March 2008

Also in this issue • GPS Systems • Soil samples • White River Country Club • Corporate identity • Salinity & sodicity • Tips on moving clubs • Fear of public speaking
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CONTENTS LEAD STORY The caddie predicament GPS Are GPS systems a gimmick or are they here to stay? CLUB PROFILE White River Country Club HR LETTERS Identifying the difference between willingness and ability 3

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The caddie predicament
We have produced a number of articles on the status of caddies in GCM over the past eighteen months. The situation is complex and is constantly changing. Golf is still regarded as the fastest growing sport in South Africa yet the use of caddies does not follow the same trend. There are no accurate statistics available on the number of caddie rounds per annum but it is safe to predict that these have declined over the past couple of years and will almost certainly continue to do so into the future. That is unless something dramatic happens to turn the situation around. Co-incidental with the decline in caddie rounds is the growth in the use of golf carts at both traditional member clubs and residential estates. There are 431 golf clubs listed in the SAA Golf Directory for 2008. Of these 62 are golf estates. All of these have been built in the last 20 years since Dennis Barker initiated the trend with Selborne during the late 1980`s. No new traditional member clubs have been established during this period nor are any likely to be opened in the near future. The reason for raising this is simply because at least 40% of these do not make caddies available for regular daily play. There are few countries in the world where golfers are fortunate enough to have the availability of caddies in such numbers and at such prices as we have in South Africa. In spite of this, the presence and availability of caddies is often not appreciated. Availability of caddies at so many of our great golf clubs should be used as one of the value-added benefits for international tourists coming to South Africa. This is not the case and is perhaps indicative of the numerous shortcomings in the caddie-system that prevail today. What are some of the deficiencies and


COURSE MANAGEMENT Get the best results from your soil samples 11 COMMUNICATIONS The importance of corporate identity on digital publications COURSE MANAGEMENT An answer to salinity and sodicity problems in sand-based turf sites PRO-FILE Tips on moving to a new club BIRDIES AND BOGEYS Snippets HR DEVELOPMENT Overcoming the fear of public speaking


In part one of a series of articles on caddies, Ian Leach of Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro identifies the causes behind the current decline in the usage of caddies.
what can be done about them? These can be broken down into categories such as availability, reliability, attitudes, player support, club support, affordability and many more. The underlying system of employing caddies is also a contributing factor that will be explored. Some of the current shortcomings are: • Informal employment With very few exceptions, caddies are not employed by a club and offer their services to a player on a daily contract basis. They travel to their place of employment at their own cost often not knowing whether or not they will go home empty handed and hungry. They have little or no protection against player abuse, short payment or anything else. Yet we expect them to be smartly presented, well trained, honest, reliable and respectful at all times. • Club accountability It is a fact that most golf clubs accept no accountability for their caddies. Certainly some clubs do, but they are in the minority. Caddie quarters at most clubs are appalling. This is often due to the lack of facilities provided in the first place, but sometimes due to abuse and lack of respect by the caddies themselves. Caddies generate no income for a club under the current structure and clubs are reluctant to incur expense with no direct return. Very few clubs have any sort of a training program in place and some don’t even have all their caddies on a register. Very few clubs screen their caddies or look into possible past criminal records. One hears club management, committee members and individual members criticize caddies far more often than they compliment
Golf Club Management March 2008 3

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Cover picture by Andre Wilson: Golfer and caddie lining up a putt on the 14th green at Royal Cape.

■ EditoriAl ANDREW WILSON email: cell: 082 575 3861 ■ 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 for r240 A yEAr. ContACt NATALIE ShEkLETON tel: 011 301 4448 email:

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them, but are they doing anything constructive to change the situation? • Caddie conduct Too many caddies are their own worst enemy and sadly, through poor behavior, give the industry a bad name. Under the present system, with little selection screening, it is very apparent that large numbers of unemployed and undesirable characters are likely to end up as caddies. Some caddies fight on the premises, use banned substances, consume alcohol, steal and generally conduct themselves badly. It is difficult to eradicate this and therefore equally difficult to build a positive reputation for the caddie “profession” in the country as a whole. Fortunately these characters are in the minority and the majority of regular caddies are individuals with good experience and reliability. • Caddie vs. cart Almost all of the recently built golf estates have provided players with a full fleet of golf carts for hire. Many of these are now fitted with G.P.S. systems which assist the player with distance measurements and allow the Pro shop to monitor speed of play and communicate with the player on the course. Many players consider this to be a significant advantage over taking a caddie. A golf cart costs approximately R90 per player sharing compared with a caddie fee and lunch somewhere between R100 and R150 per round. Most important of all is that the owner makes great returns on a fleet of carts. A full maintenance lease on a cart costs approximately R1200 per cart per month. Assuming the cart fleet is rented out at an average per cart of 20 times per month at an average rate of R180, the club would gross R3600 per cart per month giving a net profit of R2400 per cart per month. Clearly there is incentive for clubs to promote the cart sales as opposed to caddies. The traditional golfing trend in the country is moving from walking to riding and as a result most of the traditional member clubs are constantly increasing their fleet of rental carts. Clearly this reduces caddie rounds in direct proportion. • The golf experience In reaction to player demand, golf clubs are concentrating more and more on creating and delivering a world class golf experience. This too seems to count against the use of caddies under the current structure. Because the golf experience with a caddie can be so inconsistent, ranging from poor to exceptionally good, both golf clubs and discerning golfers tend to opt for the use of golf carts. These five suggested short comings represent the majority of what needs to be addressed to avoid the predicament of caddies deteriorating further in the future. In part two of this series we will look at what can be done to improve the position of caddies, while at the same time enhancing the golf experience. Ian Leach – Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro Phone: (014) 743-2242; 082-892-8693 or e -mail

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Are GPS systems a gimmick or are they here to stay?
The technology available to golfers is developing fast. On-course GPS is one of the latest innovations to create debate amongst club management and golfers alike. Peter van Onselen of GCM looks at some of the advantages to both clubs and golfers.
You arrive at a golf club, hop into a golf cart and wham, there’s a screen right in front of your eyes with a picture of the first hole, a score card and all the necessary yardages with the option to call the pro shop in an emergency or to order a beverage. Ah, that’s the life. That’s how golf should be played. GPS systems have already been installed at golf estates around the country including Fancourt, Leopard Creek. Is this the way of the future? Golf is becoming a game of distinctive specifics, where players are insisting on an enhanced golfing experience; an experience that allows them to enjoy the game, even when playing shoddy golf. What’s important from a club perspective is that the GPS systems need to be seen, not only as an additional benefit to the consumers, but also as a huge bonus for golf club management. GPS units should not just be for the ‘upmarket’ golf clubs. Smaller, less extravagant clubs should be able to offer their patrons the GPS experience with affordable finance structures. One thing is for sure, GPS systems raise the excitement levels for the players. All golfers chase a lower score, which in turn makes them happier, which in turn encourages them to play more and hence spend more money at your club (you hope). An additional added advantage is the speed of play. The GPS system speeds up play by approximately 20 minutes per round. This allows cart compulsory courses to budget on two more four-balls per field (morning and afternoon); effectively 16 more golfers per day. Assuming the course charges R500 per player and they can accommodate the extra 16 players per day, this equates to an additional R8000 per day in turnover. If these courses have at least 100 golf days per annum with a full field, this can add over GPS systems on golf carts can bring a whole new golfing dimension to your members and visitors, while at the same time bringing in added revenue for the club through hiring fees and advertising.


three quarters of a million rand per annum to their turnover. Something to think about! Apart from well manicured golf courses, technology is a brilliant way to attract golfers who are looking for the ultimate golfing experience together with value for money. The reality is that GPS systems are no longer ‘luxury items’ but rather a ‘must have’ in today’s golfing environment. Some system also have the facility to automatically calculate leaders and winners scores during and after weekly competitions. The excitement level for a player seeing his or her name at the top of the leader-board and trying to stay up there, adds a new dimension to what amateur golf is all about. No course is too small to have GPS systems fitted onto their carts. Even if your club only has a fleet of 10 carts, modern systems can be installed with the specific course mapped accordingly. But how accurate are these systems, really? Yardages are marked to within two feet of the desired target. In some cases as many as 12 different satellites are used to ensure accurate, precise readings.

Another question which is often asked is whether the GPS system is not taking away the challenge involved in the game? My response to that would be, absolutely not. The game is hard enough as it is. Consider the third umpire in cricket and the television match official (TMO) in rugby. Sport is heading into the technological era and golf needs to be a part of that. The bottom line is that GPS screens are fun to play with and informative, especially when waiting for a slow four-ball in front of you. In addition to the quick, accurate yardages, one doesn’t have to walk to the nearest sprinkler head or shout to your partner for a distance measurement. It certainly adds a colourful dimension to the service your club offers, sceptic or not. For more information on GPS systems, contact Andrew Nelson of Elumina on 082 901 6184 or go to their website on Elumina are the fastest growing GPS distributer in the world and have installed screens at 150 courses over the past two years in the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa.
Golf Club Management March 2008 7

White River Country Club gears up for a Lowveld boom
The Lowveld is becoming more than just “Big Five Country”, and while the Kruger National Park remains the major attraction, the Lowveld is fast becoming a serious golfing destination. With new 18-hole courses being developed in Dullstroom, Hoedspruit and Machadodorp, golfers will soon be offered an exciting variety of new courses to play on in the region. The management of White River Country Club recognizes this fact, and in welcoming these developments, is determined to retain the club’s status of being the “must play” course in the region. With an outstanding layout, and fairways the envy of other courses, the club has now undertaken the task of replanting all 18 greens. While this work is being undertaken, all the bunkers will be upgraded, a short-game practice area will be constructed and work will commence on upgrading the car park. As a large percentage of players are visitors to White River and therefore are not accustomed to the summer heat, the club has installed air-conditioning in the bar and function room to ensure comfort for them while they enjoy these facilities. Environmental awareness remains a priority at the club and suitably qualified experts have been engaged to train the ground’s staff on the control and eradication of undesirable and invader plants throughout the course, particularly in the waterways. As part of this program, some 400 indigenous trees have been planted this season. The greenkeeper Gerhard “Smittie” Smit and his staff have been working hand-inhand with Robert Richardson and John Peach of Tee to Green Projects who were contracted to replant the greens. The new greens will be open for play by 1st March 2008 by which time other projects being undertaken will have been completed. Subtle undulations have been added to the previously predominantly flat greens. The passion and pride Smittie has for the course leaves no doubt that the greens, as well as the rest of the course, will be outstanding. Every effort is being made to present a course in pristine condition for the opening of the new greens which will be followed by
8 March 2008 Golf Club Management


The popularity of the Lowveld as a tourist destination is on a roll. GCM investigates what White River Country Club is doing to make sure that they remain the “must play” golf course in the region.
two major events in March. The White River Ladies Classic from 3rd to 5th March is already oversubscribed, with an increased field from last year, and the annual Easter Tournament from Wednesday 19th to Monday 24th March is also attracting a full field. The general manager, Keith Kruger, is adamant that with the anticipated increase in the number of rounds on the “new course”, volume is no excuse for any lowering of the service levels offered at the club, but is in fact quite the opposite. “We will retain our warm friendly ‘Country Club’ atmosphere, and through the necessary training of our staff, are determined to improve on the service standards offered” says Keith, a qualified accountant. His qualification has also enabled him to very effectively manage the club’s finances during the time temporary greens were in play. The cost of replacing the greens was not restricted to the contractor’s costs, but of equal concern was the loss of playing revenue. In order to continue to attract players, the club reduced playing fees by approx 30% during this time. This is not a cost they expect to recover overnight and they will revert to their normal competitive green fees once the greens re-open. The investment in the greens will be recovered through increased rounds in the long term. While fixed costs remained, it was essential to minimize and effectively manage all other expenditure, as a fifty percent drop in the number of rounds played, had a serious impact on the club’s budget. Keith’s principals of managing White River Country Club are simple. He focuses on: i. Identifying the geographical location of our club which will determine our market sector. ii. Setting a clear mission statement. iii. Designing a management structure to achieve our mission.

tude to ensure the club is considered iv. Employing qualified personnel. White River Country Club Stats favourably when this leisure time is v. Considering our golf course and being allocated”, says Trevor. facilities as our product. Handicapped member Men 407 Trevor has a strong background in vi. Continually upgrading systems Ladies 96 business administration and sales and and standards. Annual Fees Men R2 750 together with Keith and Smittie they vii. Managing our club on sound Ladies R1 870 are a formidable team, well capable of business principles. Rounds played 2007 28 021 achieving the long term goals of this White River Country Club’s golf Playing fees Members R80 progressive club. The recent adoption course is in the heart of Mpumalanga’s Veterans R45 Juniors R35 of a more businesslike approach to mantourist route and in close proximity to Affiliated Visitors R180 aging the club, with less dependency on some of the leading hotels, restaurants Non Affiliated Visitors R200 committees, has empowered this team, and shopping centers where visitors are Veteran Visitors R95 making them more responsible for marwell catered for. The club also offers Length of course Men 6036 metres keting and managing the club. swimming, tennis, squash, cricket & Ladies 5056 metres For further information on White hockey. The large number of housing The club is currently accepting new members River Country Club contact the club developments planned for the White on (013) 751 3781 or their general River area would further indicate that manager, Keith Kruger at the club is poised for a bright future. area as competition per se, but rather look or Trevor John, the director of golf at at developing the awareness of the Lowveld their director of golf, Trevor John at White River Country Club, is working as a golfing destination, while White River closely with national golf event organizers Country Club retains its status as a ‘must and businesses countrywide in arranging golf play’ course. The increasing demands on To see the top team at White River days and group tours to the Lowveld. These ones time results in golf courses competing Country Club go to Birdies and Bogeys will also include other courses in the region. against numerous other leisure activities. We on page 21. “We do not view other golf courses in the have improved our facilities, service and atti-


Identifying the difference between willingness and ability
If you have a question, contact Andrew Wilson at A question from Harry in KZN. I have a performance problem with a member of the team. I’ve spoken to the person on a number of occasions and immediately after the talk their performance improves for a few weeks and then reverts to unacceptable levels. I’ve committed our discussions to writing and warned her that she is putting her job at risk. How long should the performance counseling process go on before I can terminate her services? GCM – As with most labour related matters, that depends on a number of factors. How serious are the consequences of the lack of performance; are the levels and standards of performance clearly spelt out; has adequate support in terms of training been offered; has adequate time been given for the person to overcome their inadequacies etc? The person has obviously proved to you that they are able to work at the required standard so it doesn’t look as if there is a training need or that the levels or standards of performance need to be clarified. It looks more like you are dealing with a willingness problem. Providing the standards you are setting are fair, you need to hold a performance management hearing to let the person know that their pattern of reverting to poor standards is unacceptable and that if it occurs again there is the possibility that their employment contract could be terminated. In a way it is a bit like a “final written warning”, but you are in a counseling mode so do not have to go through a disciplinary hearing. If the person performs well for a while and then reverts to unacceptable levels once again, I would recommend that you give them one further final warning and change the wording to “will instead of could be terminated”. If there is then a further drop off in standards, and if there is no suitable alternative to termination of services, you should terminate the person’s employment contract. Remember, your aim throughout all the discussions should be to get the person to perform consistently at the required standards. If on the other hand the person doesn’t have the will to operate consistently and effectively, then the sooner you start the process the better. Finally, don’t forget to confirm everything in writing from the outset of the process. n
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Get the best results from your soil samples
Darren Berry, of Golf Data, highlights the importance of soil sampling and analysis when planning your fertilizer programme for the year ahead.
At this time of the year many superintendents will be contemplating an annual soil analysis and fertilizer programme review. Even the smallest of golf clubs should make sure that they are spending their money wisely when it comes to planning their fertilizer programme for the year ahead. Here’s how to get the best results out of the process. SoIL TeSTING Before any nutritional programme can be reviewed, one must first gather all of the required information on which to base your decisions. Soil testing remains the most common and best method of determining the plant available nutrient content and it also allows the superintendent to address any problems before they occur. The three primary components of soil testing are, 1) Sampling: The soil test is only ever as good as the sample allows it to be. The sampling phase must be carefully managed as this is the area where most errors occur. For effective sampling, follow these steps, - Ensure sampling equipment is uncontaminated to start with and kept clean throughout the sampling process. - Take numerous samples from each required area and blend them together to produce a representative sample of the area. - Use soil from a uniform depth and separate sand from clay or topsoil. - Separate organic material, such as thatch, from the sample submission. - Sample at consistent times of the year and take granular fertilizer applications into account, which may influence the results. 2) Laboratory Analysis: There are many laboratories available for soil sample analysis. Always select an accredited laboratory rather than utilizing the free services offered by fertilizer manufacturers or distributors. The different laboratories will have many testing methods which will all produce varied results. Once you have selected a laboratory be sure to use the same one year in and year out to provide consistency and to allow for proper comparison so that trends can be analyzed. 3) Interpretation of Results and Recommendations: Although most superintendents will utilize the services of a reputable consultant or soil scientist to interpret the results and give recommendations, it is still very important that one understands the results to properly judge the basis and quality of any recommendations. It is therefore vital that all superintendents ‘brush-up’ on their soil fertility knowledge on a regular basis to make sure you are getting the most out of any recommendations. The most important aspects of the analysis and recommendation, which superintendents should be paying attention to are, - Soil acidity (pH) - Lime requirement (lime raises the pH to counteract the acidity affect of chemical fertilizers) - Soluble salts, e.g. Sodium (Na) and EC and SAR. - Essential nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Mo, B, Cl, Ni) - Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) - Base saturation. Other items of general importance are, - Utilize a balanced granular vs foliar,


program. There are very few products that are purely ‘foliar’ (only absorbed through the leaves). Most ‘foliar’ applications are simply water soluble fertilizer sprayed in liquid form which is absorbed by both the roots and shoots. Either way, light frequent applications through liquid fertilizer can play an important role especially in greens maintenance, but remember not to neglect the ‘root based’ fertilizer inputs, as this is still where most nutrient absorption takes place. - Nitrogen should always play a central role in any fertilizer program. Nitrogen is generally taken up by plants in the forms of ammonium (NH4 +) and nitrate (NO3 -). The correct use of nitrogen, applied at a rate equivalent to the minimum requirement to produce healthy turfgrass, must be one of the first items addressed in any fertilizer program revision. Soil fertility and plant nutrition may sometimes seem like a daunting subject, but with a simple scientific approach and a little bit of common sense greenkeeping, it can easily become standard practice for even the most humble of golf course maintenance operations. For further information on course management issues, contact Darren Berry, at Golf Data on 083-671-9399 or at visit their website Reference Baird, James H, 2007, Soil Fertility and Turfgrass Nutrition 101, USGA Green Selection Record.
Golf Club Management March 2008 11

The importance of corporate identity on digital publications
Are e-mails killing off the personal touch? Graham Starkey of RetailTribe stresses the importance of personalising your e-mail communications.
Golf club members and patrons are beginning to receive more and more digital communication into their inbox. Some is desirable but most is not and deemed by you or your internet service provider as spam. However, digital communication is far more cost effective than print media these days and allows more regular communication with your members, so is being used more and more by golf clubs. There are two clear points of consideration in respect of the e-mail newsletters as communication solutions to your members and your community. 1) 2) Maintaining a consistent corporate identity (CI) and Having a face, a personal identity as to where the message has come from. A message from a recognised individual The number of e-mails coming from various faceless companies are growing, whereas the golf club is a place made up of an active ‘community’ of friends, colleagues and business associates. If an e-mail comes from the club or committee the communication should not be faceless but be from an individual that can be recognised. A message from a faceless club manager can be interpreted by the reader as him or her hiding behind a wall. A message from a manager who projects their face with a smile is a message coming from a position of strength and confidence that will be received in a much better light. A face makes the e-mail far more powerful in its key objective, namely to build relationships. How can you develop a positive relationship with an e-mail full of text? You can’t! But an e-mail coming from an individual that you can see and then recognise The more you can illustrate your e-mail newsletters with pictures and people, the more effective they are likely to be.


Maintaining your CI. Many of you have spent lots of money either developing a new identity or maintaining your existing one; from websites to letterheads, from scorecards to the menus in the bars, the club’s CI should reflect the club’s colours and be carried in the same way across all media, both physical and digital alike. In deciding what e-mail format you take, spending a little to get it right is more important than spending nothing and getting a ‘generic feeling’ newsletter. In a climate where brands carry a lot of weight and carry an emotive feeling, maintaining your CI in terms of the club’s logo and colour theme should be carried onto your e-mail newsletter, making it more recognisable to your local community in a world that is becoming more brand aware. Consistent club identity on your digital communication will therefore be more acceptable and read more widely.

in the flesh at the club is a communication method that is far more acceptable and successful way of communication. In summary, spending a little on your e-mail newsletter, to ensure it matches as closely as possible the rest of your media and the CI that carries your brand, is more than worthwhile. Presenting the e-mail from an individual or group of individuals, including photos of yourselves, is a very worthwhile exercise. It makes the e-mail far more personal and effective in its objectives of communicating to a community who see the e-mail as a great source of regular information and not just another spam e-mail. For more information on e-mail newsletters and solutions right for you, contact Graham Starkey at RetailTribe on 021 880 2693, e-mail him on or visit
Golf Club Management March 2008 13


An answer to salinity and sodicity problems in sand-based turf sites

Willie Pretorius of Golf Course Solutions identifies the definitions, causes, implications and correction of salinity and sodicity problems in sand-based turf sites.

This article will endeavor to explain why salinity and sodicity control on sand-based turf sites needs to be identified and managed with extreme care. This topic will become one of the most important issues as we progress in time and water becomes more of a scarce resource and golf courses are forced to use recycled and/or treated effluent water. Water in this category has, without exception, a higher level of dissolved salts of which sodium in most cases is the dominant and problematic ion. DeFINITIoNS What is salinity? Salinity in very simple terms is the level of salt concentration in the external soil solution. In other words salts from the irrigation water and applied fertilizers in solution and not adsorbed on soil colloids. These salts consist mainly of the following anions (negatively charged ions) chlorides (Cl ˜), sulphates(SO4 ²˜) ,
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bicarbonates (HCO3˜), carbonates (CO3²˜) and nitrates (NO3˜) as well as the following cations (positively charged ions) sodium (Na+) calcium (Ca ²+), magnesium (Mg ²+) and potassium (K+). What is sodicity? The level of sodicity is measured by the level of exchangeable Sodium ions adsorbed on the soil colloids and is measured by the Percentage exhangeable Sodium in a normal soil analyses. Why is this so important as it relates to sand-based turf sites? In order to understand the implication of the problem it is important to get to grips with the following definitions. Cation exchange capacity (CeC) Quality of Irrigation water. Sand is in many instances exclusively used as the base for the growing medium to build golf course greens. Sand is inherently low

in Cation exhange Capacity (CeC). This term can be best described as the number of negatively loaded adhesion points of the soil colloids where positively charged (cations) nutrients can adhere to. It will become obvious why a soil with a low cation exchange capacity becomes a more difficult situation to deal with as it relates to these problems. Irrigation water quality. The quality of irrigation water is measured in respect of how it is going to influence the salinity and sodicity status of the soil it is intended to irrigate. It therefore measures the different soluble salt contributing components. As irrigation water is applied to the soil to replenish the water removed by evaporation and transpiration from the plant (evapotranspiration), the dissolved salts in the irrigation water will therefore be added to the soil profile and therefore influencing

the Salinity and Sodicity of the soil on a continuous basis. The soil/plant/water interaction illustrated with a practical example. Assuming we start with a sand-based green with low cation exchange capacity of say 1.5 meq / 100g. The cation adsorption points are loaded as follows: Ca 0.9 meq 60% Mg 0.15 meq 10% K 0.12 meq 8% Na 0.03 meq 2% H 0.3 meq 20% This sand has a pH of 5.5 Irrigation water quality used to irrigate this sand based soil has the following quality: Dissolved salts Calcium (Ca) Magnesium (Mg) Potassium (K) Sodium (Na) Bicarbonates (HCO3) Carbonates (CO3) Chlorides (Cl) mg/l 120 42 6 287 253 181 552 Converted to meq’s 6.0 3.4 0.15 12.47 4.14 6.03 15.59

The Golf Industry Trade Show in orlando
Willie Pretorius will be attending the golf industry show in Orlando, USA from the 29th January to the 2nd February 2008. While there, he will be researching material for future articles in GCM. He will also be investigating the possibility of holding an industry trade show in South Africa during 2009 in conjunction with Golf Club Management and Compleat Golfer. We’ll keep you posted on developments and look forward to bringing you the best of what the Orlando trade show has to offer. For more information on the Orlando Golf Industry Trade Show go to If you look at the immediate potential of the excess sodium ions to replace the hydrogen on the starting sand profile illustrated above, then the soil quality as far as sodium is concerned will quickly move to about 22 meq of sodium as it drives off the hydrogen from the soil colloids. This is a phenomenon always observed when a low cation exchange capacity sandy soil is irrigated with just the slightest of sodium containing irrigation water. This is technically known as a low buffered soil reaction. (Inability to retain its pH when invaded by base ions because of low CEC indicating too few adhesion points for the very weakly bonded hydrogen ions to retain its presence)

Although calcium is bonded to the “exchange adhesion points” much stronger than sodium; the shear quantity pressure in the above example will over time dominate the soil profile giving rise to a sodic soil. Continual irrigation with water having the quality as per the above example will not only increase the incidence of sodicity as described but will also add to the soil salinity. When a high number of short irrigation cycles are applied just to replenish the evapotranspiration loss it stands to reason that with every application the salts in the irrigation water will remain in the external soil solution and build up over the “wetted” profile, usually the top 100 to 150 mm. This is usually observed when the soil resistance measurement in Ohms presents a declining tendency. (This measures the resistance to an electrical current – when this is high as it ideally should be, then a smaller quantity of salts are present to conduct the electricity and vis versa.) What is the significance of all the above? Salinity: In simple terms consider a soil solution where no salts are present. In this instance water uptake by the plant roots takes place with minimal expedition of energy and only has to overcome the tension with which the water is held on the soil colloid. When the soil water quantity declines with evapotranspiration so will the plant root need to expend more energy to “suck” the water into its roots. When dissolved salts are now added to this equation under an identical water quantity situation, the salts will add an extra holding force to the water as it decreases with evapotranspiration. (The added induced force by the salts is termed osmotic pressure.) When the added salts increase with irrigation applications, so will the osmotic pressure potential. This is when you find wilting spots on the greens where it is thought to be sufficiently irrigated. When a situation like this arises a dangerous cycle starts with over irrigating to “dilute” the salt induced osmotic pressure, adding more salts every time and creating anaerobic conditions with all the horrible consequences that this can cause. Continued on page 17
Golf Club Management March 2008 15

Electrical conductivity (mS/m) 204 pH 6.9 Certain very simple chemical reactions take place within the irrigation water of which the reaction of calcium and magnesium with the carbonates and bicarbonates are one of the more important as far as influencing soil’s salinity and sodicity status and is measured by the residual sodium carbonate content. In the above water, the calculated Residual Sodium Carbonate (RSC) is calculated as follows: RSC = (HCO3 + CO3) – (Ca + Mg) RSC = (4.14 + 6.03) – ( 6.0 + 3.4) RSC = + 0.77. The above illustrates that all the calcium and magnesium ions in the irrigation water will precipitate as calcium and magnesium carbonate and the excess sodium in the free form or in the form of sodium carbonate will first of all displace the hydrogen ions on the soil colloids with the resultant rise in pH to a level around 7 or higher.

When the soil water quantity declines with evapotranspiration so will the plant root need to expend more energy to “suck” the water into its roots.

Continued from page 15 Sodicity: The main problem associated with a sodic condition is the dispersion of soil particles into smaller particles creating an impervious layer resulting in poor water infiltration. It also causes plugging of the pores with a resultant poor air (oxygen) movement to the root zones. With high sodium content on the soil base profile, and high pH’s, calcium becomes insoluble in the calcium carbonate form and can result in calcium deficiency in the turf. It has been widely reported that if calcium is abundantly available and easily taken up by the roots then all the other nutrients are also easily absorbed as it acts like an ion pump in the nutrient uptake process. Abundant calcium availability is therefore crucial for a healthy turf. How do you overcome these problems? Salinity: This problem can be overcome by leaching the excessive salts below the root zone. The question of regular “intentional salt leaching irrigations” is very important where salinity is a problem. Using a good Desalinator in the irrigation water is always a good idea. Such a desalinator should retain the calcium in the soluble state i.e. overcome the effect of the carbonate precipitation. Such an irrigation must be applied so that it leaches the built up salts in the soil profile below the root zone. Sodicity: The solution to this problem is to rid the soil colloids from the excess sodium and replace this with calcium ions. This can be done using gypsum or acidifying the soil so as to release the calcium in the bonded calcium carbonate form. There are now however more modern sophisticated products available such as the calcium saturated organic acids that will exchange the sodium from the soil colloids with calcium derived from the release of the bonded insoluble calcium carbonates. These products therefore provide some calcium to the soil solution as well as acidifying it; therefore combining the effects of what gypsum and soil acidification would have achieved, in a mild but effective process. Improving the Cation exchange Capacity of the growth medium. The extent of this problem can also be minimized if the cation exchange capacity of the starting sand based growth medium is increased. This will improve the buffering capacity as well as the tolerance levels of the problem. There are zeolites available that have the physical properties of sand but possess a CEC of 165 meq/ 100g. By blending a pre-determined quantity of this material into the sand growth medium, the CEC can be raised substantially. For more information oncourse management matters, contact Willie Pretorius of Golf Course Solutions. (tel 021 913 2913 / 083 4589854).

Tips on moving to a new club
Richard Pickering has recently moved from King David to Royal Cape Golf Club. GCM asked him what advice he could give other golf professionals and clubs to help make the transition to a new club as smooth as possible. Here’s what he had to say.
Moving to a new club is a wonderful opportunity to take stock of yourself and your values. You really have to focus on what is important to you, your family and your reputation. You need to make sure that you leave your previous club with your reputation intact. Your new club is going to be judging you on first impressions, so you had better make sure you get things right first time. During the move to Royal Cape two bits of advice I received in the past kept coming to mind. My father, John Pickering, taught me to “always under-promise and over-deliver.” The other piece of advice comes from Jeff Clause of St Francis Links. He told me that a critical key to success is to… “treat your members like kings and your visitors like members.” With these thoughts in the back of my mind, here are some points that may help others facing a move to a new club. Move in the quiet times. Try to make your move during the quiet periods. This enables your old club to make plans for your replacement, while at the same time it enables you to negotiate with suppliers who are not up against year-end or similar deadlines. To make the move during a hectic trading/golfing period is not conducive to creating a favorable first impression. Do some thorough research. Visit other golf shops with similar profiles so that you can find out what products are most likely to sell in your golf shop. It’s not always what you like which sells, but rather what your new customers will like that is critical. Just a point of warning though; the golfing world is small and people can be sensitive to prying eyes. Make sure you clear your visit and its purpose with either the head professional or director of golf before you make the visit. Don’t work alone. Meet regularly with your architect, shopfitter and a neutral committee member, to oversee the planning and opening processes of your new golf shop. Bring the club manager and greenkeeper into your thinking and ask for their input. The more that people understand why you are doing what you are doing, the more they will be able to support and advise you. I am fortunate to be supported by my very competent and capable wife Taryn who is a qualified CA. It is great to have someone close to you who you can trust and rely on. You also know that you have a colleague who will tell you when you are being a complete @#*&%! Develop a network. Get to know the other golf operators in your area, be it The Pro Shop, The Golfers Club or other golf clubs. Share information and be prepared to exchange stock between stores in order to satisfy your customer. The more reasons you give for members and visitors to spend time in your shop, the more successful you will be. Beware of technology. It’s great to have the latest computer technology but make sure that it is appropriate and that it works before committing yourself to large expenditure. Wireless options look great on paper but ensure that you do not have dead spots in your shop where wireless technology will not work? Make sure your systems are easy to operate, simple to maintain and are backed up by reputable suppliers and guarantees. Running a successful Pro Shop is all about team work, especially when you are trying to set standards at a new club. Nazley Payne, Taryn and Richard Pickering, and Latifa Cassiem certainly have a lot to smile about.
18 March 2008 Golf Club Management


Be ready to trade when you open. Make sure there is enough time for the varnish to dry before you open! I’m not joking.


GCM asked Barbara Pestana, club manager at Royal Cape, what advice she could give to club management when welcoming a new Pro to the team. 1. Communication is key. The job is usually generic but each club or employer has their own unique style which needs to be learnt. 2. Standards have to be set during the initial interview stages as they have to know exactly what is expected and required of them prior to accepting the position. 3. Once the recruitment and selection process has been completed it is essential to solicit members support for the new incumbent. This is crucial from the club’s point of view. 4. It is also essential to assist the new incumbent wherever possible especially during the first couple of months whilst they are gradually being integrated into the club. 5. They should be allowed a bedding-in period of three to four months. 6. During this period short informal meetings should take place to iron out teething problems. Flexibility is important as they might have some new untried ideas. 7. After the bedding in period, longer structured meetings should be held weekly. Barbara Pestana can be contacted on 021 761-6551.

Ensure that you have full size curves on display at all times, change your displays regularly and ensure that higher units do not obscure lower units. There is nothing worse than having shopfitters/painters around when you are trying to make a good first impression. Shrinkage could incur through merchandise being spoiled. It is critical to have enough equipment and merchandise to attract members and visitors into your shop; be well stocked but focus on a neatly presented, uncluttered golf shop. Ensure that you have full size curves on display at all times, change your displays regularly and ensure that higher units do not obscure lower units etc. Schedule your staff for the busy periods. Take a look at the most important aspect of your business, your staff. Keep your contracts of employment as flexible as possible so that you have maximum coverage over the busy trading periods. If possible start with short-term contracts until you know what the shop will be able to support and what the performance levels and capacities of the individual members of staff are. It will take a substantial amount of time for you to start understanding your unique trading patterns and when your daily, weekly and monthly trading peaks and valleys occur. Staff training is critical. If you have the luxury of opening a new golf shop do as much staff training as you can before the shop opens. Get suppliers in to talk about their products. Ensure that the staff members in your store understand the basic properties and qualities of the merchandise they are selling. Training takes time and once the shop is open it becomes extremely difficult to spend quality time training your staff. Don’t form cliques Most clubs have groups or cliques that at best stick to themselves and at worst believe that they own the club. Make absolutely sure that you don’t get sucked in to a particular clique. Try to relate to all ages, genders, members, visitors and committee members alike. GCM asked Richard what his top three priorities were during the process: 1. Get to know and understand your members. Each club is different and you can only be understood when you understand. 2. Make sure your staff members are thoroughly trained, know their merchandise and are well presented and professional at all times. 3. Always try to deliver beyond expectations as you never get a second chance to create a good first impression. To contact Richard Pickering call him on 021 761-6552 or e-mail him at

Golf Club Management

March 2008


Is your golf course exceptional, exciting and enjoyable? could be

PO Box 4531 Dainfern Valley 2055 Johannesburg, South Africa Tel/Fax +27 11 469-3345 e-mail: Direct personal service line

+27 83 375 2098

My team has over two decades of experience in golf course design and construction!
Cobie Legrange has won 23 international tournaments, including the Australian Masters and two British Masters titles. Once ranked 15th in the world, he now applies a lifetime of knowledge and experience to: • Design of golf courses & golf estates to international construction specifications • Redesign, reconstruction, and consultancy across the board, including par-three golf courses, driving ranges, golf studios and academies, golf estate residential layouts and feasibility studies • Liaising with top international golf stars for signature designs.


employees who have been in employment with an employer for longer than four months and who work for that employer on at least four days a week are entitled to family responsibility leave. Employers must grant an employee, during each annual leave cycle, three day’s paid leave under the following circumstances: • When the employee’s child is born • When the employee’s child is sick • In the event of death of the employee’s spouse or life partner, parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling. When granting family responsibility leave you would be quite within your rights as an employer to require reasonable proof of the claimed event for which the leave is required. An employee’s unused entitlement to family responsibility leave lapses at the end of the annual leave cycle in which it accrues and can’t be accumulated. One thing that is critical to remember when dealing with a request for family responsibility leave is the aspect of consistency. Very often the request is made at a time of high emotion and/or stress and any good employer will want to be as accommodating as possible. Whatever you do for one person though, sets a precedent for the future. To quote an overused cliché, apply empathy not sympathy. There may well be reasons why you want to grant more than three days family responsibility leave to an employee. You just need to make sure that you would be willing to grant similar benefits to others under similar circumstances. For more information on this and other contractual employment obligations visit Peet de Wet has recently been appointed general manager of Ebotse Golf & Country Estate in Benoni. They are opening their new golf course in February 2008 and GCM wishes them great success with their new venture. Peet can be contacted on 0860700007 or cellphone 082 551 5675.

Labour pains

10 Reasons why your club should be a member of Club Management Association of Southern Africa (CMASA) CMASA is a membership driven association formed to benefit sport and recreation clubs in South Africa. The Association caters for all types of clubs, current membership includes yacht, golf, country, rugby, tennis, bowls and general sports clubs. The CMASA : • communicates with their membership almost on a weekly basis via electronic media and produces a monthly newsletter with items of general interest to the membership. • offers opportunities for clubs to follow best practice models, which are communicated to members. • offers opportunities for management to attend information sharing sessions in areas around the country. • offers networking opportunities for club personnel. • offers internationally recognized education programmes for club managers and senior management • offers benchmarking of areas vital to the management of a club i.e. subscriptions, beverage prices, salaries, snack menu prices, sport playing fees etc. • offers assistance with new or current legislative issues. • is represented on various industry boards and committees for the benefit of the membership base. • has a resource that has been developed over 10 years which is available to the membership. • has affiliation status with similar international associations i.e. Club Managers Association of America and Europe CMASA is your one-stop convenience store for any information related to the sport and recreation club industry. Your club cannot afford to not be a member of CMASA. Please call CMASA on (011) 482-7542 or email for your application form. You will wonder why you never joined before!

If you are not a member of the CMASA, read on


The top team at White River Country Club from left to right: Gerhard “Smittie” Smit (greenkeeper), Trevor John (director of golf) and Keith Kruger (general manager). See our club profile on pages 8 and 9.

GCM extends a very warm welcome to the thirteen golf clubs in Zimbabwe that have been added to the GCM circulation. We know that there are many more golf clubs in Zimbabwe, but have been unable to obtain their postal details. If you are reading this and are associated with a Zimbabwean golf club which is not receiving its monthly complimentary copies of GCM then please let us have your contact details. They can be e-mailed direct to The Compleat Golfer and GCM team are planning on visiting some of the main clubs in Zimbabwe in February. It should be a wonderful experience for us and we look forward to sharing some of our experiences with GCM readers.

Golf Club Management

March 2008



overcoming the fear of public speaking

Sooner or later we all have to make a speech. To some it is relatively easy, to others it is a complete nightmare. Andrew Wilson of GCM gives some tips on overcoming pre-speech symptoms of a dry mouth, cold sweats and butterflies in the stomach.
For some lucky people public speaking comes naturally and their presentations seem effortless. For the rest of us mere mortals, we have to overcome the fear of public speaking to some degree or another. For some of us it is our worst nightmare while for others it is a case of out-of-control butterflies in our stomachs. As a youngster I was terrified of public speaking to a point where I physically shook before, during and after having to make a speech. Now I am relatively calm when confronted by an audience. So what enabled me to move from a gibbering wreck to a relatively calm and controlled public speaker? Let me share a few experiences that helped me to overcome my paranoia. Prepare well Make sure your mind is clear on what message you want to get across and how you plan on doing it. Identify the one, two or three things you want the audience to go away with after the presentation. Think through examples or anecdotes to illustrate
22 March 2008 Golf Club Management

your talk so that your audience can relate easily to what you are saying and why you are saying it. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. Keep your notes simple Avoid typing out your speech word for word. Remember that you are talking to your audience and you need to connect with them, not your notes. Create a prompt sheet that you can refer to from time to time to make sure that you cover all the points you want to raise. The prompt sheet can consist of major headings in bold and one or two word-prompts of all the things you want to cover under each heading.

Think physical There is nothing worse, if you are nervous, than having to stand up with the notes in your hand and nothing to rest them on. Your hands start shaking and the more you try to control them the worse it gets! You are soon more worried about the impression you are making on the audience than you are about the message you want to get across. Make sure you have something to rest your notes on. If you are sitting, make sure there is a table in front of you. If you are standing, make sure there is a podium. You can then quietly rest your hands next to your notes and the audience will not be aware of the stress you may be feeling. Be yourself Don’t try and put on an act when you are presenting. It is almost impossible to train someone to be a good public speaker. Trained public speakers generally come across as being false. You can always develop technique, which should improve over time, but don’t try and be an extrovert

You can always develop technique, which should improve over time, but don’t try and be an extrovert if you are normally an introvert

if you are normally an introvert or a happy/smiley person if you are normally a fairly serious person. The key is to be yourself and then you will be more believable. If you are not a natural joke teller, avoid jokes. If you are nervous, don’t apologise but do consider asking the audience to bear with you “while you get your nerves under control!” Admitting to being nervous or apprehensive can endear an audience to you providing you don’t over-play it. Start strong, finish strong In public speaking jargon it is known as the “book-ends”. The most import parts of any presentation are the first two minutes and the last minute. This comes back to preparation. Give careful thought to how you are going to grab the attention of your audience. Give your audience a good reason for being at the presentation; let them know how they are going to benefit from listening to you for the next period of time. Finish up by giving a brief summary of the main points you have covered and what you want the audience to go away with and think about or do. What you say between the first two minutes and the last minute is often lost as people’s minds wander, so keep your presentation as short as possible. Use visual aids The more you can illustrate your talk with visual aids the better. Firstly it helps the audience to understand the points you are making; secondly it takes the focus away from you from time to time. If you are a bit nervous it is good to give both the audience and yourself a break by getting them to concentrate on a chart, object, illustration or anything which will highlight what you are covering. Keep the language simple Use language you would normally use and don’t try to get too many messages across at one time. The best way to gain confidence and support from your audience is to talk their language. Use words they can understand; back it up with examples they can relate to. Get your mind right I’ve left the most important point until last. Most of our fears come from what we are thinking and our belief system. Also, most of what we fear never happens or if it does, it is nowhere near as bad as we predicted. If you have prepared well and know your subject you are at a huge advantage over your audience. Go into your presentation genuinely believing that your audience can really benefit from the time they will be spending with you. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol as these can totally undermine the hard work and preparation you have put into the presentation. They may make you feel better (temporarily) but they also are likely to make you lose the plot. If you must have a drink, leave it until after the presentation when it can become part of the celebrations. For more information on effective presentations contact Andrew Wilson at or on 082 575 3861.