Tracy May of Akbulak Club Resort Discusses this High-End Project in Kazakhstan and the Bene
Flagstick: How and when did you get involved with this project in Kazakhstan?
Tracy: I was introduced to the Akbulak Club Resort development two years ago. The project was having problems and they needed someone with golf development expertise. They made an offer for me to manage the entire project, and I accepted. It’s a huge job; the site is almost 3,000 acres, with 18 holes being built now and another 18 planned for the future.
Flagstick: Why did you bring in Flagstick to help with the construction process at Akbulak Club Resort?
Tracy: I determined that I would need specialized expertise to build in-house. There are no golf contractors in Kazakhstan, so I brought in the best people I knew of to train the local contractors and laborers, and to work directly with them. I have known Martin Moore and Tony Cunzio [co-owners of Flagstick] for years and I know their reputation in the industry is the best. Although I had not worked with them before, I knew of their ability for handling large projects. I contacted them, asked for a quote, and received a price that was very fair and competitive.
Flagstick: How has Flagstick’s involvement affected the speed and quality of construction at Akbulak?
Tracy: Flagstick brings so much to the table. They have good prices on materials and trained employees without an ego. The materials division, National Trading, is wonderful in making sure everything you need in a foreign country is there when you need it. This saves time and money, and positively impacts the bottom line. Flagstick's presence is a big reason we are moving ahead much faster now than before.
Flagstick: What have been some of the biggest challenges at Akbulak? How has Flagstick helped to overcome them?
Tracy: The biggest challenge has been getting the necessary materials and experienced labor, and also working through the rigorous paperwork requirements in Kazakhstan. Flagstick has provided the specialized materials and labor I need, and has stuck by me in re-doing paperwork when necessary, and at no additional fee.
Flagstick: How would you briey explain to others in the industry the benefits of having Flagstick involved in a project?
Tracy: Words cannot express what Flagstick brings to a project. You need to have been in the industry for a long time, as I have been, to understand what they can do for a client. In my opinion they are the leader in the industry and they stay on top of their projects by hiring the best people available. They have a proven track record, and I would not suggest "chancing it" with a small company that is just starting out. Flagstick has been around for years, and they have seen just about everything you can imagine in building golf courses. If they can't figure it out they know the people in the industry who can. Their contacts are extensive and carry great value for me as the customer.
Flagstick: Besides Flagstick’s traditional construction management services, what other services have they provided? Could you please explain the benefits to your project of those services?
Tracy: Flagstick's sister company, National Trading, is who I use for shipping all of my materials from abroad. They understand the shipping business, the customs process, and they can get you the lowest price for materials due to their volume discounts. Flagstick has also brought more than traditional construction management to Akbulak Club Resort. We have Flagstick’s full construction team here in place of a general golf contractor. This is saving the owners a huge amount of money in building greens, tees and bunkers. We are looking at another project in India this fall, and I will definitely be bringing Flagstick to that job as well.
The Akbulak Club Resort will soon be the premier golf development in Kazakhstan, offering membership by invitation only. Flagstick Platinum has been unveiled at Akbulak… stay tuned, and next month we’ll tell you more about Flagstick Platinum, the new standard in golf course construction management.