GCM

DECEMBER 2008

GOLF CLuB MAnAGEMEnT

Visit www.compleatgolfer.co.za for back issues of GCM

GOLFFACELIFT CLuB A MAJOR
Also In thIs Issue

Glendower

euphoria’s 5-star clubhouse ■ Motivational fixes ■ Club profile – Koro Creek Bushveld Golf estate ■ damage to property on estates ■ the designers – sean Quinn and Golf data

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VOLuME 4 • IssuE 12

Business MAGAzInE for the Golf Industry

The

Contents
leAd story
glendower revamp Euphoria’s clubhouse Motivational fixes Koro Creek

EDITOR’s LETTER
4 7 11 14 16 19 20 21 22 27 31

5-stAr feAture

hr developMent CluB profIle leGAl

Damage to homes on golf estates New appointments Service Excellence Award nominations Derek Murdoch Irrigation

FROM ThE EDITOR
Another day and another golf estate is launched – or so it seems. All the while rounds are decreasing at many traditional clubs and the number of corporate golf days is sure to decline. What is the answer?
The price of survival
It is a question debated at dinner parties and it is a favourite topic at 19th holes – does the property market really need more golf estates? I suppose as long as crime continues to flourish, there will always be a demand for high-security, gated communities. Why these estates need golf courses is something of a mystery. It would seem that as long as there is a well-heeled sector of the community that can pay top-dollar for their ‘piece of paradise’, we will continue to construct ever-more elaborate courses. A pertinent question might be: who is going to play these courses? Now of course certain clubs get by quite well without large numbers of rounds – the likes of the exclusive River Club, Leopard Creek and Blair Atholl. But of course the members of these clubs pay a premium for this exclusivity. Whether or not the residents of these new golf estates, particularly those who do not play golf (by far the majority), will be happy to fund these courses, remains to be seen. It is a fact that new estates have poached many members from traditional clubs, and added to this is the worrying trend which suggests that all clubs are in for a tough time anyway. A knee-jerk reaction has been for some clubs to try to cut costs and to discount membership rates and greenfees – a slippery slope. The fierce competition for the corporate golf day business has also seen some discounted deals being struck, good for the corporates – as long as they can justify hosting golf days. But not so good for the clubs when their members start to work out that they are effectively subsidising visitors to play their course. We don’t need business degrees to realise that we need more golfers, and quickly. We have inherited a system that was never designed to accommodate the plethora of new courses. We do not have municipal or pay-and-play facilities that feed the system, and we are heading for an unpleasant surprise if believe that the 2010 World Cup is going to answer all of our economic ills. Golf tourism may bring a trickle of extra greenfees to some courses, but from where I’m sitting I can’t see tour buses lined up with punters. We have to promote the game within our own country, and if we think we can hang around for golf’s administrators to do this we are in for a long wait. We are in for an even longer wait if we expect the development efforts, politically and morally well-meaning though they may be, to bear fruit. There has to be something learned from the Americans, who have taken upon themselves to ‘sell’ the game in their own communities. Special member/guest days and open days at clubs do a lot to bring new people into the game, but we see very little of this sort of marketing done in South Africa. It is time for all of us to spread the word – golf is a game of a lifetime, and the game of our livelihood.

on the Move servICe

MAnAGer of the Month turfGrAss MAnAGeMent desIGn And ConstruCtIon lAst word

golf Data

the SAgA’s new president

Cover pICture:

glendower’s revamp includes new greens and repositioned bunkering – costing r9 million.

JOhn BOThA email: bogeyfree@mweb.co.za cell: 082 498 7380
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edItorIAl

sIMOn TuRCk (PubLIShEr) email: simon@rsp.co.za cell: 083 252 8387
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Golf Club Management

December 2008

3

GLEnDOWER FACELIFT

Glendower classic A major facelift for a parkland
South Africa’s highly-ranked glendower embarked on a major project to modernise its greens complexes and to reposition its bunkering. John Botha visited the club and discovered that the changes being made will obviously improve what was an excellent layout to begin with.
no golfer who knows Glendower would dispute the fact that this parkland layout ranks with the best in the world. Its championship credentials have been proven over the years, and it has, for the most part, stood up to the test of modern equipment. It has all the attributes that one looks for in a great golf course – an interesting mix of holes, it is well routed, and manages to strike the balance between demanding a high degree of skill for a player to beat par, yet allows those of more modest ability to have fun. Yet it was not without its faults, minor though they may have been. These are now in the process of being sorted out and, without preempting results from course ranking panels, it is a fair bet that this course is going to cause a major stir. Compleat Golfer currently ranks Glendower as the second-best classic layout in the country, and once the new look is unveiled (planned for 31 January 2009) there could be a photo-finish in the race for No 1. The success of this club has much to do with its enthusiastic, loyal membership, strong leadership and its position; close to the city of Johannesburg yet far enough away to avoid the frenetic traffic and accompanying noise. But it is the course that is the heart of a golf club, and this layout is as good as it gets. Many would describe Glendower as being a national golfing treasure and, as such, the responsibility of making any changes would weigh heavily of the shoulders of those who made this decision, as well as those who would be tasked with carrying out the work. “Obviously the decision to go ahead with what is a major project was not taken lightly,” says Paul Leishman, the man who runs this club. “There were discussions for about four years before work started.” Once it was decided to go ahead, the question of who would be entrusted with the design and construction was dealt with and, after various options were considered, Golf Data was awarded the contract. “Our relationship with Golf Data has a long history and the element of trust was an important factor. The company’s reputation in the industry has never been in doubt, and we are confident that the work has been done to highest possible standards. Importantly, our members were involved with the whole process and at a special meeting course architect Sean Quinn explained what was to done in a two-hour presentation. Every member was given the opportunity to put forward any ideas or reservations over the next few weeks. The members were overwhelmingly in favour of the decided changes.” “Originally we were approached to simply replace the greens, which were made up of 90-percent poa,” says Quinn. “This involved taking GPS readings which revealed some interesting slopes and shapes that would have been unplayable with the modern strains of bent used today. I managed to convince the committee that subtle changes would increase playability and offer an increased amount of pin positions.” It was also agreed to do away with certain old retaining walls of greens which were simply dated and artificial-looking. The edges of lakes, notably on the 2nd, 3rd and 13th, have also been reshaped to improve visibility. But perhaps most importantly, the fairway bunkering, as on many older courses, needed repositioning. “We looked at landing areas in the 280-metre range on all the par fours and fives and we have made adjustments where necessary,” says Quinn. The total changes have involved a huge amount of work, and while some clubs might have chosen to effect these improvements in phases over a period of time, Glendower wisely ‘bit the bullet’ and did the whole project in one go. Besides the inconvenience of having the golf course chopped up for the better part of a year, this has been an expensive exercise. The cost of the revamp amounts to R9 million. Glendower operates on a surplus of about R2 million a year and factoring in the loss of revenue

subtle sloping of the putting surfaces will allow for high stimpmeter readings and the new shaping will offer more pin positions.

4

December 2008

Golf Club Management

GLEnDOWER FACELIFT
staff training, and eight of our employees have completed computer courses,” he says. There are lessons to be learned from this club, not least of all its commitment to its mission statement – to provide a world-class facility to its members and visitors. Astute financial management has also allowed the club the luxury of funding this ambitious project, but again the spirit among the members deserves a mention. “In order to help with our cash-flow during this period we encouraged our members to ‘buy’ a dozen rounds in advance to be used during the revamp. The members responded positively to this, although as we approach the opening of the ‘new’ course, few actually used their pre-paid rounds. Most importantly, Golf Data has stuck to the tight schedule and before completion the management and committee are already looking at plans to revamp the clubhouse, but that’s another story. As the newly-planted seed on the 9th green is showing signs of germination (the A1/A4 strain of bent), it is clear that no-one at Glendower is letting the grass grow under their feet. ■ CMY K

this year of about R3 million, this constitutes a R5-million deficit – a considerable sum. Golf Data’s Robbie Marshall makes no secret of the fact that he considers Glendower to be one of his favourite courses, and his association with the club goes back 18 years. “This was the first major project we undertook all those years ago – when we reconstructed the greens”, he says. “We never built them to Construction has been to the highest speciUSGA specifications then, they were ‘pushfications and the new A1/A4 bent grass up’ surfaces which we shaped. Our brief this surfaces, with state-of-the-art drainage, time was to modernise the greens complexes, promise to be as good as any in the country. which was definitely needed, without changing their basic character – still retaining the country, has had its teeing ground moved subtle slopes but with different bunkering. to the right, which will further improve the We have also made other changes which will hole. The 18th green has also been changed; move the course into the 21st century. Quite lowered and repositioned – with the approach honestly we would never have wanted to make played uphill, this was always a design flaw any radical changes to the overall design – which has now been rectified. true classics like this are rare and should be With rounds of golf reduced from the treated with the utmost respect.” usual 50 000 a year to a trickle (about 500 The most noticeable change has been a month), it has been a frustrating time for made to the 5th hole, which has been the energetic manager Paul Leishman, but he lengthened and converted into a dogleg which G o l f p e o p lthe left. The 10th,galways consid- a g e has used / 2 quieter 8 , constructively. “We a . pdf 1 8 this 8 / 0 time 1 1 : 4 6 A M swings to e _ ad d _ b i 1:33 AM PageP 297 Golfpeople Dale Hayes 8/27/08 4 have used this lull to focus on areas Y CMas such MY ered to be one of the finest par fours in the C M

CY

5-sTAR FEATuRE

Aiming for the five of them stars – all
Euphoria’s clubhouse was designed and constructed with one overriding goal in mind – to qualify as a truly 5-Star Experience. gCM visited this impressive facility, and it is clear the developers have succeeded.
Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro’s clubhouse was completed after two years of planning, designing and construction. Before the final touches were added, it was clear that the finished product had achieved what owner/ developers Faan and Gert Erasmus had envisaged. Mr Faan Erasmus, chairman of Euphoria, admits that there were times when he and his team had to deal with the frustrations of contractors failing to make deadlines, but after various delays the end result was worth waiting for. “We were determined that the clubhouse should be of the appropriate size, be functional and feature the latest in technology,” says Gert, Euphoria’s CEO, an industrial engineer who holds a doctorate in his field. “The brief to our architect (Mark Hanson of Metro Arc) also included the importance of the structure fitting in with our unique landscape.” During the design phase a task team was formed to ensure that every box would be ticked, looking at criteria such as: ■ external appearance and impact ■ layout for golf and non-golfing events ■ size and capacities ■ unique features ■ décor and atmosphere ■ technology Overlooking the closing holes with the imposing mountain behind, the three-story structure certainly fits, and particularly pleasing is the way in which the building embodies strong traditional influences as well as reflecting the contemporary African theme of the estate. The sandstone cladding, which was mined nearby, combines well with the other materials, which includes rust-coloured face brick. It is clear that considerable thought was given to the all-important flow of traffic, with the golf-related area on the lower-ground floor and multifunctional above. Golfers are greeted in the car park and given a cart

Designed by Mark hanson, the Euphoria clubhouse has a distinctly contemporary African look with strong traditional influences.

Golf Club Management

December 2008

7

5 sTAR FEATuRE

Furnishings are tasteful and practical, and add to the relaxed atmosphere.

which is driven to the golf reception area. The pro shop, locker-rooms and halfway house are on this level. The upper-level consists of a 60-seater fine-dining restaurant, the bar and bar lounge which seats up to 100 people, and a 140-seater function room with an adjoining room that can accommodate a further 60 people. Add to all this a beautiful wine cellar that can be used for functions for up to 30 people, and of course the much-publicised cable car that runs to the top of the mountain that overlooks the course, and you have something really special. But one can have all the elaborate facilities, but in order for the visiting golfer to feel welcome and thoroughly spoiled, one needs the personnel to make it all work – and again Euphoria has come up trumps. A considerable amount of time and effort has gone into staff training, and particularly considering that this course has been open less than a year, the entire team is on their toes. Particular mention must be made of the high quality

The foyer is an example of understated elegance, and the liberal use of rosewood throughout the building attests to the fact that no expense was spared.

of cuisine on offer in the restaurant, and even the simple fare at the halfway house is prepared and presented with care. This is a 21st-century clubhouse with all the bells and whistles – wireless connectivity, room-to-room intercom and sound systems, smoke detectors (unfortunately no cigar lounge) and an elaborate conference projection and sound system. There is a multi-channel television network, an online tee-booking system, and handicap terminals in the change rooms and pro shop. In the

case of an Eskom power failure, there are generators standing by that can comfortably supply sufficient power to run the club. Euphoria will soon be rated by Compleat Golfer’s panel of 5-Star judges, and it is a fair bet that this estate will not only meet, but surpass the standards required for 5-Star status. ■

TICkInG ALL ThE BOxEs
The formula used for the design and construction of Euphoria’s clubhouse works well because of its: POsITIOnInG – Close enough to the 1st and 10th tees, and with great views of the 9th and 18th holes. AEsThETICs – Uniquely African with pleasing traditional influences. Good choice of materials which blend well with the surrounding countryside. DEsIGn – The flow for golfers and nongolfing visitors makes sense. There is also ample space for functions. FunCTIOnALITY – Careful thought has gone into the positioning of kitchens, ablution facilities, storage facilities, goods receiving areas, etc. DéCOR – Elegant without being ‘over the top’. Each room has a separate theme and all blend well together.

small groups are able to experience fine dining in the wine cellar, and the quality of the cuisine on offer is unquestionably five-star.

Golf Club Management

December 2008

9

hR DEVELOPMEnT

Five quick motivational fixes
for teams under pressure
One of my earliest memories of the workplace was gained in a mail-order warehouse among the dark satanic mills of Bradford in Yorkshire. I was a youngster of 18 and our manager was a crusty old man who, as the saying goes, was living proof that Snow White must have had sex with Grumpy. He stood just over five-foot tall and was forever bitter about the fact that the British army had turned him down in 1939 because of his height. The pent-up anger he was hoping to unleash on the Germans was instead bottled up and poured out on his poor unsuspecting warehouse team. This was particularly evident when the pressure was on. One of his favourite pastimes was to tell you exactly what he thought of your mother for having the audacity to bring you into this world! Those were the good old/bad old days when management could do anything and jobs were scarce. Every cloud, however, has a silver lining and those experiences taught me how not to motivate a team of people, especially when the pressure is on. Your team members are far more inventive than you could ever imagine in thinking up ways to undermine your position and performance if you don’t earn their trust and respect. When the pressure is on and things go wrong, the team can lose its focus and motivation. This is when the team leader can make a real difference. Hopefully all the planning meetings have already happened because, over the festive season, there is no time to be wasted in lengthy meetings. Your team members want your support, your involvement, your encouragement and your smile! During times of pressure your only goal is to get the job done with the team you have hopefully been growing and developing during the year. There will always be a time for reflection, analysis and even maybe criticism after the festive season is over. Here are five things you can do to help ‘lift’ your team during those exhausting and challenging pressure times.

how do you keep your team focused and motivated when they’re tired and stretched to the limit, as often happens over the festive season? Andrew wilson of gCM suggests five quick interventions that can lift your team members in the short term.
1. BE VIsIBLE Throw away the key to your office and spend as much time as you can with your people. The paperwork can wait until later. As the book The One Minute Manager states, catch people doing things right. Try to identify when the pressure times will occur in the various areas of the club and be there to help. 2. BE InVOLVED Show a real interest in the challenges and pressures that your team members are facing. If you know that the pressure will be on behind the bar from say 16h30 until 19h00, then be there to help with serving the drinks or clearing the tables. There is a fine line between involvement and interference. Offer help frequently and only offer advice either when asked for it or when absolutely necessary. 3. BE COnFIDEnT No matter how under pressure you may be, always project an air of confidence. If your team members see that you are worried or concerned it will negatively affect their levels of confidence and subsequently their performance. Focus on solutions rather than problems. Try to instil a culture that supports the ideology of ‘it’s not the mistake that counts but rather the speed of the recovery’. Encourage your team members to identify and own up to problems as soon as possible so that they can be discussed and resolved quickly. 4. BE CARInG If a team member is in trouble, either in the work situation or domestically, the added pressures of the festive season can often be the last straw. This is when you need to be ultra-observant and watch out for the signs of negative stress. The sooner you can nip a problem in the bud the better. Take time to listen to your team members. Very often just giving them the opportunity to share their problems will go a long way towards solving them. 5. BE EnThusIAsTIC Celebrate the small successes such as getting through a particular busy period. Clap hands and cheer. Thank the team for their efforts. Use the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ far more than ‘I’ and ‘you’. If you get complimentary comments from members or visitors, pass them on to your team. Good luck over the festive season and everything of the best for 2009.
■ For advice on human resource issues con-

tact Andrew Wilson at consultaew@iafrica. com or on 082 575 3861.

A READER’s LETTER...
My understanding is that salaries and bonuses are confidential and should not be discussed with anyone else. Is this correct and if so, can we discipline someone for disclosing their salary and bonus details to another staff member?

GCM:

We are dealing here with the difference between private on the one hand and confidential on the other. Unfortunately, there is nothing in labour law to guide you. There are a number of factors that determine how much a person receives in terms of salary and bonus. For this reason, staff members should be told that their salary and bonus details are confidential and should not be disclosed to others. On the other hand, another person’s salary and bonus details are private and must never be passed on to others by a third party. This is in line with the common law on privacy. The bottom line is that you may not stop a person disclosing their own salary and bonus information to a third party. For obvious reasons though, this practice should be discouraged.

Golf Club Management

December 2008

11

AT ThE CuTTInG EDGE

new chairman for Turf Managers Association kwazulu-natal
At its monthly meeting at the Umkomaas Golf Club, the Turf Managers Association of KwaZulu-Natal elected a new chairman – Rob Ainslie of Port Shepstone Country Club. At this meeting Mr Gavin Smit, an agronomist for new product development and commercialisation of Illovo’s current agrochemical range, was the guest speaker. Due to a resignation the association found itself without a chairman, and the wellknown Ainslie has accepted the challenge. “Our vision is to take the association forward, with all our members benefiting from their membership. We will be establishing a website allowing our members to post questions relating to various problems, and our fellow associates will assist them in finding answers. Continuing education within the industry is obviously encouraged – part of this being the sourcing of speakers, each an expert in their field, for our monthly meetings,” says the new chairman. Ainslie also says that new members are being encouraged to join the association, which offers the following benefits for its members: 1. Educational resources made available to the turf managers. 2. Communication and networking among all turf managers. 3. Regular monthly meetings sponsored by a supplier, at a designated golf club. This presents an opportunity to learn from the invited speakers as well as experiencing a round of golf at that course. 4. Being able to attend educational workshops throughout the year and the annual TMA conference. 5. Having access to an active committee, which is available for help with any matter, or required resources related to our industry. 6. Receiving a monthly newsletter, keeping all members in touch with current and future turf-related matters. 7. Attending a quarterly regional turf managers meeting, where practical management situations and solutions are discussed in an informal environment. 8. Membership also offers affiliation to the national body of turf managers of South Africa.

Port shepstone’s Rob Ainslie has been elected as chairman of the Turf Managers Association of kwazulu-natal.

Everyone within the golf industry or any person related to turf management is welcome to join the association for a nominal annual fee. “The association presently has 103 members and is going from strength to strength due to the camaraderie found in Natal,” says Ainslie. “Our province is known for its extreme climatic variations, ranging from cold conditions at altitude to the warm coastal conditions; from drought-related problems to annual flooding. Because of this, our association has a broad base of knowledge from which the turf managers can obtain a wide range of information.” ■

A TOuGh ACT TO FOLLOW
Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s former course superintendent Grahame Corbett has settled in at Fancourt and, from what we hear, he has made his presence felt in a very positive way. The man now in charge of Royal’s famous East and West courses is Malcolm Bromley, a man with the experience and passion to carry on the excellent work done by Corbett and his team. “I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge at Royal, and the responsibilities that come with the job at a club that is considered to be one of the top facilities in the country,” he says. Malcolm will be profiled in the next issue of GCM.

CLuB PROFILE

koro Creek
With respect to Koro Creek’s marketing effort, which by the amount and quality of homes on this estate has been successful, there are still many golfers who have not experienced this new facility. The message is simple: get there and play this bushveld beauty. A little-known fact is that the original Nylstroom golf club was founded in 1926, and could boast the only course north of Pretoria (in what was then the Northern Transvaal) to be fully grassed. For some reason the course moved to its current location in 1961 – still a modest (though grassed) nine-hole layout which served what we must assume was a rather small community of avid golfers. This course quietly existed, mostly escaping the notice of the wider golfing world, which is perhaps the way the locals wanted it. This quaint facility might have continued to exist under the radar were it not for a certain Mr Faan Hartzer, a man who clearly had an eye for the potential of the surrounding real estate. Hartzer acquired the golf course, together with the adjoining property (including an 850-hectare game farm) and converted the course into a full 18 holes. Douw van der Merwe, together with Wonder Gardens, was commissioned for the design and construction of the new project, which is quite honestly a magnificent layout. The impression one gets when entering the estate is that it was properly planned, and the thatch theme not only fits perfectly with the bushveld surroundings, but also gives the estate a wonderful African feel. It is clear that investors here, either the residents or those who are fortunate to have their holiday homes on the estate, didn’t skimp on the design and construction of their homes, and there are some truly impressive creations on display. Whoever designed and built these homes certainly knew what they doing, and the thatching is as artful and as neat as can be found anywhere. The course is a most pleasant surprise – a combination of undulating fairways flanked

nylstroom’s change of identity
gCM recently visited the Koro Creek Bushveld Golf estate in Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom) and found a thoroughly charming place that is well worth a visit.

Presently the developer’s lodge is being used as a temporary clubhouse – the opening of the new facility is only months away.

by magnificent indigenous trees and plenty of water. The beauty of the design has much to do with using the water to best effect without adversely affecting the playability of the course. This results in wonderful wetlands and lakes greatly enhancing the aesthetic value of most holes, with the accompanying bird life, without presenting the handicap golfer with unrealistic carries. But nothing worthwhile comes easy, and the new course suffered severe flooding in the early stages of its construction. The Klein Nyl a tributary of the Nyl which the early settlers mistook for the Nile River, wreaked havoc when it burst its banks, and pictures in the clubhouse show the fledgling course thoroughly swamped, with water levels reaching the 100-year flood line. We are told that the possibility of flooding is a thing of the past. Course construction began in 2005, and the 18 holes were completed by August 2006. At present the clubhouse is occupying an attractive lodge which belongs to the developer. This is a temporary arrangement that seems to be sufficient for the club’s present needs, and in fact, even though the bar and

halfway house is a little cramped, the structure oozes character. The new facility, a huge thatched structure, is almost completed and should open early next year, and looks likely to resemble a five-star game lodge. At the time of GCM’s visit to the estate, the golf club was being managed by Pierre Botha, with estate manager Johan Hattingh also assisting with matters relating to the course. Willem Fillies was in charge of course maintenance, but it was thought that the management structure might change as the homeowners were about to take over the management of the club and course. A small mid-week company day was being held at the course the day of our visit and the players were clearly taking advantage of the most reasonable bar prices. “Affordability is very much part of our image,” Pierre Botha tells us. “Bar prices and greenfees are kept to a minimum and in terms of value for money we are hard to beat.” Certainly at R140 per round for affiliated visitors, and R200 for a non-affiliated player this is true, and one might suggest that a course of this quality could possibly demand more.

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December 2008

Golf Club Management

CLuB PROFILE

Gentle shaping and maximum use of the changes in elevation, as well as excellent routing around water features, adds to the enjoyment of this bushveld beauty.

The round begins with a reachable par five (468m) with a perfectly positioned green, inviting the approach with the second shot but with enough trouble around the putting surface to suggest that a lay-up might be the wisest strategy. As the round progresses there are many examples of riskand-reward options, and the par threes are all outstanding. One unusual feature of the layout is the par-three 7th, which is stroke one. (This on both the men’s and women’s card.) Another anomaly is the finishing hole – a relatively generous par five of only 500 metres from the tips which has the highest stroke. At full stretch, measuring 6 790 metres, this is no pussycat, and for championship play there is the possibility for some interesting pin positions. The overriding feeling is that the topography and existing trees were used to best effect, and it must

be said that when this course needs just one more good rainy season it will no doubt be at its best. ■

LOCATIOn 135 kilometres north of Pretoria COuRsE Classic bushveld parkland, 18 holes, 6 790m DEsIGnER Douw van der Merwe COnsTRuCTIOn Wonder Gardens EsTATE 400 stands, modern African theme DEVELOPER Faan Hartzer GREEnFEEs R140 (affiliated visitors) EsTATE MAnAGER Johan Hattingh ACTInG MAnAGER Pierre Botha COnTACT 014 717 1181 WEBsITE www.korocreek.com

FACT FILE

From the left: estate manager Johan hattingh, acting manager Pierre Botha and club professional Christo hattingh.

LEGAL

Damage to property
Legal expert Jock McConnachie of McConnachies Inc looks at the case involving a resident of a golf estate who applied for a court interdict against a golf club.
It has been said that golf would be a boring game if not for the odd mishit. Unfortunately when one mishits, one has no control over the ball – what it hits and what damage it may cause. If the ball hits and damages the property of another, the question of legal liability arises. When is the golfer liable to pay damages to the property owner? This article concentrates on only one aspect of the above, namely nuisance and damage caused to the owner of a property by mishit golf balls on a golf estate. Many modern golf courses are surrounded by residential dwellings and all golfers know that it is inevitable that the odd ball flies offcourse and hits one of the lovely homes lining the course. The owners of residential dwellings on golf estates also know the above, and to an extent, in purchasing a home on a golf course, accept an element of risk. The legal issues involved in this particular situation were examined in great detail in the case of Milnerton Golf Club, where the owner of a residential property on the estate decided that too many mishit golf balls were striking his property and applied to the Cape High Court for an interdict against the club. The Cape High Court rejected the application, finding in favour of the club. The owner took the decision on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where the court reversed the decision of the lower court, finding in favour of the property owner and interdicting the club from using a particular tee until such time as certain changes were made so as to reduce the number of balls likely to hit the owner’s property. Numerous issues of major interest to golfers and golf course managers are discussed in great detail in the two judgments. Some of these issues are highlighted here: The property owner was the applicant in the Cape High Court where he applied for an interdict against the club on the basis that the number of golf balls striking his property constituted a common law nuisance. Judge Traverso of the Cape High Court referred to the issue as a dispute between neighbours and examined the South African law applicable. She pointed out that a dispute between neighbours, in this case the golf club on the one hand and the property owner on the other, invariably involves the question as to whether or not there has been an abuse of a right. The facts of each case must be examined to determine whether the neighbour whose conduct is complained of exceeded his powers of ownership. The issue, she said, must be answered with reference to considerations of reasonableness and fairness. What is reasonable must be assessed objectively and with regard to the circumstances of each particular case. The property owner accepted that by owning a property bordering on the fairway of a golf course his right to free and undisturbed use of his property would be interfered with to some extent. It would be reasonable for the owner to tolerate some ingress of badly-hit golf balls. The owner’s complaint was that the number of golf balls landing on his property and causing damage was excessive. Milnerton Golf Club contended that it had taken reasonable precautions and argued that the property owner had not proved that the conduct of the club constituted a nuisance. The Cape High Court found that the club had not acted wrongfully and that the property owner had failed to show that the club’s conduct was unreasonable in the sense that the number of golf balls exceeded what could reasonably have been expected by the owner, to strike his property. The court also found that the owner had not shown that the damage caused to his property exceeded what could reasonably be expected in the normal course of a property situated on a golf course. The court further found that the club had taken reasonable measures to minimise the risk and, bearing in mind that living next to a golf course entails a real danger to properties being hit by golf balls, the club had not

Living next to a golf course entails a real danger of a resident’s property being hit by golf balls – but clubs are expected to take reasonable measures to minimise this risk.

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Golf Club Management

LEGAL
interfered unreasonably with the rights of the property owner. The property owner took the judgment on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal where Judge Ian Farlam and four other judges disagreed with Judge Traverso, finding that the evidence of the owner established a sufficiently high incidence of badly-aimed golf balls entering the owner’s property to entitle the owner to relief in the form of an interdict. The Appeal Court found that the number of balls was clearly excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances and that what the property owner had to endure was substantially more than what a neighbour is obliged to put up with on the application of the principle of give-and-take, live-and-let-live, which forms the basis of our law on this point. The court also found that there were reasonable steps which the club could take to reduce the number of balls hitting the property and interdicted the club from using the 6th hole until such time as it implements a system of barriers near the tee. In making his finding Judge Farlam referred with approval to the following excerpt from the case of Campbelltown Golf Club vs Winton and Another, which Judge Farlam said reflects precisely what a South African court would have held in closely analogous factual circumstances, and which is a statement as to what might reasonably be expected between a golf course owner and its residential neighbours: “Undoubtedly the respondents bought into a subdivision which bordered a golf course. The benefit to them was that they overlooked a degree of open space at the rear of the premises. If it were not for the problems caused by golf balls coming onto their land, the outlook would have been a pleasant one increasing their enjoyment of the property. “The problem with the appellant’s submission is that it endeavours to relegate houses built on land in the subdivision to an inferior position to that occupied by the golf course. In the appellant’s submission, the golf course was the focal point. If it created a problem for residents, that was something which the residents had to tolerate. That is not the law. “What was required was that the golf course should so adjust its activities as not to interfere unreasonably with the peaceful enjoyment by residents of their land. At the same time, the residents, bordering as they did a golf course, had to accept the fact that the game of golf was going to be played on the land adjoining their properties and that it could be expected that from time to time golf balls might come on to their land. “But what they were not bound to accept was a situation such as was suffered by the respondents in which their property was peppered with golf balls on a daily basis, thus posing a threat, not only to the respondent’s property but also to their physical safety. The golf course was obliged so to construct the hole as to divert balls hit normally away from their property. This could be done by rerouting the direction of the hole or by appropriate screens, whether natural or artificial, or a combination of both as indeed has apparently happened.” Golf course managers and owners of residential properties neighbouring golf courses are advised to take careful note of the principles enunciated by the judges in the above case and to conduct themselves accordingly. ■

OVERTIME

The club manager of a West Coast golf club was complaining that he was working up to 12 hours on some days and wasn’t being paid overtime. He was earning over R14 000 per month. Was his complaint valid? The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that workers may not work: ■ overtime, unless by agreement ■ more than 10 hours overtime a week (a collective agreement of workers may increase this to 15 hours per week for up to two months a year) ■ more than 12 hours on any one day The provisions of the Act exclude: ■ senior managers ■ sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours ■ workers who work less than 24 hours per month ■ workers who earn more than R149 736 per year Employers must pay workers overtime at 1.5 times the normal hourly wage. Alternatively, a worker may agree to receive paid time off or a combination of pay and time off.

On ThE MOVE
Andrew McKenna, former European Tour player and UK PGA qualified professional recently joined Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro as director of golf. He has joined the estate with the primary objective of setting up a world-class training facility for golfers who are serious about improving their game. The vision for the project is to create an internationally recognised academy to help the transition from high-class amateur golfers into high-class professionals. The academy will also cater for the underprivileged local schools and will lead the way in developing golf in Limpopo Province in general. During the development of the estate, the course designer Annika Sorenstam insisted on the inclusion of a state-of-the-art practice area, and it is now Andrew’s duty to make this goal become a reality.

Bill Taylor elected new chairman of CMAsA

■ JAsOn TOTOs has left Durban Country Club to take up the

Pictured at the CMAsA’s annual general meeting where Bill Taylor was elected as chairman. From left to right: harry White, Bill Taylor, sue nortje, Paul Leishman and Darren Dignam. seated: Beryl Acres and Mike Edy. Absent were Ian Leach, Peter hanley, Lloyd Martindale and Ann Robbie.

position of golf director at Pinnacle Point.
■ JOhn BOYCE has been appointed at club manager at

Modderfontein Golf Club.
■ DEREk hIRsOn has moved to Prince’s Grant, and

RAY sTOPFORTh has joined Royal Cape as golf manager.

sERVICE

GCM service Excellence Awards
gCM has received several nominations for its Service Excellence Awards – and after a slow start, the number of golf club employees that have been singled out for special mention has steadily increased, making the judges’ task a lot more difficult.
Although it has been encouraging to receive numerous nominations, we would stress that the sort of individual we are looking for needs to be truly exceptional. Perhaps club managers feel that they have to nominate someone from their club, and some seem to think that the more names they put forward the better the chance they have of winning – which is obviously not the case. Once all the nominations have been received (clubs still have until March 2009), our 5-Star judges will interview each nominee (a process that has already begun) and will also speak to members of the club before making their final decisions. was promoted to managing the driving range. His excellent work saw him being promoted to the position of golf coordinator, responsible for all golf-related functions at this busy club. He now occupies the position of golf manager and has delivered a stellar performance. “Grahame does an excellent job, and we have received numerous compliments regarding the service he delivers,” says Mossel Bay’s CEO Bertus Smit. she is renowned for her fast, friendly service at the halfway house.

PIETER AREnDsE
Food and beverage manager – Atlantic Beach “Pieter joined Atlantic Beach as a waiter, and he consistently showed a willingness and enthusiasm for his work. He has progressed through the ranks and is now our food and beverage manager,” says the club’s GM Amanda Forknall. “He is a reliable, loyal and a valuable member of our team – playing an important role in Atlantic Beach earning 5-Star status.”

sAnE GuMEDE
Pro shop assistant – Cotswold Downs Sane joined Cotswold Downs as a waitress, but her bubbly personality and obvious intelligence saw her promoted to pro shop assistant almost two years ago, and she has excelled in this position. Although knowing very little about golf when she began her new job, she soon got the hang of what was required, and besides being a natural sales person, she is an expert with the club’s GPS system. Her infectious smile and her willingness to help makes her a favourite with members, visitors and her colleagues.

TIMA PEREIRA
Golf day coordinator – Glendower Golf Club “Tima has served Glendower as membership manager, PRO and golf event coordinator for 12 years, and I can only describe her performance as being faultless,” says club general manager Paul Leishman. Glendower hosts an average of two corporate days every week, and Tima consistently goes well beyond the normal call of duty in order to ensure that guests all receive the red-carpet treatment. “Every aspect of these days, from the first enquiry to the last detail on the day is dealt with by Tima in the most professional way,” says Leishman.

kOOs PuTukA
Player’s assistant – Euphoria Golf Estate Koos began playing golf five years ago at the Naboomspruit Golf Club and joined the construction team at Euphoria as a surveyor’s assistant. Once the building of the course had been completed, he helped with the task of planting some 40 000 macadamia trees in Euphoria Orchards. He is now a player’s assistant and the enthusiasm he has shown for his work has earned him his nomination for a Service Excellence Award. He is friendly and knowledgeable and since the opening of the course he has excelled in making every golfer feel welcome. He is currently being trained to assist in the pro shop. ■

MOIRA OLIFAnT
halfway house assistant – Royal Cape Members and visitors to Royal Cape have often praised the service delivered by Moira who is an invaluable member of the food and beverage team. After attending school in Graaff-Reinet, she worked for a food bar in Sea Point. She has worked for Royal Cape for 14 years, receiving on-the-job training, and

GRAhAME GOsLETT
Golf manager – Mossel Bay Grahame began working at Mossel Bay GC as a caddie, and after proving his worth, he

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MAnAGER OF ThE MOnTh

Leopard Creek’s Derek Murdoch
Derek Murdoch is in charge of one of South Africa’s most exclusive and beautiful estates. robin de Kock visited this estate and discovered that while occupying a position that is the envy of many of his colleagues in the industry, it is not all beer and skittles for the man at the helm.
Although born in newcastle, Derek spent most of his boyhood years in Scotland. Since his father was an hotelier, it was a natural progression for him to gravitate towards the hospitality industry, completing his training with the Savoy Group in Paris. A love of the outdoors and of golf drew his attention to an article in Vogue magazine about the developing group of Southern Sun hotels in South Africa. He applied for a position with them and, in 1981, began his long and successful career in the local hotel industry. With an image of wildlife, bushveld and beaches in his mind, it was perhaps a little disconcerting to find that his first posting was as an assistant manager in the Burger’s Park Hotel in Pretoria! Many challenges followed and during the next 17 years he was involved with the group’s flagship hotels in Durban, Cape Town, Sandton and elsewhere, including Pine Lake Resort and Sabi River Sun. This link between hospitality and golf was a natural entrée for him into the fast-growing golf estate industry and, in 1998, he was offered the opportunity by Johann Rupert of managing the relatively new Leopard Creek. Now, some 10 years later, he finds himself as the managing director of one of our most prestigious and beautiful developments in the country. To refer to Leopard Creek as a golf estate is an understatement: with some 10 departmental heads reporting to him, Derek’s function is rather like that of an executive mayor of a small, but affluent, town! Apart from his obvious role in maintaining the standards expected at the golf club and course, which hosts some 17 000 rounds per year, his days are spent ensuring that the residents are looked after in every possible way. Garden maintenance, domestic help, including a butler service and private catering at members’ homes as well as in the estate’s delightful entertainment centre are all part of the job. So too is the all-important aspect of looking after and hosting visitors and members’ guests for what is always an unforgettable day of golf. “Apart from the normal duties associa-

As the man in charge of Leopard Creek, Derek Murdoch may be the envy of many in the industry, but his job entails a lot more than some might think.

ted with running a club, I find myself having to check that the most mundane tasks have been done – so if a maid has forgotten to put toilet rolls in someone’s toilet, for example, or if their stock of Johnnie Walker is a bit low, I have to explain why,” says Derek. “But I must say that dealing with our residents and their guests, mostly captains of commerce and industry, is a pleasure – they come here to relax and have fun on the course, and our team is happy to ensure that their high expectations of service are met.” Since the fire that destroyed the Malelane Sun, Derek has negotiated with various other establishments with regards to offering Leopard Creek’s facilities to their clients. It is not unusual for some of the visitors to the exclusive game lodges bordering the Kruger Park to embark on an early-morning game drive, break the trip with a round of golf, then return to base on a night drive. Derek has seen many changes to the estate during his time, the latest of which is that more and more of the homeowners are

playing most of their golf at Leopard Creek rather than their previous home courses elsewhere. This has resulted in the weekend fields now being more or less full. This should, of course, mean that during the week he could relax a little, but there is always some small matter to attend to, like setting a crocodile or leopard trap or seeing that the flagpole bent by a giraffe is replaced! In an idle moment he can also check on Johann Rupert’s wonderful collection of over 2 000 hickory-shafted clubs and specially made gutta-percha balls that are used once a year or so by the members in a nostalgic celebration of all that is good in life – golf, the African bushveld and service with a capital ‘S’. The casual perusal of Vogue certainly changed Derek’s life, and the golf industry has benefitted. He has played an important role in raising the standards to which other estates aspire, and if others in the industry believe that this is a cushy job where budgets are unlimited, Derek might tell them otherwise. ■

Golf Club Management

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21

TuRFGRAss MAnAGEMEnT

Water, water everywhere
Rick Wakefield explains the basic fundamentals of managing the lifeblood of a golf course – the irrigation system.
Before establishing a turf project, water requirements should be weighed up against the available supply of suitable water. A water test (to check total salt content, mineral content, etc) is initially advised to check suitability for your turf type and soil. For example, cynodon dactylon (common couch or bermuda grass) is highly tolerant, while Kentucky bluegrass (poa pretensis) is very sensitive to water quality. Particularly if treated sewage or ‘grey’ water is used, bear in mind that the quality of this water can vary from day to day, and a careful watch should be kept on the content of this resource. An effective filtration system through natural wetlands will help purify and reduce solids suspended in the water and improve the chemical composition. Borehole capacity, reservoir size, secondary pump requirements, mainline size and maintenance time will obviously all affect your irrigation output. A reliable source of power has become a real challenge in some regions and an emergency back-up system may save the course one day! Estimate your total maximum water requirements during hot, dry weather. One millimetre of irrigation over one-square-metre of turf will need one litre of water. Thus 5mm per day over one hectare of ground (a safe average for your greens and teeing areas) will need 50 000 litres of water (ie 50 cubic metres), but considerably more on the more modern courses. Greens have an understandably high water demand, especially in the summer, in order to compensate for dry spells before the onset of rain. In hotter regions, cynodons generally should be irrigated for up to 30 minutes per day. Your cool-season grasses will need up to four light applications per day. Fairways may require two or more applications per week. Turfgrass watering systems can be completely manual (using a hosepipe or watering can) or fully automated (involving computerised ‘pop-up’ sprinklers). Most golf courses are somewhere between these extremes. The time and labour needed to run a manual system over a large area leaves this option unfeasible. A computerised system, on the other hand, needs a very high initial capital input and well-trained management, along with reliable spares, power and water supplies. A common system involves boreholes pumping most of the day into reservoirs, from where a secondary pump will supply the irrigation requirements during relevant hours. Greens should be irrigated early in the morning. Evening or night irrigation promotes fungal disease due to prolonged dampness. Fairways can be watered at any other time to fit in with your irrigation capacity and traffic on the course. Irrigation is ideally limited to the cooler hours of the day or at night, as evaporation and wind problems usually increase towards midday. Water pressure and sprinkler spacing are very important factors. Test the uniformity occasionally by randomly placing open tins over the green to catch water. Application rates should not exceed infiltration rates – this is a potentially greater problem on finer soils. Your sprinkler system around the greens should be given priority. Four pop-ups will usually cover a medium-sized green (Hunter I31s are simple but reliable). These should

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TuRFGRAss MAnAGEMEnT
be set sufficiently low in the ground to avoid damage from mowers, etc when not in use, and connected to the mainline with a ring line (usually PVC) around the green to increase pressure. Each green should have an independent, leak-proof valve, away from the fairway. A piece of thick PVC pipe set around the pop-up unit, and preferably at a depth below the connection, with the upper rim set at least 10mm above the pop-up (when not in use), but below the cutting level of the turf, will help keep the sprinkler clean, safe and functioning. Grit in the moving ‘works’ will otherwise eventually render the sprinkler beyond repair or guarantee. A routine cleaning and maintenance programme is essential. Establish how many greens your system can supplement at a time, considering the pressure and volume needed. Obviously it is beneficial to run greens off different mainlines simultaneously (if practical) to increase pressure. A well-synchronised system of opening new valves as others are closed to apply the required amount of water will need good planning. Not enough open sprinklers can cause blow-outs on the mainline while too many sprinklers with insufficient pressure will give a very uneven, erratic application of water. Correctly sized and set nozzles are also essential to avoid droplets that are either too heavy or too fine. Heavy droplets will affect your putting surface and give uneven distribution. Very fine droplets in the form of mist are likely to give poor distribution, or may not even land on the green area. The initial placement of sprinklers should aim to attain a correct reach with an even distribution. Avoid placing sprinklers immediately in front of the green but rather on each side so as to minimise inconvenience to players. Some sprinklers are designed to apply only a partial arc, thus avoiding wastage of water. Every green will need individual settings for an ideal application. If part of the arc is applying water to unused or ‘rough’ areas behind the green it can be adjusted to cover only the green turf, thus being more economical in terms of water, time and electricity during dry months. Some bunkers should not be flooded due to drainage problems, while others need water to settle and firm the sand. Ensure the green itself has a sufficient drainage system (be it surface or underground) to avoid puddles after irrigation. Too many greens are irrigated without sufficient consideration to these managerial factors. Where the budget does not facilitate popups on the fairway, a good option is quickrelease risers, easily fitted to water points along the fairway. Whatever the system, it is very beneficial to be able to apply extra water to selected areas if necessary, rather than having to water large areas to rectify a relatively small ‘dry spot’. The most critical area for regular irrigation, after greens and tee-boxes, is the ‘greens surrounds’. In conclusion, a regular maintenance programme and cleaning of sprinklers and reservoirs is recommended. Seek professional advice when planning to establish or change an irrigation system as your static head, pipe size and pressure are just some of the factors which could seriously diminish the efficiency of the system if incorrectly planned. Thereafter, ensure careful monitoring of various situations in order to react appropriately. ■

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Membership Payment
for Golf Clubs
Orbit Golf together with Nedbank Corporate have set up a Membership Payment facility to allow Golf Club Members the option of paying their annual membership fees over 12 months. The benefits of this are: ❖ Better cash flow for the club ❖ Simplified collection of membership fees ❖ Help improve your members cash flow ❖ Attraction of new golfers who are not currently members ❖ Retention of more members ❖ Reduction in the administration & debt collection costs ❖ Financed amounts can include:
■ ■ ■

Monthly

Initial club joining fees Golf Estate levies Green Fees - should the golf club decide to sell them on an annual basis

Should you not wish to use the Nedbank financed facility, Orbit Golf can still collect and administer your monthly membership fees.

For more information: Log onto www.OrbitGolf.co.za or contact Graham McComb on 071 600 8800 or e-mail Graham@OrbitGolf.co.za

ADMInIsTRATIOn

Central Gauteng Golf union
keeping abreast of a changing game
the South African golf Association and the different provincial unions have been accused of generally maintaining too low a profile. Many club mangers and members of committees have queried the value of these ‘governing’ bodies, and apart from collecting affiliation fees, these clubs hear very little from them. It would seem that the gauteng union is determined to change these perceptions, and generally get their act together.
The Central Gauteng Golf union, the most powerful among the governing bodies, has taken a bold step to evaluate its current standing in the regional golf community. Realising that a change of its image was necessary, it was decided to conduct an independent review of its total operation, including its strategies and goals. This is believed to be the first time that any study of this magnitude has ever been undertaken by any golf union. Mr Kevin du Preez, president of the CGGU and the other office-bearers, Mr Errol Mills, vice president, and Mr Marinus Weiss, director of golf, believe that the position of amateur golf is changing and that the union has a responsibility to keep ahead of this change. The office-bearers and executive of the union have been working hard on this process over the past number of months which ultimately led up to a strategic planning workshop held over a weekend in October. Ian Leach, general manager of the newly-opened Euphoria and golf consultant, was approached to facilitate a workshop in order for the officebearers to formulate a plan of action. During the planning process prior to the workshop, seven key focus areas were identified by the union executive. These were: ■ governance ■ talent management ■ event management ■ profile management ■ development ■ transformation ■ history The executive decided to take a high-profile approach to the study fully realising that this would place pressure on them to implement positive change resulting from the research. The brief given to the facilitator was to implement a six-step approach which included: ■ Developing a comprehensive statistical questionnaire, taking the seven goals into study. These are far reaching and will impact strongly on the growth and development of golf in the region. The executive wants to bring this to the attention of all clubs and unions in the country through media coverage and through personal interaction. They firmly believe that by doing so amateur golf in the country will benefit as a whole. Some of the more significant outcomes of the study include: ■ The need to communicate more effectively with all member clubs. ■ The responsibility to proactively manage the status of amateur golf. ■ The need to uphold the standards, traditions and etiquette of golf. ■ Ensuring compliance with the rules of golf along with handicap management controls. ■ To implement an effective golf development strategy. ■ To market and grow the game of golf. ■ To help member clubs with transformation strategies. The CGGU hopes to have all of the general strategies published as it makes progress with the finalisation and implementation of these strategies, so look out for more information in GCM over the coming months. ■
■ For more info contact:

Office-bearers and executive members of the CGGu pictured at Euphoria during their workshop. From the left: kevin du Plessis (president), Marinus Weiss (director of golf), Errol Mills (vice president), howard McLaren, Gordon Dreyer (president of the CGGu Junior Golf Foundation), Peter hains, norman Mashaba (sA Golf Development Board) and Frank Bukes. Absent was Dick van Assen, who did attend the workshop.

account. The questionnaire was sent to all 34 clubs in the union for completion. ■ Conducting interviews with member club captains, presidents and club managers in small groups. ■ Conducting individual interviews with each of the 10 union executives. ■ Compiling all of the information received from the survey into a statistical report for consideration by the executive. ■ Facilitating the two-day workshop taking all of the information received into account. ■ Producing a report covering all the decisions reached for the executive to implement. The outcome of the study has exceeded the expectations of the office-bearers who, together with the executive members, are fully committed to implementing all the challenges and opportunities identified through the

Marinus Weiss – director of golf, Central Gauteng Golf union Phone: 011 485 4251 Cell: 082 559 6119 E-mail: director@cggu.co.za

Golf Club Management

December 2008

25

Over 150 Courses Can’t Be Wrong

For a live demo visiti www.eluminaiberica.com or contact carrie@elumina.co.za or telephone Carrie Teale 0829093118

GOLF DATA – PROFILE

Course design and construction
For the past two decades, golf Data has been at the forefront of course design, construction and maintenance in South Africa. gCM looks at this ‘one-stop shop’ of the golf course business.
Golf Data was formed 20 years ago by Robbie Marshall and Mark Muller, and from a relatively small outfit has grown into a company that has remodelled the South African golfing landscape. After Muller parted ways with Marshall to pursue his own independent enterprise within the industry, Marshall expanded the company which is best known for undertaking the work for Jack Nicklaus’ projects in South Africa, which include the completed Simola, Pecanwood, Pearly Valley and St Francis Links (a co-design between Nicklaus and Golf Data). Two more courses are in the advanced stages of construction – Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate and Houghton Estate. More Nicklaus signature courses are in the planning stages; Jubilee Links in Jeffreys Bay and Meletsi in the Waterberg. But there is a lot more to Golf Data than simply being a design and construction arm for the Nicklaus Group in Southern Africa. The company has undertaken several re-designs and renovations of existing courses and has consistently performed beyond expectations. The secret of its success is largely due to the passion for what it does – and the company can pride itself in attracting and keeping a talented and motivated group of individuals that give nothing less than 100 percent. “I can’t be more adamant about the fact that Golf Data, more than anything, is a people company,” says Marshall. The company can list among its various functions: ■ Advisory services and development facilitation ■ Investment syndication ■ Development investment ■ Comprehensive course design, redesign and consulting ■ Course construction, renovation and restoration ■ Course, commercial and estate landscaping ■ Course irrigation ■ Course and estate maintenance

COMPAnY PROFILE

Besides the Nicklaus signature courses, Golf Data constructed both Ernie Els courses, Oubaai and Gardener Ross, and has revamped a list of courses including Country Club Johannesburg (Woodmead course, and is in the process of upgrading the Woodlands course as well), Killarney, Randpark, Leopard Creek, ERPM, Orkney, Sabi River Bungalows and Wedgewood Golf and Country Estate. Soon to be completed is the highly anticipated modernisation of Glendower. It must be said that the company’s reputation has been built on the highest quality of work. Golf Data has been awarded numerous maintenance contracts, and at each of these courses it is clear that the company has refused to compromise the standards for which it is known.

Golf Data’s work with Jack nicklaus at simola is simply breathtaking.

Golf Club Management

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GOLF DATA – PROFILE

sEAn QuInn

sean Quinn and Jack nicklaus. nicklaus has given Quinn’s work a big vote of confidence.

Sean Quinn is the son of golf professional Kevin, and during a relatively short space of time he has become a highly regarded course designer. His background in course construction has been critical to his success, and he can never be accused (like some architects) of coming up with wonderful ideas that are almost impossible to implement. His work plainly suggests that he has a deep understanding of the game and a keen eye for what constitutes sound course architecture. After joining Golf Data in 1992, Quinn worked as the construction superintendent on various projects in the Cape and the Highveld. He was involved with the Simola project since the beginning, and then moved to Pecanwood as the unofficial design coordinator for Nicklaus Design’s Greg Letsche. He also played an important role in the construction of Sparrebosch (later Pezula) and Pearl Valley. When Letsche left Nicklaus Design to join Ernie Els, Quinn was elevated to the position of design associate for Jack Nicklaus in Southern Africa – a resounding vote of confidence from the great man and just reward for the excellent work he has done. Sean lives in Knysna with his wife and two children.

The company can have more than 300 employees involved in various projects at any given time, but the key individuals that make up the Golf Data team are: ■ Robbie Marshall: chairman

■ Bernhard Mostert: CEO ■ Roger Seymour: financial director ■ Buks Zeeman: director, engineering

■ Gary Waage: director, construction ■ Matthew Johnstone: director, maintenance ■ Geoff Hindle: director of development ■ Mark Hair: MD, maintenance,

services ■ Sean Quinn: design principle

Western Cape

st Francis Links, a true links experience, will thrill the purist.

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Golf Club Management

BIRDIEs & BOGEYs REVAMP FOR hIsTORIC

EshOWE hILLs

Master status for
The Professional Golfers Association has awarded five of their long-standing members Master Professional status. The recipients are: Dale Hayes, Denis Hutchinson, Gavan Levenson, Cobie Legrange and Dennis Bruyns. The association has for the first time introduced Accreditation of Prior Achievement and Learning, which will classify every full member. Time spent in the profession, commitment to and participation in the Continuous Development Programme is considered, as well as the member’s contribution to the game through their playing career, their teaching credentials and contributions to the game through media or other fields. Every qualified PGA professional is given ‘A’ status on completion of their apprenticeships, and after serving for three years they become eligible for ‘AA’ status. The first of the advanced qualifications is ‘AAA’ classification, which is reserved for members that have been in the profession for more than five years and who have completed other criteria such as attending various seminars, have a noteworthy playing record and have been recognised by the golf industry and their peers for their high level of knowledge and skill. The higher categories continue through the

Eshowe Hills Eco-Estate recently announced a multi-million-rand upgrade of their 18-hole Bob Grimsdell-designed golf course. The revamp will be undertaken by old Natal boy and former European Masters champion, Jeff Hawkes. Work started on 1 November and the front nine is due to be completed by March 2009. The upgrade will involve a modernisation of the layout, reshaping some of the fairways, all the greens and the construction of new and enlarged teeing areas. Hawkes (left), who is back in South Africa after spending 14 years in the UK, is upbeat about his first full design venture in South Africa. “I cannot believe what a wonderful opportunity this is,” he said. “Bob Grimsdell was not only a prolific designer, but also an amazingly talented one and I feel honoured to have been given the chance to modernise this delightful golf course”. “The difficulty will lie in deciding what not to change, since everyone involved in the project has agreed that we cannot afford to lose the ‘feel’ of the course,” says Hawkes. “Too many courses are altered or designed from scratch, with the aim of becoming so-called championship courses, although very few of them will ever host a championship, and they simply become too tough for the average golfer to enjoy.” The aim at Eshowe Hills is to provide a golf course that can be kept in immaculate condition year-round and will provide golfers with a challenge and an enjoyable round of golf. The course, which recently celebrated its centenary, also boasts a magnificent old clubhouse, a tree-top boardwalk and both squash and tennis courts. Its elevation of almost 500m above sea level means that it is cooler than the KZN coastal areas and it should also benefit from the recent announcement that Dubai-based Ruwaad Holdings is planning a R44-billion development along the Zululand coast.

PGA’s ‘big five’
‘Fellow Professional’, the ‘Advanced Fellow Professional’ and finally the highest classification, ‘Master Professional’. “Only exceptional individuals are awarded the ‘Master’ classification,” says PGA spokesman Duncan Cruickshank. “This is the very pinnacle of the PGA’s pyramid, and factors such as leadership qualities and special contributions to the PGA and the game of golf is taken into consideration.” Each member is required to self-motivate their classification, with supporting documentation from peers and employers as well as club members and colleagues. A committee made up of board members will then make the final decision regarding classification. This is an ongoing process that will be reassessed every two years. “The idea is to motivate each member of the PGA to continue to improve and keep abreast of developments within the golf industry so as to be able to deliver the highest levels of skills, knowledge and service at all times,” says Cruickshank. No-one can argue that the first five recipients of ‘Master’ status do not deserve this accolade from their association. Each has made a considerable contribution to game, and continue to be role models for the new generation of club professionals.

Gavan Levenson

Dennis Bruyns

Cobie Legrange

Denis hutchinson

Dale hayes

uPDATInG OuR MAILInG LIsT
We endeavour to get a copy of GCM to everyone involved in golf club management. Every club manager, course superintendent, director of golf, club professional, club captain and chairman of greens committees should receive a copy of this publication, so if you know of someone who is not on our mailing list, please forward their details to bogeyfree@mweb.co.za.

ThE GRAnD sLAM – A MusT READ
The latest offering from author Mark Frost The Grand Slam is definitely worth reading. Frost, who wrote The Greatest Game Ever Played, which was adapted for film, chronicles the life of Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur golfer of all time. This entertaining biography is a must for every student of the game, and traces Jones’ astonishing career.

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ThE LAsT WORD

how difficult can this job be?
Club managers, directors of golf and committee members are invited to blow off a little steam – our first contribution is from peter Miller, the man who runs Cotswold Downs.
When John Botha recently suggested that I should write something for GCM, I reluctantly agreed, but then realised that I was actually terrified with the idea of making a contribution to Golf Club Management. This is, after all, a very serious publication! It’s all about disaster management, fraud risk, negligence, stressful times and earthworm farming! Now that’s serious! Recently GCM told us that “service is everything,” and followed by asking, “Are your pregnant employees safe?” Then came “employees’ protection” – perhaps an afterthought. Was it a little late? With complete respect to the authors of the above and the fact that the golf industry is indeed a very serious business (contributing vast amounts of money to the economy and creating thousands of jobs), golfers are constantly looking for new courses – longer and more impossible to play, and golf course designers are enthusiastically responding. The golf business is hard work (although your committee may argue to the contrary) and, for the most part, it’s all about long hours and doing all the good stuff that we read about in GCM. And let us not forget that we are paid to do a job that is the envy of every golfer. Many believe that we do nothing but play golf all day. Many also believe that the purchase of a second-hand Pro V1 ball gives him or her the knowledge to be a greenkeeper, restaurateur, golf director/professional or GM of the club he or she visits for the first time. Listen closely and you may be lucky enough to get free advice on caddie training, bunker maintenance, outsourcing, turfgrass selection and, if you are really fortunate, how to bake the perfect pie at your halfway house. None of the suggestions should be ignored as they are given with authority from someone who has spent an hour or two searching for golf’s Holy Grail at the bottom of the used ball bin. Strangely, the same golfer, who is now qualified in all of the above disciplines, has the inane ability to conjure up questions that can only be answered by Nostradamus, for example: “I will be in Cape Town on Friday and playing at Arabella. They tell me the course is quite difficult and the greens are quite fast. What is the secret to scoring well here, and do think it will rain there?” These questions should be easy for you to answer even if you are in Johannesburg and it happens to be Tuesday. Then there is the chap who always seems to pitch up at the charity golf day: “I am taking the place of a golfer that was meant to play here today, I don’t know his name, but can you tell me what time he was supposed to tee off?” So there you are! Forget about setting standards, discrimination in the work place, financial management theory or preparing for spring treatments – just get yourself an NGN handicap card and acquire all the skills needed by a golf club manager overnight! ■

new man at the head of sA amateur golf
the new president of the SAgA promises to be more than a mere figurehead, and it is clear that he is taking his job as the man in charge of the amateur game rather seriously.
Enver Hassen is an astute and articulate man who clearly feels strongly about the role that golf’s governing body needs to play in the promotion of the game. “Two years is not that long a time period, but hopefully I can play a meaningful role in the association achieving its goals in the foreseeable future,” he says. Hassen takes over from Neale Kunhardt, having paid his dues in administration of not only golf, but also of cricket. Coming from Standerton in Mpumalanga, golf was certainly not an option for the young Hassen, but it was only after he had moved to Cape Town and his cricketing career had come to an end that he took up the game. Having gained the experience of serving on committees administering the cricket union, he was well qualified to become involved with golf’s governing bodies, and after an extended spell on the Western Province Union’s commitThe new sAGA president Enver hassen is determined to change the image of the sAGA. facilitator in this regard,” he says. It has long been recognised that the game needs more facilities, be they mashie or nine-hole courses, where new golfers can be introduced to the game. Hassen hopes to see these easily accessible facilities initially being introduced in the major centres. In the past, a criticism of golf administrators has been that the gentlemen in the green jackets have kept a rather low profile, and very little change has been seen in the way the amateur bodies operate. Enver Hassen seems determined to change the image of SAGA, and the man who admits to being a bit of a radical is not afraid to ruffle a few feathers. Development, the ever-problematic handicapping system and the general promotion of golf is just some of the areas that will need attention, and we wish the new president the best of luck in his endeavours. ■

tee, he accepted the role of president. “As vice-president during Brian Lefson’s tenure, I asked him to stay on for another term so I could gain more experience,” he says. It must be said that the Western Province Union has made great strides in creating a meaningful development programme, something Hassen is determined to expand throughout the nation. “We obviously need government to buy into what we are trying to achieve, and I see my role as one of being a

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