THE MAN WITH THE GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY
Preparing a golf course for a PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour event is not an easy task. The Head of Agronomy for TPC Kuala Lumpur, 46-year-old Mohd Nizam Othman, has that unenviable task.
GOLF DIGEST MALAYSIA (GDM): How long have you been Superintendent of TPC Kuala Lumpur (Formerly KLGCC)? MOHD NIZAM OTHMAN (MNO): Since 2009, about 8 years. GDM: Can you describe to us how it was like working on the first CIMB Classic and SDLPGA events?
MNO: It was a really great experience and exposure for us. During the first CIMB Classic in 2013, it was really exciting to work with PGA TOUR team. Every single thing that we did must be perfect on the golf course because we are representing Malaysia with millions of people watching our golf course. GDM: Since then, what have you and your team learnt so far working with both Tours? MNO: We learnt importance of teamwork, work with full dedication and professionalism. The entire team put extra effort and they always strive to be best of the best. GDM: What were the biggest challenge initially? MNO: The biggest challenge is the erratic Malaysian weather with sunshine during the day and thunderstorms in the evening. Our climate with a lots of rain, humidity and cloud are the main concerns for the turf grass performance. GDM: After so many years preparing the courses for both events, what would you say were the greatest lessons learnt?
MNO: The greatest lessons learnt are to have a strong and dedicated team. This is the best team that I have worked with. They understand their roles and have a great passion in carrying out their tasks. GDM: Being Malaysia’s first GCSAA-certified superintendent, what is next for you personally? MNO: It is truly a great honour for my professional career and personally, I would like to someday see my team members and even more Malaysian green-keepers attain similar certification. I am happy to share my knowledge and experience; which I have been doing through seminars and conferences.
GDM: After learning more about agronomy and course maintenance in America, how does that translate back to preparing for the PGA TOUR’s CIMB Classic?
MNO: Preparing such a big event for the PGA TOUR in the form of the CIMB Classic, we need one year to plan ahead. Feedback from players, Rules Officials and the PGA TOUR Agronomist are noted, discussed and implemented in time for the next tournament. The objective is to make the golf course more competitive with some modification on the design, enhance playability and turf grass performance. GDM: After the TPC branding, were there any new requirements needed to set-up a TPC
certified golf course?
MNO: We have gone through all the TPC Golf Course maintenance ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ and they are mostly already in place. One requirement that we are working on is to be a more environmentally friendly golf course. The next goal is to make TPC Kuala Lumpur a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary on the golf course. This program is an award-winning education and certification that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage through the game of golf.
GDM: In your years managing the CIMB Classic, how is it like working with the PGA TOUR greens keeping team?
MNO: After five years of collaborating with the PGA TOUR Agronomy team, the benefits include best practices in tournament set-up, agronomy support, volunteering for The Players at TPC Sawgrass and attending the TPC Agronomy Conference. GDM: In your opinion, do you think Malaysia can become a training centre for superintendents in South East Asia? MNO: Definitely. I think it is high time we hone younger Superintendents or Assistant Course Superintendents as future leaders in our industry to have some sort of Certification in green-keeping. Malaysia has a strong potential to be the training centre for South East Asia.