As the 16th edition of the HSBC Women’s World Championship is set to return for its 11th year at Sentosa Golf Club’s renowned Tanjong Course from February 29 to March 3, 2024, Golf Matters spoke to Andy Johnston, the General Manager and Head of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club as he shared the meticulous preparations behind the scenes and how pivotal his and his team's roles are in hosting 'Asia's Major'.

Nestled on Sentosa Island, Sentosa Golf Club stands as one of Asia's premier golfing establishments, adorned with accolades such as being ranked within the 'Top 100 World’s Greatest Golf Courses' by Golf Digest and 'Top 100 in the World' by Platinum Clubs of the World.

Against the backdrop of Sentosa Golf Club's 50th anniversary celebration and its groundbreaking achievements in sustainability, Johnston sheds light on the agronomic policies and best practices employed to ensure a successful and memorable event.

How did you navigate and address the unique challenges in meticulously preparing for the HSBC Women's World Cup in March 2024, considering the magnitude of hosting such a championship?
Navigating and addressing the distinctive challenges associated with meticulously preparing for the HSBC Women's World Championship in March 2024 has been a difficult process. The multitude of obstacles encountered during the build-up with unpredictable weather conditions proving to be a prominent factor. December and January posed unprecedented challenges, marked by irregular monsoonal weather patterns. However, as we enter February, there is a positive trend towards normalization, with occasional showers leading up to the event.

Adapting to the unpredictability of daily showers, the heavy monsoonal events, and thunderstorms demanded an intuitive and nimble approach to ensure we meet our required goals for an event such as the HSBC Women’s World Championship. These weather conditions not only increased disease pressure but also disrupted our meticulously planned mowing routines.

Another significant challenge arises from the higher-than-usual planning occupancy, placing excessive wear and stress on our facilities and infrastructure. The global nature of the tournament further complicates matters, introducing logistical challenges in shipping equipment and supplies to the destination. Overcoming these hurdles underscores the necessity for intricate preparations for globally significant events like the HSBC Women's World Championship on the LPGA Tour.

Despite these unique challenges, our commitment to delivering a world-class tournament experience remains unwavering. We recognize that such events demand resilience, adaptability, and a proactive approach to ensure a seamless execution to showcase the best in women's golf on the global stage.

Can you elaborate on the significance of the partnership between Sentosa Golf Club and the HSBC Women’s World Championship, highlighting the positive impacts this collaboration has had on both entities?
The collaboration with HSBC and the LPGA Tour has helped to significantly heighten women’s golf and of course Sentosa Golf Club’s prominence, positively influencing visibility and overall development. High-profile moments such as Paula Creamer’s incredible putt, Michelle Wie’s chip-in, and back-to-back victories for former world No.1 Jin Young Ko, have played a pivotal role in enhancing the Club’s reputation on the world stage.

These iconic moments have become synonymous with Sentosa Golf Club's commitment to golfing excellence. Engraved in the memories of golf enthusiasts worldwide, they have garnered global recognition for the Club, solidifying its esteemed status in the golfing community.

The Club's affiliation with the tournament underscores its dedication to excellence, positioning it as a top-tier venue capable of hosting world-class events. The event not only draws significant media attention, showcasing the Club's scenic beauty but also establishes it as a preferred destination for international golf events.

Hosting a major event also bring economic benefits to the local community and contributes to tourism, creating a positive impact, supporting local businesses and positioning the region as a premier destination for golf tourism.

Andrew Johnston - General Manager, Director of Agronomy and Resident Golf Course Designer at SGC

 

In what ways has Sentosa Golf Club played a transformative role in shaping the golf landscape in Singapore and Asia by bringing elite-level women's golf to the region through hosting the HSBC Women’s World Championship?
The Club has helped to make a significant impact on Singapore and Asia by introducing elite-level women’s golf to the region. The annual hosting of the HSBC Women’s World Championship stands out as a pivotal event with far-reaching implications for the golf landscape in the region.

It stands as a catalyst for inspiring future generations of female golfers. The visibility of top women players competing at the pinnacle of the sport acts as a powerful motivator for young aspiring golfers in Singapore and across Asia, fostering increased participation.

Through the presentation of a world-class women’s golf event, Sentosa Golf Club has emerged as a key influencer in promoting the sport at the highest level, inspiring a new generation of golf enthusiasts, and positioning the region as a central hub for top-tier women’s golf competitions.

How does Sentosa Golf Club consistently maintain its reputation as one of the best golf clubs globally, attracting top-tier players and contributing significantly to the success of high-profile events like the HSBC Women’s World Championship?
At the heart of the Club’s appeal lies its world-class golf course design. Both courses’ layout, coupled with challenging features and meticulous maintenance, deliver an exceptional playing experience. Meticulous attention to detail in course design guarantees that it aligns with the elevated standards expected by elite players, as well as our members and guests.

Our unwavering commitment to maintaining tournament-ready conditions 365 days of the year is a pivotal factor in its global reputation. The thorough care given to both courses by our agronomy team ensures that playing standards remain in optimal condition. This dedication to course maintenance proves indispensable when hosting major tournaments.

We have a great track record in organizing and hosting high-profile events. This has helped us establish a legacy that transcends amongst the top players in the world and solidifies our reputation as a venue synonymous with elite-level competition. Events at Sentosa Golf Club are always ones that players aspire to win.

Ensuring an exceptional experience for our members and guests is also of paramount importance. The combination of a world-class golfing environment, exceptional hospitality, and an unwavering commitment to customer service creates a setting appreciated by all who visit the Club. Continuous improvement and innovation are at the forefront of our vision, whether through adopting cutting-edge technology, enhancing the course, or upgrading facilities.

Could you provide insights into the agronomy techniques and their role in contributing to the success of hosting world-class sporting events at Sentosa Golf Club, particularly in the context to the upcoming HSBC Women’s World Championship?
To meet the requirements of hosting world-class events, the Club employs a variety of specific agronomy techniques, including customized turf management, precision irrigation systems, strategic fertility programs, regular monitoring, and analysis, as well as aerification and topdressing.

Our agronomy practices are meticulously crafted to address the unique demands of hosting top-tier events. This often involves the integration of precision techniques, sustainable approaches, and a steadfast commitment to the long-term health of the courses. By implementing these practices, not only do we ensure that the playing standards consistently meeting professional standards but also actively contribute to the overall sustainability and resilience of the golf course.

This approach aligns with principles of environmental responsibility and community engagement, reflecting the Club’s dedication to a holistic and responsible approach to golf course management.

With Sentosa Golf Club committed to sustainability, how does the Club continue to commit to the cause throughout the preparations for the HSBC Women’s World Championship?
It doesn’t matter whether we are hosting a major tournament or preparing the courses for general play, the Club is always dedicated to sustainable golf course management. Our agronomy practices align with our overarching environmental objectives. The Club actively incorporates various eco-friendly measures, including integrated pest management, minimal use of pesticides, and strategies for waste reduction, aimed at mitigating the overall environmental footprint.

Back in 2022, the Club signed a 10-year partnership with The Toro Company to create a Centre of Excellence that would help to develop new techniques and test the latest hybrid and electric equipment.

Our preparations are also designed to minimize the effects on the biodiversity around the property. Initiatives have been implemented to help preserve water resources and foster soil health. These not only serve to limit the overall impact but also play a significant role in maintaining the overall ecological equilibrium of the golf course.

TaylorMade, one of the most innovative, performance driven golf brands in the world continues to innovate and excite golfers with the debut of its Qi10 series, the brand’s most forgiving lineup yet! Held at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club yesterday, TaylorMade Malaysia organised a product experience event where golfers got to experience first-hand the groundbreaking technology and performance of the Qi10 range.

Attracting close to 100 golfers, both men’s and ladies, it was a product experiential day where Malaysian golfers tested the Qi10 Drivers - Qi10, Qi10 Max and Qi10 LS, the Qi10 Fairway and Qi10 Rescue family – Qi10, Qi10 Max and Qi10 Tour, and Qi irons. It was an unforgettable golfing experience for TaylorMade enthusiasts and golfers as they got to explore the cutting-edge features and precision engineering that define TaylorMade’s commitment to excellence. Feedback from golfers on the Qi10 series were synonymous – a truly forgiving line up by TaylorMade by far!

One of the highlights of the event was the longest drive challenge where participants showcased their skills and competed using TaylorMade’s fastest and most forgiving drivers suitable for all skill levels. The top three longest drive winners who demonstrated exceptional power walked away with a dozen TaylorMade TP5 golf balls and a TaylorMade cap for their achievement. Participants also got to participate in a lucky draw, with the winner walking away with the TaylorMade cart bag to enhance their enjoyment in the sport.

Longest driver M Shukri at TaylorMade’s product experiential day at KLGCC.

The Qi10 family of drivers unlocks a new frontier of forgiveness through the combination of various technologies which resulted in the most forgiving driver in TaylorMade’s history. Forgiveness runs in the family with the Qi10 fairways and hybrids through the use of breakthrough technologies with an Infinity Carbon Crown in fairways and precision weighting and shaping in hybrids. The all-new Qi irons delivers the optimal combination of distance, accuracy and solid feel in an inviting game-improvement package through a blend of minimalistic aesthetics and advanced multi-material technology.

Proudly distributed by MST Golf, TaylorMade’s latest lineup is available nationwide starting today, 2nd February 2024 at MST Golf outlets nationwide, MST Golf’s e-commerce site (mstgolf.com) and authorised TaylorMade retailers. For the latest product and upcoming demo days of the Qi10 series by TaylorMade, follow TaylorMadeGolfMalaysia on Facebook and Instagram. Learn about TaylorMade’s Qi10 at taylormadegolf.com.my.

International travel and lifestyle brand TUMI announced multiyear partnerships with the LPGA and PGA TOUR today naming TUMI the “Official Luggage” for both organizations. TUMI’s partnerships with the PGA TOUR and LPGA reinforces the brand’s dedication to major global sports partnerships, such as Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur, McLaren Racing, and the Professional Tennis Players Association. TUMI’s foray into golf coincides with the debut of its first full range golf collection, offering high-performance and innovative products that embody both the sport and its accompanying lifestyle.

To kick off these prestigious men’s and women’s partnerships, TUMI is hosting an interactive booth at the PGA Show this week in Orlando, Florida, featuring product previews, influencer appearances and additional on-site programming.

“We’re thrilled to welcome TUMI into our PGA TOUR family alongside our partners at the LPGA,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “This collaboration with the LPGA highlights TUMI’s values and our shared commitment to bettering our game by making it welcoming to all.”

“We are thrilled to welcome this exciting partnership with TUMI as the Official Luggage of the LPGA and the PGA TOUR,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

“This partnership not only signifies our shared commitment to excellence but also underscores our collective dedication to empowering women in sports around the world. As a global tour with stops in 10 countries worldwide, TUMI’s innovative golf collection is a perfect match for the LPGA, and our partnership will reflect the spirit of determination, quality and style that defines both the LPGA and TUMI. We look forward to a strong collaboration between the LPGA, PGA TOUR, and TUMI, celebrating the journeys and triumphs of our athletes both on and off the course.”

“The PGA TOUR is excited to welcome TUMI into our family as we introduce this iconic lifestyle brand to our athletes and fans worldwide,” said Brian Oliver, PGA TOUR Executive Vice President, Corporate Partnerships. “All golfers, whether casual or professional, will benefit from having access to TUMI’s unique products and style as it officially enters the golf space.”

“We are honored to begin these partnerships with the PGA TOUR and LPGA and to celebrate the achievements of these globally esteemed athletes,” said Andrew Dawson, President of TUMI. “At TUMI, we are always evolving to meet the needs and interests of our consumers and like-minded audiences. Serving our community of both competitive and leisure athletes was a deliberate yet authentic next step for our brand.”

Inspired by the passion of the sport and staying true to TUMI’s DNA, the golf assortment delivers the brand’s signature durability, high-performance materials, and innovative design. Headlining the collection are the golf bags, which offer game-enhancing features including soft-touch padding, USB-C charging ports and cooler pockets, along with monogrammable patches for an added element of personalization that is uniquely TUMI. Additional lifestyle bags and accessories spanning duffels, divot tools, tee and ball pouches, club covers, and more were designed to work seamlessly together with the bag offerings.

Engineered with the rigors of professional golf in mind, each piece in the collection is constructed with the highest technical detail designed to help you perform both on and off the course. The collection’s golf and travel bags range from 795-1,595 USD (Approx. 3,764-7,553 MYR), with additional bags and accessories ranging from 125-650 USD (591-3,078 MYR)

The collection is exclusively available on TUMI.com globally and coming soon to select TUMI stores, golf clubs and select department stores this Spring. Select items will also be featured in pop-ups across the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour tournaments globally throughout the year. To learn more about TUMI’s sport partnerships, visit TUMI.com/About.

MST Golf Group Berhad ("MST Golf” or the “Group”) is pleased to announce its appointment by Honma Holdings Group Limited as the exclusive distributor for the prestigious Honma brand in Indonesia. This partnership extends the successful collaboration between MST Golf and Honma, as MST Golf was first appointed the exclusive distributor for Honma in 2016 for Malaysia. The distributorship for Honma by MST Golf will cover all Honma products including the BERES, Tour World and Honma apparels.

Recognised globally as the leading luxury golf brand in the world, Honma’s BERES luxury line is catered to golfers who seek ultimate craftsmanship and luxury equipment, while the Tour World collection for its high-performance golf equipment. Aimed at elevating the game of golf with the highest levels of artistry, quality, and innovation, Honma is renowned for creating highest quality clubs for golfers across all skill levels.

The strategic expansion of the distributorship is poised to elevate the presence of Honma in the Indonesian market. MST Golf Indonesia plans to establish dedicated Honma shop-in-shop sections within MST Golf stores and wholesale to the key local retailers as authorised Honma retailers, providing an immersive and personalised shopping experience for golf enthusiasts.

Guests at Honma shop-in-shop during the Grand Opening of MST Golf Arena at La Piazza.

Expressing enthusiasm for the secured distributorship in Indonesia, Group CEO of MST Golf Ng Yap said, "We are honoured and excited to be appointed as the exclusive Honma distributor in Indonesia, which we believe is the biggest market in Southeast Asia for its craftsmanship and premiumness. We are committed to enhancing the brand's position and visibility, establishing Honma as a complete luxury golf brand with a range of exceptional products, including golf clubs, apparel, accessories, and other golf lifestyle items."

Acknowledging the trust placed by Honma Golf Company on MST Golf, Ng continued, "We look forward to delivering the Honma experience to golf enthusiasts in Indonesia. Our goal is to expand the luxury golf market segment to a younger generation of golfers, offering custom fitting services for Honma clubs, especially the Tour World products, to ensure optimal performance for every golfer."

“I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Honma Golf Company for their trust and confidence in expanding our distributorship from Malaysia to Indonesia. We are eager to collaborate closely, delivering the finest in golfing excellence of the Honma experience in-stores at MST Golf and selected authorised Honma retailers," said Ng.

Honma is currently available at 25 and three (3) MST Golf stores in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. Following MST Golf’s regional expansion plans into new geographical areas, the distributorship will cater to upcoming stores in the country. Notably in December 2023, MST Golf inaugurated its first outlet located at La Piazza, Kelapa Gading in Jakarta, marking the commencement of its presence in Indonesia. The Group has further identified several strategic locations in prime areas, all set to be unveiled this year.

TaylorMade's most forgiving line-up yet, the Qi10 family made its presence known in Southeast Asia during the 2024 TaylorMade Product Launch for Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia at Sedayu Indo Golf, Jakarta.

A product of TaylorMade's pursuit of pushing the boundaries of innovation, the highlight of the latest line-up is none other than the Qi10 Max which unlocks an unparalleled level of forgiveness with the highest MOI (Moment of Inertia) in TaylorMade history: 10,000g/cm.

Organised by MST Golf, the launch was attended by more than 100 guests, including dealers, members of the media, TaylorMade ambassadors, and golf influencers from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. Proudly the exclusive distributor for TaylorMade across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, the event further solidified MST Golf's presence as the region's leading golf service provider.

Team TaylorMade, dealers, golf influencers and others taking a group photo with the iconic TaylorMade Qi10 signage.

Representing Team TaylorMade were Ken Yeo, General Manager of TaylorMade Golf Asia, joined by Urupong Sindusard, General Manager of TaylorMade Golf Southeast Asia & India, and Worarak Wangtal, Senior Products & Marketing Manager of TaylorMade Golf Southeast Asia, both from Thailand. They were accompanied by their Singapore-based colleague, Simon Sim, Senior Manager Sales Business Development of TaylorMade Golf Southeast Asia. Also gracing the event were MST Golf Executive Chairman KP Low, MST Golf Singapore Chairman Dato’ Loh Ah Joo, and joint venture partners of MST Golf Indonesia - President Director of Erajaya Group Budiarto Halim, and CEO of Erajaya Active Lifestyle Djohan Sutanto.

The product launch at the ballroom of Sedayu Golf Club kick-started with an introduction video of the new Qi10 family, showcasing the firsthand experiences of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Nelly Korda with the new Qi10 driver line-up.

MST Golf Group Chief Executive Officer, Ng Yap in his welcome address said, “Southeast Asia is regarded as the key growth region for golf by the brands and industry with its growing wealth, and the younger and vibrant consumers’ base. Coming into this new year, we believe the industry is on a strong footing with a high base of golf consumers, and we are excited for the growth prospects in the region. With the continued support towards the TaylorMade brand among dealers, retailers and golfers, we share the same anticipation with TaylorMade when the range of Qi10 enters the market in February 2024.”

MST Golf Group Chief Executive Officer, Ng Yap during his speech.

Adding to the excitement was a recorded message by none other than TaylorMade Golf CEO, David Abeles himself, who not only showed his gratitude to MST Golf's efforts in commencing the launch of TaylorMade's latest product but also the anticipation of having the guests get to try the new line-up firsthand.

“We are on the verge of launching the greatest product line in the history of TaylorMade Golf and it starts with our Qi10 and Qi10 Max products. For the first time in the history of golf, TaylorMade – the company that makes the fastest drivers in golf, now makes the fastest and most forgiving drivers and the best game improvement irons we have ever developed. TaylorMade is better positioned in 2024 than we’ve ever been with our products, world-class athletes who will tell our story, and the commitment of our dealers for their commitment towards our products in the marketplace.”, said Abeles.

After another short and sweet welcome address from Ken Yeo, TaylorMade's Simon Sim took the audience through an in-depth presentation of the 2024 product range headlined by the Qi10 Max, Qi10 LS and Qi10 drivers.

Everyone gathered at Sedayu Indo Golf driving range to try out the latest products.

Guests then made their way to the driving range at Sedayu Golf Club, where they had the opportunity to test out TaylorMade's fastest and most forgiving line-up of drivers, fairway woods, and irons yet. The fun and excitement did not end there as the event culminated with a round of golf at the scenic yet challenging links-inspired golf course where attendees got to experience first-hand TaylorMade’s latest products in actual playing conditions.

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