August 2008

A monthly business-to-business
magazine for golf clubs, brought to you by
Volume 4 Issue 8
for back issues of GCM
Also in this issue
• Your score card • Fraud risk • Preserving the past
• Customer care • KPMG 2007 survey • Golf in Mauritius
• Course management • Water recycling • Tree maintenance
Golf Club
a little bit of golfng history
Golf Club Management August 2008 3
A little bit of
golfng history
Bedford Golf Club in the Eastern Cape has survived
since 1892 on the passion of a few dedicated golfers. It
will never qualify for a Five Star Experience, but it still
has a wonderful story to tell about creating and sus-
taining a course and club house that epitomizes what ‘the
true spirit’ of the game is all about. Di Truter, the club
manager, sent us this report.
An interesting booklet produced on the
occasion of the Bedford Golf Club’s 75

anniversary provides information on the
beginnings of golf at the club which was
founded in 1892. It quotes a brief summary of
an extract from ‘The Bedford Enterprise’, a
local newspaper, on the 8
June 1892: “Golf,
this ancient pastime, until lately almost
peculiar to Scotland has been introduced to
Bedford. A series of small round holes four
inches in diameter and several inches deep
are cut into the veldt……the balls used are
made of gutta-percha and painted white so
as to be readily seen.” It goes on to describe
the object of the game and the clubs to be
used, including the “diver, iron and cleek.”
The course itself has, over time, moved
within the commonage grounds, owing to
the development of the town, the fencing in
of erven and the erection of a railway line
across some fairways. Finally in 1955/56
the club was re-planned, fenced-in and grass
greens were laid with reticulated water.
A silver cup, known as the ‘White Cup’,
was presented by Mrs Geo. White and was
frst played for in 1893 being won by a Mr.
Alcott with a score of 109. The ‘White Cup’
is to this day the trophy for the club champion
with the lowest gross score. Records show
that the club was at its strongest in 1910 with
30 men and an astonishing 24 lady members.
This compares to the present day of about
26 active men and lady players, eight
junior members, and an average turn-out
on Saturdays of approximately 18 players.
Even in modern-day South Africa, they are
able to rely on honesty as far as green fees
go. There is a ‘Drop-Box’ at the front door.
This is supplemented by a considerable
number of non-playing full-members from
the town and a few country members who
have some connection with Bedford, which
all helps the cash fow.
As from 1893, matches were played by
Bedford teams in far-afeld King William’s
Town, Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown.
In fact the club had their own colours; a
jacket of ‘golf’ scarlet, and brass buttons
embossed with the letters B.G.C. Members
A monthly
business magazine
brought to you by
Bedford Golf Club – a little bit of golfng
history 3
How to score brownie points with
your score card 6
Establishment of warm grass varieties 8
How to identify and reduce the risk of
fraud at your club 10
Preserving the past 11
Use of recycled water 13
Customer care is the key to repeat business 14
Snippets 17
KPMG 2007 survey 19
Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club 20
Golf goes green 21
Golf course preparation 22
How to maintain the trees on your
golf course 23
Cover picture:
The par three 7th hole at Bedford Golf Club.
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Continued on page 4
The par three 7th hole at Bedford Golf Club.
4 August 2008 Golf Club Management
were reprimanded for not appearing in the
correct uniform. In 1896 a professional, Mr.
Johnstone, was paid a fee to give lessons for
a two week period and play in exhibition
matches, scoring an 87 in Bedford and a
creditable 79 in Adelaide.
Before the nucleus of the club house
was built, there was a hut built on the river
bank to house crockery etc, and members
picnicked under the yellowwood trees.
The club has managed to retain a few
photographs which portray these gracious
outings. Club activities appeared to have
almost ceased during the Anglo-Boer war
and two World Wars, and indeed as recently
as the late 1990’s, club activity was at an all-
time low.
Now however they are lucky to have an
extremely passionate and loyal bunch of
members at the club, who understand how
fortunate they are to have such a facility,
and don’t complain when things aren’t quite
right, and are always ready to render help
when required.
For example, they don’t have a green
keeper – only the dedication of a farmer
who manages to “fx” things when they
break, thus keeping their expenses down to
the bare minimum. The biggest challenge at
Bedford is maintaining an adequate course.
With no signifcant affuent population to
call on they have to keep a fne balance
between overcharging and therefore chasing
people away on the one hand and on the
other, producing a course that is going to
encourage people to play. Their priority for
course maintenance is greens frst. They feel
that people are most likely to enjoy their
round if the greens are of a good standard.
Then come tee boxes and fairways.
Their Mr. ‘Fix-It’ man is Derek Bowker,
a highly respected 4
generation farmer who
farms 40km from Bedford. His frst claim to
fame was that, for three years, he was the
heaviest baby born in Bedford – 11.5lbs!!!
The next claim of many is his dedication to
the club. He maintains and fxes the tractors
and mowers and even makes new parts when
others aren’t available. This is a mechanical
feat as they are antiques – 2 tractors – a 1968
Ford and a 1954 Massey Ferguson (bought
recently from a farm auction), three greens
mowers (1985,1994 and 2001) and a labour
force of three.
The working conditions are not ideal but
he grins and bears it and as the old saying
goes, ’n boer maak ’n plan’. One of the
biggest problems he faces is trying to keep
the cattle and goats off the course – they
have no respect for a fence that is nearly 100
years old!
A good example of how they are trying
to encourage a welcoming environment for
golfers is their open draw every Saturday.
All those wanting to play golf arrive at a
certain time on a Saturday and names go
into a hat. This ensures that no “cliques” are
formed, and that everyone is welcome. It also
ensures that beginners are exposed to the
more experienced golfers, enabling a transfer
of knowledge. Ladies are also an important
(probably the most important) part of the club.
They are encouraged to play, and join in on
Bedford Golf Club Fact File
Active and non-active members paying
full membership fees – 74
Membership Fees (incl EPGU and Swipe
Full members: R900.00
Juniors: R300.00
Social : R100.00
Country: R120.00
Green Fees:
Member: 9 holes – R20.00
18 holes – R30.00
Junior: 9 holes – R5.00
18 holes – R10.00
Visitor: 9 holes – R30.00
18 holes – R50.00
Course rating: 70
Meterage (Men) 5874
(Ladies) 5189
Helping to keep the feet of ancient equipment going are Eric, Sizwe and Xolani. The picture shows the ninth hole with the clubhouse
in the background.
Derek Bowker, otherwise known as “Mr
Fix-it”, comes from four generations of
farmers in the Bedford area.
Continued from page 3
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the Saturday competition, also being entered
via the draw system. With their integrated
approach to ladies, any function held at our
course is extremely well catered for!
Talking of functions and with so few
dedicated golfers in the area, they have
to encourage people to socialize in the
clubhouse. Because of the nature of the
community, they can’t overcharge at the pub,
as they want people to feel they are getting a
bargain – hopefully they will then bring their
friends and family for more social outings.
And on a lighter note, one of the members,
Dr Goldfnger (his nickname at the club), a
retired gynaecologist, has offered full sub-
umbilical check-ups for male members on
the bar counter!
Their clubhouse is completely open to
children, which encourages families to attend
who would otherwise stay at home. This also
ensures that the children become comfortable
in the club environment, moulding them into
potential future members.
The club’s current 100 year lease is set
to expire in 2009. Their challenge is to
continue to ensure that the club remains
a considerable asset to the small town of
Bedford, thereby hopefully strengthening
the chances of a renewal of the lease. To
this end, they have actively encouraged all
sectors of the population to become members
and in the 1990’s, the late Welcome Mboya
was the club champion. They have, over the
last number of years, been actively engaged
in various programmes to promote the game
amongst the local previously-disadvantaged
populations. Their current development
programme involves 24 golfers who play
once a week, free of charge. This will
hopefully stimulate an interest in the game,
as well as nurture a pool of golfers of which
Bedford Golf Club can be justifably proud.
In addition, children and beginners are
encouraged to play as they are the future of
the club.
Bedford is a small farming community,
approximately two hours drive from Port
Elizabeth. The population is in the region
of 11000 and the town comes alive late
October when they have their annual
‘Garden Festival’ with various farm and
town gardens open to the public. They have
even been visited by the ex Lord Mayor of
London who was keen to see the gardens
and play some golf!
For more information on Bedford Golf
Club contact Di Truter, the club manager,
The Bar
This is a popular gathering spot for our
social members as we have no hotel in
Bedford. Visitors are amazed at our bar
Beer pint – R8.00
Beer Quart – R11.00
Spirits/tot – R5.00
Bells whisky – R7.00
An interesting fact is that our bar counter
is made from a Yellow wood tree on the
course which died. There is no permanent
person on duty during the day – the bar
opens every night – except Sundays.
6 August 2008 Golf Club Management
Golf club score cards are an important
component of a golfer’s visit to any golf
club. They are also a valuable tool for
clubs to use as a source of information to
pass on to players. Score cards vary from
club to club, as they should, but one often
fnds incomplete, inaccurate and conficting
information on them. The purpose of this
article is to help clubs take a critical look
at their own score card and if necessary to
implement some changes next time they go
to print. We have identifed six components
to the score card and these will be addressed
1. Club image
2. Functionality
3. Information
4. Accuracy
5. Layout
6. SAGA compliance
Club image
The score card should refect the club’s
image or brand. Any club that has a brand
strategy will certainly include the score card
in that process. It is important to refect a
consistent image of the club to all members
and visitors alike. An eye-catching cover
with a great photo of the course is used by
many clubs because players often keep score
cards as a souvenir. It is also worthwhile to
include the club’s contact phone number, e-
mail address and website on the card.
Above all else the score card must be
functional. In particular it must –
• be printed on a paper with suffcient
weight for its purpose
• be easy to write on with a pen or pencil
• be able to ft into a pants back pocket and
also onto a golf car steering wheel clip
• be complete with adequate space
provided for:
– four player’s names
– individual score result
– better ball score result
– alliance score result
– the competition being played
– the 1
or 10
starting tee
– the date and tee-off time
– signatures of player and marker
– the player’s handicaps
– a fnal result box
– the score played per hole and
– the competition result per hole.
Standard information provided on a score
card should include –
• distance measurements from a point on
every tee box to the centre or front of the
• fag colours (if applicable) to front, center
and back of the green
• the stroke index of every hole
• the plus handicap holes in order of play
• the hole number and par of every hole
• local rules unless these are displayed
How to gain brownie
points with your score card
When last did you take a good look at your score card? Ian Leach of Euphoria Golf Estate
& Hydro identifes six components of the card to check on before your next print run.
Jeff Clause, CEO and director of
golf at St Francis Links, designed
their card with a glossy fnish on
the outside and a matt fnish on the
inside, receptive to the worst
possible pencil!
separately. When local rules are included on the score card it is
a good idea to reference the offcial rule number
• the length of the course from each set of tees.
It seems so obvious that score cards must be accurate but this is
not always the case. Clubs often make changes to the length of a
hole or change the stroke index on some holes without correcting
the score card or tee box information. The tee box information and
score card should always correspond with each other.
The layout of the scorecard should be carefully considered. The
most important bits of information a player needs while playing
golf are the names and hole by hole scores of the players. This
information should be placed on the card in such a way that it is
never obscured under the clip holder on a golf cart steering wheel.
Scoring on a card can be laid out vertically or horizontally. The
horizontal layout is preferable because it allows for continuity
across the card and is easier to read and to add the scores up at
the end.
SAGA compliance
The South Africa Golf Association has established requirements
that must be complied with and included on the score cards. These
• Odd numbered strokes must be assigned to the frst nine holes
and even numbered strokes to the second nine holes.
• Plus handicap holes must be refected on the score card.
• The course rating for each set of tee boxes on the course must
be shown on the score card. The SAGA has recently published
revisions to this calculation and clubs are advised to have the
course ratings recalculated accordingly.
• The length of every hole is required to be measured from the
middle of the teeing area, along the planned line of play to the
centre of the green. The only exception to this is where a club
wishes to have a rating for the greatest length of the course.
This shall be measured from a point four meters from the back
of each championship tee. This rating should be refected as the
“Championship Rating”.
• The rating markers and tee markers on the course and on the
scorecard should be colour coded :
– Yellow – Championship tee (if applicable)
– White – Regular men’s tee
– Blue – Seniors tee (if applicable)
– Red – Regular ladies tee
If you have not already done so, we recommend that you take a
look at the 2007/2008 South African Golf Handicapping System
published by the SAGA on their website to be
sure that your club is in compliance with all the latest requirements
and that these are refected on your score card.
For more info contact Ian Leach of Euphoria Golf Estate
& Hydro at or on
082 892 8693 or (014) 743-2242/3759
8 August 2008 Golf Club Management
Establishment of warm
season grass varieties
In part two of a series of articles, Rich Wakefeld of Windmill (pvt) Ltd in Zimbabwe,
gives tips on establishing warm season grass varieties (cold season varieties are not
covered in this article).
Every golf course should maintain nursery
areas of selected green’s grass and fairway
grass, both easily accessible when turf is
needed. These areas should be treated as
part of the playing area and maintained
accordingly. Unless seeding your new turf,
these should be established well before the
planned planting date so that healthy runners
or sods can be removed conveniently. A sod
cutter should be available at every club.
Because an area designated to turf is
unlikely to undergo repeated cultivation,
the initial soil preparation should be
thorough. The fnal aim is to produce an
area of suitable physical and chemical
requirements, including a loose and friable
topsoil to 200 mm, a neutral pH, stone free
with good water infltration, good water
retention, balanced nutrients, and free of
un-decomposed vegetative matter. Local
knowledge of soil types, pH, soil depth,
gradients and water availability is essential.
If landscaping, put aside the topsoil to
be replaced after shaping. A uniform turf
will need uniform ground conditions and
good drainage. A deep ripping followed
by de-compaction (eg with a rotovator)
will help minimize pans and plough soles.
Apply necessary lime before cultivation
as it should be incorporated into the soil.
Phosphates should also be incorporated at
this stage. Evenly spread and incorporated
organic material, ideally well-manured
compost, will help improve the physical
structure of the soil. Remove rocks and
stones and establish a fne, even tilth before
fnal leveling. A heavy irrigation will help
settle the soil. Allow the weeds to germinate
then cultivate or apply herbicides as often as
necessary to diminish any potential future
weed problem. Do a fnal shaping of the
surface to ensure effective drainage before
rolling to establish a frm surface suitable
for planting. Avoid compaction, which
usually results from working on a damp
surface. Heavy equipment is preferably
avoided during green’s construction to avoid
New greens can be planted with seed,
plugs or runners. Bermuda (Common
Couch), Kikuyu, Buffalo grass (Beira or St
Augustine grass) and Bahai grass (Paspalum
Notatum) are all examples of turf which can
be seeded, although seed is usually imported
into Southern Africa as production is not
viable here. (Cool season varieties such
as Kentucky grass, Fescues and Bentgrass
are all normally seeded). New varieties are
constantly being tested in South Africa for
improved features eg wear, colour, drought
resistance, heat resistance etc. Timing, rates
and methods of seeding are all important.
The Cynodons and Kikuyu are most
effectively transplanted with runners. Plugs,
sods or sprigging are all other options. Keep
runners moist and transplant as soon as
possible after pulling, preferably early in the
summer to extend initial growing time.
Having shaped the green, try not to disturb
the topsoil unnecessarily while planting.
Avoid foot-prints which cause an uneven
surface and compaction of soil. An easy, very
benefcial practice is to place planks in a line
across the green for planters to walk on and
plant from. As a strip is completed the plank
is rolled over onto the newly planted turf to
promote re-leveling and evenly compacted
topsoil. The next strip is then planted.
Once a suffcient area is completed, give
a light watering before the soil starts to dry
out, and thereafter irrigate the new green
daily for at least a week while the roots get
established. Your local climate will dictate
water requirements. Avoid coarse droplets
which will distort your leveled surface. Pull
any recently germinated weeds by hand,
ensuring the roots come up, and remove any
rogue turf varieties as soon as noticed. In
In spite of enormous fnancial and political upheaval, Borrowdale Brooke Golf and
Country Club in Harare has not stinted when it comes to the care and maintenance of
their warm season grasses.
warmer areas your turf cover should double
in density every week. Once you have a 50%
cover, roll and give a cut with the mower
set high to promote horizontal growth
of runners. Use the catch-box to remove
pebbles and excess soil. Greens will need
a cylindrical mower for cutting purposes.
With non-runner varieties, replant or
reseed bare patches as soon as they become
obvious. Mow weekly, gradually dropping
the blade height, until you have a full cover.
This is the time to roll, water and top dress
with a fumigated, sieved topsoil/compost
mixture. Spread the top dressing evenly
over the new turf ideally using planks or
up-turned rakes to promote a surface true
to the green shape. Avoid applying too
thick a layer in one session. Matting the top
dressing into the turf is a useful practice if
you have a “steel mat” to pull across the
green (in the direction of the nap). Not
only does this help level the fnal putting
surface, but also removes stones and excess
soil. The tips of the grass should be easily
visible after completion. Do not apply water
for several days until the new shoots have
emerged through the topsoil, as this would
distort your newly leveled surface. Cut
again after about a week with the mower set
high. With initial cuttings the excess topsoil
being removed with the clipped grass will
seriously blunten the mower blades, so use
an old set. Irrigate and cut regularly for a
couple of weeks, gradually setting the blades
lower. Two more, lighter top dressings of
soil will probably be necessary to gradually
level the fnal putting surface. Eventually
this green can be cut at the normal height
for a putting green. At this point defne
your fringe (apron) area and let that grow
longer while you continue to cut the putting
surface. The fringe should now be cut with
a higher-set mower designated to “greens
Your routine “preventative” fungicide
application and fertilizing should now be
introduced. Newly established turf is very
susceptible to disease, especially “brown
patch”, so be alert and apply a “corrective”
fungicide (ie using higher rates) if
necessary. Apply fungicides thereafter
as with the established greens. A light
monthly application of compound fertilizer
(preferably J or X) will help establish the
new grass.
Start planning a routine verticutting,
holotining and scarifcation programme.
Holotining, hydrotining or soil loosening
will all later help minimise compaction
problems, but are probably not necessary
during the frst year on a new green.
Scarifying is usually done simultaneously
with a holotining programme during spring.
Verticutting is often practiced monthly, or
even weekly during your growing season.
Rich Wakefeld can be contacted at
Acknowledgements to The department of
Horticulture at Pretoria Technikon, the
Agricultural Chemical Industry Association
of Zimbabwe, ‘Turf Science, construction and
maintenance’ by V I Stewart and ‘Turfgrass
Management’ by A J Turgeon.
10 August 2008 Golf Club Management
How to identify and reduce
the risk of fraud at your club
Last month, Steven Powell, a director at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS)
Forensics, highlighted why clubs are at risk of fraud. This month he identifes warning
signs to look out for, as well as some procedures you can implement to reduce fraud.
Reducing the risk of fraud isn’t only about
ensuring that your systems and procedures
are water-tight. It’s also about keeping
your eyes and ears open. Watch out for
the following tell-tale signs to enable you
to fght fraud pro-actively BEFORE you
become the victim.
Fraud risk indicators (red fags):
• Excessive lifestyle – employees who
suddenly buy expensive motor vehicles or
properties, which are not commensurate
to their income streams. This is the most
important red fag to look out for.
• Gambling, alcohol or drug problems
– employees need to fund their habit.
Gambling addictions have become a major
factor in numerous fraud scenarios.
• Staff who constantly claim that they are
underpaid – these employees feel entitled
to steal as they feel undervalued and are
simply redressing the inequitable state of
• Close relationships with suppliers – be
very weary of service providers who only
deal with one particular employee.
• Sole suppliers – not shopping around.
One of the best ways to ensure that pricing
is competitive is to get quotes from
several service providers. Entrenched
relationships with a particular service
provider can be indicative of a corrupt
• Poor credit rating – employees who are
under fnancial pressure will be tempted
to access funds, particularly where they
are in positions where they have direct
access to the organisation’s fnances, such
as cash or EFT payments.
• Poor communication and reports –
employees who can never get suspense
accounts to reconcile or confuse you in
the explanations of transactions often use
confusion to conceal illicit activities.
• Indulging in affairs – extra-marital affairs
place pressure on the employee to fnd an
alternative source of funding to maintain
the relationship.
• Refusal of promotion – if an employee
turns down a higher paying position; be
very suspicious, unless there are sound
reasons for this.
• Excessive and unexplained overtime – the
fraudster does a lot of creative transactions
as well as covering of tracks, while they
are alone. Checking up on what work is
being done after hours is well advised.
• Not taking leave – the fraudster prefers
not to take leave as, while they are at their
desks, they can easily explain or cover up
anomalies which may come out. Enforce
a compulsory leave policy.
Here are some basic procedures you should
follow to reduce fraud in your club:
1. Fraud response plan: Every organisation
should have a fraud response plan,
which details the reporting lines and the
basic steps to be followed once a fraud
is discovered. This includes some basic
steps that are often ignored, like removing
access cards or keys, restricting network
access and removing signing powers.
2. Benchmark your risk and review
controls: Understand the key risks and
common fraud taking place in your
environment. Speak to the specialists
and get expert forensic advice on how to
protect your club.
3. Code of ethics: The club must spell out
its own ethical rules for doing business
and must practise what it preaches. The
code should incorporate a zero tolerance
policy to fraud and corruption.
4. Fraud awareness training: Train
employees on how fraud takes place, the
symptoms of fraudulent activity, what to
look out for and how to react to it. Also stress
their ethical duty to protect the business.
5. Gift policy: Ensure that suppliers and
staff are clear as to the boundaries in terms
of gifts or benefts that may be provided
or accepted. One of the best approaches
to gifts is a gift register that is transparent
and is accessible to all employees.
6. Fraud/ethics hotline: Have an
independent hotline in place and encourage
whistle blowing (giving employees the
opportunity to report suspicious behaviour
on an anonymous basis) without fear of
recrimination or victimisation.
7. Zero tolerance policy: Ensure that all
instances of dishonest behaviour are
prosecuted criminally so that a clear
message is sent to potential offenders
– commit fraud at your own peril!
Section 34 of the Prevention and
Combating of Corrupt Activities
Act creates an obligation to report
all fraud theft, corruption, extortion
forgery or uttering where the amount
involved exceeds R100 000.
For more
information on fraud
or other legal mat-
ters, contact Steven
Powell, a director
at Edward Nathan
Sonnenbergs (ENS)
Forensics, on 021 410 2500 or at or visit their website
Golf Club Management August 2008 11
I only realised how I would cherish my
family heritage after I had thrown most of it
away. This is sadly the case in golf clubs too,
where tradition and history form so much of
the character of the club itself, but we don’t
realise the legacy we are destroying in our
bid to conserve space.
Over the years we have impatiently
discarded much of our club’s past in an
attempt to ‘tidy up’. Storage space is
always at a premium and sometimes even
with acknowledging that something is too
valuable to throw away either in fnancial or
sentimental terms, there just isn’t any place
to display the treasured items.
Some weeks ago we were having
another spring-clean to make space in our
overburdened storage rooms. Remembering
all the old copper pots and frying pans that
my grandmother had offered me before
they were sent off to the dump, I carefully
opened and unpacked every dust-covered
box. Most of it really could be thrown
away but in amongst the old paraphernalia
there were also some beautiful old treasures
– trophies dating back to 1890, a solid silver
candelabra, sepia photographs dating back to
1884, certainly in condition worthy enough
of framing and, fnd of all fnds, old leather
bound minute books, all scribed by hand,
dating as far back as 1910.
Today however, we tend to opt for the
more modern look in clubhouses which can
limit choices in displaying old but beautiful
relics. In our efforts to get our clubhouse
more up to date, a lot of the old pictures
were stuck away in storage. We’ve hauled
them out, cleaned them up and in some
cases reframed them, and will soon have
them displayed in a revamped function room
in amongst some contemporary artworks.
Shelving is being installed to display the old
restored trophies and minute books. A few
interesting old pieces of furniture in amongst
Preserving the past
Collecting memorabilia isn’t about the past or present, it’s about the future. Terry
Wittwen, PA to the CEO at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club sent us this
report on how they are preserving the past for future generations of golfers.
the plump sofas will complete the room
which will no doubt provide many memories
for most of our long-serving members. In
fact it already has such an ‘old’ feel about it,
I fully expect to walk into it one day and be
greeted by a room full of elderly gentlemen
in their smoking jackets!
Don’t let the old limit your desire for the
new – done properly, the mix can result in an
eclectic statement that says you uphold the
values of the past while moving forward with
the present.
Get creative in preserving the past!
Scrapbooking has become a very popular
hobby and is a creative and fun way of
recording your club’s history. Your staff
can put together a heritage scrapbook of
all the bits and pieces that your club has
accumulated. Certainly you need to keep
a photographic record of ‘the evolution’ of
your clubhouse and course. Think about
including little stories and anecdotes which
are so readily available from older members.
And let’s not forget the past on the course –
many trees will also have a traceable history
worth recording before they are cut down or
simply die of old age.
I now keep every piece of history I come
across, from newspaper clippings to old tie
pins. We are fortunate in having most of
our past recorded formally by one of our
founding members, Hal Snow. His published
book makes not only a fascinating read but an
easy reference to some wonderful moments
in our club’s history.
My most treasured piece of memorabilia
is an old photograph, taken around 1945. In it
is a tiny little oak sapling. Today that sapling
is the most magnifcent tree that I view from
my offce window every day.
Golf clubs are steeped in tradition and
although it might not mean much to us now,
preserving that past along with maintaining
beautiful courses will certainly be appreciated
by future generations.
And my contribution to the future
generations of our club? It is my ever-
growing club scrapbook which I hope my
successors will continue to up-date long after
I’m gone. ■
For more information contact Terry
Wittwen PA to the CEO at Royal
Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on
011 640 3021 or at
Creating a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings can become an enjoyable hobby while at the
same time recording your club’s history.
"Your complete media partner in golf"
Gr e e n _ A d v e r t i s i n g . p d f P a g e 1 9 / 5 / 0 6 , 2 : 4 1 P M
Golf Club Management August 2008 13
Use of recycled water
Water is fast becoming the ‘new oil’ as its availability dwindles. Darren Berry
of Golf Data takes a look at some of the implications of using recycled water.
The maintenance of healthy turf grass
is always going to require the use of
irrigation water. Potable water will always
be allocated for human consumption frst.
The use of alternative water sources for
irrigation purposes is therefore going to
become the norm in the near future. Let’s
look at some of the impacts and required
counter-measures that can be expected with
the increased use of recycled water.
Water quality and testing
Recycled water is usually of inferior quality
to potable water. It must often undergo
disinfection to kill harmful bacteria, and its
nutrient content may also be problematic
for agricultural use. Recycled water is often
high in dissolved salts and sodium which
may degrade soil structure or cause direct
harm to turf grass and ornamental plants.
It is therefore important, as a preventative
measure, to make a commitment to regular
soil and water testing through a reputable
laboratory which understands turf grass
Ironically, the switch to recycled water may
lead to an increased use of irrigation water.
This is due to the fact that leaching
of excess salts in the soil profle is best
accomplished by applying higher volumes
of irrigation water to fush the salts through
the system. The use of a portable EC meter
is a vital tool in this operation as it allows
one to monitor the salt levels in the soil
before and after fushing events.
Water treatment may also be employed
in more extreme cases. Treatment options
such as gypsum injection, sulphuric acid
injection, the use of a sulphurous generator
and potable water blending can all be
successfully employed to manage poor
water quality. Some treatment options
may also provide good disinfection
Cultural practices, such as aeration,
drainage and topdressing, may also have
to be employed to manage the conditions
created by recycled water use.
An increased aeration frequency and/
or intensity will encourage the rapid
movement of salts through the soil profle,
while simultaneously stimulating healthy
turf growth through improved soil oxygen
Drainage may be the key in low-lying
areas where water and salts accumulate.
An adequate drainage system which can
rapidly remove excess water from the
root zone and low-lying areas will help
minimize salt accumulation.
Regular topdressing, even on fairways,
has many benefts, including improved
playing surface quality, traffc tolerance,
turf health and drainage. The latter is
the most important when managing salt
accumulation through recycled water use.
Regular topdressing encourages the rapid
dispersal of excess water.
Soil amendment and the golf course
nutritional programme are two of the most
important tools when combating the side
effects of recycled water use.
Calcium-based fertilizer or soil
amendments, such as gypsum, will help to
displace the sodium salts in the root zone
and cause them to be leached through the
Sulphur or lime applications will help to
manage the soil pH levels which are vital to
healthy turf growth and nutrient uptake.
Other considerations
There are a few other considerations which
should be investigated or employed when
having to deal with recycled water.
Firstly, many turf grass species such
as bent grass or poa annua are especially
sensitive to the negative effects of recycled
water use. This fact must be carefully
considered and managed to avoid any
unwanted turf loss.
A conversion to a more salt-tolerance turf
variety, such as cynodon or paspalum, may
need to be considered in extreme cases.
The retro-ftting of the irrigation system
or pump station may become a necessity to
allow for proper water treatment or fresh
water blending. Some courses have even
opted for a completely new system of pipes
especially for potable water irrigation onto
greens and other sensitive areas.
Lake management is very important.
Recycled water is naturally high in nutrients
and this will often encourage algae and
aquatic weed growth.
Natural vegetation buffers, aeration,
increased depths and reduced surface areas
and chemical or biological treatments are
all methods which can be employed to help
manage water storage points.
The future use of recycled water is a reality
which must receive adequate attention.
The key word is fexibility; fexibility
in budgets, cultural practices and golfer
Championship conditions can be
achieved with the use of recycled water,
just look at Pebble Beach, but it can only be
achieved with a commitment to the correct,
systematic approach to turf management.
Darren Berry of Golf Data can be
contacted on 083 671 9399 or
(044) 384 0680/3 or at
‘Tip for the month’
A successful spring treatment event,
which will establish the foundation for
healthy turf growth through summer, is
highly dependent on good planning. Start
14 August 2008 Golf Club Management
Customer care is the
key to repeat business
In part fve of an eight-part series on the Compleat Golfer Five Star Golf Experience
Awards, Ian Leach, a Five Star panel judge, highlights the important role that
customer service plays in the overall golfng experience.
The leadership at many clubs has resigned
itself to believe that their club can never
become a recipient of a Compleat Golfer
Five Star Golf Experience Award. We have
said it before and we repeat again that part
of the objective of this Five Star award
initiative is to raise the standard of the overall
golf experience throughout the country, fully
recognizing that only a few clubs will actually
receive the award. This part of the objective
has been successful and there is no doubt
that the average golf experience at clubs
throughout South Africa today is measurably
better than it was a few years ago. There is
however still a lot of room for improvement.
The “Quality of Customer Service”
accounts for 19% of the total golf experience
and this high level suggests how important
this criteria is. Compleat Golfer evaluation
panelists consider nine different criteria when
evaluating the quality of customer service at
any club. All of this has to do with basic
customer care which can be improved with
training and simple attention to detail. Our
experience has shown that, in general, golf
estates score much higher on these criteria
than traditional golf clubs. Why is this so?
Only the clubs themselves can answer this
question accurately but one suggestion is
that golf estates have to work harder for their
business, with a higher ratio of visitor golf
rounds, than traditional clubs who have an
ongoing strong membership base to support
their day to day operations. Perhaps some
golf clubs have become complacent and their
members are comfortable with the same level
of customer service offered year in and year
out. It is a fact that in many industries the level
of customer service throughout South Africa
has improved in recent years and the golf
club industry is no exception. Having said
that, the average service offered is well below
par and can be improved without much extra
effort or cost. We challenge club leadership
to take a critical internal look at themselves
and to consider how they perform against
each of the following six areas evaluated.
General telephone communication and
telephone booking service.
One of the most interesting exercises a club
manager can do is to phone into the club and
ask to speak to him/herself. One could be in
for a big surprise. The external telephone call
is the frst and sometimes the only contact with
the club. It is vitally important to get it right.
The phone should be answered promptly,
effciently and consistently. Where possible,
recorded messaging should be avoided.
Telephone time-sheet booking should be
handled with care, offering the caller all the
options available on the day in question.
Welcome on arrival at security, including
security procedures.
The frst physical contact at any club is
at the security gate. Security guards on
duty should be well dressed, attentive and
welcoming. Their primary duty is to protect
the assets and people at the club but they also
need to be trained in public relations skills.
They should be trained to greet members
and visitors warmly, to be able to answer
basic questions, to give directions and to be
effcient with their security responsibilities.
Welcome on arrival at reception/cashier/
This speaks for itself. Golfers come to a club
to get away from the stress of every-day life
and to relax in a leisure environment. Their
visit can be made so much more memorable
Congratulations goes to the following
clubs who received awards at the
regional GCM workshops and Compleat
Golfer awards evenings held recently
at Steenberg GC, Blair Atholl GC and
Durban CC.
Compleat Golfer 5-Star Golf Experience
Gary Player CC, Lost City CC, Zimbali
CC, Royal Johannesburg & Kensington
GC, Blair Atholl GC, Country Club
Johannesburg, Eagle Canyon CC,
Pecanwood G & CC, Arabella GC,
Atlantic Beach GC, DeZalze GE, Erinvale
GC, Fancourt CC, Pearl Valley GE,
Pezula PE, Pinnacle Point GE, Steenberg
GC, St Francis Links.
The KZN regional awards:
No. 1 Ranked Course, Durban CC;
Environmental Awareness Award,
Eshowe Hills Eco and Golf Estate;
Most Improved Course, Umhlali CC;
Best New Course, Simbithi CC.
The JHB regional awards:
No. 1 Ranked Course, Blair Atholl GC;
Environmental Awareness Award, Blair
Atholl GC; Most Improved Course,
Roodepoort CC; Best New Course,
Gardener Ross G & CE.
The Western Cape regional awards:
No. 1 Ranked Course, Pinnacle Point;
Environmental Awareness Award,
Durbanville GC; Most improved course,
King David GC.
by a warm welcome that comes across
with genuine interest and care. Wherever
possible, members and guests should be
greeted by name. For example at the point
of payment, any employee who receives a
member’s card or credit card should always
return the card with a “thank you Mr./Mrs.
Smith” and follow on with a greeting
something like “and enjoy your round of
golf”. A warm welcome every time will
leave a lasting impression on every person
who has the pleasure of visiting your club.
Payment process – ease, accuracy and
speed of payment.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to
wait in a line for service while the person
behind the counter is not properly trained,
or does not have all the products properly
priced, or worse still does not have the
correct change. Club managers are advised
to personally check into their payment
process from time-to-time which also creates
a bonus opportunity to chat to members and
guests as they arrive.
Golf shop, bar and waiter, food and half-
way house service – speed, knowledge and
The customer service requirements of these
four criteria are all similar. At each point
of contact employees should be trained to
greet golfers warmly and consistently. They
should always offer an effcient level of
service, be knowledgeable in the products
they are offering and always be courteous.
There is an age-old expression that the
customer is always right and whether
he/she is or is not, employees of the club
should never lose control and enter into an
argument with any guest. At the same time
they should never accept abuse and have the
responsibility to report any incident of abuse
to their management.
Availability and service from management.
At any club that offers excellent service,
management should be visible and available
at all times. This does not only refer to the
club manager but to all levels of management.
For example if any customer experiences a
problem on the golf course, in the bar or
anywhere else in the club, the appropriate
level of management should be available to
deal with and resolve the problem.
Quality of customer service could be one
of the easiest criteria to improve on yet often
it seems to be the most diffcult. Old habits
die hard and all too often, we as customers
are willing to accept the status quo. There
is a huge opportunity for golf clubs to take
the initiative by raising their overall level
of customer service and then to see what
positive reaction it has on the business
operation. Customers react positively to
excellent service and will use the facility
repeatedly if they are made to feel special.
Challenges facing golf clubs are huge and
one sure way to keep the cash register ringing
is to raise the level of service to a level that
exceeds every customer’s expectation, every
time he/she visits the club.
For more info contact Ian Leach at
Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro at ianleach@ or on 082 892 8693 or
(014) 743-2242/3759
16 August 2008 Golf Club Management
For additional information and sales:
Contact: George on 083 306 0620
Introducing a new source of revenue
and communication for golf clubs
Benefits to Golf Clubs
º 0ourses deríve íncome from adverLísínc
º Uníque wav Lo communícaLe wíLh members and cuesLs
º Save on buvínc and repíacínc cups
º UnobLrusíve buL effecLíve brandínc opporLuníLíes
º 0an be chanced for compeLíLíons/ corporaLe davs
º 0eneraLe addíLíonaí íncome from pracLíce facíííLíes
º Uníque compeLíLíon formaLs - muíLípííers eLc.
º NaLuraí draínace svsLem Lo avoíd soíí buííd-up
º Seíf-cíeansínc cup
º PaLenLed cups and díscs easíív chanced/ repíaced
º Added vaíue for charíLv davs/ dríves
Benefits to Sponsors / Corporates
º Híchív LarceLed brandínc/ adverLísínc opporLuníLv
º More Lhan 54000 uníque víews per monLh per course
º 0ver 90% messace recaíí raLe
º Hích neL worLh LarceL audíence
º 0hanceabíe messace Lechnoíocv
º \aríabíe cosL sLrucLures and seasonaí campaícns
º wíde seíecLíon of courses across SAD0 recíon
º Add vaíue Lo corporaLe davs/ naLíonaí compeLíLíons
º Uníque experíenLíaí markeLínc medíum
AdInTheHole.indd 1 6/1/08 9:03:15 PM
Golf Club Management August 2008 17
Editorial Change
After 18 months in the editorial seat, I
am handing the reins over to John Botha.
In December 2006 I agreed to help out
with the editorial side of GCM until a
more suitable and qualifed person could
be found. As often happens with these
short-term, temporary assignments, they
tend to get extended. I’m pleased to say
that during the last eighteen months
we have taken GCM from a 16-page
news-letter to a 24-page magazine. We
have also received very encouraging,
constructive and supportive feedback
from the industry as a whole. I intend
continuing to contribute to GCM on a
regular basis, focusing mainly on human
resource articles interspersed with the
occasional club profles and special
features. You’re not getting rid of me
that easily!
John Botha is well known in the golf
world and will bring to GCM a wealth
of knowledge and experience across
all facets of golf club management.
Remember, this is your magazine and
all I would ask is that you keep in touch
with John to let him know what the
issues and topics are that we should be
writing about.
I wish John and GCM everything of
the best and now hopefully will have
more time to spend on our wonderful
golf courses around the country.
You can contact John Botha at
Seen at the GCM workshops and Compleat Golfer Western Cape award’s evening
held at Steenberg Golf Club in June. From left to right back row: Wilhard Bohlmann,
Rondebosch; Edward Russouw, Steenberg; Barry Levitt, King David; Barbara Pestana,
Royal Cape; Greg Leckie, Erinvale; Beatie West, Rondebosch; Amanda Forknall, Atlantic
Beach; Tony Louw, Atlantic Beach; front row: Louis Strauss, Erinvale; Damian Wrigley,
Clovelly; Jeremy Lindquist, Clovelly; Julian Visser, Bellville; Willie Pretorius, Bellville;
Stephen Thomas, Clovelly.
Further workshops are being held in Johannesburg and Durban during July. Once these
are completed we will report back to GCM readers on the main issues raised at the three
KPMG Golf Benchmark Survey 2008
This year, KPMG will be focusing their Golf Benchmark Survey on rounds played and revenue
fgures. At all the golf-related forums, summits, workshops, conferences or even informal get-
togethers, those in the industry bemoan the fact that we don’t have enough information about
what is actually happening to golf in South Africa. This is an excellent opportunity to rectify
The questionnaire will only take a few minutes of your time, the information will be treated
as strictly confdential and you will receive a complimentary copy of the fnal summary report.
The information will not identify individual golf courses, as regional and country averages
will be published.
To down load the questionnaire go to
For a summary of the 2007 survey see our article on page 19 of this issue of GCM.
If you require further information then please contact Zita Valint on +36-1-887 7333 or at
People on the move
Roger Innes, previously the assistant
course superintendent at Randpark Club
has been appointed as Senior Course
Lionel Coetzee has been appointed a
director of Smith Mining Equipment
(Pty) Ltd. Lionel, who joined Smith
Mining in 2002, heads up the company’s
Turf Division, which supplies Toro
and other turf maintenance machinery
to golf courses and the landscaping
industry throughout southern Africa and
O’Brian Barber, left, the director of golf
at Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club
in Mauritius, was born in Cape Town and
represented Western Province Amateur
Golf for 15 years, captaining them for 10
of those years. Storm Lupier, the course
superintendent at the estate, was born
in Canada and has worked in the USA,
Japan, and the Seychelles before moving to
Mauritius. See the story on The Tamarina
Golf Estate and Beach Club on page 20 of
this issue of GCM.
18 August 2008 Golf Club Management
KPMG releases the
fndings of its 2007 survey
KPMG have released their fndings from last year’s
survey. These are some of the more salient facts.
The number of respondents from South
Africa to the 2007 KPMG Golf Benchmark
Survey totaled in excess of 120, signifcantly
up on the year before. Andrea Sartori, head
of the Golf Advisory Practice at KPMG, had
this to say about the fndings:
Golf courses in South Africa, similarly
to those in the Middle East, have year-
round availability. The average number of
played rounds at an 18-hole golf course is
exceptionally high in both regions, however,
courses in the Middle East perform several
times better than those in South Africa in
terms of both revenues and operating proft.
This is mainly due to the signifcantly higher
pricing of golf courses in the Middle East.
South African courses are among the most
affordable, both in terms of green fees and
The following are some interesting statistics
that come out of the South African survey:
• The average revenue of the surveyed 18-
hole courses was R8.8 million (2006), up
from R8.2 million in 2005.
• 67% of courses indicated that they were
privately owned and 66% were run on a
not-for-proft basis.
• The revenue per utilized round (RevPUR)
realized an average of R274, with many
good-quality course recording over R300
• Operating costs, including wages and
maintenance costs, average more than
R7.6 million for 18-hole courses.
• The average proft of 18-hole courses
was around R1.4 million, resulting in
an operating proft margin of over 15%
compared to total revenues. This is line
with their GBS 2006 fndings. A number of
courses recorded a GOP in excess of 20%.
• 18-hole courses employ an average of 48
persons, comprising 42 full-time and six
part-time employees.
• Golf courses that operate a cart feet have
23 carts on average and the average rental
price of a cart was R134.
• 52.1% of courses outsource their Pro-
shop, 29.2% outsource their food and
beverage and 14.7% outsource their golf
• Only 57% of golf course operators
were planning capital investments,
improvements or refurbishments in 2007,
versus 89% in the previous year.
• South Africa currently has more than 450
golf courses registered to golf unions and
over 150 000 affliated golfers, giving a
population participation rate of 0.3%.
This compares with over 2% in some of
the more developed countries.
The number of affliated members has
grown by 2.1% annually over the last fve
years. A signifcant part of this increase can
be attributed to the growth in the number of
affliated female golfers. The share of female
golfers in South Africa is around 14%. Other
factors infuencing the increase include:
• Tradition, as golf has been played in
South Africa for over 100 years.
• Affordable green fees, initiation and
annual subscription fees.
• Support for junior golf.
• Rising disposable income among the
previously disadvantaged communities.
• Growing popularity of South Africa as a
golf tourism destination.
• Several successful South African
professional golf players among the
world’s top 50.
• Broad media coverage.
See Birdies and Bogeys on page 17 of this
issue of GCM regarding the 2008 KPMG
Golf Benchmark Survey. The more golf clubs
that participate in the 2008 survey, the more
representative and usable the data will be.
To access the full fndings of the 2007
survey go to
or contact Zita Valint on +36-1-887
7333 or at
20 August 2008 Golf Club Management
Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club
Golf tourism is taking off in Mauritius in a big way. Andrew Wilson of GCM recently
visited The Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club to fnd out more about golf in this
island paradise.
For centuries, the 206 hectares of dense
bush stretching down to Tamarin Bay in
Mauritius was prime hunting land. Golf
however is fast overtaking hunting as the
number one sport/tourism attraction in
Mauritius. There are currently seven good
courses on the island with a further 15 in the
pipe-line. Unlike some areas in South Africa,
golf course development has the full support
of government on the island, as they have
come to realize that golf tourism is not only
sustainable from an environmental point of
view, but also is a huge foreign currency
earner. Last year there were 850 000 tourists
visiting the island. The infrastructure and
marketing plans are in place to increase
this to two million in the next two years.
Compare this to twenty million tourists
visiting Thailand each year and you get
an idea of the up-side potential for golf in
To get a clearer picture of the challenges
facing golf club management on the island I
visited Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club
on the west coast of the island, and spoke
to O’Brian Barber, their golf director and
Storm Lupier, their course superintendent.
Here’s what they had to say.
Background information
The estate was opened in 2006 and is the
frst real golf estate on the island. The other
top courses are linked to hotels whereas
Tamarina relies on the residents of the 119
villas, local members and overseas tourists.
The smallest villa has a plot size of 3000
square meters going up to the largest at 6000
sq mtrs. Prices range from $700 000 up to
$1,3m. They are in the process of building
an hotel, opening a beach club overlooking
Tamarin Bay and also building a spa and
gymnasium. Tennis courts will also come
later in the year. “It will be impossible to
compete in this top-end tourism market
unless we are able to offer a comprehensive
package, benchmarked against the best in
the world”, says O’Brian.
The course itself
Rodney Wright, the course architect, tried to
create an African Savanna feel to the layout
with Paspalum 328 on the fairways and tees
and Champion on the greens. The problem
on the island is that half a meter down you
hit rock, so to overcome this, they had to
bring in 20 000 truck-loads of top soil. They
now have an 18-hole course that measures:
• Ladies tees 5178
• Ladies championship 5624
• Members 6077
• Championship 6522
• Professional 6886
Toro machinery is used throughout, based
on the need for reliability and the availability
of spare parts.
Biggest challenges
1. The climate. It gets very hot in summer
which plays havoc with our fairways
and greens. Added to this is the threat
of cyclones between January and March
each year. Luckily the houses are built to
withstand the excessively high winds but
the course is exposed.
2. The pricing and sourcing of materials.
The supply chain on the island is held in
the hands of a few agents who historically
have been able to control the pricing
structures and availability. It is often
cheaper for the end-user to go personally
to the suppliers in South Africa or America
and import direct.
3. Skills availability. This applies
especially on the course itself. A lot of
the greenkeeping staff were initially
recruited from the golf construction
teams. Building a golf course and normal
greenkeeping practices are two very
different disciplines. On the golf course
the work has to be done before the golfers
get to the course each day; in building,
the deadline may be three months away.
4. The service ethic. The islanders have a
wonderful culture of wanting to please.
They really do have a service ethic which
is often lacking in South African service
industries. The problem is that they often
tell you what they think you want to hear
rather than the facts. It is sometimes very
diffcult to fnd out really what is going
Tamarina is still work in progress. In the
frst full year, a total of 17 000 rounds were
played on the course with residents and their
guests accounting for 13 500 rounds. The
course is proving more popular as word gets
around that it is a great golfng destination
and, once completed, will compete with not
only the best on the island but also the best
in the world.
For more information on Tamarina Golf
Estate and Beach Club contact O’Brian
Barber at
See Birdies and Bogeys on page 17
for pictures of O’Brian Barber
and Storm Lupier.
A “Mirado” or hunting hide on the
Tamarina Golf Estate and Beach Club in
Golf goes green
The environment is on everyone’s agenda. GCM takes
a look at how a couple of top-ranked clubs are tackling
the problem.
The Gary Player Country Club and the Lost
City Golf Course at Sun City have committed
to reducing the impact of their operations on
the environment by joining Southern Africa’s
only independent environmental rating pro-
gramme for the golfng industry, Fairways by
Heritage. This is an encouraging move as the
home of what is arguably Africa’s most pres-
tigious golf tournament, the Nedbank Golf
Challenge, will now advocate green issues in
this huge leisure sector.
It is a sad reality that, while many golf
courses in South Africa are set amidst natural
surroundings and beautiful ecosystems, few
operate with even the most basic standard of
environmental responsibility. Golf courses
are a serious drain on many natural resources,
especially water, and maintaining the perfect
green can often mean using harmful chemi-
cals such as pesticides and herbicides. Re-
cently, the golfng fraternity met at an annual
summit to discuss issues and plans for the in-
dustry, and little emerged on this issue other
than discussion.
But the two Sun City courses have joined
fellow Sun International golf course at the
Wild Coast Sun, in taking the lead and setting
an example of more responsible golf course
management. All three are now Fairways
rated courses.
Antonie Els, manager of the two courses
believes that operating according to sound
environmental principles is not only good
citizenry, it is also good business.
“An environmental management pro-
gramme is an excellent tool to assist golf
courses in becoming sustainable in the long
term. If we don’t look after the environment
in which we operate, the beautiful surround-
ings where visitors pay to play will be irrepa-
rably damaged,” commented Els. “And of
course savings on energy and water, as well
as the spin-off costs of reduced chemical use
is a beneft that can get passed on to the play-
ers,” he added.
The two Sun City golf courses have entered
the programme with a view to improving their
environmental status. “The international visi-
tor is caring more each year if their money is
being spent at a facility committed to envi-
ronmental issues. To retain these visitors, it
makes sense to work towards improving our
environmental rating,” concluded Els.
The move to “greener greens” is slow and
many course managers do not see the need to
change what seems to be a winning recipe.
Southern Africa of course is faced with addi-
tional challenges in the form of limited water
supplies, energy shortages and the reality that
many golf courses in fact operate in poor rural
areas. Still, course managers across the coun-
try remain reluctant to make the commitment.
The irony is that, if implemented correctly,
sound environmental management saves the
environment, saves effort and saves money.
MD of the Heritage Environmental Manage-
ment Company, implementers of the Fairways
Environmental Rating Programme, Greg Mc-
Manus, is encouraged to welcome the two
new members and is committed to ensuring
they see the benefts of their decision. It is of
course hoped that many more golf courses
will follow suit and that the greens of South-
ern Africa will embrace “going green”.
For more information on the Heritage
Environmental Management Company and/
or the Fairways Golf Course Eco-Rating
programme, contact July Wells at or on 082 657 6491.
Is the environment an issue, or is global
warming just a phase in a long-term
developmental cycle? Let us have your ideas
on climate change, the protection of scarce
resources and the environment etc. Have you
discovered better ways to prepare golf courses
for the future?
If you think you have got something worth
sharing with other GCM readers contact John
Botha at
22 August 2008 Golf Club Management
Golf course preparation
It’s great to see top professionals being challenged by a championship course layout,
but is that what the every-day golfer wants to experience when they play their weekly
round? Murray Veitch of Turftek outlines what greenkeepers need to take into
consideration when preparing a course for play.
Golfers often ask the question, why can’t
the golf course always be presented in
tournament condition? The truth is that a lot
more goes into preparing for a tournament
than for every-day play. Tournament
preparation normally entails a lot more
budget than normal. Extra staff are hired and
a fair amount of extra fertilizer is applied.
The way the course is set up can also be very
different for a tournament than for every-
day play. During a tournament the course is
set up to test a player’s accuracy, distance
control and shot making. To achieve this,
fairways are cut narrower, the rough is left
to grow and the green speeds are increased.
These types of playing conditions may not
be that enjoyable for the every-day golfer
who will not appreciate the diffculties of
playing under tournament conditions.
So how should a course be prepared for
every-day play? The frst thing to consider
is the type of conditions found on the golf
course. Every golf course is different. For
example, some courses experience windy
conditions which are not conducive to fast
greens. Let’s look at some of the factors
which should be considered:
It is important to consider the slopes on
the green when selecting a spot to cut a
new hole. New holes should not be cut on
slopes or near to slopes on the green. There
is nothing worse than trying to fnish a hole
where the pin has been cut on a slope.
As already mentioned, the speed of the
greens should be relative to the requirements
of the every-day golfers, the environment
and the slopes on the greens. Very sloped
greens should not run too fast otherwise
they may become unplayable. Flatter greens
may be prepared differently and made to
run faster than the sloping greens to offer a
better test of golf.
Fairways should always have a decent cover
of grass. The height that the grass is cut should
be at a height that ensures healthy plant
growth. Too often fairways are cut too short
which affects the health of the plant. Modern
fairways are becoming tighter due to the use
of growth regulators which make the grass a
lot denser. The fairways should be neatly cut
and kept free of any grass clippings.
The most important consideration about
bunkers is that they should all be consistent
on a golf course. Some courses have fuffy
bunkers and others have frm bunkers. As
long as all the bunkers are the same, golfers
generally won’t complain. You may fnd that,
during the drier months, the fairway bunkers
may be softer than the greenside bunkers.
This is due to the fact that the green-side
bunkers receive more water than the fairway
bunkers. It is a good idea to hand water the
fairway bunkers to try and ensure that all the
bunkers are of the same consistency.
Bunker preparation is becoming a bit of
an art but the main thing to ensure is that they
are neatly raked and kept free of stones.
Course set-up
When the course is set up for the day’s play,
the greenkeeper will take the strength and
direction of the wind into account. Holes
that play directly into the wind will have
their tees moved slightly forward and those
that play down-wind will be extended. The
pin placement will also affect the tees that
are selected. Diffcult pin placements will
often mean easier tee selection.
A wet golf course will also effect tee-
box selections. The front tee boxes are used
when the course is wet due to the fact that
there will be very little roll on the ball.
When preparing a golf course many
different factors need to be taken into
consideration. The main thing to ensure
is that whoever is playing the course on a
particular day is able to have an enjoyable
golfng experience.
For more information on turf-related
issues, contact Murray Veitch of Turftek
on 012 807 7282 or at
The best times to think through the playability issues of a golf course are during the
design and construction phases, as can be seen at Golftek’s Highland’s Gate development
near Dullstroom.
Trees form the skeleton of your golf course
and are subsequently the biggest component
of the course. They should be looked after
and maintained properly to ensure longevity
and to beautify your golf course. Below are
some useful tips for maintaining trees on
your golf course:
Watering your trees
Use a watering system that will ensure
deep watering. Shallow watering promotes
root competition between the trees and the
fairway grasses.
Although hand watering the trees on your
golf course is considered primitive and time
consuming, it is still the best way to ensure
that the water is penetrating the grass matt
with an exact measurement of how much
water every tree is getting. The other option
is to make a large investment during the
construction period of the course and install
a separate irrigation system for the trees
where each tree should have individual
If you have to make use of a sprinkler system,
keep in mind not to spray the water directly
onto the tree stem. If possible, try to keep a six
meter distance from any tree stem. Too much
water could result in a fungal infection at the
base of the stem and, in turn, this could lead
to a snapped tree trunk. Also consider longer
run-times for the sprinklers watering the trees
to ensure a deep watering thereby pulling tree
roots away from the surface.
Pruning your trees
Regular pruning is a very important task to
keep the fairways open and the trees healthy.
Remember to service your tools regularly
and disinfect the tools between trees in
sensitive areas. This is good horticultural
practice and will prevent the spread of
disease amongst the trees. Before pruning,
consider the fowering times of your trees as
well as the type of species and during what
season they need to be pruned. If possible,
plan your golf events and tournaments
around the times that your trees look their
It is recommended that you mulch the trees on
your golf course with pine needles and/or fne
bark chips. Besides the horticultural benefts,
this gives an all round neat and fnished-
off appearance to the golf course. Every
golf course should have its own chipper.
Mulching is advantageous because it prevents
weed seeds from germinating, it keeps the
soil wet for longer and it has nutritional value
when it starts to decompose. An additional
N fertilizer is recommended to neutralise the
nitrifcation during decomposition.
Feed your tree with Guano tablets, bounce
back and compost during the growing season
twice a year. Established trees should be fed
four times a year with normal fertilizer. If
using bounce back, apply every four to six
weeks. When using controlled fertilizer, use
a single application once a year.
Ring barking
Ring barking happens when the weed eaters
are applied too close to the bark of the tree
and create a ring where the bark of the
tree has been damaged. This cuts off the
nutrient and moisture supply throughout
the tree. Possible solutions to this problem
are to create a no-grass bowl around every
tree covered with mulch. If bowls are not
an option for you on your golf course, make
use of a porous plastic collar.
For more information, please contact
Bruce Stewart at Just Trees on 021 871 1595
or e-mail at
How to maintain the
trees on your golf course
In part three of a three-part series on trees, Bruce
Stewart of Just Trees gives advice on how best to
maintain your trees on the golf course.