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Estonian Golf & Country Club Superintendent in deep water
July 25, 2012

New Estonian Golf & Country Club Course Superintendent Regardt Barnard found himself in deep water as he waded in to clear the acclaimed course's ponds.

To ensure the Sea Course - ranked as one of Europe's Top 100 Golf Courses by Golf World - continues to look in pristine condition, the South African got waist deep in the pond on the first hole to clear algae, which has grown rapidly due to the high temperatures Estonia has experienced this summer.

"The first hole of the Sea Course is breathtaking," said Regardt. "I want it to remain that way and I was getting worried about the amount of algae, so there was nothing for it but to jump in and start clearing it."

Regardt has been getting his hands dirty since he was a child, but while many boys spent their childhood on the football pitch, climbing trees or jumping through ditches, he spent his constructing a nine-hole Par-3 course in his garden.

Growing up on his parents' farm in South Africa, Regardt was introduced to hard work as a child by his father Danie who would allow his young son to mow the lawns.

"I always loved working on the huge garden we had," said Regardt. "I would work on mowing the lawns in straight lines, fertilising the grass and top dressing them - I loved getting my hands dirty.

"We had a very big garden and when I was 11-years-old I had permission from my father to lower the height of the cut in the garden so I could build a small par-3 course of nine holes. I even added a few bunkers, but unfortunately this did not go down well and I got into a bit of trouble for that."

Regardt joined Estonian Golf & Country Club - part of the European Tour Courses network - at an exciting time with the recent news that a new 18-hole golf course will be constructed to accompany the existing Sea Course .

"My first impression of Estonian Golf & Country Club was 'wow', this is paradise waiting to be looked after and loved. I am fortunate to be a part of this world class facility, and already I absolutely love it," he said.

"Both courses are fantastic layouts and the setting is just one of its kind. It looks like nature left this piece of land for golf."

Nestled beside the Baltic Sea, the acclaimed Sea Course winds its way through forest and opens up alongside the Gulf of Finland and Jägala River Delta. Throughout the course golfers are required to negotiate trees, natural water hazards and a number of large granite boulders left dotted around the venue from the last Ice Age.

One major difference Regardt must get used to is the climate, having come from an area with an average winter temperature of around 5 °C to Estonia where the average is a particularly cold -8°C.

He said: "The snow in the winter is something new to me but I have learned a lot already. Winter kill has to be prevented - the correct application and amount of fertiliser and strict control of how these areas are mowed can eliminate it to a large extent."

Hanno Kross, Estonian Golf & Country Club Chief Executive, added: "Regardt has tremendous passion for his craft which was something that really struck us when we first spoke to him. He has worked with the land since he was a small child growing up in South Africa and you can still see the excitement he has when he's out on the course working with the greens.

"This was particularly evident when he walked straight into the pond to clear the algae!"

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