Published on : Saturday, October 13, 2018
Visitors to Royal Bled, during the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), will be impressed by the appearance and condition of Slovenia’s oldest golf course, the King’s Course – yet they may be unaware of the part played in its renaissance by members of Golf Business International.
Howard Swan, the chairman of Golf Business International – a team of independent, highly respected and experienced professionals from all sectors of the golf industry – led the team which completed the extensive renovation project in his capacity as architect with Swan Golf Designs, while other members of the group also provided input and experience.
The renovation project at Royal Bled, between 2015 and 2017, saw at least 18 holes of the 27-hole complex remain open throughout. The brief was to re-establish the course’s alpine character landscape, while restoring the design and condition of the course to a true international standard. The work encompassed the redesign and reconstruction of all greens, tees and bunkers, the addition of 10 new lakes and the installation of one of Europe’s most advanced irrigation systems.
In addition, a comprehensive practice facility was created, with a double-ended range, two practice chipping and bunker greens, a 1,000m2 putting green, and a pro-teaching suite kitted out with the latest video analysis and ball tracking technology. The course now measures more than 7,200 yards from the back tees, but, with at least four tees on each hole, it is accessible to all standards of play.
The project team combined local skills, knowledge and materials with expertise from throughout Europe, all under the guidance of Swan and his son, William.
Golf Business International members were also involved elsewhere in the project, with Jonathan Wild, of Jonathan Wild Gardens, advising on wildflower meadow planting, and Michael Pask, when he was senior vice-president of IMG Golf, consulting on the operational and management issues of the development and the club.
Additionally, Rain Bird – a corporate partner of Golf Business International – designed the irrigation system to Swan Golf Designs’ performance specification and installed the system through its Croatian distributor and Polish contractor.
Howard Swan said: “The wonderful Royal Bled is a great example of where the collective experience of Golf Business International members and partners working together can both make a significant contribution and reduce costs.
“The members are familiar with each other’s work, having worked together on a number of occasions, which means a time saving and, consequently, a cost saving. For IGTM visitors it demonstrates the extensive levels of expertise available within Golf Business International and what we – as a group of independent consultants – could bring to their resorts.”
Formed originally as the Golf Consultants Association in 1999, Golf Business International, which rebranded in 2017 and is now a ‘preferred partner’ of England Golf, is unique in its ability to make available a team of highly respected and experienced golf industry professionals to deal with any aspect of the business of golf through from conception to end.