Gleneagles will hold a unique position in golfing history when the biggest event in women’s golf concludes this weekend, by becoming the first venue in Europe to have hosted both The Solheim Cup and The Ryder Cup (in 2014).
As the Gleneagles and volunteer greenkeeping teams led by golf courses manager Craig Haldane, together with director of agronomy and estates Scott Fenwick, put the finishing touches to the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA Centenary Course, John Deere and local dealer Double A are equally busy behind the scenes.
The greenkeeping team at Gleneagles has risen to 100 people, with tournament standard conditioning also extending to The King’s Course, which is hosting The Junior Solheim Cup, and The Queen’s Course, which remains open for member and VIP visitor play during the week.
John Deere is the official golf course and turf maintenance machinery event partner to Gleneagles for this 16th biennial edition of The Solheim Cup. The company has a long association with professional golf, having been a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, official supplier to the PGA Tour for over 25 years, official supplier to the Ladies European Tour and a partner at numerous Solheim Cup events.
In addition, John Deere is partnering Gleneagles by exclusively providing golf course maintenance machinery and ancillary equipment for use across all three championship golf courses.
“We are very grateful for the support from our local dealer Double A as we’ve been gearing up the John Deere fleet ahead of the tournament,” says Craig Haldane. “Typically we aim to maintain all three courses at a very high level all year round, but we’ve upped the ante for The Solheim Cup.
“Closing the course three weeks prior to the event has allowed it to recover from any stress and provided additional time to prepare and introduce a higher frequency of cut. By fine tuning our existing practices we’ve been able go up another level in terms of a quality cut and finish for the tournament.
“We’re also very fortunate to benefit from the extra resources and experience provided by the volunteer greenkeepers supporting our team this week. Eight of the 52 volunteers are women, who have joined our own Laura Campbell and BIGGA’s head of membership services Tracey Maddison to help with the course preparations, so it’s fitting that we can showcase the equal role women play in our industry, especially during The Solheim Cup.”
Carlos Aragones, John Deere European turf sales & marketing manager, adds: “The Solheim Cup is one of the biggest events on the 2019 sporting calendar and we are delighted to be a part of it. We are also proud of our collaboration with Gleneagles in helping to prepare the course for such a prestigious tournament.”
In 2019 John Deere and its dealers are supporting more than 10 major tournaments in the UK and Ireland, every month from the Betfred British Masters at Hillside Golf Club in May to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September. This involves providing specialist support staff and more than 150 machines including walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers, tees & surrounds, fairway and rough mowers, compact tractors and Gator utility vehicles.
“Traditionally we work closely with the individual club’s course managers and greenkeeping teams to help keep all the machines in the fleet serviced and ready for work each day, and ensure all cutting units can achieve the highest possible quality of cut,” says John Deere Limited turf division manager Chris Meacock. “This partnership approach helps everyone to achieve the best possible results where they matter, out on the course, and keep things running as smoothly as possible throughout the event.”
Former St Andrews Links Trust Director of Greenkeeping Gordon Moir has accepted the nomination to become vice president of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association in 2020, with a view to becoming president in 2021.
Moir, 60, retired from his position at St Andrews Links in December 2018 after a career that saw him involved with the hosting of more than 37 championships, including five Opens. He was just the eighth person to hold the title of Director of Greenkeeping at St Andrews since the first, Old Tom Morris, retired in 1904.
A farmer’s son from Fraserburgh in the north of Scotland, Moir began his career at the town’s golf club in 1976, attended Elmwood College for his training, and very quickly moved through the ranks to the role of head greenkeeper. After ten years in charge at Fraserburgh, he moved on to become head greenkeeper of St Andrews’ Eden Course in 1991, before later becoming the overall Director of Greenkeeping.
Moir has previously served on the BIGGA National Board and is a former chairman of the association’s Scottish Region. In 1995, while chairman, he met Arnold Palmer and presented him with a crystal vase in recognition of all the legendary golfer had done for greenkeeping.
Throughout his time at St Andrews, Moir recognised that the club had a duty as torchbearers for the greenkeeping industry. As such, he was a great supporter of the Golf Environment Organization and the Golf Environment Awards and would often speak at the annual BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition. As vice president, Moir will support Colin Webber throughout his year as president of the association. Webber, 60, founded Portmore Golf Park in Devon in 1993 and is also heavily committed to ecology and sustainability, winning a Golf Environment Award at the facility in 2010.
Moir said: “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to be president of BIGGA. To be honest, it was something that I really hoped would happen, and I’m glad that my retirement has enabled me to accept this opportunity. I’ve tried to stay involved with the greenkeeping industry since retiring, and so I’m really proud to be offered the chance to represent the association in this way and meet people from all over the country who I haven’t seen for a year or who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
He added: “There is so much available to members of BIGGA, such as getting involved with the various support teams or the numerous networking opportunities, and it can open up so many doors in your career. The association has done so much for me and I look forward to being the one talking to members and spreading that message.”
Webber said: “When I was asked to become president, my first thought was ‘why aren’t they asking Gordon?’ He’s the perfect candidate because of what he’s done throughout his career and the level that he’s worked at. His nomination just shows the breadth and scale of the association and how it brings together people from all over the greenkeeping industry together. I’m delighted that Gordon will be bringing all that experience to the role, which can only be a huge benefit to the association.”
Moir will be appointed Vice President of BIGGA during the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition, which takes place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire during January 2020. He will then become President at the same event the following year.
BIGGA Chairman Scott Reeves said: “Each of BIGGA’s presidents have brought a new dimension to the role. I’m sure Gordon will add to this increasingly-respected position in his own unique way. I look forward to working with him when he becomes vice president and onwards in his year as president.”
The European Tour and the Toro Company have extended their long-term partnership by four years, as the worldwide provider of outdoor environment solutions celebrates its 100th year serving the golf industry.
The renewed agreement takes the European Tour’s relationship with Toro to more than 20 years, meaning they will continue to supply turf maintenance and irrigation products across the European Tour, Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as servicing the European Tour Destinations portfolio of golf venues.
The agreement is a highlight of a milestone year for Toro, as it celebrates a century of innovation in the golf market, which started with the introduction of the industry’s first motorised fairway mower in 1919.
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, (above left) said: “Toro has a long history of excellence in the golf industry, and we are delighted to extend a relationship which is instrumental in presenting host courses across the world in the best possible condition. Toro is a company that shares our values in areas such as sustainability and innovation, and we look forward to working with them over the next four years, extending one of our longest-running supplier associations.”
Andy Brown, Senior Sales Manager EMEA at Toro, (above right) said: “We are proud to continue our longstanding relationship with the European Tour as official supplier of turf maintenance and irrigation products. This has been an important relationship for the company over the past 20 years, and we look forward to continuing to provide equipment and support. It’s a privilege to have a role in preparing world-class courses for some of the greatest players in the game.”
Not content to rest on its laurels after the success of hosting last year’s Ryder Cup, Le Golf National’s management team is continuing to invest in its facilities, building a substantial new training area for short game practice.
Located between the 16th green of the Albatros course and the club’s driving range, the new short game area housed a large grandstand during the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Capillary Concrete and EcoBunker helped in the construction of Le Golf National’s new short game area “When the stand came down after the event, all the grass in the area was dead, so it was clear we needed to do something with the ground,” said Lucas Pierré, golf courses and estates manager at Le Golf National. “At the same time, we decided to rebuild all our training areas using better materials. They are really important for us and get a great deal of use, both from our paying golf customers and from our coaches running clinics for local schoolchildren.”
“The area between the 16th green and the driving range was ideal for this use, as it was already covered by our irrigation system,” said Pierré. “The new short game area was designed in-house, jointly by me, Alejandro Reyes, our former superintendent, now an agronomic consultant, and by our head golf teacher. We saved as much of the USGA rootzone as possible – it is quite large, with 3,000 square metres of green space, 4,000 sq m of surrounds and 1,000 sq m of sand, in two big bunkers.
“We already have Capillary Concrete on the Albatros course, and we are used to working with their French distributor, Stan Chapus of Greenmix, so we know that the system works, and we decided on EcoBunker to create the bunker edging. Together they make an advanced system – not cheap, but they work well together. We can keep the sand on the bunker faces; it doesn’t wash down every time there is a big rain.’”
The new area will open in September for use by the local golf schools, and will be in use when the French Open returns to Le Golf National in October.
Major associations make commitment to deliver on core values of environmental stewardship, respect for culture and community, and use of clean, renewable resources.
Auckland, August 2019
The golf bodies of New Zealand have today announced their unified support for a new national initiative that will drive the sport’s sustainability performance to new heights over the coming months and years. The bold statement comes at the launch of OnCourse® New Zealand – a national version of the international program developed and assured by GEO Foundation.
Dean Murphy, the CEO of New Zealand Golf (NZG) launched the initiative from Remuera Golf Club in Auckland – the home of NZG, the Golf Managers Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) and the New Zealand Golf Industry Council (NZGIC). “All of the associations felt it was time to take our existing efforts in environmental stewardship and social value to the next level. We see this as vital to the long-term health of our clubs and the sport, and we also want to make a meaningful contribution to the issues that we know are of significant concern for the people of New Zealand. We are extremely grateful to GEO Foundation, whose strategic expertise and custom solutions for golf enabled us to move quickly, effectively and credibly. OnCourse New Zealand will become the engine room of club support and engagement, performance measurement and sharing many inspiring grassroots stories, that’s why New Zealand Golf is committing investment to these important issues and support for our clubs,” says Murphy.
Spencer Cooper, board member of the NZ Golf Course Superintendents Association is sure the organisation’s members will embrace the opportunity to join the OnCourse® program. Spencer commented: “This is a very exciting moment for golf in New Zealand and a tremendous reinforcement of the stewardship and care that greenkeepers try to deliver day in and day out across the country. Joining OnCourse will enable our members to review and track their practices, key performance data and highlights, which will also help them plan and deliver new and exciting projects.”
The NZ Golf Industry Council recognises the complexity of the issues around sustainability. The Council’s Chairman, Des Topp, stated: “These important issues need the whole of golf to unite in the commitment, the action and the promotion of the results. We look forward to helping coordinate and represent what this great sport does to foster nature, conserve resources and build healthy, sustainable communities across New Zealand.”
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of GEO Foundation visited New Zealand in June and immediately recognised the strong fit between great golf, the environment and sustainability: “In so many ways, golf in New Zealand highlights the natural compatibility between golf, the environment and strong communities, and this is a tremendous foundation to push further as an example of leadership and inspiration – domestically and also internationally. We are proud to support this strengthened commitment and action”.
A lot of incredibly valuable work is being done by other partners in the sustainability space in New Zealand and Dean Murphy sees OnCourse as an extension of that. Dean concluded: “This will build upon what’s been achieved to date with initiatives such as Project Litefoot, which will continue to provide free advisory to clubs in relation to energy, materials and water conservation. Other advisers in landscape, ecology and sustainable agronomy are also lined up to help us all pull in the same direction.”
Golf courses are keen to provide healthy and sustainable facilities for the enjoyment of their communities and to be a part of the NZ government target of becoming a Carbon Zero economy by 2050.
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About GEO Foundation
GEO Foundation is the international not-for-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability in and through golf. Its goal is to work collaboratively to help the sport embrace environmental and social issues and become widely acclaimed for its role in fostering nature, conserving resources and building healthy communities. GEO assures the OnCourse® programmes for grassroots golf facilities, new developments and tournaments, each of which can lead to the internationally accredited, endorsed and independently verified GEO Certified® label.