Global Edition

Learning and Sharing provides a Leading Edge

9.36am 14th October 2015 - Management Topics

Dr Thom Nikolai talking about generating customer satisfaction through smooth and true greens.
Dr Thom Nikolai talking about generating customer satisfaction through smooth and true greens.

The inaugural Leading Edge Series, a unique educational, networking and social event for club and course managers took place at Castle Stuart Golf Links on 1-2 October.

Hosted by the team at Castle Stuart in conjunction with GEO (Golf Environment Organization) and supported by Jacobsen, this was an opportunity for members from senior management at golf clubs across Europe and the Middle East to network and learn from each other and respected experts from within the golf industry.

The initial presentation was from Chris May, CEO and Craig Haldane, Courses Superintendent at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on the history and management of Dubai Golf’s prestigious course at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and Emirates Golf Club, home of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Omega Dubai Ladies’ Masters.

Craig Haldane, Courses Superintendent at Emirates Golf Club, speaking about the history of the club
Craig Haldane, Courses Superintendent at Emirates Golf Club, speaking about the history of the club

Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO, spoke about the importance of sustainability to golf and, more specifically, the range of benefits that clubs can gain from OnCourse, golf’s free online sustainability platform and GEO Certified, golf’s leading sustainability label.

The final presentation was from Dr Thom Nikolai of Michigan State University. His presentation focussed on the importance of generating customer satisfaction by ensuring the playing surfaces on golf greens were at their optimum trueness and smoothness. His compelling arguments were debated with gusto by the assembled guests.

As well as the educational aspect, a 36-hole golf tournament was held over the two days with the winners presented with the Leading Edge trophy.  Played in glorious autumnal weather, this provided an excellent networking opportunity for the delegates who came from Spain, Iceland, Ireland, UK and United Arab Emirates. The winners of this inaugural competition were Cruden Bay Golf Club represented by General Manager Les Durno and Course Manager Alister Matheson.

Commenting at the end of the event, Nick Brown, International Corporate Accounts Manager at Ransomes Jacobsen said, “The concept of the Leading Edge Series is different from other events. Usually Club Managers and Course Managers have separate networking and educational events, but Leading Edge enables both to interact with their counterparts from across Europe, and in this case the Middle East, in a convivial and relaxed environment. Chris Haspall and his greenkeeping team at Castle Stuart had the course in immaculate condition and received numerous compliments for the quality of its consistency. General Manager Stuart McColm was the perfect host and the food and hospitality has set a high standard for future events.”

Jonathan Smith, CEO of the Golf Environment Organization added, “This inaugural event in the Leading Edge Series has been a great success and how appropriate that it should take place at such a fantastic venue where nature, resources and community lie at the heart of the business. The opportunity for club and course managers to informally network, share and discuss topical issues and priorities with peers from a diverse range of facilities proved to be interesting and beneficial to all.

“We are very proud of our longstanding partnership with Jacobsen, who were instrumental in bringing this new concept to fruition. We look forward to further Leading Edge think-tank thought leadership in the future.”

The next round of the Leading Edge Series is scheduled for March 2016 and will be hosted by Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

Ransomes Jacobsen

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