Peter Driver, Public Relations Manager at Ransomes Jacobsen, made a whistle-stop visit to the Algarve in Portugal recently and visited Morgado do Reguengo Resort near Faro, recent purchasers of a small fleet of course maintenance equipment, as they began the first phase of refreshing their ageing fleet
The resort, owned by the NUA Hotels group, has recently purchased two Jacobsen GP400 greens mowers, a Jacobsen LF550 light fairway mower, a Cushman Hauler utility vehicle and a Smithco bunker rake from local distributor, Tjardim Srl.
Jorge Papa is the Director of Golf at the resort and is responsible for all of the buildings, the two golf courses and the agricultural aspects of the property including the orange groves and the 140-strong herd of catte. He has held this position at Morgado since 2002 having begun his career in the golf industry at Quinta do Lago in 1983, where he was educated in all the relevant areas of managing a prestigious golf resort.
He then moved to a sports event managemnent company, where among other tasks he was responsible for 14 Portuguese Opens and numerous professional tennis tournaments. In 1994 he moved to Quinta do Perú, south of Lisbon and successfully managed the club until moving to Morgado in 2002.
"There are two vital aspects for running a successful resort," he said, "the first is the quality of your people and the second is the quality of the equipment they use to carry out their jobs. We had 52,000 rounds of golf last year and we are expecting a 10-12% increase this season as a result of the political situations, particularly in Turkey and North Africa.
"We are finding that many French citizens are moving to the Algarve and that presents additional opportunities. We have a strong Scandinavian presence in March and April, but the British remain our main client base, with a significant ex-pat community in the Algarve supplemented by many visiting golfers, especially in September and October. They are attracted by the good weather and the abundant hospitality in the area and this can last into early November.
"Diversifying our client base is a very important strategy for the resort, we lost a lot of business a few years ago due to Icelandic volcano incident, when all flights from the UK were cancelled for a period of time. At present the UK represents 40% of our business, the Scandinavians 30%, the Germans and Dutch around another 15% and the Irish 10%. The French will soon represent 10% of the rounds played here."
Sergio Bastiano is the head greenkeeper and is reponsible for a team of 18 greenkeepers, two mechanics, two irrigation technicians and two horticulturalists who work the orange groves. He will have been at the resort for 14 years come September and is delighted with the new equipment.
"The quality of cut from the GP400 greens mowers is absolutely superb," he commented. "I also like the swing-out centre unit, which makes it easy to maintain and wash down at the end of the day. Our head mechanic, Nuno Mariguesa, really likes this as it provides easy access for maintenance.
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