PLAYING off a handicap of seven, John Deere’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Luke Chandler, knows the satisfaction golf brings to those who play it and what it takes to build and maintain a good course.
“I love the challenge (of golf),” Mr Chandler said.
“The feeling that you can continue to grow and improve with each game and push to better yourself with every swing of the club is a driving factor.
“I started playing golf when I was eight with my dad who shared a love for the sport that he has instilled in me.
“One of those ‘magic moments’ in my life was when I was able to give a little back to my father (Wayne) in 2019 when we took him to the US Masters and spent four weeks travelling the country playing on all those courses we often spoke about growing up, including Hilton Head Island.
“Meeting new people, making new friends, and most importantly to me now that I’m a father, is sharing that passion with my children in the same way that my father did with me.”
Having lived in the United States, most recently as the chief economist for John Deere at its Illinois headquarters, Luke Chandler has teed off at some of the best courses in North America.
“I’ve experienced some great pro-ams and was fortunate enough to play with Australia’s former US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy one year,” he said.
While, he has fond memories playing at his local course in the US, Crow Valley Country Club, he is enjoying the game conditions at home in Australia.
“Since being back in the country, I have joined Indooroopilly Golf Club … and I am excited to have returned to a climate where it is possible to play golf 12 months of the year,” he said.
Mr Chandler said growth in the golf and turf management sector has been a key focus for him since starting the managing director role in October 2020.
“As a game played in more than 208 countries, John Deere’s involvement in golf drives our sustainability efforts, charity, volunteerism and sense of community,” he said.
“We have been able to leverage our agricultural technology to build a precision turf strategy encompassing robotics, automation, connectivity and hybrid technology.”
On the global stage, John Deere continues to invest in golf.
After a hiatus due to Covid-19, the John Deere Classic returned to the PGA Tour schedule in 2021.
“I’m extremely excited to see this event back,” Mr Chandler said.
“It is not only an important event on the golf scene, it also makes a real contribution to the local community by raising funds for a range of important charities, and builds a sense of excitement around seeing world-class athletes in action at the tournament.”
John Deere has also taken proactive steps to put greater focus on women’s golf.
“We want to help ensure the women’s game receives the attention and resources it deserves, and that the next generation of female players feel encouraged to pursue the sport,” Mr Chandler said.
John Deere is determined to give back to the industry and continues to work on participation programs that drive diversity, equality, and inclusion in the game.
The best courses in the world use John Deere equipment and the challenge for the brand’s managing director is going to be finding time to play some of those courses.
“We are fortunate to have world-class golf courses around Australia and New Zealand so there are a few that are on my ‘to play’ list,” he said.
“If I had to choose one to play tomorrow, it would have to be Tara Iti which overlooks the Te Arai coast, just south of Mangawhai on the North Island of New Zealand.
“It’s one of the most spectacular courses in the world and also uses a fleet of John Deere equipment.”