Undertaking a project, the size of the Peninsula Kingswood redevelopment has only been achievable through having a dedicated team that has collectively bought into the vision of delivering two elite level golf courses.
As any course superintendent or turf manager will tell you, in order to produce the standards a club or organisation aspires to, you need an expert team behind you. No more has that been truer than at Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club (PKCGC). With a redevelopment of this magnitude, having the right people, whether on the maintenance crew or externally via the many contractors and suppliers, has been of paramount importance and gone a long way to ensuring its ultimate success.
At the official opening of PKCGC in May, president Robert Dowling made the interesting observation that over the duration of the project, more than 150 people had been involved at some point in bringing it to fruition. Central to that was the PKCGC crew put together by director of courses Glenn Stuart, who along with the more than 100-strong personnel from course architects through to consultants and suppliers, delivered what can be seen today.
Bringing a crew together was by no means easy and arguably one of the hardest aspects that Stuart had to grapple with, especially early on. When he arrived at PKCGC, Stuart essentially inherited two separate teams – a crew of 17 at the Peninsula site and 11 at Kingswood. The two clubs merging had made for quite an uncertain environment in regards to staff. The previous superintendents – Martin Greenwood (Peninsula) and the long-serving Terry Ford (Kingswood) – had left and the remaining staff were unsure of how the future looked. It was especially heightened for those at the Kingswood site which, as part of the merger, would eventually close.
Stuart’s first task was to assess the relative skill levels of both teams and the requirements of both sites. Kingswood was in a high-level maintenance phase, whereas the Peninsula site was a mix of both. Construction on the South Course was already underway, while the North Course would continue to be open for play before it too would be closed for reconstruction once the South had reopened. (PKCGC had given an undertaking to members that 36 holes would be playable across both sites at all times throughout the redevelopment. That would eventually become a series of composite holes across both North and South courses to ensure an 18-hole layout as promised when the North course work started.)
Due to the demands of what was happening at the Peninsula site, Stuart started to slowly change the rostering around and shifted staff between the two sites. He was able to place staff at the Kingswood site that were physically challenged by the works that were transpiring at the Peninsula site, which helped the club and those selected individuals. Ultimately, many who were on the original crews would move on as the project progressed, but, as Stuart affirms, they all had a positive impact on the redevelopment and the club was grateful for their efforts.
It was a hard time for everyone and very emotional for those who would ultimately leave. A lot of difficult decisions had and were made, but Stuart had to look at the bigger picture and structure up a team, initially across two sites and eventually one, that would be able to help him deliver what the club had employed him to do.