Colin Baxter – The Turf Boss

Worldwide Golf sat down with Colin Baxter, Group Managing Director at Hydroturf to find out how the company has been so successful over the last 23 years in the MENA region’s golf industry and what lies ahead for in the ever-changing world of golf vehicles, turf care and irrigation.

WWG: Hydroturf started with just one office in Dubai and now you have nine offices across the Middle East from Egypt and Kenya to Doha and Saudi Arabia, what has made the company so successful over the last 23 years?
Colin Baxter: I would say there are three things that I look back on which has helped the company grow to what it is today. First of all, it’s the exceptional aftersales that we provide to the client, secondly, it’s the brilliant training we give to our staff to keep them up to date with the latest changes in the industry and finally our fantastic employees.

WWG: Can you elaborate on why you think they are the three main ingredients for your success?
If you’re looking to buy a BMW it’s not just the look of the car that you are interested in, it’s all about the ability of your local dealer to maintain and service the car and ensure that spare parts are available if needs be. It’s exactly the same with grass cutting machinery or electric golf carts and we pride ourselves on our aftersales service. Over 60 employees at Hydroturf are technicians so 30% of our workforce is dedicated to aftersales; it’s all about taking care of the customer.

We get a lot of expats working for us from Pakistan, India or the Philippines and they bring with them a skill set but what they don’t usually get from their employer is training to help improve and build on that. At Hydroturf we intend to become an accredited training centre for City and Guilds qualifications and we will offer this to our customers who can send mechanics for a training course and gives Hydroturf a stronger role in the community.
Without doubt employees are a huge asset to any company. At Hydroturf we like to celebrate as a team when one of the employees reaches a particular milestone like 15 or 20 years at the company, I believe it’s essential to have a tight-knit team. We even have employees now who are the children of guys that have been with us from the very beginning which is fantastic.

WWG: What does the future hold for Hydroturf?
CB: Business is all about challenges and the golf market is always changing. For us it’s going to be about offering the golf course a better product, for example, golf courses across the region use water pumps that typically use around 2 million gallons of water a day in the summer months! We represent the Toro company and introduced new sprinkler heads to a course a couple of years ago which cut 30% off the water consumption. Just imagine if you could save 600,000 gallons of water a day just by using the product that we supply.

Secondly, we are moving towards lithium batteries in the Club Car carts which is a brand-new product for the golfing industry so that will be a new challenge for us and we need to ensure we are at the forefront of training our staff so we can offer the best possible services to our clients. So the real challenge for Hydroturf in the future is ensuring we develop our product knowledge with the latest vehicles and pass that knowledge on to the client.

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