Sport - Golf
Mark Donohue, Treasurer Asian Golf Industry Federation Image Credit: agif_asia / Twitter

Mark Donohue, Rain Bird’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, has been elected to the role as Treasurer of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, following a reshuffle of the AGIF Board after the recent annual general meeting.

Meanwhile, Mark Kolentsis, General Manager of the Singapore branch and Regional Equipment Manager at Jebsen & Jessen’s Turf & Irrigation division, and Steven Thielke, General Manager at Singapore Island Country Club, will assume positions on the new AGIF Board.

It was confirmed at the AGIF’s annual general meeting that Donohue will take over as Treasurer from Sentosa Golf Club General Manager and Director of Agronomy Andrew Johnston, who held the position from 2020-22. Although standing down as an office-bearer, Johnston will remain as a member of the Board, continuing a tenure that began in 2017.

Stepping down from the Board are John Holmes, President of Atlas Turf International, James Shippey, Managing Director of Absolute Golf Services, and Sean Thornberry, Director of Global Development at the PGA of America.

Chris Gray, AGIF President, said: “As a not-for-profit organisation, the AGIF has always relied heavily on people volunteering their time freely. As evidenced by the status of the new Board members, we are extremely fortunate to have so many talented and committed individuals that are prepared to share their knowledge and expertise and serve the Federation.

“While we congratulate Mark Donohue on his appointment as Treasurer and welcome Mark Kolentsis and Steven Thielke to the Board, we also express our gratitude to John Holmes, James Shippey and Sean Thornberry for the contributions they have made during their tenure and look forward to their continued involvement as members.”

Donohue, who was elected to the Board last year, said: “Having successfully navigated the pandemic, travel and golf are active again in the region and our industry has adjusted to the new normal. After joining the AGIF Board a year ago, I have been able to observe the workings of the Federation and feel ready to expand my involvement. As the new Treasurer, I see the role as ensuring that financial processes meet funding requirements.

“The AGIF focuses on the core message that golf facilities, like any maturing business, need to be run and managed by qualified and experienced staff, with commonality in education and certification. In order to realise this goal, we need sound financial management that will advance these goals. With this in mind, I intend to serve the AGIF community with vigour and integrity.”

Like Donohue, Kolentsis and Thielke both have extensive experience of the golf industry and working in Asia. Kolentsis has been involved in the golf course industry for over 17 years and has worked in multiple facets internationally – in sales, distribution, irrigation installation, golf course management and construction. His passion for golf course management took him to Australia, New Zealand and St Andrews where he was a part of the team that prepared the Old Course for the 2010 Open Championship.

After a spell as an Assistant Superintendent at The Glencoe Golf & Country Club in Canada, Kolentsis relocated to Vietnam in 2016 and took on the Country Manager role at Gateway Equipment Vietnam where he opened a John Deere and Rain Bird distributorship.

It was in 2019 that he moved to Singapore to join Rain Bird as an Area Manager, before being appointed as Regional Equipment Manager for Turf & Irrigation at Jebsen & Jessen in September 2021. Last January, Kolentsis took on the role as General Manager of Singapore for the Turf & Irrigation division.

For his part, Thielke has more than 30 years of club and golf experience in South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and now in Singapore, directing the full spectrum of business operations of world-class resorts and country clubs towards enhancing members’ satisfaction as well as shareholders’ value. A decisive and practical leader with 15 years of Asian club and golf experience, Thielke has a particular passion for club education.

Joining Johnston in remaining on the Board for a further term are Owen Hester, Managing Director of Green Dynasty, and Bruce Williams, the former President of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America who now represents Brandt Consolidated as International Sales Manager.