Noel MacKenzie, Principal Consultant for Sports Turf Consulting Ltd. has successfully supported numerous golf clubs and proprietary golf centre facilities since 1993 in a number of key roles including:
- Routine Maintenance Agronomy (in support of Greenkeepers and Course Managers in their daily and yearly work activities).
- Strategic planning for course improvement and/or facility maintenance.
- Annual Agronomy / Course Condition reporting to Club Management committees.
- Performance Greenkeeping - optimising putting surface performance.
- Resource planning.
- Integrated Pest and Disease Management programmes.
- Project Management including: Feasibility Studies, Specifying, Tendering, Specifying, Contract Administration and Grow-in.
- Green, Teeing Ground and Bunker Construction
- Ecological and Habitat Management Advice.
- Preparing for Climate Change.
- Communicating to Members on Technical and/or Developmental works.
Noel MacKenzie has a proven record of developing short, medium and long term strategic goals within the overall agronomy service offered. Uniquely, where required, we link such strategic elements to engage with clients on business considerations and marketing of the golf club/facility, where relevant, contributing to successful business development in areas such as USP’s for marketing purposes, etc.
Noel has achieved advances in facility performance and quality by treating every client and their golf course as unique entities and developing bespoke solutions to their challenges. Progress in development of performance outcomes has been achieved through logical agronomic objectives based on region, soil type, climate, micro-climate, etc., balanced against course use, resources and budgetary inputs. Noel’s approach is to empower clubs in their decision making process assisting them in making informed choices and making progress in a manner that meets both current and future challenges facing the game and profession.
A selection of Noel’s golf client portfolio:
South Beds Golf Club
The Worcestershire Golf Club
Sherborne Golf Club
Chippenham Golf Club
Sleaford Golf Club
Lyme Regis Golf Club
Gerrards Cross Golf Club
Henley Golf Club
The Buckinghamshire Golf Club
Stockwood Park Golf Club
Hampstead Golf Club
Lansdown Golf Club
Avington Park Golf Club
Hubberstone Golf Club
Milford Haven Golf Club
Mendip Golf Club
Grove Golf Club
Buckingham Golf Club
Inco Golf Club
Chiltern Forest Golf Club
Harewood Downs Golf Club
West Middlesex Golf Club
Torquay Golf Club
Ealing Golf Club
St. Neots Golf Club
Freshwater Bay Golf Club
Southend on Sea Golf Club
Came Down Golf Club
Highcliffe Golf Club
Cottrell Park Golf Club
Ogborne Downs Golf Club
Basingstoke Golf Club
North Oxford Golf Club
Burghill Valley Golf Club
West Linton Golf Club
Newport Golf Club
Maesteg Golf Club
Drayton Park Golf Club
Carmarthen Golf Club
Burford Golf Club
Blackpool North Shore Golf Club
Tenby Golf Club
Wenvoe Castle Golf Club
Highgate Golf Club
South Herts Golf Club
Hendon Golf Club
Enfield Golf Club
Addington Park Golf Club
South Pembrokeshire Golf Club
Flackwell Heath Golf Club
Old Fold Manor Golf Club
Little Hay Golf Complex
Hadley Wood Golf Club
Winterhill Golf Club
Drayton Park Golf Club
Mount Pleasant Golf Club
West Herts Golf Club
Wrag Barn Golf Club
Flemming Park Golf Club
Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands golf Club
Broome Manor Golf Complex
Maldon Golf Club
Luton Hoo Hotel and Golf Resort
Richmond Park Golf Club
Prior’s Hall Golf Club
Stinchcombe Golf Club
Hendon Golf Club
“I’ve known Noel MacKenzie for over 20 years and worked with him as my club’s Agronomist at 2 golf clubs now. He is a truly independent Agronomist with a fantastic knowledge of all things turf maintenance, soil biology and course ecology with added management and business awareness. Always on hand at the end of a phone for advice when needed and his reports to the club really back up what I need to show my club and how we are working to keep improving things for the playing members.
I would recommend Noel to anyone in the industry that is looking for an outside professional opinion on everything from day to day maintenance, small budget improvements or even the largest of turf related construction projects”.
The Worcestershire Golf Club
Golf Club / Facility Engagement with Sports Turf Consulting
Agronomy and Course Consultancy visits usually arrive by one of two different mechanisms, either;
- Course Manager / Head Greenkeeper Led Approach
- Club Manager / Owner-Led Approach .
- The Course Manager or Head Greenkeeper Led approach –
These approaches are initiated by the Head Greenkeeper or Course Manager who engage our services in order to seek that extra surface and operational performance for their organisation. They are typically proactive managers and keen to maximise benefits for their course and therefore player (customer) satisfaction. They are usually interested in our “Performance Greenkeeping” approach to greens management. Being a Course Manager and Head Greenkeeper is a lonely and exposed position in any club and we find the best of them look for a “Wing Man” to bounce ideas off and investigate and explore their ideas before engaging them on the ground. Noel MacKenzie is very happy to work this way and has done so for many years.
Crucially this approach tends to avoid problems that might demand emergency measures at some point because the Course Manager/Head Greenkeeper is managing in a proactive management style avoiding problems by working to avoid them. It also helps to provide a check and balance to their plans and actions on the course in the same way an accountant or auditor assists a business with its checks and balances to reduce risk. For the Course Manager it is better to engage with a professional Independent Agronomist than bouncing too many ideas around with greenkeeping colleagues for an number of reasons, some of which include:
- Competition between greenkeepers to be more proactive and push the course.
- Chasing lower cutting heights in a “limbo dance competition”.
- Topdressing earlier than the next guy to keep up with the Jones’.
- Forcing a course to perform at a pace that will be unsustainable in the longer term and result in surface failure.
- Adopt practices that may not suit the course or its longer term sustainability.
- Job security.
Working with a good Independent Agronomist maintains an impartial, independent and professionally discrete approach. That doesn’t mean that conversations should not take place with neighbouring greenkeepers but it avoids being compromised.
- The Club / Owner led approach–
These approaches arise from the Chairman of Greens or General Manager/Secretary to the Club. The engagement may commence for many reasons, some examples include:
- Concern about course condition, poor greens performance, bunker issues, presentation deficiencies, etc.,
- Issues arising over longer term construction issues and how to address these.
- Facility Concerns – major expenditure is looming, such as new compound, irrigation, drainage, new greens/tees, and there is a desire to check that the investment is being made wisely.
- Concerns over Human Resources e.g. staff numbers, skills, competency, performance of individuals and teams, etc.
- Drainage problems, soft greens, tee rebuilding, etc.
- Insurance Claims e.g. Pesticide/Herbicide accidents resulting in course kills.
- Future Development – Is there scope to enhance the course? If so how best to go about it?
- Assistance solving political concerns – for example, tension between scratch players and the high handicappers.
- Survival Strategy – where to trim and where to invest to help a club or course to survive.
- Project Management – Contract Administration and keeping projects on track.
Whatever the challenge we are here to help and support the club/facility with impartial advice free of commercial interests.
Noel MacKenzie has successfully overcome all sorts of problems on client’s courses resulting in an enhanced golfing experience for the members and customers at a course. Our priority is that your club and business must not only survive, it needs to thrive! We seek to understand issues on the course with an appreciation of how this relates to your product - the golfing experience you offer. This is why we adopt a multidisciplinary approach to understand more than just Agronomy - we comprehend how this might influence to your business considerations and course operations.
We often form a significant role within the professional management structure working hand-in-hand with the Club/facility management and the Greenkeeping operations. We support the staff on the ground, utilising their expert site knowledge and merging that with our experience and technical diagnosis to develop bespoke management approaches. Our aim is to optimise greenkeeping operations and supporting and strengthening the team on the ground. This may be by developing greenkeeping annual operation plans, through coaching and mentoring of senior staff or a combination of both. Our approach has avoided some club’s ridding themselves of staff at great expense by working with their valuable knowledge and channelling this into new ways of working. This is better for the club and facility (where it is possible) and it is also highly rewarding to see a greenkeeper or Course Manager become better developed, more motivated and more fulfilled in their work.
Your Course / Facility:
Whichever approach occurs on your site we assure you, our client, of our best intentions and a deliberate, insightful and unbiased appraisal of the course, its facilities, your resources and objectives to optimise the processes and outcomes involved on your site. Where change is necessary we seek to identify key elements in the Change Management Process to make transitions as smooth as possible. We never approach your facility with the view of instantly installing a new team leader which is only considered if the results are not forthcoming as to do so isn’t in the best interests of the Club except where there is a proven problem of a serious nature. If ever a new lead position does arise then we support the interview process with strictly adhered to protocols.
The Independent Agronomy Visit and Report:
The visit may be carried out unaccompanied, accompanied by just the Course Manager/Head Greenkeeper or may include Greens Chairman/General Manager. Usually it is best to limit the group numbers to 3-4 maximum. Maintenance Agronomy Visits can be short (an hour or so) or a full day, depending on what is required by the visit remit.
When completing routine maintenance agronomy visits we always produce a report for the following reasons:
- It is essential to record the content of the visit and the key points discussed.
- The report provides information to carry back to management systems that should operate in any club or proprietary facility.
- The report records advice which avoids mis-interpretation and errors by setting out our recommendations.
- The report can be detailed or brief depending on client requirements.
Ultimately the report forms part of our “product” recording the advisory visit and is an essential record of observations and advice. Writing reports individually takes time to complete, especially as ours are individually written not “copy and pasted” or simply reproduced “internet text”. We always provide a report as its omission is the height of bad consultancy practice and leaves the client and staff severely disadvantaged and potentially vulnerable to misunderstandings of advice.
If you would like to discuss your individual requirements please contact Noel MacKenzie for further information.