A fifth-generation farmer, who built a successful golf club from scratch, has accepted the role of vice president of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association.
Colin Webber, 59, established Portmore Golf Park in 1993 and has developed the venue into a vibrant 27-hole facility which, due to his commitment to sustainable greenkeeping, won environmental golf course of the year in 2010.
This week, BIGGA has revealed that Colin has accepted the nomination to become BIGGA Vice President from January 2019, leading to becoming president of the association from January 2020.
Colin and his family established Portmore Golf Park from a 12-bay driving range after various pressures put his family farming business in jeopardy. Over the following years came another 12 bays, a par-3 9-hole Hawtree-designed course, and then finally a further 18 that set Portmore up as a 27-hole venue.
For a time, Colin was the only greenkeeper operating the site, but early on in his career he joined BIGGA and benefitted from the networking and educational opportunities provided by the association.
In 2010, Portmore won Overall Achievement of the Year at the Golf Environment Awards, built upon a commitment to sustainable and organic greenkeeping.
Colin overcame a stroke suffered in 2011 to continue to lead his business and continue to be an active member of BIGGA’s Devon & Cornwall Section and the South West & South Wales Regional Board.
He was first approached about the role just two weeks after the passing of his father, who had helped him build the business from the ground up.
“It’s a huge honour, I keep thinking ‘are you sure you have got the right person?’ I am flattered that BIGGA would consider me for such an important national role. It is huge, I have never been asked to do anything like this, I’m not someone who likes to stand in the limelight.
“I had a phone call from [BIGGA Chief Executive Officer] Jim Croxton saying I had been nominated for the role. Jim didn’t know it, but this was a few weeks after my dad, Frank, had died. It was very emotional time and the one person I wanted to tell was my dad.”
“Over the years I have been fortunate enough to build friendships with so many of the greats of greenkeeping, spending hours with the likes of Billy Mitchell, Jack McMillan, Richard Whyman, George Shiels and Jeff Mills, trying to build up a picture of how things used to be done, looking backward to go forward. I became involved and started volunteering with BIGGA because of the help so many guys had given me, especially the small group of lads who I worked together with to complete our City & Guilds almost 30 years ago. Their help was invaluable in building our business. I said I would repay my debt to the association, and since then I have worked hard to do that.”
As vice president, Colin will support West Derby Head Greenkeeper Chris Sheehan, who will become BIGGA President for a one-year term during BTME 2019, to be held in Harrogate next January, when he succeeds current President Chris Kennedy. Following that year, Colin will become BIGGA president for one year from January 2020.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “Colin’s story is an inspirational one, and one that proves there is little that can’t be achieved with determination and an eagerness to learn.
“The association is delighted that Colin has accepted the nomination to become vice president from January 2019 and I am certain that he will be a fantastic asset, lending his unique experience of the greenkeeping industry to the continued development of BIGGA as we strive to support and serve our members.”
STERF´s project – From dense swards to biodiverse roughs – Soil fertility management to enhance biodiversity and functionality of golf course roughs
The aim of this project is to establish knowledge on how to use cutting regimes, soil amendments, seed addition and hemiparasitic plants to reduce grass dominance and improve biodiversity on roughs. A field experiment is conducted at Oslo GK and demonstrations at Sigtuna GK, Herning GK from 2017 to 2020, and one demonstration site is run in Germany from 2018 to 2020 by the DEUTSCHER GOLF VERBAND and Technische Universität München.
Local wild flower mixtures will be seeded, and the development of botanical composition and pollinators monitored. The knowledge generated will enable golf clubs to decide how to enhance biodiversity under their particular conditions. Results will be disseminated though field days, two popular articles and a fact sheet, an informational video and a scientific paper.
Assistant Greenkeeper Casper Erikson to join the Le Golf National team for a month of education and experience
FEGGA are very pleased to announce the recipient of their Greenkeeper Experience Programme placement in partnership with Jacobsen and Le Golf National. Casper Erikson will spend the whole of September with Alejandro Reyes and his team as they make their final preparation for the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National.
Casper, from Aarhus Golf Club in Denmark was one of 98 greenkeepers who applied for the education placement, an initiative made possible by the support of Jacobsen. Casper can now look forward to gaining considerably from this unique Greenkeeper experience, providing unique hands-on experience at preparing and maintaining the Albatross Course at Le Golf National, both before and during the Ryder Cup Matches. Casper commented “Being chosen for this experience programme means the world to me. It´s a really big honour for me to be given this opportunity and it makes me very proud to have been selected amongst so many others. I feel this will give me new inspiration and valuable knowledge which I can use in my daily work. It will also give me a lot of motivation to keep striving to get better, because I believe, that in this job you should never stop learning. I really look forward to working alongside highly skilled people and I know, that this experience will stay with me forever.”
Casper was informed of the good news by Alejandro Reyes, Superintendent at Le Golf National. On hearing the news, Goncalo Carneiro, Export Regional Sales Manager for Jacobsen commented “We are very happy for Casper who has deservedly been chosen to work at Le Golf National for the whole of September and during The Ryder Cup. It will be a fantastic experience for him, and Jacobsen, as an Official Supplier of the 2018 Ryder Cup, is very proud to have played a part in making this possible.”
Casper is Assistant Greenkeeper at the Aarhus Golf Club in Denmark, where he has only been working for some two years, along with being a member of the Danish Greenkeepers Association for the same period, something that Casper places high value in belonging to a professional association. Aarhus Golf Club is an established 18 hole golf course being the 6th oldest in Denmark. The Club place high value in their greenkeeping staff, and take a very supportive attitude when it comes to education and training. Current Chairman of the board, Claus Holm Christensen said; “Aarhus Golf Club is proud to employ Casper who has sincerely earned this opportunity. Casper is working hard to learn during his daily work and I am certain he will return to Aarhus inspired and more experienced having been introduced to and working alongside the top greenkeepers in the world while preparing and conducting the top team golf event. I am certain this once in a lifetime experience at Le Golf National will boost Casper and further develop him as a greenkeeper.”
(SAN ANTONIO, Fla.) – Global Turf Equipment (GTE) – the world’s largest independent seller and exporter of pre-owned golf course equipment – has launched a new website to service the burgeoning international market.
The new GTE international website, www.globalturfinternational.com , showcases refurbished equipment immediately ready for sale in the United Kingdom and across Europe. Inventory includes top brands such as Toro, John Deere, Jacobsen and allied equipment. Equipment manuals and information on financing, inspection, service and international shipping are also featured on the site. Easy access to international inventory will allow for quicker shipments to customers outside the U.S.
“We’re proud to release the Global Turf international website which will allow us to better serve our rapidly expanding roster of global accounts,” says Jim Sartain, Chief Executive Officer of GTE. “Our international stock of the best brands in golf turf care will serve as a wonderful complement to our U.S. inventory that can still be shipped by container anywhere in the world.”
Based outside Tampa, GTE showcases 400-600 “like new” machines across several warehouses totaling more than 35,000 sq. ft. Offering savings of up to 50% on products from brand leaders like Toro, John Deere, Jacobsen and Club Car, its inventory includes fairway green and rough mowers; top dressers and spreaders; trim mowers; turf aerators, sprayers, vacuums and blowers; utility vehicles and more.
Servicing golf facilities in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, GTE is proud to carry high quality, low hour, off-lease equipment. All machines purchased from GTE have received a thorough inspection of the engine, drive train, electrical system, hydraulic system and cutting units. They also come with a minimum of 50% of reel and tire life remaining, as well as new oil and oil filters, fuel and fuel filters, spark plugs, hydraulic fluid and hydraulic filters, rotary blades, bedknives, and more.
More information about GTE: 866-588-3092 or www.globalturfequipment.com
About Global Turf Equipment
Global Turf Equipment is the world’s largest independent seller and exporter of pre-owned golf course machinery, and a fiscally prudent alternative to buying new products. Founded in 2003, GTE purchases mowers, grinders, green rollers and more from short-term leases in partnership with major US financial lending firms. A 35,000-sq. ft. warehouse space serves private club, resort and daily-fee golf course clients in all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide. Featured brands include Toro, Jacobsen, John Deere and Club Car.
FEGGA are pleased to offer another Support Team Opportunity for Greenkeepers at the forthcoming Czech Masters – 19th August – 26th August 2018
Ben Lovett, Superintendent at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, Czech Republic is looking for Tournament Support Volunteers for the 2017 Czech Masters. In total Ben is looking for 20-30 volunteers, all with a minimum of three years’ greenkeeper experience.
This is a great opportunity for greenkeepers to experience all aspects of tournament set-up, and procedures during the event, and under the leadership of the experienced Ben Lovett.
All volunteers will be given:
• Accommodation during your stay
• Food and refreshments
• Tournament uniform
The R&A today unveiled a new Women in Golf Charter as part of the organisation’s drive to increase the number of women and girls participating in golf and to encourage more opportunities for women to work within the golf industry.
The Women in Golf Charter aims to inspire an industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf around the world and to enable more women and girls to flourish and maximise their potential at all levels of the sport.
Adoption of the Charter will also require national federations and other golf bodies to build on current initiatives and develop new projects that will focus on encouraging more women and girls to play golf and stay within the sport as members of clubs, while also empowering women to enjoy successful careers working within the golf industry.
The Women in Golf Charter specifically aims to:
• Strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry
• Commit national federations and organisations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf
• Call on signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport
• Set individual targets for national federations for participation and membership and annual reporting of progress
• Develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, outlined its plans to work in collaboration with its affiliated organisations, partners and the wider golf industry to achieve these goals at a launch event at The View from The Shard, one of London’s most iconic venues.
Hosted by renowned sports broadcaster Hazel Irvine, the event also featured presentations and panel discussions with guest speakers including Nick Pink, Chief Executive of England Golf, Sky Sports’ Golf Presenter Sarah Stirk, Chyloe Kurdas, National Female Participation Manager at Golf Australia, and Liz Dimmock, Founder of Moving Ahead.
The event was attended by representatives of golf organisations worldwide who have pledged their support as signatories of the Charter, including the European Tour, the Ladies’ European Tour, the European Golf Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the European Disability Golf Association, Golf Australia, Golf Canada, the Golfing Union of Ireland, England Golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and Scottish Golf.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are asking the golf industry to recognise the real importance of increasing the number of women and girls playing golf and empowering more women to enjoy successful careers at all levels of the sport.
“The Charter is a strong statement of intent from the golf industry that it has to change and a commitment on behalf of all of us to take measures designed to achieve positive change for women, girls and families. This is crucial to growing participation in the sport in the years ahead.
“We ask our affiliates and partners around the world to pledge their support and commitment to achieving this vision and to help us ensure that we have a thriving sport in 50 years’ time that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy.
“The R&A plans to increase our overall investment in women’s, girls’ and mixed golf to £80 million over the next ten years, a clear indication of our determination to develop the game in this area.”
Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said, “We are committed to creating an environment where women and girls can succeed at every level of sport.
“Interest in women’s sports is at an all-time high, with increased global interest and record attendances. I welcome The R&A’s strong commitment to encourage more women into golf and nurture future generations of talent.”
Liz Dimmock, Founder of Moving Ahead, said, “The case for a more balanced and inclusive culture for golf is clear and a real cultural shift is required within the sport to create a more equitable participation base that reflects the demands of current and future generations.
“Women are also under-represented at every level of the governance and business of the sport and this needs to be proactively addressed. The Women in Golf Charter is a signal to the industry that change is required, which can be achieved with a strong, positive vision for golf.”
The Women in Golf Charter is another positive development for the sport following The R&A’s successful merger with the Ladies’ Golf Union last year. In 2018, the organisation also launched the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship which was staged at Sentosa, Singapore in February while the new Girls Under 16 Open Championship was played at Fulford, York last month.
The R&A also provided an initial three-year funding package of £375,000 to its affiliates in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support the appointment of new development managers to work on increasing participation by women and girls.
Pictured on the putting green at Bush Hill Park Golf Club are (L-R) Graham Careford (Head Greenkeeper), Ashley Proctor (Irrigation and Water), Victor Jamieson (Irritech), Stewart Judd (General Manager) and David Dickinson (Club Captain).
Bush Hill Park Golf Club is a stone’s throw from Enfield Town in North London. Originally 9 holes, this 100-acre parkland course was designed by Open Championship winners James Braid and Harry Vardon and enjoys a reputation for being the best maintained in the area.
Much of the irrigation system was installed 25 years ago, had deteriorated and needed a complete overhaul. Head Greenkeeper Graham Careford has worked at Bush Hill Park since 1986 and explains,
“The ground here is clay so very dry in summer. With only a small number of heads on tees, irrigation coverage was poor, combined with leaks and frequent system breakdowns. The challenge any club like us faces is that you can’t see how badly the irrigation system’s deteriorated because the pipework’s buried underground. Extra watering takes place in the early hours or at night, and staff working overtime to keep the course in the best condition won’t usually be seen by most club members and players. Keeping an unreliable and ageing irrigation system going becomes increasingly expensive.”
To help build the case for investment in a new irrigation system, Graham began keeping a detailed timeline, recording all system faults, breakdowns and overtime as well as taking photographs of course conditions. This information was presented to the management committee to inform decision-making and help the club properly evaluate its various options.
The club appointed Irritech Limited to undertake the irrigation system design and specification and to coordinate a competitive tender process for a fixed price contract including warranties and retentions.
The committee decided that the major investment of £300k in a new Rain Bird IC™ Stratus™ II Central Control System with Windows™ 10 functionality and mapping for greens, approaches and tees would provide the system reliability and future water efficiencies that would maintain the quality of the course for many years to come.
With over 300 sprinkler heads, 7 miles of piping, 6.5 miles of cable and 3,500-man hours, the contractor, Irrigation & Water brought the project in within budget. The new system will be operational this spring.
Irrigation & Water Director Ashley Proctor, comments,
“Our biggest challenge has been heavy clay and high water table which meant adopting a more sympathetic approach to ground conditions. It’s taken a little more time and care but that’s been essential to minimise damage to the course. This is our first complete Rain Bird renovation and we’ve had a superb Rain Bird team working with us providing all the technical support, training and back-up we needed to make sure the system was installed to the right standards. We’re delighted to have been involved in what’s been a landmark project.”
Jimmy Sandison, Regional Golf Sales Manager for the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Scandinavia, adds, “We were thrilled to be awarded this project and Graham Careford and the project team were a delight to work with from the start. We all knew ground conditions were going to be a challenge but Bush Hill Park now has a highly efficient irrigation system that can be upgraded easily upgraded in future years, reducing the cost of overall ownership.”
For more information contact Alastair Higgs, Golf District Manager, UK and Ireland – Rain Bird Europe – firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.rainbird.eu/golf and follow the UK team on Twitter @rainbirdgolfuk
Mannheim, 9th May 2018 – John Deere, one of the world’s leading golf course equipment suppliers, is confirmed as the latest big-name partner to commit to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles from 9th-15th September 2019.
John Deere will be the Official Golf Course and Turf Maintenance Machinery Event Partner at Gleneagles for the 16th edition of the biennial match. The John Deere brand has a long association with professional golf having been a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, Official Supplier to the PGA Tour for 25 years, Official Supplier to the Ladies European Tour and a partner at numerous Solheim Cup events.
In addition, John Deere is also the partner of choice for Gleneagles, where the company exclusively provides golf course maintenance machinery and equipment for use across all three golf courses.
John Deere’s partnership at The 2019 Solheim Cup will include on course branding, a display of John Deere products in the Spectator Village and utilising the association and event collateral for customer promotions and incentives at dealerships worldwide.
Carlos Aragones, John Deere European turf sales & marketing manager, said: “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 very proud of our history of collaborating with major golf events and our association with both The Solheim Cup and Gleneagles is very important to our brand. The countdown is now on and we are very much looking forward to next year’s event.”
Scotland’s Sports Minister Aileen Campbell said: “John Deere is a global company and an innovator in its field, and the partnership with The 2019 Solheim Cup is evidence of the significant international pull that both Scotland – the Home of Golf – and The Solheim Cup have in the sporting world. We look forward to working with them and our other partners to stage an outstanding event.”
Ross Hallett, IMG Executive Tournament Director, added: “As we build towards The 2019 Solheim Cup, we have been overwhelmed with interest from within the golf industry. Announcing John Deere’s support today is another important step as we work alongside VisitScotland in fulfilling their ambition of hosting the best Solheim Cup to date.”
The recently appointed European Captain and VisitScotland Ambassador, Catriona Matthew, will be looking to return the trophy to Europe in 2019 after an inspired USA team retained the trophy by 16½ to 11½ points, in front of record crowds in Iowa. Organisers are now aiming to set a new record for a European edition in 2019.
Themes of equality, innovation and experience will be threaded through all the event’s communications as The 2019 Solheim Cup aims to engage both the traditional golf audience and the wider sport fan, raising the profile of women’s golf both in Scotland and internationally.
The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have been long-time supporters of the women’s game, having partnered with the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the recently significantly enhanced Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, which took place as a co-sanctioned LET and LPGA event for the first time last year.
The 2019 Solheim Cup will not only showcase the stunning assets of Scotland, the Home of Golf, but also build on the legacy of the successful 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will underline that Scotland is the perfect stage for major golf events as it seeks to help inspire a new generation of children to take up the game invented in their home country.
This summer the Turf Team at Le Golf National, near Paris, have the unprecedented challenge of preparing first as the home for the prestigious French Open, and then, just three months later, to be ready to host The Ryder Cup 2018 – the World’s biggest golfing event,.
It’s an incredible turf team challenge, and you can now follow their journey on a dedicated Syngenta website: www.turfteamchallenge.com
It will give a fascinating insight into the practices, the preparations and, above all, the people who are committed to the success of both events.
Updated throughout the weeks and days leading up to the events, it will catalogue the events through a series of exciting video diaries, personal blogs and articles, covering just what goes into ensuring the condition, performance and recovery of the awesome Albatros course.
The existing Le Golf National Turf Team of 40, headed by Golf Courses and Estates Manager, Alejandro Reyes and Albatros Superintendent, Lucas Pierre, will swell to a total of 80 for the French Open, with the help of greenkeepers from across France. And then it mushrooms to huge Turf Team of an incredible 180 people for The Ryder Cup – coordinating an International greenkeeping effort from across the globe.
The TurfTeamChallenge website and #turfteamchallenge twitter account will be your portal to hear about what’s going on and to learn from the experiences of everyone involved.
Alejandro Reyes said: “The excitement is already building. You can feel the anticipation in the air. Everyone involved is aware that the eyes of the world are on Le Golf National.
“Pressure? – Yes! But working with such an incredible team we are really excited that we can put on a showcase for France, for Europe, for golf as a game, and for the professionalism of greenkeepers. Where we can share that experience, the whole industry can develop and move forward.”
On the TurfTeamChallenge website you can get to know the people behind the event. Alejandro and the team have already started posting information on some of their preparations. Other greenkeepers from the UK, Europe and the US who are heading for Paris in October explain why they are doing it, and what they aim to achieve.
You can even ask Alejandro and his team up to the minute questions at #askalejandro and get involved in the conversations yourself. Sharing your tips and thoughts might just make the difference in preparing a course to bring the Cup back to Europe.
The Albatros course at Le Golf National is the permanent home of the French Open, being held this year from 28 June to 1 July. In 2011, the course was named as the European host for The Ryder Cup 2018, to be held on 28–30 September – although the course’s turf team will have been preparing for months and the International greenkeeping team – sponsored by Syngenta – on-site for at least a week prior to the first tee-off.
Follow their progress, learn from their experiences and share in the excitement and anticipation of these incredible events in France this year.