March 2017

Jacobsen and GEO Celebrate 10 Years of Partnership

Jacobsen, a Textron Specialized Vehicles brand, has announced the renewal of its long standing global partnership to advance sustainability across golf with GEO (Golf Environment Organization).

GEO, the international not-for-profit organisation dedicated to sustainability in golf, provides practical tools and expert support to help golf unlock and celebrate its social and environmental value.

“As a Founding Partner in the highly valuable work GEO undertakes, we are thrilled to be able to demonstrate 10 years of commitment to golf and sustainability,” said Andre Andrade, director, international golf sales for Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., which designs and manufactures Jacobsen equipment.

“As the only international supplier of turf equipment to hold the coveted ISO 14001 standard for our Environmental Management System, and as a leader in fuel-efficient and hybrid machinery coupled with our efforts to prioritise recycling on-site, we are extremely proud to be able to demonstrate our commitment to the environment as well as having our name alongside GEO,” Andrade said.

“As a direct result of this we know just how important a sustainable business approach is to our customer’s reputations and profitability, as well as long term industry growth,” he said.

“From the start, Jacobsen have shown truly unique and outstanding leadership and commitment to support golf, and other sports and amenity sectors in this field,” said GEO CEO Jonathan Smith. “It continually goes above and beyond, whether it’s in its own internal operations and innovation, or in education, capacity building and solutions. We are very proud to be able to represent them as a founding partner, and look forward to continuing to drive sustainability results with them on the ground around the world of golf.”

The announcement was made at the BTME in Harrogate in January which both Jacobsen and GEO attended.

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Ballybunion – a focus on quality

Tom Watson famously said of the Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club in south-west Ireland: “It is a course you will always enjoy and never tire of playing. I know I never will. Ballybunion is a course on which many golf architects should live and play before they build golf courses. I consider it a true test of golf.”

The Old Course at Ballybunion – ranked by at #17 in the Top 100 golf courses in the world – has been subject to a complete renovation of the greens and surrounds under the stewardship of course manager John Bambury, together with course architect Graeme Webster and construction firm Atlantic Golf Construction, which was achieved in under 16 weeks.

This was designed to replace the old poa annua surfaces with 100 per cent fine fescue greens, which were mapped and reconstructed to appear exactly the same as they were before. At the same time course manager John Bambury, who arrived in October 2014 from Trump International Aberdeen, reviewed the equipment at both the Old and Cashen courses, much of which was at the end of its usable life.

“Really I was coming back to my roots, as my father use to live just 15 minutes away from Ballybunion and it was the first golf course I ever set foot on as a child,” says John. “In my job interview I said the course needed to reclaim its top 10 position in the world, and we’ve developed plans to achieve this over time, with the full approval of the membership.

“A key element of this was the reconstruction project, and we have also reinvested in the machinery fleet after conducting the usual tender process. As a result, John Deere and dealer Seamus Weldon of Killarney were selected as the preferred supplier to Ballybunion for 10 years.

“I wanted to get the club onto a sustainable fleet management and replacement programme, and you can’t really do that properly over five years, particularly with the initial need to replace a lot of the older machines. We know what the expenditure will be over this extended period, and this helps the club to budget accordingly.

“It’s a comprehensive fleet and we have chosen all the key machines John Deere has to offer the golf course.” These include the new A Model fairway, rough and surrounds mowers, walk-behind and ride-on greens mowers including hybrid electric triplex machines, Gator utility vehicles, compact and utility tractors from 35 to 75hp and amenity turf sprayers.

“There were a number of reasons for the choice,” says John. “Obviously the quality of the equipment, which is a given, but primarily the local dealer service and support is a very important part of the equation. I’ve always maintained this doesn’t end the day the kit is delivered, and we know we can call Mike Weldon at the dealership if a problem arises and he’ll get it sorted, which is absolutely vital.

“One of the other big focuses of the reconstruction project was the replanting and regeneration of the dunes, and as part of this we planted and hydroseeded 10,000m2 of marram grasses last winter. There were also a lot of hard core pathways on the course, which are not as pleasing as grass, so we’ve been replacing and installing 4m wide grass pathways across the course as we go. The John Deere 7200A PrecisionCut triplex mower is perfect for cutting these, and works very well in this environment.

“The 7500A fairway mowers also really work a treat. We keep cutting heights to between 8 and 10mm, and with four-wheel drive and a special conversion to run on smooth tyres, these machines work very well on our undulating terrain. It’s a very challenging environment for mowing, especially when the fescue grass is dry, but they work particularly well in these conditions without marking.

“The new TechControl feature is great too – the operators know a lot more about it than I do, but it helps produce a consistently high quality finish and maximises productivity across the course in all conditions.”

Ballybunion is a very busy golf course, with the biggest membership in Ireland plus high levels of overseas visitors during the playing season, so good time management of the course maintenance operation is critical. “The 7500A mowers have proved to be able to cover a great deal of the surface area quickly,” says John. “We have around 600 acres of grounds to manage across both 18-hole courses, so this ability is crucial.

“The course is well known for its history and landscape – management decisions are therefore based on what will be the lasting legacy, not what might seem the best short-term solution. We need to deliver the goal of quality all the time, and that’s always our main focus.”

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BIGGA House to host the latest Amenity Forum meeting

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association will be opening its doors on Thursday 2 March to welcome representatives of the amenity horticulture sector across Yorkshire.

The latest meeting of the Amenity Forum will be held at BIGGA’s headquarters, at Aldwark Manor, near York.

Those attending the Updating Event will hear presentations on subjects including integrated weed control approaches, effective use of sprayers, and the importance of regular up-to-date training.

Jim Croxton, CEO of BIGGA, said: “BIGGA is a strong supporter of the Amenity Forum which does an excellent job of representing our sector and strives to ensure good practice is prevalent and recognised. This is vital in the current situation with changes to pesticide legislation and the removal of products used by many turf professionals.

“I’m delighted that we’re able to welcome industry experts and a number of delegates from around Yorkshire to our headquarters at BIGGA House, and I’m sure it will be a great day of education.”

Professor John Moverley, independent chairman of the Amenity Forum, said: “We believe these Updating events are important and are an essential element for us in promoting good practice and the professionalism of this vital amenity sector which impacts on the lives of every UK citizen.”

The events are being held across the UK and are free to attend and open to anyone with an interest in weed, pest and disease management.

The Amenity Forum is an independent non-profit body bringing together professional organisations with an involvement in the amenity sector.

Following meeting in Yorkshire, further events will take place in London, Northern Ireland, Cheshire, Essex, Surrey, Devon, Edinburgh. The final Updating Event will take place in Durham on 12 April.

For more information visit

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Over 400 golf club officials, golf course operators and developers attended two successful Sustainability in Golf seminars staged by The R&A in Japan and Korea this week.

A panel of leading international and local experts addressed the delegates on best practice in sustainability to encourage responsible and practical golf facility development, renovation and course management.

The expert speakers included Steve Isaac (Director – Sustainability, The R&A) Dr Micah Woods (Chief Scientist, Asian Turfgrass Center), Paul Jansen (Owner of Jansen Golf Course Design & Construction), Jonathan Smith (Chief Executive, Golf Environment Organization), Bill Coore (Partner, Coore & Crenshaw), Dr Choi Joon-Soo (Professor of Turfgrass Science, Dankook University) and Yoon Kyung Ho (Golf Course Superintendent, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea).

Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, said, “Sustainability in golf is an important consideration for The R&A and we are committed to supporting the adoption of best practice by golf facilities throughout the region.

“We are working with our affiliates around the world to raise awareness of golf’s responsibility to the environment and communities. The seminars were excellent opportunities to share expert knowledge and experience among the delegates.”

The seminars demonstrated sustainability solutions which are helping golf clubs to make improvements in their day to day operations while also generating discussion on golf course and club management, golf course renovation and development and tournament staging.

The events were supported by the Japan Golf Association and Korea Golf Association and follow on from the success of similar seminars in China and Thailand last year.

Andy Yamanaka, Executive Director of the Japan Golf Association, added, “I believe that everyone who attended will return to their home clubs, companies and businesses with a greater appreciation of sustainability and ideas to share with their fellow members and colleagues. We are committed to working on sustainability and helping as many people as possible to understand its importance.”

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FEGGA Welcomes a New Chairman

t the recent FEGGA Conference held at the Quinta da Marinha in Portugal, FEGGA Members unanimously elected Kamil Pecenka as its new Chairman. Kamil, of the Czech Republic and vice chairman for the past four years takes on this new role for an initial period of two years. Kamil said “he was delighted to be taking over the position from Olafur Por Agustsson, a position that Olly did for four years, and as a board member for 10 years in total. Olly did a great job over the four years, overseeing some very positive initiatives during his term”

Kamil Pecenka will be supported by Paul Worster as the new incoming Vice chairman. Paul is currently Course Manager at Minchinhampton Golf Club, and past Chairman of BIGGA.

FEGGA Members also welcomed new board member Rauna Pietarila, Course Manager at Laukaa Peurunka Golf Club, and Board Member of the Finnish Greenkeepers Association. Rauna, always known as Emmi is also a past FEGGA Scholarship student, attending the Polaris Excellence Award Programme. Emmi said she was really looking forward to serving on the board with fellow members.

Fellow board members, Darko Cecelja, Slovenia, Joel Nunes, Portugal also continue as FEGGA board members, along with Erich Steiner who serves as the Patron Representative on the FEGGA board.

Fellow board members, Darko Cecelja, Slovenia, Joel Nunes, Portugal also continue as FEGGA board members, along with Erich Steiner who serves as the Patron Representative on the FEGGA board.

FEGGA board

FEGGA board, From left to right: Paul Worster (vice chairman- UK) Joel Nunes (Portugal) Erich Steiner (Patron Representative) Dean Cleaver (Executive officer) Kamil Pecenka (Czech Republic – Chairman) Darko Cecelja (Slovenia) Emmi Pietarila (Finland)

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Meeting Expectations

Quinta da Marinha was the venue for 21 Greenkeeper Associations to gather for what was two days of energised seminars and discussions, focused on many of the pertinent industry issues we are challenged with today. It was also challenging the representatives with Meeting Expectations in terms of golf today. The Conference was also attended by many of the leading industry and golf organisations, who equally played a significant role in ensuring that Golf and the supporting industries were well represented.

The subjects focused on, can be divided into four sessions, these including Sustainable Focus, Responsible Golf Course Management, Education and Greenkeeper Experience Programmes, and Managing your Association. It certainly reflects well on our delegates, in how they presented on these subjects, and the knowledge that exists to determine the successful outcomes that were achieved, and this being backed up by the survey that took place immediately following the Conference.

The industry engaged in a series of workshop sessions that focussed on further developing the document that was launched last year by FEGGA “Responsible Golf Course Management”.  The document has already received global recognition, but this can only continue if its content remains relevant, and in a format, that provides benefits in how it can be used. The revised changes that will be incorporated will serve to ensure this happens in the future, and allows FEGGA, its Member Associations, and Partners to all gain from its use.

FEGGA continues to do more in bringing people and organisations together, and through its Greenkeeper Experience programmes have been able to enable valuable experiences for greenkeepers in many different Countries. It was very inspiring to hear of some of these experiences from the greenkeepers who presented on their experiences at the Conference, and how it has helped them with the development of their careers.

FEGGA’s role is all about working with its Members Associations, assisting new associations, providing support, sharing information and resources, and this enables them to become better in providing services for their own members. The FEGGA Session “Managing Your Association” focused on a selection of topics, all relevant to today’s needs as expressed by associations. These focused on Stress at Work, and what associations are doing to support this ever-increasing problem.  It also focused on Continuous Personal Development, and how associations are using this as a valuable tool to engage with members. This session also allowed The Turf Managers Association of South Africa to share what they are doing as an association, what their challenges are, and what they are keen to develop to enhance the role as Greenkeepers/Course Managers in South Africa. Again, its proved, that we might be separated by thousands of miles, but we all have similar challenges, but all share the same passion and desire to make our profession stronger in supporting the game of Golf.



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