Global Edition

Els Club Malaysia appoints new GM and Director of Agronomy

12.03pm 6th May 2021 - Corporate

The Els Club Malaysia, which is managed by Troon International, has appointed Steven Thielke as General Manager and Sean Kinsley as Group Director of Agronomy.

Thielke and Kinsey replace long-term Troon veterans Stephen Havrilla and Terrance Mohamed who are moving to new opportunities in the USA and South East Asia respectively.

South African-born Thielke joins The Els Club Malaysia and Troon International with over 30 years of golf and hospitality industry experience. In 2019, he successfully completed his Club Managers’ Certification (CCM) with the Club Management Association of America (CMAA), a professional qualification and the gold standard in club management. 

Most recently, he has spent the past eight years as CEO of TPC Kuala Lumpur, overseeing the club’s transformation process, and under the South African’s management, TPC Kuala Lumpur captured the golf world’s attention through staging PGA Tour, European Tour and LPGA events annually for over three consecutive years.

“It’s a true privilege to be associated with fellow countryman Ernie Els’ brand and to be part of the Troon International family,” said Thieke. “The natural beauty, wildlife and high-quality of golf on offer at The Els Club Desaru Coast is simply spectacular. I have yet to experience anything equal in the world of golf that offers such world class facilities with uninterrupted views and a fresh sea breeze in an authentic tropical destination.

Els Club Malaysia Desaru

“I’m extremely excited to be part of team at The Els Club Desaru Coast and add value to the overall growth of the club and the destination, particularly in the recovery from the past year as we look to re-open borders and welcome golfers from outside Malaysia to Desaru Coast.”

US-born Kinsley, who has been with Troon since 2007, joins as Group Director of Agronomy, having previously worked in Australia, USA, Russia, India and, most recently, Dubai, where he was Cluster Director of Agronomy across Arabian Ranches, Dubai Hills and The Montgomeriei. During his tenure, Dubai Hills was awarded ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the 2019 World Golf Awards, a true recognition of the high standards Sean upholds across course conditioning and presentation.

“Having personally visited the location on more than one occasion I am delighted to be joining The Els Club Malaysia team,” said Kinsey. “The opportunity to be involved in the management of such a strong group of courses located in such a stunning setting is one that I am eagerly anticipating. Each of the three courses is distinct in terms of style and the role certainly promises to be one that will require a varied approach when it comes to the maintenance of each property. 

“Being aware of the growing portfolio of the golf courses and the recent progress made by the agronomy team, I am very excited at the prospect of consolidating that momentum and continuing to drive and deliver further improvements in course conditioning and international recognition of each club over the years ahead.” 

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