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scorecard revolution Often the poor relation to the yardage book, the humble scorecard is all set to reclaim its rightful place as one of the most important items your club will ever produce. page 27
The Ultimate Drive! BMW pairs up with the Ryder Cup as Europe prepares to take on the US in 2006.
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Are the R&A set to change course on GPS?
cover story 7
We have been reliably informed that the R&A may be about to approve distance measuring devices for tournaments desirous of them. Supporters of the move insist it will benefit golf clubs. They claim it will speed up play as competitors will play faster because they have immediate access to distance information. Golf has changed, they claim, and yardages are widely available from a variety of sources, including yardage markers, sprinkler heads, yardage books and caddies. That part of the argument, at least, is hard to dispute. But many will bemoan the loss of the sight of golfers pacing forward or backward from the 150-yard markers. issue 44 credits; The revision would be acknowledgment by the USGA and R&A that editor knowing yardages is not gaining substantial advantage. John Vinicombe The counter argument, however, will centre on the assertion that contributors golf will speed up as more golfers carry distance devices in David Bowers everyday play. Neville Johnson Rob Wright publisher Michael Lenihan administration Sharon O’Connell print Colourspeed
course design 14
The American model has always propagated the theory that buggies speed up play - yet if the course was not specifically designed for buggy use, a golf car does not always speed up play.
Few of us who have ever used buggies will not have experienced putting a ball wide left while the buggy path Golf Management Europe Suffolk Studios runs right. And when you’ve walked over to it, you 284 Ravenswood Avenue realise you have the wrong club. Ipswich IP3 9TQ United Kingdom You can return to the buggy and collect the correct telephone club or, more likely, you’ll attempt to adjust your 0870 241 4678 swing to compensate for the erroneous choice. (overseas +44 1473 274956) facsimile This neither speeds play up nor enhances enjoyment 01473 274874 of the game. Of course, GPS devices are no longer email the exclusive property of the golf car, as more and firstname.lastname@example.org more hand-held versions are coming onto the internet www.portman.uk.com market, which can either be clipped to your belt or your bag. All rights reserved. The major benefactors for this momentous deciNo part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any sion, and it is momentous for it will change the form without written permission game, will be global positioning satellite (GPS) from the publisher. system manufacturers. Whilst due care to detail is taken to ensure that the content of They are already making significant inroads into Golf Management Europe is the resort market and substantial lobbying will now accurate, the publisher cannot accept liability for errors. enable them to expand further. GPS is a burgeoning and competitive market but we must hope a slackening of the rules does not allow a surfeit of substandard product to flood the market. Do you think this decision is good for golf clubs? Or good for the industry as a whole? Email us your views © Portman Publishing and Communications Ltd 2005 at email@example.com Golf Management Europe September 2005
guiding light 20
hills golf club 23
News Acushnet aim to stop rogue traders
MacLaren in pole position at PGA European Tour Courses
Acushnet, whose brands include Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra, are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the trade of counterfeit goods, regardless of the size, type or location of the operation. Following a further wave of action against the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit golf equipment both in the UK and the US, the company has made some significant moves to clamp down on this illegal trade. In the UK, officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, assisted by Police officers from divisions of Chapeltown and Killingbeck Police, have carried out a series of raids on properties in the Leeds area in the fight against the sale of counterfeit golfing products. Items seized by West Yorkshire Trading Standards last month had a street value of £100,000. In the US Acushnet recently filed suits in Federal Courts against retailers and wholesalers dealing in counterfeit Pro V1 golf balls and this continued action from Acushnet, other leading golf manufacturers and the authorities highlights their growing intolerance with counterfeiters regardless of the size, type or location of operation.
Lead Story PGA European Tour Courses, which operates and licenses high-calibre golf venues across Europe, has appointed David MacLaren as chief executive officer. MacLaren (pictured above left) joins from hotel and resort operator Marriott International, where he held the position of director of golf operations, Marriott UK, with responsibility for 12 golf venues, including Forest of Arden and Dalmahoy. He was also responsible for the staging of the British Masters at Forest of Arden between 2003 and 2005. In his new role, MacLaren will assume overall responsibility for the management and promotion of the seven venues which currently comprise the PGA ETC portfolio. Flagship venues within the group comprise Quinta do Lago in Portugal, Golf de Catalunya in Spain and Kungsängen in Sweden, host to the 2005 Scandinavian Masters. Other venues include Fleesensee in Germany, Vanajan in Finland, Miklagard in Norway and Estonian Golf and Country Club.
Commenting on his new role, MacLaren said: “I am hugely honoured to take the helm of such a prestigious group of venues and a brand so highly regarded within the world of golf. “We have a collection of excellent golf courses which feature outstanding levels of service and facilities, and we will be working hard to increase our network in all major golf markets throughout Europe.” Denis O’Brien snr, chairman of PGA European Tour Courses commented: “We are delighted to have secured a chief executive of the calibre of David. “He brings a wealth of experience from his role looking after some of the UK’s best-known venues with Marriott and we are confident that he possesses the expertise to grow PGA European Tour Courses into one of the world’s premier golf brands, synonymous with high quality, prestigious venues.” MacLaren’s position at Marriott has been filled by Steve Follett, who has been promoted from his role as director of golf at the Forest of Arden.
GCA to stage conference
Golf Clubs finally leaving their Ivory Towers
Yet another golf conference will be held at the St Andrews Bay Hotel in Fife, on October 12-13. Organised by the Golf Consultants Association, The Business of Golf aims to showcase British expertise within the golf industry. The event follows similar conferences held already this year in Turkey and the Czech Republic, while another on golf course development in Cyprus is scheduled for October 15 at Aphrodite Hills.
UK golf clubs are finally starting to respect the laws of the land, claims the National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association, which gives advice to clubs about all aspects of UK law. “Most clubs have finally come out of their ivory towers - many screaming and kicking along the way - and realised they aren’t exempt from the regular laws of the land,” says Michael Shaw, national secretary of the NGCAA.
“The past decade has seen the nonstop introduction of new legislation, and all of these issues affect the day to day running of clubs, who’ve finally been forced to sit up and take notice.” Shaw says that questions about employment law, discipline and constitutional issues are the most common but that queries about licensing are currently on the increase because of the imminent introduction of the Licensing Act.
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
Orangemen on parade Comprising the Ava and Dufferin courses, Clandeboye Golf Club, situated in the countryside of Lady Dufferin’s estate, near Newtownards, County Down, has recently purchased a significant package of Jacobsen course maintenance equipment from local dealer, Brodericks Grass Machinery. The fleet of equipment includes the latest Jacobsen LF4677 light fairway mower, two Greens King IV ride on mowers and a TriKing tees and surrounds mower.
Bulgaria set for expansion
Barenbrug’s new distributor Barenbrug’s plan to further expand its business in Scotland and the north of England has been given an additional boost with the appointment of another new distributor, Turfcare Specialists Ltd, based in Consett, Co. Durham. The company will be distributing Barenbrug’s BAR range of grass seed to the amenity market in the north of England.
Spain’s Ferry Group is ready to invest €100m in a golf course with adjacent hotel and residential compounds near the village of Katina, in the Sofia area of Bulgaria. The 160-hectare golf course project could qualify Ferry Group for First Class Investor status - a certificate handed out by the InvestBulgaria Agency to business initiatives worth in excess of €100m. The First Class Investor status makes the investor eligible for state financing for the construction and any necessary infrastructure. The first stage of the project will be completed within three years and will see the launch of the golf course itself and some of the five-star residential buildings. Local or visiting golfers can currently choose between three courses. Air Sofia operates two of the courses, in Ihtiman and in Sliven. The third course is located near Elin Pelin, in the Sofia area.
J & E. ELY LTD International Golf Course Construction ‘Celebrating over 40 Years of Excellence’ ‘Specialist in Golf Course Construction’ Wychwood Park, Royal Birkdale Rudding Park, Gog Magog Chilwell Manor, Goodwood
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49 Woodlands Road, Sonning Common, Reading UK RG4 9TD Tel /Fax: +44 (0)118 972 2257 E-mail: Ely@BTinternet.com www.elygolfconstruction.com
Golf Management Europe September 2005
JOHN GREASLEY LIMITED Ashfield House, 1154 Melton Road, Syston, Leicester LE7 2HB Telephone: 0116 269 6766 Fax: 0116 269 6866 BAGCC Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.johngreasleyltd.co.uk
News Neighbour forces change of tee-position at Cardross The home was marketed as ‘a dream for golfers’, offering views of one of Scotland’s most picturesque courses. So it was surely a gimme that, for the buyer of a £300,000 property overlooking the 18th hole, an odd ball over the fence would be par for the course. Yet after claiming to have collected 27 errant balls from his property in just one month, the owner of a house has threatened legal action against Cardross Golf Club in Dunbartonshire, demanding its signature hole is permanently altered to prevent damage to his home. The anonymous owner’s proposed legal action has forced the club to abandon its renowned hilltop 18th tee, with spectacular views of the Waverley paddle steamer on its way up the Clyde. The tee - on Douggie’s Mound, a 474yard par four - has been brought 100 yards down the hill, to minimise the risk of damage to the Fairways estate. The club claims the move is temporary, while it meets to decide whether it is prepared to sacrifice the hole, which had already been altered to minimise risk to the homes. Iain Waugh, club secretary, said: “Since the estate opened, we have had one or
two polite complaints, in person from residents, of balls going over the fence. So at the start of the 2005 season the club sought to alleviate the problem by rebuilding the 18th tee and realigning the complete hole, at considerable expense and inconvenience. “We believe this has dramatically reduced the number of errant balls entering these properties. “However, this measure appears not to have satisfied one resident who has indicated, through a solicitor, a readiness to take legal action against the club.” Acting on legal advice, the club has repositioned the final tee to reduce the risk of court action. Charlie Green, a club member and former Walker Cup captain, said the new position “completely spoils” the hole. “Never in my golf career have I known such a drastic change to such a beautiful golf hole,” he complained. A spokesman for the Scottish Golf Union said: “The golf course may have been there for a 100 years but the house owner tends to win these disputes, because the course has to take the necessary action to meet health and safety law requirements.”
Irish eyes keep smiling More golf clubs throughout Northern Ireland are appreciating the benefits of deep aeration, especially its effectiveness to relieve compaction and open up the soil, thus allowing water to disperse. Wiedenmann’s dealers in Northern Ireland have been particularly active in recent months with strong sales throughout the province. Jackie Crawford, head greenkeeper at Donaghadee Golf Club in County Down, who purchased a Terra Spike XP160 earlier this year said: “It’s a great machine ideal for our greens and fairways. We’ve seen a noticeable difference to water draining away in wet weather.” Holywood Golf Club, Rockmount Golf Club and Lurgan Golf Club have all purchased machinery in recent months.
Developing golf in Wales Essex-based Swan Golf Designs, commissioned as golf course architects for Golf Development Wales’s ‘Initiative to Develop Junior Practice and Training Facilities’, have completed the design phase of the golf training facility at Parc Bryn Bach, north of Swansea in Blaenau Gwent. Construction on the golf facility, which encompasses a nine-hole, par-three course, driving range and academy, began in May with the construction work being carried out by Land Unit Construction and the irrigation by Rainbird UK and Ocmis Irrigation. Nigel Henbury, senior architect, said: “We are very pleased that our design feasibility for the project has now advanced to be implemented. “The concept is ideally suited to the amenity of this Country Park, recovered from old coal workings, in providing a public golfing centre where all those who wish to join the game can go to learn the game and develop their skills.” Page 6
IMG sign two-course deal Dubai-based Thani Investments has announced that IMG - the sports marketing and management company - has signed an agreement with Thani to design two of the world class championship courses at Dubai Golf City, the recently launched sporting venture. Dubai Golf City’s five signature courses will follow a themed approach including the Oasis, Desert, Wadi and Parkland courses. The fifth course, the details of which are still to be revealed, claims to be a world first in golf course design. September 2005 Golf Management Europe
BMW Golf Sport Ellesfield Avenue Bracknell RG12 8TA Telephone: 01344 426565 Facsimile: 01344 480203 www.bmw.co.uk
BMW to become Official Car to the Ryder Cup 2006
Cover Story BMW has announced that it will become the Official Car to the 2006 Ryder Cup at The K Club, Co Kildare, Ireland from September 22-24, 2006. The agreement signifies BMW’s continuing global commitment to the game of golf following their partnership with The European Tour in the BMW Championship at Wentworth and title sponsorship of the BMW Asian Open and the BMW International Open. BMW, who is also this year’s Official Car on the European Tour, have brought their expertise and special organisational skills to golf since the first BMW International Open in 1989.
The announcement was made last month when 2004 Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer, 2006 Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam and a host of the world’s leading golfers were competing at the 17th BMW International Open. Torsten Müller-Ötvös, director of BMW central marketing and brand management said: “BMW has a long history of supporting European golf at all levels. To be named the Official Car of The Ryder Cup, the most prestigious golf competition worldwide, is an excellent extension of BMW’s continuous golf sport engagement. “We are proud that 24 of the best players in the world will be driven in our premium cars in 2006.
“This is a further significant milestone in our successful partnership with the PGA European Tour and the Ryder Cup.” George O’Grady, executive director of The European Tour, said: “BMW shares our vision of supporting the game of golf in general and The Ryder Cup in particular. “The European Tour and The Ryder Cup Board are delighted to welcome BMW as Official Car to The Ryder Cup 2006. This represents a superb addition to the outstanding commitment already shown by BMW as The European Tour’s strongest global commercial partner.” Under the terms of The Ryder Cup agreement, BMW will provide a fleet of 30 courtesy cars for the use of players and officials during The Ryder Cup. BMW will also supply an agreed number of BMW X5 Event Support Vehicles to be used by staging staff and as evacuation vehicles in the event of unfortunate weather.
Your golf club is a professional business. We’ll make sure it’s perceived that way.
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www.ppcgolf.com | 0870 241 4678 Golf Management Europe September 2005
News Proposed Lake District course axed
Club Car hand-over sparks Ryder Cup countdown The countdown to the 36th Ryder Cup has begun with the now traditional presentation of the 2006 Club Car Ryder Cup captains’ cars. Club Car has been the Official Golf Car for the European matches of The Ryder Cup for the past ten years, and Club Car will once again play a pivotal role in ensuring those demands are met. The Ryder Cup is always fiercely contested with everyone involved in the event from captains, and team members, to media, officials and spectators demanding to know exactly what is happening in the thick of the action.
The presentation of the Club Car Precedent team captains’ cars to The 2006 Ryder Cup captains, Ian Woosnam and Tom Lehman, was made by Phil Tralies, Club Car’s president and CEO. Tralies is a strong proponent of The Ryder Cup and is delighted that Club Car is able to support this prestigious event again. “It is a pleasure and an honour for Club Car and Ingersoll Rand to be able to participate in some small way to the overall success of the Ryder Cup,” he said, “and it is with great pleasure that we award the Precedent captain’s cars to Mr Woosnam and Mr Lehman.”
A decision to reject plans for a new golf course at Bassenthwaite, Cumbria, has been condemned as short-sighted by its proposer. In an attempt to diversify, Armathwaite Hall Hotel wanted to create an 18-hole course in its grounds, but Lake District planners have refused the application. The scheme would have created up to 50 jobs and a junior academy and minicourse were also planned. Armathwaite Hall director Carolyn Graves said the hotel was extremely disappointed with the decision. She said: “We will now consider our options. We will appeal. An awful lot of work was put into this. The decision is short-sighted. “The authority say that there is enough provision for clubs in the Lake District, but the clubs here have waiting lists so there must be a need for one. The junior academy will encourage locals and tourists to bring their children here. It’s a shame but we really think this should be in place and we will appeal.” David Buylla, principal planner, said: “Our policy is that no golf courses in the countryside will be permitted. Golf is an important recreational sport but there are already five courses in the Lake District. “The National Park Authority will not allow new golf course development in the open countryside because of the impact on the landscape.”
Kinsbarns in new hands Wasserman Real Estate Capital has secured a co-controlling interest in Kingsbarns, near St Andrews. Wasserman, a Rhode Island-based developer and opportunity fund manager, recently introduced its plans for developing The St Andrews Grand at the Old Course - an exclusive enclave of 23 luxury residences. “We are as much in awe of the Kingsbarns Golf Links course as we are of the future site of the St Andrews Grand,” said David Wasserman, principal of Wasserman Real Estate Capital, LLC. “Together these two projects fulfil a unique sporting experience in St Andrews. These projects are just the beginning of our commitment to development and expansion in the United Kingdom.” Page 8
Toro cut it fine at the Open Before the Old Course was closed ahead of The Open in July, the greenkeeping team at St Andrews tried out their Toro Greensmaster 3250-D riding greensmowers on cutting the ancient fairways. Links superintendent Gordon Moir and Old Course head greenkeeper Euan Grant liked what they saw and adopted the practice for the Championship - eventually getting down to a cutting height of just 7mm. September 2005 Golf Management Europe
Pentland moving on up The Pentland Golf Group, owners and operators of four golf courses situated along the M2/M20 corridor in Kent, has begun a five-year golf course machinery upgrade programme with a £150,000 investment in new equipment from local dealer Ernest Doe and Sons. A tripartite preferred supplier agreement with Ernest Doe and Ransomes Jacobsen has enabled Pentland to invest in this latest tranche of equipment which includes light fairway mowers, greens mowers and tees and surrounds mowers.
Myerscough tees off a new deal with Nike Golf
New Holland 100,000 up New Holland recently celebrated the completion of the 100,000th compact tractor to be made at its dedicated manufacturing plant in Dublin, Georgia, in the USA. More than 100 staff and local officials cheered as the momentous machine, a 40hp TC40A model resplendent with ‘100,000th Tractor’ stencilled on the back, rolled off the production line. It was driven out by Jody Brookes Jr, one of ten employees who have worked at the Dublin factory since its opening in 1996.
Myerscough College Golf Academy has hit a hole in one with Nike Golf, securing a lucrative two-year sponsorship deal that will help the College’s Golf Academy students ‘Just Do it’ like the professionals. The new sponsorship deal complements Myerscough’s ‘Americano’ style commitment to golf and will provide students with official Nike Golf clothing and equipment, ensuring that they will be able to tee off in style. Garry Wilkinson, director of commercial activities at Myerscough College said: “Although golf is a widely recognised and well-played sport in the UK, our American counterparts are much more pro-active and effective in facilitating and encouraging youth interest in the sport. “This is an approach we’ve adopted at Myerscough and are constantly striving to create new opportunities, such as intercollegiate tours, which will provide our students with education and experience that will help them pursue careers in golf.
“We are delighted that such a wellrespected, global and forward thinking brand such as Nike Golf has recognised Myerscough Golf Academy’s commitment to golf and is helping support our students. “The Nike Golf clothing and equipment is sure to enhance the student’s professional experience at the recent Prospects Golf Tour, helping to further their game and sample the competitive nature of a tournament.” The Prospects Tour offers tournament places to students at both Myerscough College and the University of Central Lancashire, providing a launch pad for future golfing stars. “At Myerscough we believe that learning should be as interactive as possible and the Prospects Golf Tour represented a fantastic opportunity for all students to put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice on the golf course,” concluded Wilkinson.
70 Whitesmead Road Stevenage SG1 3JZ Tel: 01438 221026 Fax: 01438 229271 Mobile: 07770 981618 Email: email@example.com Web: www.jjga.co.uk
JOHN JACOBS GOLF ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTS AND DESIGN CONSULTANTS Established 1985
Golf Management Europe September 2005
News Expelled trio reinstated
St Andrews Bay are a lot more Inforemed nowadays St Andrews Bay in Scotland has become the first golf club in the UK to install the Inforemer GPS system. The system, which comprises a 10.4” colour graphic screen, gives exact distance information to hazards such as bunkers, water features and the front, centre and back of the greens. The Inforemer system can also incorporate electronic scorecard and printing, shot measuring, cart tracking, two-way messaging, food and beverage ordering, advertising and a whole host of other features. “St Andrews Bay is one of the finest resorts in Europe, located at the home of golf,” said Phil Lewin of Gepsco Ltd, European distributor for the Inforemer.
“We are excited to be working with the resort in providing the course with a system which will add to their existing unparalleled levels of service.” Iain McInally, director of golf at St Andrews Bay said: “Our commitment to guests is for St Andrews Bay to deliver on the promise of the highest possible level of service. As such, we are comfortable about introducing both carts and GPS for our guests, while offering a traditional links-style golf experience. “We have delivered what we believe to be the most advanced GPS golf solution on the market. We are very excited about the benefits GPS Industries’ Inforemer solution will bring to our facility and guests.”
Swap Shop at Portmarnock Investment Bank of Ireland has been hired to evaluate ‘unsolicited’ approaches for the Portmarnock hotel and golf links. Market sources say bids for the property will easily exceed €50m. The real value of the Portmarnock property resides in the potential to do a ‘land swap’ with one of the many golf clubs on Dublin’s northside. For example, the developer Sean McKeon is believed to be interested in purchasing Clontarf Golf Club and the Portmarnock resort. McKeon would then relocate the golf club to the Portmarnock site and seek planning permission for houses on the Clontarf course. The Portmarnock links course, not to be confused with the famed private members’ club nearby, was designed by the German golfer Bernhard Langer. Page 10
Ambassador Huggett Brian Huggett, one of the most dynamic forces in Welsh golf over the past half century, has been appointed by The European Ryder Cup Board to be its ambassador in Wales as the country prepares to host the 2010 contest at The Celtic Manor Resort.
A judge has set aside a decision by Bothwell Castle Golf Club to expel three members who objected to plans for a new clubhouse. Margaret Allan and Ian and Jennifer Wiles were expelled from the south Lanarkshire club after objecting to the proposals, which involved selling land for housing to finance the new clubhouse project, the previous one having been destroyed by fire. A planning application was granted but Mr and Mrs Wiles had opposed it on a number of grounds, including the destruction of woodland. Mrs Allan also wrote a letter of objection. Disciplinary proceedings were started against them alleging that by lodging formal objections they had endangered the interest of the club and behaved discourteously. Following a judicial review, the judge, Lord Glennie, ruled that the trio had behaved within their rights under the planning system, were protecting their interests and did not merit disciplinary action. He added: ”They objected to the proposal. They had a legitimate interest in doing so. There was nothing vindictive or irrational about their opposition. “It was not done to spite the club. It was done with the aim not of impeding the club’s development but of protecting their own rights and interests.” Only three Welsh golfers have captained Ryder Cup teams - Dai Rees, current incumbent, Ian Woosnam, and Huggett, who is regarded as one of the most successful Welsh golfers of all time and was a leading member of the bidding team which spearheaded the submission to take The Ryder Cup to Wales. This new role will involve representing the Ryder Cup Board at public events and advising on the progress of the preparations for staging The Ryder Cup over the next six years. “Brian is the ideal person to act as our ambassador,” said European Ryder Cup director, Richard Hills. “He is highly regarded in Wales, his knowledge of The Ryder Cup is second to none, and his playing record speaks for itself. “Brian’s brief will be to work closely with our partners to ensure that The 2010 Ryder Cup is a huge success and a credit to the host nation.”
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
News Kubota sign new dealer
McGinley opens stylish newlook for the London Club
Based in Roscommon, JF Hanley, has been appointed a Kubota tractor and groundcare dealer for the Connacht region of Ireland. Owned and managed by John Hanley, the company has established a loyal and expanding customer base over the past 20 years in the amenity and landscaping, golf course maintenance and agricultural/horticultural sectors. Kubota’s area sales manager for Ireland, Sam Thompson, commented that he was delighted to have appointed JF Hanley as a Kubota tractor and groundcare dealer for the Connacht region of Ireland. “The company comprises a dedicated team of skilled and experienced staff determined to deliver consistent firstclass service and support to all Kubota customers - past, present and future,” he pointed out. “I will be providing sales, technical and demonstration assistance to JF Hanley, as and when required, and together we are aiming to make Kubota a force to be reckoned with throughout the area.”
Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley, recently opened the first stage of a new £300,000 internal refurbishment programme at The London Club near Brands Hatch in Kent. The initial phase of the development programme has seen the pro shop double in size to 1,200 feet and the ground floor bar area completely renovated to make it more comfortable and attractive for guests. The second stage of this substantial programme got underway in July and will focus on the upper floor of the clubhouse including the main restaurant and the function rooms. In addition to plans for extensive decorations the refurbishment will include the installation of plasma screens, audio visual facilities and wireless broadband.
Heath Harvey, commercial director for The London Club commented: “We wanted to provide guests with all the latest contemporary business facilities so that effectively we have everything they need on site to make their working lives easier.” The investment is further testament to The London Club’s intention to return to hosting top flight events and emphasises the change in direction since Spanish operator, The Bendinat Group purchased the club last year. “Given the number of golfers in the London area, we have long been of the view that it’s about time we had a major professional tournament for golfers in London and being on London’s doorstep, The London Club is the ideal venue to host such an event,” concluded Harvey.
Wasteland at Oak Park
Football chairman looking forward to an away fixture
Stunned members at Oak Park GC, in Surrey, found their lush greens turned into a below-par scorched wasteland overnight after a greenkeeper sprayed the fairways with weedkiller instead of fertiliser. The blunder happened after the deputy course manager misread chemical bottles and loaded toxic neat weedkiller into his tractor. One member said: “He was really proud to have managed to spray the course in a day. But instead of beautifully sculpted fairways, the course is brown and dusty. You’ve got to see the funny side.”
Members of a Scottish golf club will receive a windfall - if they agree to tee off just three miles away. The members of Craigie Hill Golf Club on the outskirts of Perth are to vote on a plan that could net each of them up to £10,000. The club, on land overlooking central Perth, is being targeted for a large housing development. Geoff Brown, the St Johnstone FC chairman, wants to build hundreds of new houses on the land. He hopes to persuade the members of the golf club to agree to sell by building them a replacement course three miles to the west.
It is believed the land which Craigie Hill golf course occupies is worth about £5m. And with the membership currently running at around 500, each player could be in line for a £10,000 share. In return for selling, the construction company would create a 27-hole development near the village of Methven. The Craigie Hill course was formed around the natural contours of the land and is notorious for its steep inclines. It boasts one of the hardest holes in British golf - the Kop - and has views over the River Tay, Kinnoull Hill, and the Grampian mountains.
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
Golf Management Europe September 2005
Changing Course With so many golf clubs undertaking course modifications themselves these days, the short-term gain saved by not employing an architect can so often turn into long-term pain. Neville Johnson takes a closer look into why clubs are going it alone.
ccording to the R&A’s best practice guidelines the key objective for developers and managers of golf courses should be to produce courses which can be sustained with the resources and expertise at their disposal. Now that makes sense of course, but it is a bit ambiguous, especially when it comes to re-modelling. Does ‘at your disposal’ mean in-house, or does it refer to available budget? There may be a growing tendency for clubs to think about doing course redesigns themselves. The thinking, rightly or wrongly, is that it saves money. Some may also think that re-shaping work is not that difficult and resources for planning it are on hand.
Someone on the committee is in a connected skill: the head greenkeeper did something similar at his last course: what about that local agronomist, isn’t his brother a member? You can see how the case can build up for DIY re-modelling. What does the R&A say about the golf course architect? He is probably the only person who can satisfactorily reconcile the difficult compromise between the needs of the site, the client, the cost, the season and the contractor, while steering the whole project towards a result which will ultimately be psychologically attractive to every golfer. Course architects in the UK may actually be contributing to a DIY trend, quite unintentionally, by focussing their attention on more fruitful pastures.
The surge of potential new builds in Eastern Europe in particular is not surprisingly a source of great activity and income - to British practices. Overseas Tim Lobb, managing director of Thomson Perrett Lobb, says that pretty well all of their work currently is overseas and most of it is new course design. He concedes that they probably don’t go actively looking for re-modelling work in Britain. Lobb reckons that in Britain course architects are probably categorised as expensive - rather like lawyers are - but just as when hiring legal advice it’s the specialist knowledge and experience that’s vital and nearly always worth paying for. !
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
Hubbelrath Golf Club, Westphalia, Germany
HAWTREE GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTS Since 1912 5 OXFORD STREET, WOODSTOCK, OXFORD OX20 1TQ TEL: (01993) 811976 FAX: (01993) 812448 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.hawtree.co.uk Martin Hawtree Fellow of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects
Golf Management Europe September 2005
Swan Golf Designs Limited
International Golf Course Architects Telfords Barn, Willingale, Ongar, Essex CM5 0QF, England
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Master Planning of New Courses Detailed Designs Renovation of Existing Courses Design and Establishment Management Restoration of Historic Courses
“ARCHITECTS ARE PROBABLY CATEGORISED AS EXPENSIVE RATHER LIKE LAWYERS ARE - BUT JUST AS WHEN HIRING LEGAL ADVICE IT’S THE SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE THAT’S VITAL AND NEARLY ALWAYS WORTH PAYING FOR”
Thomson Perrett Lobb (Thomson is the five times Open champion Peter Thomson, Ross Perrett the president of the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects) was set up in 2004 to provide a course design service in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The practice, which is based in Melbourne down-under, is an established set up serving Asia and the southern hemi-sphere. The UK practice will always be interested in doing remodelling projects, but Lobb - also an Aussie - says they do need to be exciting and challenging. However exciting, however challenging, the fact is courses can’t stand still long these days. Remodelling is quite an industry. It may be for just cosmetic purposes, often it is to restore an old course to former ‘glory’, more likely these days with player or member power on the rise it is simply to improve playability. Safety and the environment are coming into play too and there’s that inword sustainability. The launch in Brussells this summer of the European Forum for Sustainable Golf was a signpost for other subtle changes in the way golf courses look and function. Architects were represented at this Committed to Green Foundation initiative, so they will know that water utilisation is just one of the issues that are now on the course development - and re-development - agenda. Lobb, who has a lifelong love for the game of golf itself, says that technology is a huge factor governing the need to change a golf course. Clubs are always going to be under pressure to lengthen holes, move tees, change bunker positions and so on, all the time players are getting equipped with better clubs. The popularity of the game, as it seems likely to keep on growing, will also add to this pressure he says. Courses need to serve more players, more safely, and satisfy a higher expectation of pleasure and challenge. A club where hazards just aren’t hazards any more gets a reputation and that’s not good for business. Page 16
Re-modelling sooner or later will make commercial sense. Lobb’s course re-modelling credentials in the UK include the Marriott Forest of Arden and Goodwood Park courses, for which he was lead designer as part of European Golf Design for whom he worked for six years until setting up the new firm. Is golf architects’ collective voice making a good case for their professional standing? Standards The European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) formed five years ago out of the three main bodies this side of the Atlantic, has as part of its mission statement ‘the promotion of the technical and artistic development of golf courses and encouragement of the highest standards of design and construction’. Lobb believes the EIGCA is doing an excellent PR job for his profession. EIGCA’s vice-president Ken Moodie whose Chester-based practice Creative Golf Design offers a mixture of remodelling a new build advice, says clubs have been going in-house for some time. He agrees that clubs are wary of spending on outside professional advice, but he’s not sure DIY is a mounting trend. In his experience it is rare for a club to talk about a budget for the job at a first site visit. The problem and the solution are invariably the priority. Clubs usually work out funding methods only when a course of action has been decided. Greens re-construction can sometimes be done in house by highly skilled greenkeeping teams, but bunkers are a different matter. Moodie says he has on occasions been called in to do what he describes as remedial work after a club has gone ahead with its own re-modelling work. He recalls one particular course where 60 bunkers had been re-modelled on the advice of a contractor, but wrong profiling and silting problems caused by use of a man-made lining meant wholesale collapse. !
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
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“IT’S TEMPTING FOR GOLF CLUBS TO THINK OF REMODELLING AS SIMPLY ADDING A BUNKER HERE AND THERE, OR MAKING SMALL DESIGN CHANGES. BUT THE CHALLENGES CAN BE MORE SEVERE” Re-construction over a three-four year period was necessary and costly. He also says that in-house projects can often mean that opportunities are missed. In particular he refers to USGA green reconstructions where 40cm of dug out spoil is often dumped around the course, albeit discretely by a constructor, when with proper advice it could well be used constructively. Creative Golf Designs workload is about 60 per cent UK re-modelling and according to Moodie, it’s not their style to turn away ‘bread and butter’ projects, though he is currently involved in a major new course building project in Germany. They present an architect with different challenges and in a way demand higher skill levels than new course design, he says. Moodie reckons it is important for an architect to have as much information as possible ahead of an initial site visit. He believes too that a good rapport with key people at a club - head greenkeeper, captain et al is vital to a project. He has advised over 60 clubs on course improvement schemes and Coombe Hill, Upton-by-Chester and Moortown, north of Leeds are among those that have called on him for design work in recent times.
Perhaps emphasising that the market for course re-modelling is growing, a new architect practice has just been created specifically to handle such work. Weller McEvoy, a niche marriage between established architects Weller Designs and Peter McEvoy of Sporting Projects, is clearly setting out to attract clubs by offering a £250 introductory site visit re-fundable against any resulting project work. It too emphasises the pressure on clubs whose courses have grown less demanding to players because they are hitting longer. Increasing hole lengths can present safety difficulties, but done properly re-modelling can allay these concerns and at relatively low cost. Sporting Projects’ Peter McEvoy comments: “At the Walker Cup in Chicago this year, I saw an amateur golfer carry the ball 351 yards.” “But it’s not just the country’s best amateurs who are hitting the ball further. New equipment technology means many players of differing abilities are achieving greater distances, often taking existing hazards out of play and, in worse cases, weakening the challenge presented by even well-crafted golf holes. Our new company Weller McEvoy will help golf clubs to restore this challenge.”
Weller Designs’ Bruce Weller comments: “Increased length also raises safety concerns for some clubs, but sensitive remodelling can address these issues at a relatively low cost.” Cornerstone Creeping wear and tear is another problem that Weller McEvoy can help golf clubs to address. Says McEvoy: “Design change to tackle wear and tear is a cornerstone of what Weller McEvoy is trying to achieve. It’s a crucial factor in keeping members, guests and visitors happy. If word gets around that a golf course is in poor condition, it can sometimes take years to restore a club’s reputation.” Weller Designs’ David Weller comments: “It’s tempting for golf clubs to think of remodelling as simply adding a bunker here and there, or making small design changes. But the challenges can be more severe, and our services reflect that. Weller McEvoy can manage every aspect of remodelling, from dealing with the planning authorities through to overseeing the work until completion.” Peter McEvoy finishes: “Teaming up with Bruce and David is very exciting, and together we are confident that we can help golf clubs respond as the game evolves.”
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
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Guiding Light Project Management is a familiar practice within the building trade, but not quite so popular in golf. Former BAGCC chairman Brian Pierson believes that the industry may be missing a trick. Article by Rob Wright.
rian Pierson stumbled into project management more by accident than design. Pierson had been building golf courses since 1967 and in 1992 was asked by Donald Steel to provide a quotation for Peter de Savary, who had just purchased Skibo Castle in Scotland. Pierson submitted a tender to construct the 18-hole course which incidentally incorporated the original nine hole layout that had been designed for Andrew Carnegie back in 1896. With a price agreed between all parties, and the contract signed, de Savary then approached Pierson with a view to project managing the entire construction instead of working on a fixed price. A deal was brokered where by Pierson would build the course at cost – with no mark up – and simply certify the invoices for de Savary to pay. It was a simple agreement, and in an instant the ‘Project Manager’ was born. As Pierson explained, the entire concept was new and opened up a new field of operation. “Instead of taking all the financial risks - which is what contractors do - there was more time to devote to negotiating the best quality materials at the best price, find the best men and plant and importantly programme the construction.
“In traditional contracting too much time is spent ensuring that the client not only accepts your standard of work but more importantly pays the bills on time. “If changes are made negotiating extras, with a project managed construction the more changes the clients make the more it costs them, and it is surprising how this can concentrate the mind!” Stimulating Working in different environments is always stimulating, and a chance call from an English professional golfer who was based in Miltenburg, near Frankfurt, led to a series of new courses being constructed in Germany. “Fortunately for me my German clients all spoke good English and we were able to achieve some very costeffective constructions,” said Pierson. “Working in mainland Europe is quite different to working in the UK, as environmental regulations are a lot more rigid and the planning process can take many, many years. It can frustrate at times, but at the end of the day it’s a great country to work in.” In 1998 a call from de Savary, lead Pierson to the east coast of America where the Cherokee Golf and Country Club was built in South Carolina followed by a second course, Carnegie Abbey in Newport Rhode Island.
Since then, Pierson has been working in the UK and Germany, and believes that the industry is currently facing a number of issues. “We are going through a difficult period in golf,” Pierson added. “New equipment has dramatically changed the game, and the majority of courses are now playing a lot shorter than they were originally designed for, with the top pro’s reducing par five’s to four’s and so on. “Whilst this revolution in technology is forcing clubs to look at ways to reestablish realistic pars, unfortunately the demand for course improvements comes at a time when revenues are dropping and costs increasing. “In the old days the solution was to bring in an experienced golf course architect to create a master plan, which although still an option, many clubs are hesitant to incur high fees and instead are undertaking ‘in-house’ improvements themselves. “Golf course construction is a skill of its own, and although there are many greenkeepers that have a talent for this type of work, is it wise to divert them from their main job-in-hand which of course is to maintain their course. “If the greenkeepers are diverted from their vitally important work the course suffers, which generates yet more problems.
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
“IN MY EXPERIENCE, GREENS CHAIRMAN OR MEMBERS OF THEIR COMMITTEE RARELY HAVE THE PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERTISE TO SET UP THE DETAILED CONTRACT”
“This conundrum can be solved by hiring a golf course contractor, but this in its self can generate logistical problems. In my experience, greens chairman or members of their committee rarely have the practical knowledge or expertise to set up the detailed contract, and the golf course contractor must know exactly what is required of them, and who can make decisions if variations occur – and they invariably do. “With almost forty years experience, I have come to realise that given the numerous problems that can, and often do arise, the employment of a project manager is typically the best solution. “Of course, clubs will often want to know how the appointment of a project manager will benefit their club, and why it is the most cost-effective way forward. Once the club has reached a decision to carry out alterations to their
course, it is at that point when a project manager should be appointed, who needs to become an integral part of the decision making process. Success The project manager needs to work extremely closely with those involved with the improvements, including the head greenkeeper, the pro and perhaps the most important person, the accountant. To guarantee success the work must be accurately costed before it is started, and if funds are not in place to complete the entire project, work should be phased over a number of years. “All of this can be achieved with the professional help and assistance of a project manager, whose job it is to locate the correct materials along with the best contractor and to supervise the work, certify payments and ensure a phased hand over back to the head greenkeeper.”
Brian D. Pierson THE GOLF COURSE BUILDER
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Golf Management Europe September 2005
CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF GOLF COURSES, BOWLING GREENS, CRICKET SQUARES TENNIS COURTS AND SPORTS PITCHES
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The Hills are Alive With the likes of Freddie Jacobson as members, The Hills Golf Club in Sweden is set to become a golfing success story. John Vinicombe spoke to Martin Sternberg, the enigmatic Swede behind the ambitious project which cost 17 million Euros.
lobal warming offers up an intruiging prospect for Sweden, a land that could do with a climate makeover, of a greater role in the European golf industry. Sustained higher temperatures would see even more golf played thus enabling an extension of a season that ends in October and resumes the following May. If what the scientists are predicting becomes a reality then a golfing explosion will strike Sweden where the game has already taken off to unprecedented heights. Despite the limitations of mother nature, Sweden is already a major player.
Golf Management Europe September 2005
Hardly a tournament goes by without a name appearing on the leader board challengers followed by the country of origin - Sweden. Yet the first golf club to be opened in the country was as recently as 1902 when golf had long since flourished in Britain and was fast gaining popularity in the United States. Now US golf style setters like course designers Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest Associates have spread their wings to Sweden. The Toledo-based organisation headed by 75 year-old Arthur Hills have designed more than 170 new courses in their own back yard plus Europe and Asia and renovated at least 120 others. ! Page 23
Current projects number 50 odd world wide including half a dozen in Sweden and the finishing touches have been made to one that takes its name from the man himself. Just ten minutes from downtown Gothenburg and in the town of Molndal is The Hills Golf Club and an official opening will take place next May although the course was opened for play midway through 2005. There could be no higher praise for a man with a reputation of 40 years award winning designs than for one of his creation to be named after him. The owner, or more accurately, entrepreneur behind the project is 39 year-old Martin Sternberg who used to play the minor tours but soon discovered his forte was development and not worrying himself sick about relying on sinking putts to earn a living. Martin Sternberg has a controlling interest in six other Swedish courses and, while an active player, immersed himself in the craft of course construction and all matters pertaining to. It was a simple choice; when the golf didn’t come up to scratch Sternberg turned his hand to what he could really do best. The Hills represents the height of Sternberg’s ambitions but there is no telling if he plans to limit a burgeoning empire to this select address on Page 24
Sweden’s underrated golfing map. Depend on it, should the sun shine longer and hotter in future, The Hills and a host of other courses in this country of ten million, will draw golfers from all points of the European compass. At present Sweden has the lowest population per 18 holes of golf in Europe (24,000). The country enjoyed a 72 per cent increase in the number of courses built during the 1990s and demand for club memberships outstrips supply. The Swedish Golf Federation figures show that there are 480 clubs with an estimated 600,000 individual members to which should be added 50,000 or so “non-active” players. Martin Sternberg reckons there are close to a million golfers or one-tenth of the total population. Explosion “We have had an explosion in the quality of Swedish players. There was a problem in finding enough places for them to practice and the professionals went abroad to Spain and the States to take advantage of the warmer weather. Previously we have had courses designed on small budgets, but not any more. “I first thought of the project at Molndal in 1994. Now it is a reality, a members’ club with a ceiling of 575 and 27 holes in all including nine which is
open to non-members and satisfies a government requirement providing golf for all.” Full membership costs 30,000 Euros plus 1,200 Euros annual sub. Juniors pay 250 Euros a year. Too dear? Not according to the rush to join. “We sold out 256 memberships before the first trees were felled and that brought in 12 million Euros,” said Sternberg. Total cost of The Hills is 17 million Euros. The nine holes, which is owned separately, is rated as one of the best of its type in Sweden. Building the 18 holes began in 2002. But why did Sternberg enlist the services of Arthur Hills and his band of experts? “I went to them as Mr Hills is one of the best. His organisation was the one for us and the course takes its name from Mr Hills. You could say it is a rock ‘n roll course as Alice Cooper has played here and fell in love with it. Freddie Jacobson, who was born in Molndal, is a member and plays the course as often as he can when not on the European Tour. “The terrain is very dramatic. I have so far not managed to beat par. Although there are elevation changes you cannot see the sea which is only two kilometres away. “It stays warm here because of the Gulf Stream. As to the course environment there are plenty of trees, mostly
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
pines and the total length is 7,071 metres from the back tees with par at 72. There are seven individual tee selections from 4,000 metres to the championship length. I believe it is one of the longest courses close to sea level in Europe.” It was Sternberg’s idea to make the course over 7,000m taking into account the greater distances being achieved by Tour players. Challenge Steve Forrest agreed: “With people like Tiger Woods regularly driving between 380 and 390 yards, it was Martin Sternberg’s intention to take the course to greater lengths and we were wholeheartedly in agreement. The course, from the back tees, poses a tougher challenge to the really long hitters.” When Sternberg approached the Americans they jumped at the chance. “We were pleased to have the opportunity and it is not the only course we are doing with Martin Sternberg. There is another at Helsingborg apart from other projects in Sweden. As to Molndal, it is truly a unique site with its rock formations.” Competition around Gothenburg is hot. There are between 30 and 35 courses in the area and The Hills is the first with a surface drainage system devised by the architects. “It makes a big difference to the quality of the fairways and greens which is bent grass as the land is on heavy clay,” said Sternberg. “We spent three million Euros on sand alone. Back to back, wall to wall irrigation here makes it a first in Sweden.” The golf course superintendent is a Scot, Ewan MacKenzie formerly at Gleneagles. Seven years ago Gothenburg, the second biggest city in Sweden, was removed from the Scandanavian Masters rota, preference going to a switch between Stockholm and Malmo. Now Sternberg has every hope that
Gothenburg will be restored with the tournament being staged at The Hills. As a typical Arthur Hills design, the course features generous fairways and well placed bunkers along with alternative ways to approach the green. A signature course of this quality and wit is not out to break the hearts of elderly Swedish burghers. Masterfully designed to give even the misguided shot a recoverable opportunity from a more challenging position the emphasis is on “risk and reward.” For those whose legs aren’t up to the challenge there are carefully rented buggy paths with the avoidance of blind shots for safety playability and enjoyment. When The Hills is required to show its teeth on championship occasions there is much to fear if sub-par rounds are to be obtained without courting disaster. The Hills GC is in partnership with the Ben Hogan company and major supplier of golf equipment and supporter of the club’s Golf Training Academy and Member VIP Tour. The club is also the first and only Ben Hogan practice facility in Europe. Apres golf figures highly on Sternberg’s priorities. All members’ needs are catered for in the manner expected of a highly sophisticated country. No surprise then that the chefs at The Hills restaurant also have the contract at the Nobel Prizes awards banquet. Sweden has dynamic cities, a unique quality of life and Gothenburg enjoys all the assets of an international metropolis but few of the disadvantages. The golf course fits the pattern perfectly. So, what does Arthur Hills think of his Swedish masterpiece? “It is a course that will stand the test of time.”
Fact File Club:
Hills Golf Club Hills Väg S-431 90 Mölndal Sweden Telephone: Facsimile: Email: Website:
0046 031 873636 0046 031 873635 email@example.com www.hillsgolfclub.se
Director of Golf: Claes-Göran Wibreus Head Greenkeeper: Euan MacKenzie (prictured right) Course Info:
Par 72, 7,732 yards (Opened 2005)
Members: Green Fee:
575 Euro 90
Golf Management Europe September 2005
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Hidden Potential The one item that anyone playing your course will use is the scorecard. To the member playing in a competition, the visitor playing in a society day or simply as a casual green fee player, the scorecard can communicate all sorts of things as Charles de Haan reports.
f all the ways in which you can market your club to someone visiting and playing your course, the humble score card is often the most overlooked resource. All too often its design is simply repeated year after year with little or no thought given to making more of its capabilities. But now that more and more clubs are thinking in terms of marketing themselves, the scorecard is the first marketing tool that should be given fundamental marketing and design attention. Why? Because the scorecard spends a lot of time with your target audiences, members and visitors. From the moment the card is given out at registration, or collected from the Pro Shop, it is kept for the duration of the round, signed and either handed in or kept for comparison in the session in the bar afterwards. In marketing parlance, that time means a lot of ‘opportunities to see’, ie. for someone to see the information and messages on the card. With good design, it can become a powerful way of projecting your brand, marketing your club and reminding visitors of a great day’s golf. First and foremost, a scorecard doesn’t have to be a conventional singlefold four page card; it can have two, three or even four folds, with six, eight or as many as ten pages of information.
“IT IS RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE TO INVEST IN GOOD QUALITY SCORECARDS THAT ARE WELL DESIGNED... SO ANY GOLF CLUB THAT IS SERIOUS ABOUT MARKETING SHOULD BE MAKING THE MOST OF ITS SCORECARD’S POTENTIAL”
Golf Management Europe September 2005
All that additional space means the scorecard can then be designed to communicate all sorts of marketing messages about your club. So some careful planning is needed to exploit the possibilities. Corporate Identity Next, the corporate visual identity of your club - the logo, colours, and typeface - should be properly exploited in the card’s design and appearance. Even the choice of a standard typeface for the headings and text, unless specified already as part of your identity design system, should be given careful thought to project your club appropriately, ie. modern or traditional, and so on. The club’s colours can also be used within the scoring grid as a subtle way of reinforcing your brand. !
And with the extra space of even a two-fold six page card, you can take the opportunity to introduce the club via a few wellchosen words about its most distinctive aspects - perhaps its history, its environmental credentials, flora and fauna, its designer, or one or two particular signature holes. In other words, messages that will make your club stick in their memory. Photography In today’s society, people buy with their eyes and images sell. Any club or course can be made to look fantastic with professional photography, and besides your website and course yardage guide, the scorecard is a great place to carry one or two of the best shots you’ve got. If your club is old, you may have some photography taken at its opening or in those early days, in which case, why not use the opportunity afforded by the scorecard to frame the best of those old sepia or black and white pictures - what better way of getting across one of your club’s strengths, your history, to every member and visitor?
And don’t assume the clubhouse should be the main subject - your best hole may be far more photogenic and memorable than your clubhouse. Conversely, you may want to promote your catering, so do what the food companies do - invest in some top notch food photography. Pictures on the scorecard - let alone the website - that are almost good enough to eat remind everyone who plays your course that your food is well worth thinking about as well. Course maps can be a good idea, because you’d be surprised how often a first-time visitor can be left wondering where to go to find the next tee. A simple half page course map can be an invaluable piece of information for visitors, not only helping speed of play but projecting your club in a helpful way that builds favourable perception. And then of course there’s the opportunity to carry sponsorship. With both HSBC and Volvo looking to explore their connections and relationships at a club level, all sorts of sponsorship possibilities exist. Even if it’s a number of your own members’ companies, it can mean that the cost of the card to the club is reduced, nullified or even turned into a small surplus. A scorecard is not just about design and appearance - it’s also about the quality of the material used. When we are given someone’s business card, we instinctively feel for its quality, often
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bending it a little between our fingers. And we all know when we’re holding either a cheap card or an expensive one. The same is true of scorecards, but there’s much more to this than meets the eye. For a start, let’s not forget that golf in this country - and most of Europe - will be played when the weather isn’t dry and sunny. The card needs to be able to withstand degrees of dampness. The inner pages containing the scoring grid should be able to get a little damp and still be able to take the pencil graphite or biro ink that’s used to write down a score, or make a signature. That requires an additional surface of a varnish coating to the inner pages to afford some protection from damp. The outer pages will need at least two coatings to ensure a high standard of reproduction, making those colours, graphics and especially photographic detail really sharp and able to stand out. Then there’s the calibre and thickness of the card itself. Like everything, you get what you pay for, and card is no exception.
The best comes from mills in Scandinavia, and the thickness and density should ideally be at least 230 gsm, and ideally 280gsm. This level of specification is rarely understood and checked for when clubs think they’re getting a cheaper price. But the net result will be a low quality scorecard that falls apart when it gets damp, and which won’t project your club and its brand messages nearly as well. It is relatively inexpensive to invest in good quality scorecards that are well designed, properly branded, correct density and thickness, and so on. So any golf club that is serious about marketing should be making the most of its scorecard’s potential, and that means talking to the specialists. Think of the scorecard as your club’s business card to the world of golf - rather than handing out something that looks just like everyone else’s, take pride in giving everyone that comes to your club a scorecard that encapsulates the best your club has to offer.
PPC Golf for Scorecards Specialising in scorecards, course photography and corporate identity, PPC Golf is the ‘one-stop’ Golf Club Services division of Portman Publishing and Communications. Commenting on the new brand, Michael Lenihan said: “As publishers of Golf Management Europe, it is our job to keep in contact with golf clubs throughout the UK and Europe irrespective of size, stature or location. “GME has built up a good rapport with an awful lot of golf clubs since the first edition was published back in 1997, and the decision to form PPC Golf was brought about by discussions with clubs seeking a high-quality scorecard at an affordable price. “There appears to be too much emphasis on the five-star golf club these days, leaving the ‘typical’ club feeling under-valued. After all, why shouldn’t three-star clubs receive the same level of service and quality as the likes of Gleneagles and Valderrama?” More information about PPC Golf can be found at www.ppcgolf.com or by calling them on 0870 241 4678.
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September 2005 Golf Management Europe
Firm Focus SkyCaddie GPS maps a course to Europe olf has been using GPS systems for sometime now, so even the most conservative club should have by now grasped the fact that these systems can add much needed revenue to your club whilst speeding up play. Where these systems have often fallen down in the past, is not due to the GPS technology itself, but in part, the fact that they had to be mounted on golf cars. Any club with a small fleet of EZGOs, Club Car’s or Yamaha’s was not ideally placed to reap any GPS dividends. However, with the European launch of SkyCaddie, clubs in the UK and Europe can join the GPS revolution irrespective of size, location or budget. The product is bought and owned by the player, taking away from the club the hassle of renting units. There is an opportunity for the club to make profit from sales of units, but more so to get their name on the ever inreasing list of top clubs who are SkyCaddie enabled. Using a powerful microprocessor, the SkyCaddie automatically calculates, as you move, distances to up to 40 targets per hole in less than a second. Which means by the time you reach your ball, the screen will tell you your exact yardage to the front, back and centre of the green, as well as bunkers and water hazards. And the patented ‘IntelliGreen’ feature is exclusive to SkyCaddie. The exact shape of each green appears on the screen, and you are able to move the image of the flag to the pin position of the day.
You then get distance to front of green, flag and back of green, exactly on your line of approach. That’s the sort of information which Steve Williams gives to Tiger Woods! Mapped Courses can either be professionally mapped by SkyCaddie, and this is the preferred option because all major hazards and green shapes will appear on the system. A lesser degree of mapping can de done by a player himself. This simply gives distances to front, centre and back of greens. So, if you are looking for as much detail as possible, and wish to join the other top clubs, you’re better off letting SkyCaddie do the legwork. And what’s more, once a course has been mapped, it is available to other SkyCaddie users to download via their website, along with more than 7,000 other courses world-wide. Affordable Weighing just 4.8 ounces, and retailing for £249 including VAT (€399) the SkyCaddie is not only affordable to the club golfer, but more importantly it offers clubs the opportunity of increasing retail sales from within the pro shop. SkyCaddie is also a fantastic teaching tool that would complement any academy, as pro’s can use it to show pupils exactly how far they have hit each club. Many will realise the GPS cannot be used at present in Europe for handicap qualifying rounds. However, it may be worthwhile to bear in mind that the USGA and R&A have always agreed on rules, even if it has taken some time for them to agree. The USGA has already approved the use of GPS. Can the R&A be far behind?
Golf Management Europe September 2005
SkyCaddie Europe ILS Limited 12 Arrow Close Middleton Cheney Banbury OX17 2QJ Telephone 0870 112 0513 Email email@example.com Internet www.skycaddiegps.co.uk
Living the Dream Glynn Patrick has seen it all. Throughout his illustrious career, he has worked for Massey Ferguson and Ransomes Jacobsen, and until recently was the managing director at MOX, before leaving to set-up his own company as he explains.
t was my dream for very many years to get away from big business in order to divert my energies one hundred per cent into something positive, something in which I believe. That moment came at the end of 2004 when Colin Surman (above left), Jackie Hitchcock (right) and I (centre), having looked at all the other products available and found them inadequate, discovered a GPS product, which was so good, it was crying out for somebody to take it on. We created a five-year business plan, decided on a strategy, formed a company and coupled the GPS system called SkyCaddie with a revolutionary tee booking system. We are the team which today is ILS (Internet Leisure Systems Ltd). We still hear the odd soul say “It’s cheating” or “It’s illegal.” Well, it’s certainly not cheating, and we welcome the common sense approach which has now brought about the rule change, making the use of GPS an accepted part of the game. After all, it is only a device to measure distance instantly. Courses have their yardage markers, and most now have yardages marked on sprinkler heads, and yardage books where adding and subtraction, coupled with some walking, will give the golfer the yardage he needs. You mean to tell me that my golf ball could lie next to a sprinkler head which says 168 yards (to front or
centre) and my GPS unit, which gives the same information, was illegal. The USGA, which is the other half of the golf world’s rules setting, decided some time ago that GPS could be used for handicapping purposes. They were quite pragmatic in deciding that the average player had every right to have access to the kind of distance information which Tiger Woods gets from his caddie, and they reasoned quite rightly that GPS devices would speed the game up. How many times do we see people wasting time by stepping off distances to and from known yardage points? In fact, one of the junior pro tours in the USA, the Tight Lies Tour, already uses the SkyCaddie in competition. One or two clubs in Britain and other countries have also created local rules allowing the use of GPS devices. All of these people were the trendsetters, and now they have been proven right. This particular GPS system, and a system it is, uses the latest in GPS technology and has a unique patented way of measuring yardage to different points on a green, called ‘intelligreen.’ I’ll come back to that in a minute. This is a personal GPS unit, which the golfer buys. Over 7,000 courses in the world are now individually mapped for use with this unit, and that will total 10,000 by the start of next season, and at least 1,000 of those will be in UK and Europe.
For those going off on holiday to play golf in the US, Spain or Portugal this winter, they will be able to find their courses on our system. Imagine walking on to the first tee at Vale do Lobo, or Bay Hill, never having seen the course before, and knowing that you should use a 3 wood to lay up short of the fairway bunker, rather than whack it with the driver, and pay an early visit to the sand. The unit gives distances to hazards and to carry those hazards. It also has a notion of ‘smart’ shots, telling you on critical holes how far to hit your shot, and what that will leave you to get to the green with your next. It is worth noting that we always approach clubs to get their agreement on mapping courses. This ensures good relationships with clubs, and by going on the course to do the mapping, all the distance information is bang up to date. Intelligreen The ‘Intelligreen’ feature, which no other unit has, allows the golfer to see distance to front of green, flag and back of green exactly on his line of approach. If you are like me, and sometimes hit 100 yards left or right, it is like having a professional caddie standing beside you. There can be hills or trees in the way, but it will still give you exact distances to key points on the green. What is more, we have competitors who claim to have courses, like the Old Course at St Andrews, but haven’t had
September 2005 Golf Management Europe
the courtesy to ask clubs if they can use their data. Instead, they have taken outdated, and often inaccurate, GPS maps to cobble together a map of a given golf course. We have a relationship with every course on our system. We get their go ahead, and make sure maps are always up to date. Check some of the big names on our website, and ask them. We as amateurs can also judge for the first time how far on average we hit every club in our bag. This can be done instantly on the golf course, or better still by hitting a bunch of shots with each club on the practise ground. Endorsement You simply press a button on the side of the unit at the point where you hit the balls from, then go to the middle of the bunch of balls, and press the button again. It tells you the exact yardage. This feature is well liked by teaching professionals, and it is just one good reason why the PGA Learning Centre in the US endorses the product. Who wouldn’t want to play faster, play smarter and have more fun? As you can see, I am the product’s biggest enthusiast. I love it, and so do those people who have already bought it in Europe. This is a different kind of GPS. It is yours to use wherever you wish - you can even do some limited mapping of courses yourself, but just front, centre
and back of greens. The rental products are mainly used on golf cars, and can be a good earner for clubs. I should know, I used to rent them when I ran MOX. However, in this country, less than ten per cent of our rounds are with buggies, and so a hand held personal unit has to be the way to go. At £249, it costs less than a quality driver, and will certainly take more shots off the golfer’s score. Take a look also at the old pictures of golf in its early days. All the guys had caddies to give them local knowledge, and most people, even 20 years ago, played the same course week in, week out. It is today’s nomadic golfer, of whom there are four million in Britain alone, who needs help. He or she cannot afford a caddy, but they can afford a SkyCaddie. My dream was to set up a new company and pour our resources and energy into it. We have done that. We have a solid
business plan, and we know we’ll succeed because the product we represent is unique, is great and will be loved by golfers of all ages. I am conscious here that I have talked about the benefit for the golfer. We also have a package for the club and/or pro shop to sell units and for pros to use it in teaching. What is more, any golf club looking at the list of eminent and respected courses already on the SkyCaddie list, will want to join the team. At the time of writing, I was confident that the R&A would fall inline with the USGA regarding the rules on using GPS, but I thought it would take a couple of years. I guess it is about being in the right place at the right time. Everybody now accepts that GPS is the best and quickest way to read distances. Even the skeptics can look forward to playing a round of golf in less than four hours.
“If you want to take long walks, take long walks. If you want to hit things with sticks, hit things with sticks. But there’s no excuse for combining the two and putting the results on TV. Golf is not so much a sport as an insult to lawns.” National Lampoons, 1979
Construction Remodelling Water Features Tel: 01604 468908 Fax: 01604 474853 www.deltagolf2000.co.uk 180 Ruskin Road, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 7TA
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Golf Management Europe September 2005
Portfolio Barenbrug has it sown up St Andrews has underlined its longstanding relationship with Barenbrug by sowing a wide-range of the company’s grass seed on its new number seven course. Barenbrug has worked closely with St Andrews to select precisely the correct seed mixtures for the new venture, and all the greens have been sown with a special, tailor-made mix.
01359 272000 The Vale on their way The Vale Resort, the five-star hotel, golf and spa complex, situated in the Vale of Glamorgan is beginning a rolling replacement programme of its golf course maintenance machinery. Back in 2002, The Vale signed a £1 million agreement with local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer RS Bird, to supply a complete range of turf maintenance equipment.
01473 270000 Price is Right for Crawford
Lake drama at Wyboston Wyboston Lakes, the largest privately-owned training and conference centre in Europe, has found a way to add drama and beauty to its setting by installing a range of Otterbine water fountains and aerators on its lake. Based near St Neots, in Cambridgeshire, Wyboston’s 350acre site includes a hotel, conference centre and 18-hole golf course.
01480 226800 Paisley look close to home Head greenkeeper Rab Grant has recently purchased a Wiedenmann Terra Spike XP deep aerator from Nairn Brown to help relieve compaction and improve drainage at The Paisley Golf Club, Glasgow. “With its 1.6 metre working width, it’s a versatile machine that can be used from ‘fence to fence’ around the course,” he said.
0141 814 3366 Exciting innovations revealed
When it comes to deep aeration on golf courses, Terry Crawford, course manager at Clandeboye Golf Club has some definite views. “I think contractors are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market. Using contractors now costs around £10£12,000 a year, so if you purchase your own machine it will pay for itself within two years,” he said.
Barenbrug revealed the latest revolutionary results of its grass seed mixture trials during two Open Days, held at the STRI’s Bingley site in July. The focus of the event was mixtures for heavy-duty sports, and the findings of three key areas of evolutionary and sustained research - sowing depth, shade, wear and salt tolerance.
0141 814 3366
Jacobsen tees off at Omagh Broderick’s Grass Machinery of Newtonabbey in County Antrim, has recently sold the first Jacobsen TR3 tees and surrounds mower into Northern Ireland. The Ransomes Jacobsen dealer has delivered the newly introduced machine to Omagh Golf Club, the 18-hole members club, situated just a mile south of the town centre.
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Hillsborough up the pace Hillsborough Golf Club on the outskirts of Sheffield, has purchased the latest superfast Wiedenmann Terra Spike XF from local dealer, Palmers Groundscare. The XF has made a real impact in the golf sector and course manager Ian Whitehead is no exception in his praise for the new machine. “Nothing compares to the speed of the XF,” he said.
0141 814 3366 September 2005 Golf Management Europe
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