Burnham & Berrow Golf Club has become the 2,000th club to register for The R&A’s Course Management Best Practice Website www.bestcourseforgolf.org.
Launched in 2004, the site is a unique facility designed to support anyone who is caring for an existing course or planning to construct a new facility and gives free access to an extensive database of information with links to expert organisations around the world.
“We had known of the website for some time and following discussions with our course manager, Richard Whyman, have realised the benefits that come through registration,” said Paul Ware, managing secretary of Burnham & Berrow.
“Richard is chairman of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and as a result of conversations with clubs that have already registered, was convinced that Burnham & Berrow should do the same.”
Steve Isaac, the R&A’s assistant director – golf course management is delighted with the uptake to the site but clearly would like to see more clubs registering.
“There has been nothing but positive comment from clubs that have registered and it is that message that we must broadcast, not only in the United Kingdom but anywhere golf is played,” he said. “There are benefits there for every club, no matter the size.”
Registration on the site is, however, not the end of the process. Thereafter, clubs are encouraged to proceed through an audited checklist. In June 2005, Littlestone Golf Club in Kent was the first to complete this process and since then seven others, two from England and one each in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the USA, have successfully gone through the rigorous self-examination audit.
Ian Tomlinson, course manager at Rungstead Golf Club, Denmark said, “I have found the R&A’s best practice website an excellent tool in working towards managing our golf course in a responsible way. The checklist system gives clear guidance on what your objectives should be and helps you to monitor your progress towards obtaining best practice status. I feel that any golf club can benefit from registering on the website as it highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the management of your golf course”.
In Germany, Seve Schmitz, golf course manager at Essener Golf Club, endorsed the site in stating, “The best practice website from The R&A is a fantastic source of credible information that I have used on countless occasions to help me make the right decision, whether agronomical or financial.
“At first I was a little hesitant about using the website but needn’t have been as it is user friendly with a checklist system to guide you through the various stages with ease. It has assisted us at our club in making the right decisions, both financially and environmentally.”
Several clubs in Sweden have taken up registration and from Ljunghusens Golf Club, their general manager, Stig Persson said, “Working through the checklists on the best practice website makes you analyse the situation you have on your course. You are probably implementing a lot of the practices but have not previously documented them.
“The experience you can get through the discussions on the website are very useful and let you see that a lot of problems are global!”
Best Practice Website www.bestcourseforgolf.org