Meet Sanjeev Gunnoo - Golf Operations Manager at Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club
June 03 2019
June 03 2019
Like a glittering mirage, Ile aux Cerfs appears to rise out of the topaz-blue Indian Ocean waters and provides a luxury idyll for avid golfers and discerning sunseekers. The Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club is a hypnotic golfing destination, where avid fans of the sport can indulge in hours of fine golf amongst the most gorgeous tropical surrounds. This fabled 18-hole championship golf course designed by Bernhard Langer is equally as challenging as it is enjoyable and is a must-play for many.
Here, apart from sublime surrounds and perfect greens, golfers can embrace the exceptional - and oftentimes unique - golfing facilities (the exclusive golfer beach comes to mind), an excellent golfing academy and wonderful dining outlets. They can even embrace the rare opportunity to stay overnight in one of the Bubble Lodges on the island for a truly unique experience.
And on top of this, they can make the most of the knowledge, expertise, and assistance of the pros and all the excellent, and highly-trained staff at Ile aux Cerfs, such as Sanjeev Gunnoo, the Golf Operations Manager at Ile aux Cerfs, there to ensure each round on the greens here, is a memorable one.
We chatted to Sanjeev Gunnoo to get a bit more insight into his journey to where he is and his job as a whole. This is what he had to say:
How long have you worked for Sun Resorts?
I have worked for Sun Resorts for 17 Years. I joined the group on the 9th of September 2002. I started as a messenger at Touressrok but when the golf club opened, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I interviewed for the job and got it even though I didn’t have any experience at that stage. So I started as a Driving Range Supervisor. This was in 2003. From that point on I started learning everything I could about golf - I eventually knew the sport by heart. At that point, there were 3 supervisors. I worked hard and became first the Shuttle Driver Supervisor then a Senior Starter and then, in 2014, I was promoted to Golf Operations Manager.
What inspired you to join Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club?
Golf was the talk of the town, everyone was speaking about this sport at the time. It sounded incredibly interesting, so I was eager to learn more about it and how to play it. This curiosity about golf motivated me to apply for a job at the Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I start work every day at 7:30 am. My day begins by ensuring that the Pointe Maurice Jetty is neat and that all the boats are ready for the day ahead. I ensure that the boats are neat, clean and tidy, at the jetty and also on the IAC side, I check if everything is neat and well arranged. It’s also up to me to make sure that the shuttles are in place and on time. Once I have completed these jobs, I do an inspection of the clubhouse, the Pro Shop, the golf carts, and the course itself.
Then I meet with my team and my assistant to get any feedback and to chat about the plans for the day. I also find out all the stats for the day (for example, the forecast weather conditions), I find out who the guests and VIPs for the day will be and then I check and reply to emails.
After this, I, along with my assistant, see where we are on the day’s check-list. I also do a final inspection of the course to make sure everything is perfect. At 10:30 am I have another morning meeting, welcome the golfers and get any feedback from them. After this, I inspect our private beach, make sure that everything there is in order and ask golfers for feedback. Then it’s back to office work, emails and bookings and I attend to any special requests and group bookings.
It’s also part of my duties to attend to the Bubble Lodge guests. I am responsible for ensuring they have been welcomed and checked in properly. I also inspect the Bubble Lodge and stay to ensure everything is running smoothly on that front. I often land up leaving quite late - which is totally fine when you love what you do.
What about IAC makes you excited to work there?
I love that our golf course is unique and I get to take a boat to work on an island every day. I think that’s a pretty great set up!
What is your favourite hotel in the group and why?
My favourite hotel is definitely Long Beach. The staff is wonderful - they are really welcoming. And because I am married and have kids, and the rooms, facilities and amenities are geared towards families, it’s a great match for me.
What are some of the things guests enjoy the most about IAC?
When the course was first created, all that we offered at that point was great golfing opportunities. But now we have incredible facilities, an exclusive golfers beach, a Leisure Island portion of the island with water sports and land activities and the Bubble Lodge. We are a complete island with excellent golf but a lot of other things as well and I think guests love that.
Why, in your own words, do you think your role at IAC is so important?
I think my role is important because it's a leadership role and a good experience for the guests has to come from the top. I have a team and it’s important I set a good example. It’s vital I do my best and manage my team well and when I get good reviews and good feedback, I thank my team for this. I always support them and vice versa.
What is your most treasured memory from your job?
One of my favourite memories is me on my first day at the golf club when I knew nothing about golf. And now, 12 years later, being able to look back at that as the Golf Operations Manager, well, it’s amazing to see how far I have come while being here and I feel really proud of myself for that.
What, in your opinion, makes a game at IAC so unique and memorable?
One of the biggest reasons is definitely that we are the only golf course in Mauritius that is on an island where you have to take a boat to go and play a round of golf! It’s also super beautiful.
How can you make a difference in the experience of the golfers?
Good service at Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club is of the utmost importance, which is why I always ensure that the services and amenities we offer are ready and of high quality. I always ensure that the course is in perfect condition and that there are no obstacles on the course that shouldn't be there. Everything has to be perfect so golfers can have great golfing experiences that run smoothly. I also always ensure that the golfers are offered a face towel and assist them with any difficulties.
Who would you like to credit for what you are today?
I would like to credit Marc Amelot for what I am today. Really, since his arrival at Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club, he has really lifted me up. The Golf Operations Manager I was before his arrival and the Golf Operations Manager I am today are worlds apart. Marc has really helped me to perform better, to sharpen my skills, he has helped me to learn new things and new ways to do things.
He is someone that I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart. He has brought many changes to the club which have been hugely beneficial. He has helped elevate me and the golf club as a whole, to an entirely new level.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I love organising big golf tournaments. They are exciting and it’s really special seeing an event you have planned for months take shape.
What are your hobbies when you are not at the golf club?
I like to take it easy by playing cards with friends and catching up on social media.
How do you see the golf tourism industry in some years?
I think the industry will continue to do well, especially as people realise what an incredible golf destination Mauritius is. There will be a number of competitions planned on the island and there are already nine excellent golf courses here. I think the one concern I have is the fact that the other golf courses are really rising up to meet us which means tougher competition and I think we need to be careful about how much we charge for green fees, but overall hopefully things will only pick up.
What would you tell a complete beginner to motivate him to start playing golf?
That all they need to do is try it! With this in mind, we have a golf initiation open to complete beginners daily from 11 am to 12 pm. During this time we really show people what the sport is about and try to encourage them to learn more about it and enjoy it.
Apart from IAC, what would be your dream golf course to play in the world?
Definitely St Andrews, because it is deemed one of the best golf courses in the world and there are many famous competitions that have been organised there.
What spectacular event took place on IAC of which your input was important?
We once organised the World Corporate Golf Challenge in 2004. It was really exceptional for me as it was our first one and it was really incredibly special.
How does it feel to take the boat to go to work which is quite unusual for an employee?
It feels really special and I always feel proud when I’m on the boat, because, really, nobody else gets to take a boat to work. It makes for a wonderful opportunity to breathe in the fresh air, which is a great way to start the day. Unlike other people who have to sit in traffic and breathe in pollution.
Who is your favourite golfer?
Oh, that’s easy! It has to be Tiger Woods!
Are you tempted to play along golden shores and azure seas at the phenomenal Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club with Sanjeev Gunnoo ensuring that your round in paradise is amazing? Then book your next round with us!