s highlights show, which aired after the outcome had been decided, attracted an audience of 1.9 million. Both showed coverage produced by European Tour Productions (ETP), the single largest producer and distributor of TV golf programming in the world. It is ETP that creates TV images and the associated media surrounding the European Tour and the Ryder Cup and distributes it through broadcasters like Sky and the BBC.

Lichtenhein, along with Rupert Hampel, heads up the operation. As he explains, Gleneagles provided opportunities to learn and certainly room to improve: “This Ryder Cup was the most European with nine different nations represented in the team. “Although we had 60 cameras on the golf course and nothing was missed, you can’t show everything at the same time. Each nation wanted to see the story of the Ryder Cup unfold from their player’s match, so I think we need to look at ways of giving multiple views of what’s going on through dedicated match-by-match coverage or production based on the countries represented. “That’s something we will be looking at next time, just to satisfy the demand,” he said. GMé | 41


The Golf Irrigation Specialist

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- Develop your golf course’s attraction.

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group buying

BRAID CLASSIC Assorted views of the James Braid designed course set on 240 acres of historic chalk downland

It’s simply material for Marc Dryden at Hockley When Marc Dryden took over the reigns at Hockley Golf Club, he turned to Material Matters for guidance and support. Article by Scott MacCallum. It’s a fact of life that if you set out to buy a widget, you will be hard pressed to get the sales assistant to break away from his text messaging to acknowledge your existence. But if you are buying 1,000 widgets the manager will suddenly appear, dust will be swept off the best chair in his office and percolated coffee and jammy dodgers will be brought to you on a silver tray. With buying power comes influence and that, in effect, is the business model of Material Matters, which over the last four-and-a-half years, has built a customer base of golf clubs large enough to create buying power which guarantees excellent prices over a range of golf clubhouse and course related areas. “Our minimum starting point is a saving of ten per cent to the golf club on what they had been paying, so for example if we are looking at a golf club spend of £150,000 we would be looking at a saving of at least £15,000 to the golf

club on that,” explained director, Paul Mould, who has worked in golf for almost all of his career, including six years in golf course construction and creating, developing and selling EASE, the specialist golf tournament accommodation service. He also worked in corporate finance in London for four years before getting back into golf The company began with a stable of ten golf clubs which has grown quickly to over 400 with whom they work with varying degrees of involvement. One golf club which has benefitted hugely from the help and support offered by Material Matters is Hockley Golf Club, in Winchester, where general manager, Marc Dryden, has found that the buying power, and ability to source solutions and problem solve has made his own introduction into the golf industry as smooth as possible. “I joined Hockley two-and-a-half years ago having worked in the City as a corpo-

rate financier so, while I had a strong business background, I had no golf experience whatsoever. “When Material Matters got in touch with me, I saw it as a great opportunity for them to handle many of the time consuming day-to-day purchasing issues, while I was able to concentrate on some of the bigger projects which the club had brought me in to manage,” explained Dryden. “For example, on utility bills, with the best will in the world, I’m not even on top of my own domestic bills, and can’t get my head around the pricing structures, but Material Matters looked into it and advised us on what we should be doing with our gas and electricity. “With the experience and buying power that Material Matters has I don’t have to worry that we are on the best possible rates.” The same goes for many other aspects of a busy golf club with everything from | 43



“Material Matters helped considerably to make me look good. I’m not ashamed of that”

WINCHESTER FORGE The course overlooks the city of Winchester

A WELL TRODDEN PATH A footpath winds its way to yet another picturesque hole at Hockley

photocopiers, coffee machines, stationary in the office, ingredients for the kitchen and consumables for the golf course all coming under the scrutiny of Material Matters, should a golf club wish to explore those areas. “It is not all down to cost. Material Matters suggested that we move from the traditional food suppliers to a bespoke supplier in Somerset, who is now providing us with home grown vegetables, and salads as well as unusual cheeses so we have been able to provide menus which are a little bit different to what we used to offer,” said Dryden. Dryden now sits down with a representative of Material Matters every sixto-eight weeks and goes through every invoice the clubs has accumulated in the intervening period. Once these have been reviewed, options and alternatives are considered, or more advantageous terms are negotiated with existing suppliers. Material Matters work closely with departmental heads including the course manager, the club steward and chef to achieve the best options. “Our course manager, Glenn Kirby, worked at The London Club before coming here and has very good relationships with many of the companies himself but, in some instances, if it were, for example, a sand or fuel supplier, he

doesn’t perhaps have such a strong relationship and Material Matters can go out and use their buying power to achieve good deals for us. “In any event, as Material Matters do look over all the invoices they will tell us if they feel they might be able to achieve a better price, so Glenn and I can then determine whether the relationship is worth that difference in price. “It may be that we would feel that was the case. We are not tied to Material Matters and can choose to use them when and where we see fit,” explained Dryden. Mould himself knows when Material Matters can create savings for a golf club and when it might be more difficult: “If a product can be obtained from more than one source, our buying power can bring the price down, but if a product is only available from one supplier, like a particular whisky or a specific seed mix, the supplier knows that in all likelihood that business is going to come their way anyway and that they don’t need to discount to secure the business.” But it is Material Matters’ knowledge of where to go to solve a problem and how much it should cost which provides Dryden with the greatest comfort: “If I’m quoted a price, I would often have no idea if it were reasonable or not, because it may be about something I may only

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deal with once in my lifetime, whereas Material Matters have been there before and know what it should cost. “They are available 24-7 and more often than not it only takes one phone call and the problem will be solved. For example we had a PA system which was absolutely awful. I mentioned it to Paul who knew someone who could help and within ten days we had a new system in place which works fantastically. Conversely, the one time I didn’t use Material Matters was when I leased a new coffee machine on price and it was an utter disaster. We were having an engineer visit twice a week and it was six months of hell. In the end I spoke with Paul who got the right one for us, even if we had to buy ourselves out of the contract on the first one,” Dryden revealed. “I would say that Material Matters helped considerably to make me look good. I’m not ashamed of that. They are offering me a service and why wouldn’t I take advantage of it, particularly as it also saves the club money as well.” A ringing endorsement from a satisfied customer, and so long as the guys at Material Matters continue to keep drinking that percolated coffee and eating those jammy dodgers they will bring good service and competitive prices to their growing stable of clubs. GMé

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real estate

“We will be spending a great deal of time, effort and money to make Trump Turnberry the finest resort of its kind anywhere in the world”

Sale of The Century This year’s property market has been set a light by a series of high-profile sales. Could these headline-grabbing deals be the start of happier times? Mark Alexander investigates. SAFE HANDS Wentworth (above) which hosts the BMW PGA Championship was sold for £135 million, whilst Turnberry (main picture) was snapped-up by Donald Trump for a mere £35 million

46 | GMé October 2014

Recently the golf world has been awash with the kind of giddy excitement usually reserved for baby showers or blue ribbon sales. After a prolonged period of doom and gloom, a series of prestigious property sales suggest the market could be showing the first signs of the earliest glimmer of a new dawn. But these sales weren’t provincial nine-holers or city centre driving ranges; these were resorts that cause genuine excitement among golfing fans by incorporating championship courses that get an approving nod from those in know. With various currencies changing hands, 2014 was the year in which foreign investors pulled out the stops and pledged to spend big on development. What prompted this rush of blood is up for debate.

Had prices hit rock bottom or were there signs that improving economic conditions were on their way? Whatever it was, golf resorts were being snapped up like freshly made buns off a baker’s counter. “Following a period of inactivity and buoyed by reduced unemployment and the prospect of real wage increases, with over £386 million of single asset investment in 2014 alone, attention has turned to businesses centered around a key golf attraction that also provide multiple revenue streams and future development potential,” said Harry Douglas, a senior associate at HVS, a consultancy for the hotel and leisure industries. His report into European golf resort investment suggests this shift could encourage more sales and even greater

real estate

LOUGH ERNE Host to the 39th G8 summit in 2013, Lough Erne has the pedigree to be one of the best resorts in Ireland

investment. With things looking up, here is an overview of the high-profile sales that started if all off. TURNBERRY New owner: The Trump Organisation Previous owner: Leisurecorp Sale price: £35 million There is no doubt that Trump Turnberry, as it is now called, is a considerable feather in Donald Trump’s widening cap. It is, after all, an Open Championship venue with the kind of intrinsic brand value that other resorts can only dream of. But the resort is in need of a substantial upgrade and that will demand a considerable investment far beyond the £35 million sale price. So far, all the signs suggest that money will be forthcoming and the plans for the course are bold and genuinely impressive. Could this be the making of Turnberry? “We will be spending a great deal of time, effort and money to make Trump Turnberry the finest resort of its kind

anywhere in the world,” noted the Trump Organisation’s official statement. DOONBEG New owner: The Trump Organisation Previous owner: In Administration Sale price: £8.5 million The opulent Lodge at Doonbeg and the Doonbeg Golf Club have all the hallmarks of a bona fide bargain. The Greg Norman-designed links course in County Clare has incredible potential with tremendous views across the Atlantic Ocean with the resort itself being less than an hour’s drive from Shannon airport. But Trump International Golf Links Ireland, as it has been named, has reportedly never turned a profit and has continued to sink deeper into debt since the course opened in 2002. It was placed into receivership in January and if Donald Trump is to make a success of the property, then he must address the underlying problems blighting this idyllic getaway.

“Doonbeg is an already terrific property that we will make even better. It will soon be an unparalleled resort destination with the highest standards of luxury,” promised the Trump Organisation. FAIRMONT ST ANDREWS New owner: Kennedy Wilson Europe Previous owner: SABD Holding Sale price: €32 million The 209-room Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews enjoys an enviable location looking out over the North Sea just minutes from the Home of Golf. This purpose-built resort was developed in 2001 and was a considerable departure from traditional accommodation offered in the Auld Grey Toon. Both the hotel and the two championship courses have seen huge changes since then and at nearly the same price as Turnberry, could represent a sound long-term investment by Kennedy Wilson Europe. This was the second luxury hotel purchase by the property investor | 47



real estate

DOONBEG An aerial view of Doonbeg, which has been renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland

“As a world famous golf institution, Wentworth is a key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division”

48 | GMé October 2014

following the €29.8 million acquisition of Dublin’s Portmarnock Hotel in June. The hotel itself will continue to operate under a long-term management contract with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Mary Ricks, president and chief executive of Kennedy Wilson Europe, said: “This is an excellent addition to our portfolio – a high quality and well-managed hotel which represents our second hotel transaction within two months. “Furthermore this asset provides a number of good opportunities to leverage our extensive asset management expertise through which we expect to be able to add significant value over the medium term.” LOUGH ERNE New owner: Lough Shore Road Previous owner: In Administration Sale price: Estimated £8 million Despite hosting the G8 leaders’ summit last year and receiving rave reviews about its Nick Faldo-designed course, Lough Erne Resort struggled to secure a foothold in the luxury travel sector. In 2011 it was put into administration and has been seeking a buyer ever since. It has been uncomfortable to watch. There is no denying the attraction of the tranquil lakeland setting and the warmth of the welcome when you get there, but even with the support of Rory McIlroy, the resort has found the going tough. The price paid by US tycoon Tony Saliba is a fraction of the original £30 million asking price, but it will need a concerted effort from the new owners to make Lough Erne work. Fingers crossed they succeed.

Brian Lavery, managing director of selling agents CBRE said: “The sale of the Lough Erne Resort offered a great opportunity to investors to acquire an internationally recognised property and we had significant interest from both domestic and international bidders.” WENTWORTH New owner: Reignwood Group Previous owner: WG Acquisition Sale price: £135 million Wentworth Club is a class act with three championship courses, a distinctive gothic clubhouse and luxurious health club. Positioned less than an hour from central London, this is where the capital’s elite play their golf. Its commercial value is unquestioned, but a large part of its appeal is the exposure it receives during the BMW PGA Championship – the European Tour’s flagship event. Like Augusta or St Andrews, its yearly bout of publicity helps fan the flames surrounding “one of our most prestigious golf clubs”, as Chancellor George Osborne noted. It is perhaps telling that a politician’s views were included in the official communiqué from Beijing-based Reignwood Group that announced the sale. The significance of this Chinese investment shouldn’t be underestimated. Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, founder of the Reignwood Group, commented: “As a world famous golf institution, Wentworth is a key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division, whose unique culture we are dedicated to preserving and whose exceptional expertise will inform our golf operations across Asia.” GMé




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

JOHN GREASLEY LIMITED Ashfield House, 1154 Melton Road, Syston, Leicester LE7 2HB Telephone: 0116 269 6766 Fax: 0116 269 6866 BAGCC Email: | 49


signing off

“While Radio 5 Live’s coverage had kept me enthralled for the previous two days... I wanted to watch the final day’s play”

No Hiding Place from the Ryder Cup There is a classic episode of the 1970s comedy series Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? called No Hiding Place, in which Bob and Terry spend the day trying to avoid the score in the England v Bulgaria football match so they can watch the highlights later in the evening. I’m sure those of a certain age are familiar with it. Well, for Bob and Terry, read Dave Bowers. And for England v Bulgaria, read Europe v USA in the 2014 Ryder Cup. For that was exactly the scenario I played out on the final day of the competition courtesy of Sky Sports’ decision to cover the sport’s biggest tournament on SS4. You see, I don’t have access to golf on Sky Sports. I used to though. I signed up to BT Vision a few years ago and paid extra for Sky Sports so I could watch golf. However, Sky decided to move the golf this year to SS4, and BT TV – as BT Vision must now be called – affords access only to Sky Sports channels 1, 2 and 5. While Radio 5 Live’s coverage had kept me enthralled for the previous two days – all credit to them incidentally, for their outstanding coverage, as golf on the radio is not easy to pull off – I wanted to watch the final day’s play. So, I decided I would follow Bob and Terry’s lead and watch the BBC highlights ‘as live’ later in the day. Naturally Mrs B did not understand what all the fuss was about and still wanted to visit garden centres and walk our local heath in the afternoon. I acquiesced but was quick to dive for cover should I see anybody who looked vaguely as if they might be interested in

50 | GMé October 2014

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LIKELY LADS? Terry Collier (James Bolam) left, and Bob Ferris (Rodney Bewes) tried to avoid hearing the score

golf – or, to be more accurate, I dived for cover when I saw anybody. Eventually she grew tired of my ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ routine and accepted it was easier for my frayed nerves and her self-consciousness that we returned home and I cocooned myself in the lounge until the time came for the BBC highlights to start. She did the ironing in the kitchen under strict instructions to turn the TV volume down should any sports news come on. It was for her the work of a moment once the BBC coverage had begun to pop her head through the door and say “I know who won – do you want to know?” I never guessed I could be so accurate throwing a cushion and once I had helped apply her eye drops I settled

down again to watch the conclusion of the three days. It had been a gargantuan effort on my part but it proved ultimately successful. It was, I like to think, almost as meticulous in its planning as Paul McGinley’s campaign. So if anybody needs me as a vice-captain in 2016 I’d like to say now: I’m available. GMé

David Bowers


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