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Golf greenkeepers ask for support

Golf greenkeepers ask for support: BIGGA has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the timetable for the reopening of golf.

As the members’ association for golf greenkeepers in the UK, BIGGA is acutely aware that golfers are eager to get back out on the course and start enjoying the limitless physical and mental health benefits of our wonderful sport.

Golf greenkeepers ask for support

Golf greenkeepers ask for support

However, as golfers have found in Scotland, where courses have remained open for limited play, this has been an incredibly wet and difficult winter and many greenkeepers have reported being able to do very limited maintenance throughout the colder months.

As such, while disappointed that the restart of golf will not be until 29 March in England, BIGGA welcomes the notice period as it will enable golf facilities to complete any essential winter maintenance and prepare the course for play to a standard that will not be detrimental to the long-term health of the facility.

Over the coming weeks BIGGA will be working alongside the governing bodies in golf to provide information regarding reasonable expectations of course presentation, so that returning golfers are aware of the challenges greenkeepers have faced with regards climate, staffing and COVID-19 restrictions and to ensure a safe, happy and prosperous return to golf for everyone.

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Vattanac opens night golf

Vattanac opens night golf: The Troon-managed, Vattanac Golf Resort, celebrates the opening of the spectacular “The Dragon Turn” night golf. The night golf is an exciting addition to the recently opened “West Course” and offers golfers a unique opportunity to play in the breathtaking surrounds of Phnom Penh under the cover of darkness.

“The Dragon Turn” is aptly named by the lake’s shape that sits in the middle of three holes of this exciting 9-hole floodlit course. Inspired by ownership’s vision to create a venue with significant character, this lake is yet another unique feature that this resort plays host to. Night golf will be available for play from sunset with the last tee time at 9PM, creating a very special addition to Vattanac Golf Resort.

Vattanac opens night golf

Vattanac opens night golf

The launch of “The Dragon Turn” night golf comes after a successful end to 2020 for the resort following the opening of the second Faldo Design course, the “West Course”, and the “East Course” being named ‘Cambodia’s Best Golf Course’ at the 2020 World Golf Awards.

With imposing character and striking identity, the “East course” has received high praise from golfers the world over. Set within captivating natural surroundings, the “East” is a strategic golf course that utilizes dramatic water features, creative bunkering, and various forms of native fauna to challenge golfers of all levels. Over and above the highly enjoyable golf experience, the “East” pays homage to the marvels of Khmer architecture and the country’s rich history, with magnificent scale replicas of the world-renowned Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple and Preah Vihear Temple.

The “West Course” will certainly contend with the “East Course” as not only one of the best in Cambodia, but also one of the best in Asia. The West Course has distinctive differences from the East Course, of which are defined by narrower and more undulating fairways, a variety of unique water features and testing Paspalum greens. Cultural sculptures and stunning landscaping attribute to the striking scenery of Cambodia’s newest golf course. The “West” is a rewarding test of skill for players of all levels, featuring 5 sets of tees, starting at 4,935 yards, right through to 7,249 yards.

Karl Whitehead, General Manager at Vattanac Golf Resort, commented: “It’s been an incredibly exciting end to 2020 and start to 2021 for us at Vattanac Golf Resort. The announcement of the 9-holes of night golf on the West Course showcases how we, not only want to compete to have the best championship courses in Asia, but we also, under Mr Vattanac’s vision, want to offer golfers a fresh and exciting approach to the game. The dramatic landscape of “The Dragon Turn” under the night sky will hopefully provide golfers this.”

Cambodia’s luxury golf resort continues through the next phase of the integrated resort development to soon include a world acclaimed Golf Academy.

To view imagery of the “East Course” and “West Course”, click here.

For more information on Vattanac Golf Resort, visit www.vattanacgolfresort.com.

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Golf resort targets positive year

Golf resort targets positive year: After an unprecedented year, Modry Las Golf Resort is looking forward to a new golfing season following a string of exciting developments at Poland’s only signature-designed golf course. As well as enjoying its PGA National status and new clubhouse, the 27-hole facility has recently welcomed a new general manager and received recognition from one of Europe’s foremost golf publications teeing up what is anticipated to be an upbeat 2021.

Golf World’s latest rundown of top resorts in continental Europe included a notable new entry with Modry Las debuting in the renowned Top 100 Resorts chart alongside some of the world’s top golf destinations. The inaugural listing included a glowing review that described the Gary Player design as “fabulous” and “elegant”.

Golf resort targets positive year

Golf resort targets positive year

One of 11 new entries, Modry Las was noted as having “flair and imagination,” with the renowned publication praising the “unfussy course chalets which offer a view of the manicured fairways and greens as soon as you pull back the curtains in the morning”. Crucially, the analysis suggested Modry Las would appeal to golfers looking for “a high-calibre modern course in fabulous condition”, and went on to applaud the accommodation options. “We loved the chalets, nestled in the silence of the woodland that surrounds the course.”

Modry Las also fought off competition from around Europe to be named in the top three resorts for value – a remarkable achievement in its first listing. According to the chairman of Modry Las, the praise reflects the ongoing improvements made at the resort despite the disruption caused by Covid-19. “Even with the impact of a pandemic, we are delighted that the reputation of Modry Las continues to grow along with our determination to evolve and develop,” explained Arthur Gromadzki. “Our inclusion in Golf World’s Top 100 Resorts of Continental Europe and the appreciation for the great value we provide validates our endeavours which have already led to our PGA National status and recognition from the golf industry at the highest level.”

He continued: “Golf World’s Top 100 Resorts celebrates the very best golf destinations in Europe where the highest service standards and facilities are matched by exceptional on-course experiences. These attributes perfectly align themselves with the ethos adopted at Modry Las. It is therefore, especially gratifying to be recognised as one of Europe’s leading golf resorts by one of its foremost magazines. Saying that, Modry Las is constantly moving forward and will continue to devise ways to finesse what we do.”

As if to prove it, Gromadzki recently appointed Chris Duffy as general manager at Modry Las. With a wealth of golf club management experience honed in the UK and Qatar, Duffy was the ideal candidate for the role. “Chris is well known in the golfing world and brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Modry Las,” explained Gromadzki. “His role at Modry Las marks the next stage in the evolution of the resort.”

Duffy, who describes himself as a results-focused leader, was thrilled by the prospect of managing Poland’s top resort. “The opportunity to work with the team at Modry Las came at an ideal moment in my career,” he explained. “The resort’s international reputation made it an unmissable opportunity to apply the knowledge and experiences that I have been fortunate enough to amass at multiple venues. The team here is fantastic and the courses are stunning.”

Educated to a high level via the Club Managers Association of Europe’s training programme, Duffy also developed his skillset through his own events company working with clients such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Qatar Airways. He also held managerial posts at Doha Golf Club and most recently Huddersfield Golf Club.

Despite his impressive resume, Duffy admits that Modry Las came as a pleasant surprise. “Modry Las is the leading golf resort in Poland and now has PGA National status,” he said. “Despite its international reputation, when I first visited Modry Las I was stunned by the quality of the courses and the new facilities which will only get better as we get further into the season. My role is to take an already excellent product and help it advance to the next level. It’s going to be an exciting year and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”

In 2019, Modry Las joined a distinguished collection of the world’s leading golf resorts as The PGA National Poland, becoming the country’s sole PGA branded property. This is noteworthy because the PGA restricts membership of its PGA National brand programme to one resort per country and prospective members are only approached if they offer the very best golf, leisure and accommodation. In addition, a new 2,000m2 clubhouse has been unveiled featuring 10 double bedrooms as well as the luxurious Gary Player suite bringing the total number of on-site double/twin rooms at Modry Las to 23. A new revitalising spa containing saunas, steam rooms Jacuzzis and treatment rooms will open in 2021.

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Huxley helps Gullane Golf Club

Huxley helps Gullane Golf Club: Huxley Golf was delighted to be commissioned by Gullane Golf Club, one of Scotland’s most prestigious and historic member clubs, to install a large all-weather practice tee as part of an exciting new development.

The East Lothian Club’s new world-class short game facility has been called ‘the envy of all the golf clubs in the area’. Sitting across three acres, it allows players to strike off quality links turf from 12 designated areas and features three bunkers and five pin flags, giving them plentiful options to hone their game, from bunker play to bump and runs, and pitches to flop shots. The practice tee was incorporated specifically to lengthen the practice area in order to keep pace with today’s shotlengthening technologies. Designed as a curve to help golfers aim down the middle, it is 126ft (38m) long by 12ft (3m) wide and was created using Huxley’s famous all-weather tee turf.

Huxley helps Gullane Golf Club

Huxley helps Gullane Golf Club

The transformative works were carried out to further enhance and expand the Gullane experience for visiting golfers while satisfying the demand from members for high-end practice facilities, as Adam Fox, Captain of Gullane Golf Club, explains.

“We are committed to providing world-class facilities here at Gullane. In doing so, visitors will enjoy a wonderful experience both on and off our three courses – one that combines the finest traditions of links golf with the very best of modern amenities. Our new facility adds to our offering for members and visitors, but it also enhances our professional tuition service and gives local youngsters in the Club’s blossoming junior ranks the opportunity to work on their game,” he said.

Course Manager Stewart Duff added: “Naturally, we wanted to work with the very best professional partners to create our vision for the future: those that offer the quality craftsmanship and service that we expect. Huxley Golf delivered on all fronts from initial contact to project completion. I can confidently say that Huxley Golf surfaces are second to none in terms of both durability and playability and, of course, they’re a breeze for the greenkeepers to maintain. I would highly recommend them.”

Hugh Fraser oversaw the project for Huxley Golf. He commented: “Gullane’s three championship courses with dramatic coastal views are as delightful as they are challenging. It’s no wonder that golf has been enjoyed here for some 350 years! It has been a privilege for Huxley Golf to work with the team at Gullane to help them look to the future while protecting their historic legacy. I have no doubt that our all-weather surfaces will contribute to the excellent experience that golfers enjoy there and enhance Gullane’s reputation as one of the world’s leading links courses.”

For over half a century, the name Huxley has been synonymous with golf. Endorsed by the UK’s most distinguished golf organisations as well as many legendary golfers and celebrities and their coaching teams, the Hampshire-based company’s premium all-weather golf surfaces are in use all around the world at top-flight courses, resorts, and training academies.

For more information call 01730 829608 or visit www.huxleygolf.com

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Ventrac at Saunton Golf Club

Ventrac at Saunton Golf Club: Saunton Golf Club, situated south of Woolacombe on the coast of north Devon, is the latest golfing venue to purchase a Ventrac 4500 all-terrain compact tractor and a selection of attachments. Delivered by local dealer, Devon Garden Machinery, the package includes the 25 hp tractor unit in its 8-wheel configuration, a Contour deck, a Tough Cut deck and Power Rake.

Formed in 1897 as a 9-hole course, the 103-year old club now has two 18-hole championship-standard links courses, with reputations that stand comparison with the finest in the UK. The East Course is ranked No.12 in the Golf World ‘Top 100 Courses in England’ and the West Course is No. 98.

Ventrac at Saunton Golf Club

Ventrac at Saunton Golf Club

Murray Long, the former Courses Manager at Sunningdale, has recently been appointed Course Manager at Saunton. Commenting on the Ventrac he said,

“We need to control bramble and scrub around the courses and we have pathways made of seashell shingle, which can become rutted and uneven over time. The practice ranges are enclosed by steep banks, which we maintain by the labour-intensive job of strimming. To tackle these issues, we needed a versatile machine and thought that a Ventrac might provide the solution.

“I first saw it during visits to BTME and then became aware of the positive feedback from respected industry professionals in our trade magazines and on social media. Following our initial enquiry to local dealer, Devon Garden Machinery, they quickly provided quotes and a demonstration, which confirmed the premise that this was the machine for us. Their service has been excellent throughout.

“Until you experience it working, it’s had to appreciate how versatile it is. We purchased the Tough Cut deck, which will help combat the bramble and scrub issue; the Contour deck will be used on the banking around the practice area and some areas of rough. The Power Rake is great attachment as it agitates the shingle, smoothing out the ruts, leaving pristine pathways.

“It will certainly increase productivity and reduce the use of machinery linked to hand/arm vibration hazard, such as strimmers. It is unique in its multi-use applications giving it extreme versatility. I have seen many machinery demonstrations but none have been as impressive as the Ventrac. Every course would benefit from having one.”

Saunton’s General Manager, Jon Sutherland added,

“As Murray has indicated, it was a very impressive demonstration. I hadn’t seen the machine before, but it quickly became apparent that not only would it increase the productivity of the greenkeeping team, but also safeguard them as well. Paul Vickery, our Chairman of Greens, attended the demonstration and we quickly made the purchasing decision. It will certainly contribute to raising the already high presentation standards of our facility, for members and visitors alike.”

Saunton has hosted the R&A Boys Amateur Championship on two occasions. In August 2019, 252 of the world’s most talented boys battled it out over our East and West Courses. After 91 holes of play, the winner Tom Gueant of France beat Wilmer Ederö from Sweden in a sudden-death play-off on the first hole of the East course. Saunton also hosted the Championship back in 1997, when a young Sergio Garcia won the title, before amassing the highest points total for Europe in Ryder Cup history, and also winning the Masters Tournament back in 2017.

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Emirates Golf Club and the Air2G2

Emirates Golf Club and the Air2G2: The Air2G2 from Campey Turf Care Systems is being used at Emirate’s Golf Club, Dubai, to keep the award-winning Majlis Course in prime condition.

As Dubai’s number one golf course, it is imperative that machinery manager and second assistant, Dónal Mulvey, and the 72 strong golf course maintenance department consisting of greenkeepers, mechanics, irrigation, landscape and spray technicians maintain the high standards expected by members and customers.

Emirates Golf Club and the Air2G2

Emirates Golf Club and the Air2G2

Dónal has worked for Emirates Golf Club since January 2017 having completed a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, which included a 30-week placement at Royal Dublin Golf Club as a greenkeeper, where he stayed for a further five years training as a greenkeeper and mechanic. With almost four years of experience working on the Middle East’s first grass golf course, he is familiar with the issues faced in one of the driest and arid regions of the world, where reusing salt-rich treated sewage effluent (TSE) water is common practice.

After seeing the Air2G2 on various social media platforms and first-hand at GIS, the club thought the machine could be a huge asset to the Majlis’ 30-year-old push-up greens that host 45,000 rounds of golf a year as well as the Faldo Course, which takes 55,000.

“We purchased the Air2G2 for many different reasons,” Dónal explains. The main one being the Majlis greens are 30-year-old push-up greens with no drainage. Given the high volume of water we put out which is all TSE water, we have a constant issue with salt build-up and air exchange. We also have a high volume of golf throughout the year, and any aeration we can do with no disturbance to the greens is extremely beneficial.

“The machine does exactly what it claims to do providing deep aeration with no surface disturbance. We can run it at any time, and the golfers are none the wiser. We mainly tackle weak areas on the greens, and the machine is used three times a month on the entire green and four to six times on collars and affected areas.

“The more and more we use it, the less noticeable it is. When we first started the ground would move slightly due to compaction. Now that we run it regularly, there is no movement in the soil, and there is less compaction and more oxygen, and we can also see moisture and EC levels drop after using the machine.”

Nick Brown Product Specialist for Campey Turf Care is delighted to be working closely with The Emirates Golf Club to provide turf maintenance solutions. “Campey Turf Care always encourages best practice, and we like to work closely with our end users to ensure they have access to the right advice and equipment to suit their specific needs. Working closely with Dónal, we have examined all the options and helped provide the right solution. In this instance the Air2G2 has delivered the results and we are extremely pleased.”

The Air2G2 uses three probes to latterly inject pressurised air up to 12-inches beneath the surface of the soil to fracture the compacted layers that form because of footfall, mechanical traffic and daily wear and tear. Because the air is injected directly into the root zone, the surface of the turf is left undisturbed, allowing play to continue instantly.

For more information on the Air2G2 or any of Campey’s aeration machinery, please visit www.campeyturf.com

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Sheep taking over golf courses

Sheep taking over golf courses: At least two closed and empty English golf clubs have been taken over by sheep during the coronavirus lockdown – where the ruminants have been taking on the grass cutting duties normally reserved for the currently furloughed greenkeepers.

Several UK golf courses are located near to farmland but animals are typically deterred from venturing towards the courses due to the presence of golfers and greenkeepers. Plus, their source of food, which is now growing more quickly than it has been in recent months, is usually mown away just as rapidly.

Sheep taking over golf courses

Sheep taking over golf courses

But with no golfers bar one or two breaking the rules, and with most golf clubs furloughing all but one greenkeeper, golf courses are proving to be rich pickings for hungry sheep.

Avington Park Golf Course and Bramshaw Golf Club, both in southern England, have showcased the hard-working animals on social media.

According to entertainment website TMZ, there have been about 100 sheep roaming and grazing on Avington Park’s 32-acre golf course.

Bramshaw Golf Club also saw the funny side of the invasion – and also outlined the benefits to the course.

The club wrote on Twitter: ‘Been out there for a couple of days. Not doing any harm at the moment.. free labour!’

While sheep on golf courses due to a lack of golfers because of a pandemic may be something new, many golf courses around the world do use herbivores to help out with the maintenance of their facilities.

Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland has used sheep to control the rough in the past.

A spokesman told The Golf Business in 2014: “Here at Machrihanish Dunes we are very proud of our eco friendly status.

“By using the natural lawnmowers to thin out the rough on the course we are able to help preserve several rare and protected species of orchids that grow here on this site and in few other places. The added benefit is visitors can enjoy the company of these unique companions as they play a round. These woolly wonders will have people flocking to see them in action.”

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Golf Club’s NHS tribute

Golf Club’s NHS tribute: The Llandrindod Wells Golf Club has paid tribute to the National Health Service by mowing the letters NHS on its course – with a heart around it too.

A photo of the tribute, which was created by greenkeeper Ben, was posted on the golf club’s Facebook page and gained a hugely positive response; with well over 100 people liking or reacting to the post and almost 50 people sharing it. Hopefully, this means it will have reached plently of hardworking frontline NHS staff in the Llandrindod area and beyond.

Golf Club's NHS tribute

Golf Club’s NHS tribute

In the post, Llandrindod Wells Golf Club said: “Our lovely greenkeeper Ben has done this as a tribute to our wonderful NHS! Keep strong and stay safe! We will come through this!”

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New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club: Course Manager at Selby Golf Club, Chris Goodall, says the arrival of their new Charterhouse Verti-Drain® 7416 in November 2019 couldn’t have come at a better time!

The heathland course is very sandy meaning it is playable all year round and, in turn, makes it one of the busiest clubs in Yorkshire. This level of traffic has seen the Verti-Drain® in high demand over the winter period, tackling compaction on some of the high footfall areas.

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

“We previously had two separate aerators – one of which was proving too heavy for our ageing tractors, and the other was smaller so only really suitable for work on the greens” explains Chris, who has been at the club for five years. “When the time came to replace them, we wanted a good all-rounder – capable of site wide aeration.” Having been impressed with the Verti-Drain® at a previous club, Chris was keen to go down the Charterhouse road this time and spoke with local dealer F G Adamson and Sons.

“The size of the 7416 model was a perfect fit for our requirements and fleet of tractors. It’s super easy to set up, quiet in operation and covers the ground at good speed. The timing of its delivery meant it was out straight away and every couple of weeks after that, relieving compaction on pathways, walkways and fairways which kept us free of any waterlogging over the very wet winter months.”

Chris purchased his Verti-Drain® with solid tines, and additional hollow tines for year-round flexibility. “In a regular year, we would equip the Verti-Drain® with pencil tines to aerate the greens through the summer then as we head towards the back end of the year we’d then look at hollow coring and using bigger tines on the fairways and other areas.”

The Verti-Drain® 7416 has a 1.6m working width and offers a 14″ maximum working depth. The range of solid and hollow tine options, together with its weight, makes it a popular choice for golf courses; but it’s robust nature also makes it ideal for penetration of hard and compacted soils on a range of sports surfaces.

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Vandals damage golf club

Vandals damage golf club: Vandals have damaged the course at a north-east golf club.

Vehicles were driven on to the site at Oldmeldrum Golf Club on Thursday night, leaving tyre tracks on the grass.

Vandals damage golf club

Vandals damage golf club

It’s not the first time the course has been targeted. Last year parts of the site had to be closed following a similar incident.

Mitch Good, greens convener at the club, said a passerby told him about the damage.

He said: “It happened in June last year, but the damage was more extensive then.

“They haven’t spun the wheels on the green like they did last time, but they drove the car over it.

“These idiots are out doing this and we’re supposed to be on a Covid-19 lockdown.”

Mitch said he felt he had to report the crime to the police.

He said: “I felt reluctant obviously, because of the climate of Covid-19.”

He added a new fence would now be installed to help protect the area.

He said: “The greenkeeper will go over it but if we don’t get much heat this year, or we get frost, the grass won’t grow.

“We had put boulders in place, but obviously not enough to stop cars getting in.

“To be effective, we need to spend money and put a fence all around the road area.”

Sergeant Niall Mullen, from the Peterhead police office, said: “We can confirm that officers have received a report of vandalism to Oldmeldrum Golf Course.

“This is believed to have taken place overnight between Thursday and Friday.

“Inquiries are at an early stage and anyone with information is urged to contact the police on 101.”

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