Home' New Zealand Golf Magazine : NZGM September 2013 Contents businesses who have taken this on board you need to look no further
than your local golf club.
There's no denying that the recession put pressure on golf clubs. Like
all businesses, memberships (or income) dropped off, yet the fxed
costs of running the club, like maintaining the greens, stayed the same.
Golf courses just like most other businesses were expected to maintain
the same greens standards with less resources and less customers.
Something had to give.
I was speaking recently to one of my clients, Will Bowden, Turf
Consultant for Sports Surface Design and Management (a division of
Recreational Services), about the changes he has seen in the industry
as a result of the recession. He mentioned a couple of trends that
suggest that the recession has forced golf courses to take a longer term
approach to their operations, designing strategies and ongoing costs
that are more sustainable and simpler to manage.
Will explained that without a doubt on a golf course, the upkeep of the
greens is the number one user of resource. Resource constraints during
the recession saw greenkeepers forced to cut back on the three main
ingredients essential to maintaining healthy greens; fertilizer, water and
fungicide. This pressure caused them to look at transitioning to a more
habitat-suitable, player-friendly grass that required fewer inputs.
Many North Island courses have taken the lead from prominent
courses in the South Island like Arrowtown, Millbrook and The Hills
who transitioned early to a grass called “Browntop”. Will explained that
Browntop requires less water, less fertilizer and less manpower than
the current widespread grass “Poa annua” to produce a faster, frmer
and more playable surface all year round. In Auckland, Muriwai Beach
is Browntop, and Clarks Beach is currently transitioning. It's a move that
makes sense from a business perspective, both for its lower costs and
improved experience for users.
This shift is also refected in my own industry (IT support and services)
and the new technology that everyone is adapting is the cloud. Just as
the leading golf courses have already transitioned to smarter grasses
and almost everybody else is catching up, in business it is no longer a
question of "why should we adopt the cloud" but when.
My company specializes in providing marketing leading businesses with
IT support and services, and we have been in operation since 2000.
In fact the opportunity to start my business came from the recession,
as large enterprises who were so dominant through the 80s and 90s
suddenly became unfeasible. Their huge fxed costs, expectations
of large amounts of capital outlay from clients and lack of agility
saw smaller, smarter companies like mine take their market share
and provide their customers with a more fexible, lower cost, better
experience based on new technology.
We speak to businesses owners about the importance of implementing
solutions and support that are best for their company's visions and
values, an approach that has seen us help some of New Zealand's most
innovative and well known businesses thrive. We are proud to supply
IT support and services to businesses like Les Mills (International and
New Zealand), Sealord, Jucy Rentals, Charlies Drinks and Bayleys Real
Just as it does on the golf course, technology plays a huge part in our
ability to deliver better services with less resources and input. Browntop
means that greenkeepers now have an easier to manage, less resource
heavy grass that provides their end users with a better experience.
Similarly, the cloud has meant we can provide our end users with IT
support and services that are more effcient, more streamlined and
more cost effective than the burdens of the past.
Michael Russell is the CEO of Origin IT, providers of market leading IT
services to growing businesses including Recreational Services. He plays
off a 13 handicap, and offers no promises that playing on Browntop will
improve your handicap, but is sure that you will enjoy trying.
Browntop at Arrowtown Golf Club.
OF THE DOWN SWING
Words by Michael Russell
The article was made possible by HP, suppliers of
hardware to Origin and Recreational Services.
I f there is one good thing that's come out of the most recent
recession, it's the importance of looking at things from a more
sustainable, long-term perspective. For examples of smart
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