13 Sep 2022 | Clubs & Facilities |

#ThankASuper Day: Rosebud’s renaissance

by Dane Heverin

Rosebud Country Club's course superintendent Ian Todd.
Rosebud Country Club's course superintendent Ian Todd.

Rosebud Country Club has come a long way since experienced course superintendent Ian Todd joined the club in August 2017.

Back then members and golf enthusiasts alike felt as if the club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula was lost in the crowd.

The Melbourne Sandbelt - only an hour’s drive away - and Rosebud’s links-style neighbours were stealing the spotlight and change was needed to bring more golfers through the gates.

Enter Todd.

After 22 years at Victoria Golf Club (where this year’s ISPS HANDA Australian Open will be played), 11 years at Woodlands Golf Club and an apprenticeship at Commonwealth Golf Club, the Sandbelt-specialist saw some clay which he could sculpt into a masterpiece.

“I think Rosebud has always been a great property but it’s just now that you can actually see it,” Todd said of the 36-hole layout. 

“We’ve lifted the tree canopy a lot so that you can actually see through from fairway to fairway. When I first got here it was all blocked off and you couldn’t see the undulations in the North Course. We’d done quite a bit of that stuff over at Vic as well just clearing out rubbish and lifting tree canopies to get light and air movement through. 

“Apart from that, when I first got down here we increased the fine turf areas. So, expanding areas around greens and linking into tees for that Sandbelt-type look which has been a real winner I think.”

Todd’s work has been inspired by “eye-opening” study tours of the United Kingdom, United States and Europe during his time at Victoria and he is not alone in believing that implementing those lessons have been a success.

The golf community has stood up and taken notice with the annual TPS Victoria event on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia calling Rosebud home, while last month the club held the first DP World Tour qualifying school staged outside of Europe.

Rosebud Country Club's course management team at this year's TPS Victoria.
Rosebud Country Club's course management team at this year's TPS Victoria.

“We were lucky for a club like Rosebud to get the first Q School outside of Europe. It was a big feather in the club’s cap,” Todd said.

“The course wasn’t at its best for Q School at the end of August because it was the end of winter. This winter in particular has been a long one and there’s been a lot of rain. The TPS in January is ideal, mid way through summer your course should be looking at its best that time of year so it’s two ends of the spectrum.

“The greens performed really well at the Q School so we were happy with that. The fairways weren’t looking great but the surface was still there. It was basically that the colour was gone and that’s unfortunate but going forward for the club we just had to do it.”

Rosebud’s exposure on the professional stage has contributed to an uptick in golfers walking through the door.

TPS Victoria has been broadcast on Fox Sports with viewers, and attendees, thoroughly impressed by the composite course used for the event.

“I think you can probably relate it to membership applications and enquiries and we’ve been flat chat with those all year,” Todd said. 

“I assume a few of the new members saw it on TV and thought ‘that looks pretty good’. It’s probably a bit of word-of-mouth too and that means a lot within the golf industry.

“The first year we had just the North Course and then we got our heads together and said ‘can we pinch a bit of the South Course and make a composite course?’. It kept everyone around closer to the clubhouse precinct and the two holes we took from the South worked in with that loop.

“It was well-received. The feedback we’ve had from the players is that they really like coming down here to play which is a bonus for the club as well. We’re committed to the event. It’s a great concept and we want to see the tournament grow really big.”

The big possibilities in front of them mean that Todd and the Rosebud team are constantly looking forward, but conversations with long-term members often prompt him to reflect on what they have accomplished so far.

“I get a kick out of the membership still coming up and saying thank you for what you’re doing,” Todd said.

“Thank a Golf Course Superintendent Day” 2022 will be celebrated on Tuesday 13 September and the international community is asking clubs, members and guests to celebrate the day and thank their turf management teams with support on social media using #ThankASuper. During the 2021 International Thank a Superintendent Day, social media messages reached more than nine million followers around the world.

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