Sentosa Golf Club will be thrust into the international limelight when it stages next month’s Barclays Singapore Open, the richest national Open in Asia. In an exclusive article for Asian Golf Monthly, Quality Golf’s discusses how his team has been preparing the Serapong Course for its biggest assignment. Picture by Tharm Sook Wai.
Make no mistake. Offering record prize money of US$3 million, the Barclays Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club has announced itself as the Asian Tour’s ‘Major’ championship.
Quality Golf has signed its first club management contract, with Pattana Golf & Sports Resort in Chonburi Province. Located in the heart of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, within 1.5 hrs drive from Bangkok, this luxurious, modern Resort is surrounded by a scenic mountain range and offers the following facilities:
Background Prior to the boom in golf course construction which started in the 1960s, the vast majority of greens in Southeast Asia were composed either of sand or indigenous grasses. With the ensuing surge in popularity of the sport, there was a demand for greens grasses that would provide a better quality of putting surface by both amateur and professional golfers alike. The first generation of greens grasses were Bermudagrasses, including Tiffine, Tifgreen and Tifdwarf, the latter arriving in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s. These grasses were so named because of their origin in Tifton, Georgia, USA .
The Golf Course industry is extremely diverse, and requires specialized knowledge in a vast array of professions. In the management of a golf course, the Owners and their Staff face issues daily in diagnosing and solving agronomic problems and prioritizing maintenance, irrigation, drainage and nutritional needs for the turf. In many cases, they also need to plan and confirm the need for capital projects, capital equipment needs, lake and water resource management, tree management, architecture and facility design and safety.
QUALITY GOLF PREPARES TO HOST A TRIO OF TOURNAMENTS
The resilient golf course construction and renovation industry is on the move here in Southeast Asia once more. With the golfing populations continuing to expand in neighbouring countries, strongly supported by massive tourism growth, golf courses are finding it necessary to upgrade and improve, and indeed to build new facilities, to keep up with the competition for revenues from tourists, memberships and leisure golfers.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE IN KEEPING THE GREEN (Part Two)
International golf tournaments and television viewing by millions of golfers worldwide has certainly raised the bar in terms of what the average golfer and private club members expect for putting green quality. The double-edged sword is that they now demand speed and good-looking turf colour. What they fail to realize is that most of the courses shown on TV are meticulously maintained for months in advance and usually have large budgets at hand to have the greens peak for the tournament week.
SeaIsle 2000, originally marketed for golf greens and tees in salt-challenged environments, has proved to be well-suited for fairways and roughs, allowing it to be used effectively as a “wall to wall” golf turf. Sahara Golf Club in Kuwait and Nanea Golf Club in Hawaii both have 18-hole facilities planted totally in SeaIsle 2000. Many high-end international and domestic courses have SeaIsle 2000 on greens and tees.
AGREEMENTS SIGNED WITH SENTOSA GOLF CLUB & AMATA SPRING COUNTRY CLUB
''We are truly delighted to have formed agreements with two of the Region’s premier Clubs to provide maintenance consultancy services. By being selected to perform these assignments, I have truly reached the pinnacle of my career'' said Quality Golf.
TGCA AND QUALITY GOLF FORM EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
The Thai Golf Course Association (TGCA) and Quality Golf have formed a partnership to organise a series of educational seminars for Golf Course Superintendents in Thailand, and indeed from across the Region, throughout 2005. The seminars will take place on a monthly basis and are specifically designed to support Superintendents with the maintenance practices of their golf course facilities. Guest speakers will be brought in from countries such as the USA, the UK and Hong Kong to provide knowledge and insight on key topic areas.
With the dramatic changes in climate across the Region caused by planetary development issues, Golf Course Owners, Managers and Superintendents would be wise to take a serious look at how they are managing their water resources. Knowledge of the data relevant for water management at their facilities will go a long way towards protecting their golf course asset from regulation by government agencies during times of drought.
From 13th-16th October, one of Asia’s newest and most spectacular courses, Santiburi Samui Country Club, will host the US$200,000 Bangkok Airways Open on the burgeoning Asian Tour. The event will place the course, and indeed the idyllic tropical island of Koh Samui, firmly in the regional spotlight and represents a fitting accolade to its outstandingly challenging design and pristine conditioning.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE IN KEEPING THE GREEN (Part One)
As those of us in the golf course maintenance business are all well aware of, our single most important responsibility is keeping golf course greens in excellent condition. Members will be more forgiving on all other details of golf course presentation if you provide them with great putting surfaces. In keeping with this tradition, the management and membership at Thai Country Club took the long-term view over the short-term one when deciding to renovate their greens.
TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE IN KEEPING THE GREEN (Part Three)
Golf Courses throughout Asia share common ground when it comes to maintaining greens - we are all fighting Mother Nature’s fury in the monsoon season, with the goal of keeping fine quality turf alive and playable. Turf decline starts to occur during the intensive rains and extremely low light levels. Then, and often for days on end, it is nearly impossible to grow healthy greens grass and still keep putting surfaces playable for our members and the golfing public.
Before you can satisfy expectations of members and guests at your golf coursed facility, it would be prudent to determine their exact nature so that you can accurately identify which goal or purpose you are working towards. Setting written standards with the committee and/or owner of a golf course goes a long way to creating reality and agreement on where your priorities lie, and only then can you focus your energies to achieve some mutual understanding and perceived benefit for the Club.
QUALITY GOLF DRIVES TO THE FORE IN ASIA ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
The golf industry in Asia is now starting to show positive signs of recovering from the economic crisis that beset the region in 1997, albeit with rightful caution. For many of the expensive courses, built by marquee name designers just prior to the economic crisis, plunging currency valuations and significant debt burdens mean their futures are still in doubt. Nonetheless, the popularity of the game continues to grow rapidly across the region.
SANTIBURI SAMUI COUNTRY CLUB ATTAINS INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
We are delighted to report that the quality rating for Santiburi Samui Country Club has reached 81%, as measured by Quality Golf's unique Success System, indicating that the course has attained a level of playing conditions that is consistent with the highest of international standards after only its first full year of operation since opening in January 2004.
PANYA INDRA PUTTS ITSELF INTO LEAD WITH EXCITING GREENS RENOVATION
Panya Indra Golf Club in Bangkok is currently undertaking an exciting and pioneering renovation programme, replacing its 10-year old Bermuda TifDwarf greens with the much-acclaimed SeaIsle 2000, a certified licenced Seashore Paspalum grass especially created for tees and greens. SeaIsle 2000 was developed by plant geneticist Dr. R.R. Duncan at the University of Georgia's Griffin Experiment Station. Regular verti-cutting, light top-dressing and periodic rolling will deliver stimpmeter readings of between 9-10 feet. It is a grass that thrives on salt and poor quality water.
We are entering the months that traditionally witness the staging of numerous large professional golf tournaments in this Region, for example the Omega Hong Kong Open and the Volvo Masters of Asia. From previous experience in working with the PGA European Tour, it is generally understood that when a tournament is staged at a Club, the course itself is subject to close scrutiny, not only from the competitors but also from the world's press and public. In this article, we highlight the principle factors to consider when preparing to host such a tournament according to the guidelines of the PGA European Tour.