September 2008

Port Shepstone Golf Club
A lesson in dealing with disaster
Also in this issue • Closing indemnity loopholes • Service: attitude is everything • Chemical applications • Spring treatment • Employees’ protection • Elumina’s ProLink GPS • CMASA: learning through education • PowerPlay Golf: the game’s answer to Twenty20 cricket
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CONTENTS LEad STOry Port Shepstone’s floods triumph over adversity LEgaL ISSuES Closing indemnity loopholes CuSTOmEr SErvICE Attitude is everything rEadEr’S QuESTIONS TurfgraSS maNagEmENT Chemical application ENvIrONmENTaL awarENESS Wetland implementation TurfgraSS maNagEmENT Spring treatment TEChNOLOgy Elumina’s ProLink GPS maNagEmENT Learning through education hr LEgaL Protecting the health of employees BIrdIES aNd BOgEyS Snippets Pga PowerPlay Golf set to revolutionise the game Cover picture: The 13th hole at Port Shepstone GC

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Port Shepstone


Dealing with disaster


The 18th hole – this photo was taken after the water had subsided!

■ Editorial John Botha email: cell: 082 498 7380 ■ advErtisinG Simon turck (PUBLISHER) email: cell: 083 252 8387 ■ advErtisinG tYron martin (ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE) email: cell: 083 235 7509 ■ advErtisinG JameS FerranS (NATIoNAL SALES MANAGER) email: cell: 084 252 6373 ■ sUBsCriBE to GCM ContaCt natalie Shekleton tel: 011 301 4448 email:
to request your complimentary subscription to GCM, simply sMs ‘GCM and your name’ to 35172 (sMs costs r3) or contact natalie shekleton on 011 301 4448.

After suffering flooding of monumental proportions in June, Port Shepstone Golf Club’s course was not only soon up and running, but actually benefited from the unfortunate natural disaster, writes John Botha.
Port Shepstone’s course superintendent Rob Ainslie is clearly a man with a sense of humour. He had been enjoying some wellearned leave and had only just returned home for the sardine run when he was woken at 05:00am with the news that his course was under water. Although he makes light of it now, the sight that greeted him on that fateful morning would have been enough to drive most greenkeepers to tears, and lesser men might have made all haste to higher ground and never returned. But Ainslie is made of stern stuff and, after the torrent had subsided, he and his team tackled the problem head on. With the help of an additional 25 workers, he set about the task of cleaning up tons of mud. That nine holes were playable after a week, and all 18 holes open after a fortnight is nothing short of a miracle. “I was wading about in the flood water just imagining what sort of damage had been done a day after the course had been swamped, but as soon as we could we climbed in with brooms, shovels and anything else we could find to remove the huge amounts of silt,” says Ainslie. “Our chairman John Beekman was obviously very concerned – we had four floods last year and he envisioned our course being closed for a while – something our club can ill-afford.” This was not the first time that the Port Shepstone course has been inundated with water, but the torrential rain coupled with spring tides brought the Umzimkulu River down with a vengeance, and with it acres of silt that buried the course. “I was seriously concerned by the dangers of Poa and other infestations that might have resulted from all that water on our greens,” says Ainslie, who used his tractor that has a front-end Continued on page 5
Golf Club Management September 2008 3

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The clubhouse – by the time this photo was taken the water level had dropped by a metre! The 9th hole, looking more suited to the sport of water-skiing than golf. Continued from page 3 loader to remove the piles of silt that had been gathered up. After the big clean-up had been completed, Ainslie was soon seeing the benefits of the nutrient-rich mud that was unceremoniously dumped on his course. “It’s amazing how soon we saw the benefit of the silt – I broke up the hardened mud and have been applying it to the fairways, and the new growth has been amazing,” says the man who justifiably considers himself to be a ‘flood expert’. Ironically, soon after the floods he wished that some rain would fall to settle in his new topdressing. Port Shepstone’s manager Carrie Pieterse tells us that the club lost a considerable amount of rounds while the course was being repaired, but she realises that the situation could have been a lot worse. “We did have a few corporate days that were cancelled, but the guys did a great job on the course and we wasted no time in getting back to business,” she says. The biggest problem for the club has been the perception in the golf market that the course would be out of commission for an extended period, but visitors to the club have been amazed to see just how quickly the damaged was repaired. Port Shepstone has long been one of the most popular holiday courses on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, and its regular devotees will be happy to discover that the layout, thanks to a rather unconventional application of organic topdressing, is now better than ever. Should anyone require advice on dealing with serious flooding, Rob Ainslie is the man to talk to. ●
Golf Club Management September 2008 5

After the water had finally receded, the task of removing tons of silt began.

The 18th hole less than two weeks after the disaster – an amazing feat by Rob Ainslie and his team.

Indemnity loopholes
If you think that your club is legally covered once your members and visitors have signed indemnity forms, you had better think again. Jock McConnachie of McConnachies Inc identifies some pitfalls to be avoided when wording your club’s indemnity form.
Many institutions, including golf clubs, seek to limit their potential liability for damages claims which may arise while people are making use of their facilities. The mechanism employed in the case of many golf clubs is to require members and visitors to sign an indemnity form. These indemnity forms differ in content, but a common mistake is to make the terms as wide ranging as possible. This is an attempt to cover every conceivable type of incident, cause of action and form of damages. A well-known case, which arose after a Gauteng golfer died as a result of being struck by lightning while on a golf course, highlights some key issues regarding indemnities. In this case, the golfer’s dependants claimed damages alleging that the golf club had been negligent. It was alleged that the lightning shelter used by the golfer had been inadequate, resulting in his being struck and dying due to the injuries sustained. The lower court found that the club had been negligent and the club made a special plea to the Court of Appeal relying on the indemnity signed by the deceased member and his wife. The indemnity in question read as follows: “ DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF PROPERTY AND INJURY TO PERSONS.” (b) The club shall in no circumstances whatsoever be liable for any loss of or damage to the property of any member or guests brought onto the premises of the club whether occasioned by theft or otherwise, nor shall the club be held responsible or in any way liable for personal injury or harm however caused to members or their children or their guests on the club premises and/or grounds.” In dismissing the club’s appeal on the grounds that the indemnity did not cover a dependant’s claim arising from death, the court made the following key points: 1. If the club sought to exclude liability, which would normally arise in common law, then it is up to the club to ensure that the extent to which the club is to be absolved is plainly set out;


The jury is in
Clubs tend to ignore legal issues until they rear their heads – and unless prepared, the consequences can be dire – and expensive. In the forthcoming issues, GCM will be dealing with questions such as: • If someone on the course is struck with a golf ball, who, if anyone, is liable? • If someone outside the course suffers damages from a ball originating from the course, can the club or the striker of the ball be held liable? • Can a player be sued for the nonpayment of a bet? (Believe it or not, there are legal precedents for this question in South African law.) • How should the management and committee best deal with cheating? • In the tussle between a golf club’s constitution and the individual’s constitutional rights, who wins? These and other prickly issues will be dealt with by our learned friends, and if you have any questions, real or hypothetical, please send them to

2. It was not possible for the deceased to exempt the club from a dependant’s claim as one cannot waive the autonomous claims of dependants. 3. As the deceased’s wife had also signed the indemnity, the court still had to decide whether or not the indemnity exempted the club. 4. The court found that the wording of the clause did not show a clear intention to absolve the club from a dependant’s claim for damages arising from the death of a member caused by the club’s negligence, the reason being that the words “personal harm” do not cover a dependant’s claim. 5. If the member had survived, the clause would have prevented him from claiming personal injuries. 6. If the club had intended members not to be able to hold the club liable for damages, the clause should have stated simply that “No member shall have any claim for damages against the club”. A final interesting point is that the court also raised the question as to whether or not we should, due to the radical nature of the exclusion of liability for damages causing the death of another, have legislation making such exemptions unlawful, as is the case in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The moral of the story is to give careful consideration as to exactly what liability one seeks to exempt, and then to ensure that such intention is made clear in simple terms rather than sweeping generalisations. For more information on indemnity or other legal matters, contact Jock McConnachie at or on 021 461 0111.

Golf Club Management

September 2008


Attitude is everything
It’s easy to train a waiter, barman or receptionist how to do the mechanics of their jobs, so why are service standards in South Africa generally so low? Andrew Wilson, of GCM, believes that it is mainly in the mind.
Nothing annoys me more than poor service. We’ve all experienced it, and in some cases we have made a fuss. In many other cases we’ve just shrugged and put it down to lack of service ethic in the country. On rare occasions, however, we have all received outstanding service and, heck, we remember it. Even when everything else has been below par, if we’ve received excellent service, we become far more forgiving. So why is it that in South Africa our service standards are generally so poor? I believe that attitude accounts for 95 percent of the problem. Now before you managers rush off and start pointing fingers at your staff, accusing them of poor attitude, let’s first have a look at management. As a sweeping generalisation and using the Parito principle which states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes, the responsibility for excellent service rests 80 percent with management and 20 percent with the employee. Here are a couple of thoughts to ponder: 1. When hiring staff, how much time do you spend during the interviewing stage checking out the applicant’s belief systems? Why are they interested in becoming a waiter? What have they done in the past to indicate that they enjoy serving others? 2. What are your main aims when hiring front-of-house staff? Very often the two most important criteria are that they are presentable and willing to work odd hours for next to nothing. As they say, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Whether a person can perform an excellent role in a service industry is down to two fundamentals: willingness and ability. It is relatively easy to train a person in the technical skills of a service industry
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(ability). It is far more difficult to develop a positive service ethic (willingness). This is why poor service standards very rarely are the result of poor training, they are far more likely to be the result of poor recruitment. OK. So now that we’ve had a go at management, let’s have a look at the employee, especially with regard to their ‘willingness’. During the recruitment and interviewing phases, management should be looking for three main characteristics: 1. Confidence. Any person interacting with the general public is going to have to deal with all types of beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. If they are not confident they are likely to become submissive and ineffectual, or worse still, aggressive and confrontational. Look for candidates who are well prepared, presentable, at ease in an interview situation and are comfortable with looking you in the eye.

2. Warmth. Along with confidence you are looking for warmth. If you mix confidence with hostility you are likely to end up with arrogance. If you mix it with warmth, you are likely to end up with someone who others relate to easily. Look for candidates that are prepared to be self-critical, have an open smile, a firm hand-shake and a broad range of interests. 3. Interested in others. Add interest in others into the mix and you end up with someone who really is an ideal candidate for the service industry. Look for candidates who are more interested in the requirements of the job you are offering rather than just securing employment for themselves. Avoid candidates who use the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ too often. It could be an indication that they are more interested in themselves than in your members and visitors.

As part of Compleat Golfer’s 5-Star Golf Experience Awards, we are looking for nominations for our Individual Service Excellence Awards. Out panellists are forever on the lookout for exceptional service in any department, but we are calling on the management and committees of clubs to help us in identifying those individuals that simply deserve a pat on the back. The individual we are looking for could be a waiter/waitress, barman/barlady, lockerroom attendant, caddie master (or caddie) or, in fact, any golf club employee that deserves recognition for their dedication to duty – and who epitomises the ethos of service excellence. After receiving the nominations, a member of Compleat Golfer’s 5-Star rating panel will interview the nominees, after which the final selections will be made. Winners will receive framed certificates and cash prizes, and a special plaque will be presented to the winner’s club in recognition of the employees’ achievement. Please send nominations to:

Service Excellence Awards – We need your nominations

Selection interviewing is a very inexact science, but if you focus on the above three characteristics, you are likely to be 80 percent of the way towards recruiting the right type of person to interact with your members and visitors. Once you have recruited the person, you then need to focus on two areas to ensure that the person is ‘able’ to deliver excellent customer service: 1. Induction. How often are people just thrown into the job on their first day and told to work with so-and-so until they have got the hang of it? Make sure the new recruit learns about the ethics of the club. They should meet all the key people in management and those they will be coming into contact with during their daily routines. Take the time to make sure that new recruits know what is expected of them in terms of priorities, policies and procedures. 2. Training. This is the skills component and is probably the easiest component to get right. Break the job down in to bite-sized chunks and never spend more than 15 minutes at a time training someone in a new procedure. That is about as long as a person can concentrate. Training is a five-stage process: • Explain what you are going to train the person to do and explain why it is important to acquire the new skill. • Demonstrate by showing the person how to carry out the task. Most people learn more easily by seeing rather than reading or being told verbally. • Practice. Allow the person to try the new procedure for themselves under supervision. • Correct any mistakes or deviations from standard procedures. Then allow them to re-try until they have mastered the new procedure. • Follow up a while later to ensure that the person hasn’t developed some ‘bad habits’, short-cuts or just simply forgotten what they were taught. Finally, don’t forget the power of recognition and reward. Everyone likes to be part of a winning team. If you really are serious about recruiting the right people with the right characteristics for a service industry, then be prepared to pay them well relative to the market worth for the job. Once you have got the pay levels right concentrate on treating the person as an important individual who is contributing to the overall team performance. Applaud excellence, develop skills where they are lacking, show interest, care and concern where it is appropriate, and never accept second best. For more information on human resource issues contact Andrew Wilson at or on 082 575 3861.

Golf Club Management

September 2008



Chemical application
In part three of his turf management series, Rich Wakeman looks at chemical applications, and stresses the importance of timing, dosage and applying the correct product.
An essential component of turfgrass quality is uniformity. Different grasses and weeds will vary in leaf width, colour and growth habits. Diseased turf will lose uniformity, thus promoting the need for effective control of fungal problems and nematodes. While Cynodons are prone to fungal attack, kikuyu is more resistant. Certain insects can also be very detrimental to turf. Chemicals are used to minimise these problems. The standard rule applies: at the appropriate time, use the most appropriate chemical at the lowest possible rate needed to effectively prevent or correct the problem. Herbicides: Weed control by cultivation is often impractical on turfgrass. An obvious tool used to combat weeds is a healthy cover of turf. However, the required close cutting of greens and other areas often promotes the weed population. Poor turf cover, or worse still, bare patches, will quickly result in a weed problem. Herbicides are the main tool used against weeds in turf. A weed is simply any plant growing where it is not wanted. Weeds not only effect turf uniformity, but also compete for light, moisture, nutrients, etc. Annual weeds reproduce through seeds, while perennial weeds survive more through rhizomes, stolons, bulbs and tubers. Dormancy permits various weeds to survive through unfavourable growing conditions, until germination is activated with suitable conditions (eg moisture). The disturbance of soils (eg the establishment of a new green) promotes weed germination. This is the best time to control weeds – either just before or soon after emergence. Most weeds thrive in our summer, but some prefer our cooler winter conditions. Poa Annua, for example, thrives in cool, damp conditions. Winter irrigation, common on golf courses, promotes an ideal environment for this problem weed on many greens. The window period in most areas to control Poa Annua is late March to early April just as the cooler autumn conditions promote germination. Most herbicides are ‘selective’ and effective either before or after germination of the weed. A pre-emergent herbicide works in the soil through contact with the seed, roots or shoot. Kerb, one of the few known treatments for Poa Annua in warm season turf varieties, is best applied just before germination of the weed, although higher application rates can be effective soon after germination. A postemergent herbicide usually needs contact with the plant above ground and generally early treatment of a young, thriving target is most effective. Selective herbicides are also specifically effective on grasses, broadleaf weeds, sedges, or a combination thereof. It is much easier to eliminate a broadleaf weed problem in your turf than a grass problem, as your turf is itself a grass. Poa Annua, a grass weed on a grass green has few options for safe chemical control in warm season varieties (eg Cynodons), and almost none in cool season Blue grass or bent grass greens (trials on growth retardants are ongoing). There are usually numerous herbicides, though, for controlling a broadleaf weed problem on your fairways, as the problem weed is a different variety to the turf. Non-selective herbicides, such as Round-up (Glyphosate or Pyrinex) will destroy any plant it contacts, so must be used appropriately, eg by removing the present turf and weeds from a green before replanting. However, being a contact herbicide (ie post-emergent) it does not control un-germinated seeds. Thus heavy irrigation is often done a couple of weeks earlier to promote weed germination before application of this herbicide. Unlike Roundup, some herbicides have a long lasting residual effect in the soil. The effectiveness of pre-emergent herbicides depends on many factors, including soil type, soil temperature, pH, depth of soil, moisture content, permeability, depth of seed etc. Post-emergent herbicides do better on virulent, growing plants under various conditions and temperatures. Always read labels carefully to establish the need for a wetter, control of water pH, application methods and timing etc. In summary, some commonly used herbicides on sports turf are: Basagran for watergrass (yellow nutsedge) and annual broadleaf weeds. Ronstar for Oxalis (Sorrell) MCPA for broadleaf weeds 2,4DAmine for broadleaf weeds U 46 Combi combination of the above two Kerb for Poa Annua There are many more options. Read labels for application rates, or contact an agronomist. Fungicides: By growing one plant over a large area we create an environment vulnerable to specific diseases. Disease can be the result of a pathogen (eg fungus), a host or simply the environment. Cultural practices such as very early morning irrigation, running a sack across the dew-covered green to break up mycelium, removal of thatch, removal of clippings, holotining and healthy nutrient input all help minimise disease. Brown Patch, for example, has been said to be more common in a ‘high nitrogen’ soil, but in reality it is more a result of poor nutrient balance, eg a phosphate or potassium deficiency. Calcium and Iron are also important trace elements to help minimise fungal problems. Fungal diseases in turf can usually be easily controlled. Fairy Ring, not a disease in itself, is caused by various fungi and is not so easily controlled. (Aeration or replacement of infected soil, extra water application and treatment with Captan has been recommended.) The application of a general preventative fungicide in hot, wet conditions is important, though often not necessary in cooler regions. A corrective fungicide (in the event of a fungal outbreak) needs higher application rates.
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Wetland implementation
One of South Africa’s most respected turf superintendents, Warwick Fynn, who has relocated to Canada, explains how he and the team at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington went about implementing their wetland programme.
Many greenkeepers and course managers find water quality management one of the most challenging aspects of their jobs. Success in managing water sources for golf, wildlife, aesthetics, irrigation and overall water quality depends on having a basic understanding of factors influencing water quality and on adopting best management practices (BMPs). As members of the Audubon Signature, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club had a special advantage in working with Audubon International and WSP that helped us build in systems that would protect water quality from the start. One approach to protecting water quality in our dams and ponds was the integration of man made wetlands. The route that we took in terms of creating wetlands on the courses was to develop an implementation strategy with the help of a professional environmental consultancy firm (WSP Environmental). The idea of this strategy was to: 1. Identify feasible zones What to look for? • Ponds or dams with very little vegetative life. • Low flow ponds where stagnant water lies. • Swales which lead to dams and are more often that not waterlogged. • Unsightly gullies where water often stands. • Drainage that exits into rough which becomes difficult to mow in the rainy season. 2. Have a strategy plan for each zone Let us look at a strategy for ponds and dams with very little vegetative life. • Many of the dams around our courses often look lifeless. One way of putting
12 September 2008 Golf Club Management


life back into these ponds or dams is to create shallow bays on the edge but not in direct flow zones. These bays then act as a detention basin, temporarily storing and slowing the movement of the runoff which therefore promotes the settling of solids and attached pollutants. The vegetation planted in these bays then takes up and filters dissolved nutrients, as well as turning a lifeless pond into a feature with abundant life. 3. Presenting a strategy to the environmental committee / greens committee How do I sell this concept? • It’s actually pretty simple. If you will be creating something more aesthetically pleasing to the members eyes, drawing in an abundance of bird life, giving the course better quality water to be irrigated with, and if all of this could be done at a relatively low price, who could say no? 4. Discuss priority zones on site Determining a priority zone? • One way to determine these zones is to determine what is going to be most

cost-effective, yet most beneficial, to the course. A very easy way to start is with on-stream ponds and to encourage as many water plants to grow around their perimeters and on silt banks. 5. Identifying the correct vegetation for the existing soil types Who do I get to identify the soils and plants? • If you are dealing with an environmental management firm, it would provide someone with the necessary skills or you could approach a university for a possible honours student who would like to earn a little extra cash. This is also a very important part of the strategy as this person will also be identifying invader species which need to be removed and will help you to identify the correct plants for the existing soil types. 6. Decide on implementation start date and end dates When do you start? • Check with the professionals when would be the best time to start. From our expe-

Various indigenous plants were chosen for this project. The plants that best handle wet feet were placed in and around the water’s edge with grasses and sedges around the perimeter.


The area has been declared an environmentally friendly zone and access by golfers is strictly forbidden. rience the beginning of the growing season is very suitable. Remember, the sooner you start the sooner your members will be able to enjoy the face-lift you’ve made to the water features and river system. Construction of a wetland This area (pictured bottom left) was identified as a rough area where a drains surfaced and always seemed to be waterlogged. The start of the first pond is where the drainage pipe ended, and another two ponds were created at 400mm intervals where the water then overflowed into a large pond. The intention of the ponds was to have more standing water for water-loving plants to grow. Various indigenous plants were selected for this project. The plants that can handle wet feet were placed in and around the water edge with sedges around the drier perimeter. The picture above shows the same feature one growing season later and, as you can see, the plants are all thriving with a beautifully aesthetically pleasing feel. Lessons learnt In the initial stages of a newly constructed wetland, the grow-in of your vegetation is very important as the faster you can establish your plants to dominate the area, the less likely unwanted weeds can encroach. Having a dedicated person who is trained in the maintenance of wetlands can only do wonders for their success. Once the wetland basins have established themselves you will find that preliminary water monitoring results will indicate that water quality is good and that your wetlands are functioning effectively. Wetlands can also have the added benefit of providing habitat and feeding areas for wading birds and other wildlife. With an accurate wildlife monitoring programme results would definitely indicate a substantial increase in the variety of bird species on the property. Preserving wetlands sometimes involves more than just protecting the land that is wet. For wetlands to be most beneficial, they have to be connected to other habitats so that a variety of creatures can creep, slither, walk and fly safely to them from neighbouring habitats. Wetlands are not only relied upon by wildlife species that live in the water, but are also vital to species that use them to meet some of their needs, such as feeding, drinking or breeding. Thus, for most animals, wetlands and uplands must be connected for both habitats to serve the year-round needs of wildlife. ●

Spring treatment
Over the past growing season, a thatch layer would have built up and the soils will have become quite compacted due to excessive wear from golfers and machinery, including golf carts. Compaction A compacted soil has a detrimental effect on roots by causing anaerobic conditions which effects their growth. It is therefore important that during a spring treatment as much effort as possible is put into de-compacting all playing surfaces. This can be achieved by the use of various types of de-compacting machines. This process is unfortunately very disruptive to golfers, so it is important that they understand the need for this process. Thatch layer The build up of a thatch layer will hamper the movement of moisture into the soil during dry and wet conditions. During dry conditions, a thatch layer will prevent water movement into the dry areas, and during wet weather the thatch layer acts as a sponge causing problems such as algae buildup. The cultural processes which control thatch build up and compaction are carried out during the spring treatment. Scarifying or vertical mowing Regular verticutting should be carried out in order to prevent a thatch layer from building up. A more aggressive verticutting will need to be done during the spring treatment. It is important that the weather conditions are not too hot because a severe verticutting or scarifying will put the turf stand under severe stress. That is why it is done in the spring before temperatures rise. Quite often there is a tendency not to take enough thatch off. Hollowtining Along with scarifying, hollowtining is also a spring treatment process which helps remove


The reason we carry out spring treatments is to try to provide the turf with the ideal growing conditions for the coming summer months, explains Turftek’s Murray Veitch.

Verti-draining is important to relieve compaction and to combat anaerobic conditions. The more clubs are able to educate members as to why certain work is done, the less likely they are to complain of less-than-perfect playing conditions during spring treatment. large amounts of thatch from a greens surface. Other reasons for hollowtining are to relieve compaction and to improve drainage. Soil air exchange is also vastly improved by the removal of cores. The more often you hollowtine, the greater amount of thatch will be removed. Fairways and tee-boxes should also be hollowtined or aerated to help relieve compaction and improve moisture penetration. Topdressing Once the hollowtining has been done, topdressing should take place in order to fill in all hollowtine holes and to create a smooth surface. Future regular light topdressings will help control thatch buildup. Fertilising Once all other cultural process have been carried out a base fertiliser should be put down. The type of fertiliser used and the amount should be determined by having a soil analysis done. An effective spring treatment process is vital to the health of the turf sand for the coming growing season. It is therefore important that the greens staff be given all the time they need to carry out all there spring treatment functions. ●

Just an idea…

During spring treatment and other operations that golfers may deem to be designed only to inconvenience them, it might be a good idea to place a brief explanation on the notice board. By explaining why certain work is being carried out (with an estimate how long it will take before conditions are again perfect) we can hopefully educate our members and guests, and at least show them that we are not doing the work merely to keep the staff busy. Most will appreciate this gesture, if only to be able to explain to their friends that they suggested to the greens committee that the work be done.
Golf Club Management September 2008 15


Elumina’s ProLink GPS a ‘must-have’
Arabella’s John Bumstead spoke to GCM about his ProLink Global Positioning System that is installed on his golf carts, and points out the advantages of this state-of-the-system.
It wasn’t that long ago that the only way a golfer could calculate distances on a golf course was to pace off yardages (mostly inaccurately) from 150m markers, or to rely on a caddie’s best estimate. Professional caddies would use yardage wheels to map a course, but this method was also far from accurate due to undulations in the terrain and hazards that intersected the targetlines. Lasers were later used, but these are also notoriously finicky and hardly practical for the average golfer who is visiting a course for the first time. The use of global positioning technology has revolutionised the game, and Elumina is the company that has the exclusive rights to market-leader ProLink systems in South Africa. One of the first courses in South Africa to install Elumina’s ProLink GPS on its golf carts was Arabella, and since then 21 other courses have followed suit, with eight more in the process of doing so.

The screen on the ProLink GPS has particularly good graphics, but the system is a lot more than just a pretty picture! “I had seen this system in operation in the United States,” says Bumstead. “I liked the graphics, but more than being a pretty picture, this system makes business sense besides enhancing the experience of the golfer. I must say that we have enjoyed firstrate service from Elumina, and because of the favourable deal we did with the company, I am very happy we made this decision.” Bumstead explains that having GPS goes a long way to speeding up play, considering the high proportion of visitor rounds played on this course. “Hotel guests and other visitor rounds during corporate days account for about 90 percent of our rounds (about 30 000/year), but there are many more good reasons for installing the system. “Having two-way communication with the golfers on the course has obvious benefits – should a cart encounter problems like a breakdown, we can quickly send a replacement out to them. Importantly, golfers can speedily summon medical assistance should the need arise. Players that are unfamiliar with the course can be informed of the position of water points, toilets, etc. Another feature is the way in which one cart can ‘see’ another cart or player on blind holes, so there is a strong safety element,” he says. Golfers can enter their scores on the system, although at Arabella players still use standard scorecards that are required to be signed by a marker during competitions. The ‘brain’ of the system is conveniently located in the pro shop, where pin positions are entered into the computer, and from here messages are sent and received. Players can be requested to speed up play, or a lost club can be located and returned to the owner. Courses that have installed Elumina’s system on their carts include The Lost City, Fancourt, Zimbali and Leopard Creek. For further info contact Andrew Nelson on 082 901 6184 or

Arabella’s John Bumstead was one of the first to install Elumina’s ProLink GPS in his carts and most of South Africa’s top clubs have followed suit.

Golf Club Management

September 2008


Leading through education
It has become very apparent that the worldwide club industry is in desperate need of strong leaders, and in order for us as club mangers to be leaders, we need to be the experts at our clubs. This expertise can only be enhanced through education, writes Glendower’s general manager, Paul Leishman.
With this in mind, it was an honour to once again have Joe Perdue and Dr Jason Koenigsfeld from The Club Management Association of America in South Africa for two weeks in June. In their first week they were guest speakers at one-day workshops held in Cape Town, George and Durban. The week-long BMI Programme hosted at Wanderers from 23 to 27 June was attended by 34 delegates from around the country and included general managers, golf directors, food and beverage managers, financial managers and two PGA professionals. Core competencies for club management The overall focus of the week-long programme was on the general manager/ CEO Concept and the core competencies required of a good club manager. The core competencies can be broken down into three main areas: operational competencies, asset management and culture or leadership competencies. Core operational competencies include: • Private club management • Food and beverage management • Facilities management • Golf, sports and recreation management • Leadership • Interpersonal (communication) • Membership marketing • Government and external influences • Human resources management • Accounting and financial management The second tier of management competencies involves the effective management of all the club’s assets including financial, physical and human. The final tier that has now been seen as a critical competency area for a successful club manager is the ability to lead the club’s culture with regards to areas such as the vision, history, governance and strategic planning of the club. The above
18 September 2008 Golf Club Management


The week-long BMI Programme held at Wanderers was attended by 34 delegates from across the country. The CMASA will be bringing out two more programmes next year, and those interested parties who missed out this year are well-advised to attend. competencies have become the cornerstone for all education programmes. Competency surveys conducted in America show leadership, interpersonal, accounting and human resources as the most important and most utilised in its current environment. Initial studies in South Africa show human resources as a top competency requirement. Once further South African data has been processed it will be interesting to note the areas identified by South African managers. While we cannot all be experts in these areas, it is important that we have a good understanding of them and identify our weaknesses to enable us to build on them. De Meermin Golf Club A key part of the GM/CEO Concept course involved the group being split into six committees of a fictitious club, De Meermin, which is in a developmental stage. Each of these committees was tasked with making a PowerPoint presentation to the ‘members’ on a specific area of the club such as strategic planning, finance, recreation, facilities, human resources and food and beverage management. Throughout the week, groups were given the opportunity to work on their presentations and it was rewarding to see six very creative and professional presentations at the end of the week. All delegates were tasked with rating their individual peers, as well as the presentations, as part of the course

All delegates were tasked with rating their individual peers as well as the presentations as part of the course evaluation.

evaluation. This part of the course brought out all the aspects of team building that we experience in our club operations.

Performance and versatility.

Andrew Pons’ HR presentation was refreshing in that it concentrated more on getting the most out of people pro-actively rather than reactive disciplinary measures.
Human resources and finance The delegates defined the areas of human resources and financial management as key areas requiring more education. The CMASA will be providing further education sessions on these two areas. Andrew Pons’ HR presentation was refreshing in that it concentrated on getting the most out of people pro-actively rather than using reactive disciplinary measures. It is a fact that clubs put too little time into the initial recruitment and induction of new employees, which should be areas of priority. At the same time, we generally spend too little time on managing performance of individuals and teams in our clubs. More training as well as better follow-up evaluations on a regular basis would ensure better performance of individuals and the club in general. Tim Fearnhead’s financial management lecture provided great insight into how club accounting should be looked at. After his three-hour presentation, delegates had a better understanding of what questions they should be asking from their clubs accounts department. Other topics covered in the extensive programme included facilities management, club governance, leading and developing teams, membership marketing and club Ttrends. It was an extremely educational week that also created a lot of opportunity for networking with other leaders in the club industry. The CMASA are excited to be bringing out two BMI programmes from America next year, the return of BMI – Leadership Edge, to afford those who have not completed this course the opportunity to do so, and the next module on club management, which is likely to include a large portion of legislative topics. These two programmes are provisionally scheduled for the weeks commencing 25 May and 1 June 2009 respectively. Should you be interested in participating in any of these courses, please e-mail your expression of interest to The CMASA’s ultimate goal in providing this education is to create a category of club management individuals, who will carry the accreditation of CCM, (Certified Club Manager). To be eligible to write this international examination, candidates will have to have attended both the Leadership Edge and GM/CEO Concept programmes, as well as be able to provide proof of a minimum of five years service in management in a club, and score a certain number of points for tertiary education or other education courses attended. Paul Leishman is the chairman of the Club Managers Association of South Africa and can be contacted on 011 0453 1013 or .

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Protecting the health of pregnant and breast-feeding employees
Labour legislation, as outlined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, is very clear on this issue, writes Andrew Wilson.
Most golf clubs employ women of childbearing age. The onus is on employers to ensure the safety of pregnant or breastfeeding employees, as well as that of the foetus or child. This is what labour legislation, as outlined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), has to say on the matter: Section 26(1) of the BCEA prohibits employers from requiring or permitting a pregnant employee or an employee who is breast-feeding to perform work that is hazardous to the health of the employee or the health of her child. This requires employers who employ women of childbearing age to assess and control risks to the health of pregnant or breast-feeding employees and that of the foetus or child. Employers should identify, record and regularly review: • Potential risks to pregnant or breastfeeding employees within the workplace. • Protective measures and adjustments to working arrangements for pregnant or breast-feeding employees. • Where appropriate, employers should also maintain a list of employment positions not involving risk to which pregnant or breast-feeding employees could be transferred. In terms of section 26(2) of the BCEA, an employer must offer suitable alternative employment to an employee during pregnancy if her work poses a danger to her health or safety or that of her child, or if the employee is engaged in night work (between 18:00 and 06:00) unless it is not practicable to do so. Alternative employment must be on terms that are no less favourable than the employee’s ordinary terms and conditions of employment. Employers should inform employees about hazards to pregnant and breastfeeding employees and of the importance of immediate notification of pregnancy.
20 September 2008 Golf Club Management


The employer should keep a record of every notification of pregnancy. When an employee notifies an employer that she is pregnant, her situation in the workplace should be evaluated. The evaluation should include: • An examination of the employee's physical condition by a qualified medical professional. • The employee's job. • Workplace practices and potential workplace exposures that may affect the employee. If the evaluation reveals that there is a risk to the health or safety of the pregnant employee or the foetus, the employer must: • Inform the employee of the risk. • After consulting the employee and her representative, if any, determine what steps should be taken to prevent the exposure of the employee to the risk by adjusting the employee's working conditions. The employee should be given appropriate training in the hazards and the preventive measures taken. If there is any uncertainty or concern about whether an employee’s workstation or working conditions should be adjusted, it may be appropriate in certain circumstances to consult an occupational health practitioner. If appropriate adjustments cannot be made, the employee should be transferred to an alternative position in accordance with section 26(2) of the BCEA. Employers must keep the risk assessment for expectant or new mothers under regular review. The possibility of damage to the health of the foetus may vary during the different stages of pregnancy. There are also different risks to consider for workers who are breast-feeding. Arrangements should be made for pregnant and breast-feeding employees to be able to attend antenatal and postnatal clinics as required during pregnancy and after birth.

Arrangements should be made for employees who are breast-feeding to have two breaks of 30 minutes each for breastfeeding or expressing milk each working day for the first six months of the child’s life. Where there is an occupational health service at a workplace, appropriate records should be kept of pregnancies and the outcome of pregnancies, including any complications in the condition of the employee or child. For more information visit the Department of Labour’s website or contact Andrew Wilson on 082 575 3861 or at

• Employees are entitled to four consecutive months’ leave. • No employee may work for six weeks after the birth of the child. • In the case of a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or a stillborn child, the employee is entitled to maternity leave for six weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth, whether or not the employee had commenced maternity leave at the time of the miscarriage or stillbirth. • An employee must notify an employer in writing, at least four weeks before the employee intends to commence maternity leave unless the employee is unable to do so, of the date on which the employee intends to commence maternity leave and return to work after maternity leave. For full details of the Act, refer to section 25 of The Basic Conditions of Employment Act or visit the website

Basics of maternity leave


Eshowe Hills – recognition for environmental awareness

Eshowe Hills has become only the third course after Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and Durbanville to receive the Compleat Golfer Environmental Awareness Award from the course rankings panel. Royal Johannesburg and Kensington became the first South African golf course to achieve Audubon certification, and Eshowe has embarked on the programme that will see the club achieve similar status. In the meantime, indigenous corridors have been allowed to grow in areas that do not affect play (although some of the more wayward hitters among the members might dispute this) and an indigenous tree-planting programme has begun. Wetlands have also been developed and are areas that have begun attracting more birds to an area that is already renowned for its birdlife. “We are fortunate to have the services of three knowledgeable people who we call the ‘Three Wise Men’ who have been assisting us in our efforts, says Dave Davenport, one of the developers of Eshowe Hills. “Professor Neil Tainton and John Klug, both academics from the University of Natal, and Don McArthur, a tree expert, are advising us and our efforts have begun to bear fruit,” he says.

Euphoria voted Best New Clubhouse
The recently-opened Euphoria Country Club, part of the Euphoria Estate and Hydro development, has been voted by Compleat Golfer’s panel of 5-Star judges as having the Best New Clubhouse. After the usual construction pains with contractors failing to make deadlines (nothing unusual), the clubhouse is now fully operational and a credit to the vision of the architect (Mark Hanson of MetroArc) and the Erasmus family, Euphoria’s developers. One is immediately struck by how well this structure fits unobtrusively into the surrounding terrain, and the choice of materials results in a typically South African look and feel with traditional undertones. Local tiles, Waterberg sandstone and rosewood, all of the highest quality, have been utilised to good effect, and the building is designed to work – it is obvious that great care has been taken to plan the flow of traffic. The features of the clubhouse include three separate kitchens to serve different areas, a wine cellar that will accommodate a dining table for small groups, and the piece de resistance, a cable car that will

Can discrimination ever be classified as fair? In an effort to normalise the labour market in South Africa, the government has identified four areas that are deemed to constitute ‘fair’ discrimination when dealing with employees or those seeking employment: 1. Where the discrimination is aimed at achieving affirmative action goals or targets. In other words, favouring blacks, women and people with disabilities over white males. 2. Where the discrimination is based on the requirements of the job. In other words, where the job requires a certain skill or ability, for example you wouldn’t employ a blind person as a security guard. 3. Where the discrimination is required by law. For example, it is illegal to employ women four weeks prior to confinement and six weeks thereafter. 4. Where the discrimination is based on the need for productivity. It is perfectly fair to discriminate in favour of the person who is able to produce 100 widgets a day over the person who can only produce 80, providing the playing field for producing the widgets is level.

Labour pains

transport guests to a mountain-top, opendeck restaurant. The golf course is the first Annika Sorenstam signature layout, and although not enough course ranking panellists have played the course for it to be included in the rankings, it will hopefully score highly enough for this club to earn 5-Star status.

Golf Club Management

September 2008



Men on the move
The recipient of Compleat Golfer’s Course Superintendent of the Year Award for 2007, Graham Corbett, has left Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and has joined Fancourt. Corbett’s enthusiasm and knowledge will no doubt be missed at RJ&K, and the role he played in the club achieving Audubon certification was much appreciated. Another former Royal superintendant, Warwick Fynn, who left to join Glendower, has now relocated to Canada. “Warwick did a tremendous job at our club,” says general manager Paul Leishman. “He was totally dedicated to his trade, and also put in a lot of effort while he served as chairman of the Greenkeepers Association, which for the first time under his guidance formed a national body.”

Cadillac to Partner Compleat Golfer’s Five Star and Rankings Panel

Cadillac has become the official vehicle of Compleat Golfer’s 5-Star and course rankings panel. In joining Klipdrift Gold, the presenting sponsor of the awards, Cadillac will be present at Compleat Golfer’s 5-Star Experience golf days, and players will have the opportunity of test-driving these luxurious vehicles. The Cadillac brand certainly fits with the 5-Star rating concept, as when it comes to a 5-Star driving experience, it doesn’t come much better than this. Tim Hendon, product communications manager for General Motors SA (left), is pictured handing over the keys to a Cadillac STS to convener of the 5-Star Rating panel and GCM editor John Botha.


PowerPlay Golf set to revolutionise the game
The PGA of South Africa has recently joined forces with PowerPlay Golf to introduce this new, exciting concept to the game in South Africa.
Billed as golf’s answer to Twenty20 cricket, PowerPlay Golf is a nine-hole game that puts the onus on the player to choose between a ‘normal’ flag and a fiendishly placed PowerPlay flag on any three of the first eight holes. The risk is, of course, greater if the player chooses the PowerPlay flag (which must be nominated before the tee shot), but the reward is also greater – double Stableford points for a net birdie or better. There is also a choice of a bonus PowerPlay flag on the 9th hole, but get it wrong and make bogey or worse and the golfer has to deduct two points from the total. PowerPlay Golf is running numerous national and international competitions, where participants can qualify for regional and national finals, earn World Ranking points and PowerPlay Dollars, which can be swapped for goods and lessons from local PGA professionals. The game was started in the UK and has already become popular as an alternative to the protracted 18-hole version of the game. PowerPlay Golf has recently been launched in South Africa and franchises are available for purchase by clubs. The franchise kits Here are just four ways that PowerPlay Golf can positively affect your golf business: 1. Extra visitors – being set up for PowerPlay Golf makes your course appeal to a new breed of golfer. 2. More revenue – by selling PowerPlay Golf greenfees, and staging official PowerPlay Golf events. 3. Better publicity – by promoting your course on and off-line with PowerPlay Golf. 4. Improved reputation – establish your club as a forward-thinking organisation, encouraging new ways to enjoy golf. 5. Course maintenance – allows clubs to do necessary maintenance on one nine, while still generating revenue on the other. include PowerPlay black and white flags, as well as all the material and rules to get club members into the game. The club becomes an official PowerPlay Golf venue and members and visitors playing there can then qualify to play in official competitions and earn points and prizes. By becoming an official venue, the club is also automatically entered into the South African Championship, which will be searching for a South African golfer who will take part in an international event in Bahrain in 2009. Dennis Bruyns, chief executive of the PGA of South Africa is very excited about the new concept: “This is a great alternative that adds an exciting dimension to traditional golf. The benefits to clubs and club professionals could be enormous, but most importantly, it is keeping golf abreast of our ever-changing fast-paced world, while still maintaining the traditions and etiquette of the game.” By becoming a registered PowerPlay Golf venue, clubs and courses will appeal to new members and customers, offer a fun new alternative to traditional formats - and introduce added competitive spice to corporate events and society days. PowerPlay Golf has been developed to give golf clubs and courses a great way to increase business – by delivering a fresh, exciting, new way to play golf. Taking far less time to play than a normal 18 holes and delivering heart-pounding pressure and heavy scoring opportunities on every hole – PowerPlay Golf is perfect for the modern environment, where time is short and the quest for thrills and spills is high. Unfortunately, the fact is that people are generally ‘time poor’. There is less time to play a full round of golf for many professional people and nine holes does not offer that competitive edge. With PowerPlay, every shot is strategic, giving golfers the perfect amount of competitive golf in half the time. The PowerPlay Golf World Rankings system is a breakthrough in commercial golf. Golfers register to become PowerPlay Golfers at and each time they play in an event, either official or unofficial, they are awarded points depending on points scored and size of field, etc. Golfers are awarded PowerPlay Dollars as points and are able to check their World Rankings from city, to province, to country to worldwide. Golfers and clubs are also able to create their own online leagues and start their own golfing societies. For more information on PowerPlay Golf, go to or email Neil Matthews at

Costs to Golf Courses
Licence fee – There is an annual license fee of R3 500, which entitles the club to use the PowerPlay Golf brand to host official or unofficial PowerPlay Golf events. The licence fee includes 10 black and 10 white PowerPlay Golf flags, promotional posters, ready reckoners for hosting PowerPlay days, as well as rules cards. The club is also entitled to host corporate golf days as well as PowerPlay tournaments, which can only be staged at official venues. Player Levy – PowerPlay Golf requires a levy of R5 per golfer for official golf days. This fee is used to ensure that all PowerPlay Golfers scores are recorded and entered into the World Rankings system. This levy also ensures that the club’s golf day is marketed on the PowerPlay Golf website to get maximum exposure before and after the PowerPlay Golf day.

Golf Club Management

September 2008