As a key player in the events industry, GL events UK has a track record of supporting large-scale events with bespoke infrastructure solutions. Over many years, the business has developed a strong relationship with its clients, including European Tour. This year the team has been entrusted to supply temporary structures at the world-famous Ryder Cup 2023 golf tournament. This will be the fourth time GL events UK has provided structures for the event.
Delivery of this event included the provision of the main hospitality structures, as well as the Village, Media and On Course Structures. The total footprint of infrastructure provided was 26,035 sqm. 15,600 sqm of this was made up of double and triple deck structures. GL events UK sought to introduce something new this year, following the successful completion of an inaugural triple-deck structure in France at the 42nd event hosted at Le Golf National in 2018. This year, GL events’ new multi-deck QWAD structure was showcased for the first time in Europe.
Scott Jameson, CEO of GL events UK commented:
“Every time we get to work on the Ryder Cup is a real buzz for us at GL events. It is such a prestigious event, there is really nothing else that compares within the world of major sporting events. We love working with the Ryder Cup team and to be able to launch a new product against this backdrop is a real achievement.”
A new generation of event structures
GL event’s new QWAD structure boasts a couple of key differences when compared to the Absolute, and GL events’ more traditional range of events structures. Firstly, QWAD can be manufactured locally, rather than transported long distances to site. This helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the structure. As a modular system, QWAD is built on the ground and then craned into place. This reduces the health and safety risk posed by teams working at height. Finally, it also benefits from a new heavy deck floor system (instead of traditional cassette flooring). The steel rectangles of flooring, inlaid with timber decks are bolted together for a more rigid product. This benefit means a far sturdier experience for spectators in the structure.
Scott further explained:
“We are always proud of the finish of structures at Ryder Cup, particularly when everything comes together in the live event. When they are all dressed, the structures look incredible – the scale is just immense. We would have to say that QWAD looked stunning though. Building it for the first time in Europe for such a high-profile event was a real achievement for the team.”
Rising to the challenge at the Ryder Cup 2023
The project didn’t come without its challenges. Extreme weather posed difficulties to efficient on-site operations which are essential to deliver the project on time when working to tight deadlines. The weather in Italy during the installation period reached up to 45 degrees. It was important for the installation teams to have regular welfare breaks to top up on suncream and water. Adjusted working hours were also implemented to avoid working in the hottest part of the day.
Additional challenges were presented due to the event being held on a live golf course. The course was active until halfway through the build. Whilst this was difficult, it is something the GL events UK team are used to dealing with.
Site Manager, Barry Anderson commented:
“The biggest lesson, and one which was faced by all major suppliers working in Rome for the Ryder Cup 2023, was the new landscape of post-Brexit immigration and local labour laws. In an ideal world, all labour is pre-booked and this makes it more straightforward to get all the paperwork in place in advance. But when schedules change, or we need to be flexible for other reasons, new immigration laws make it harder to flex. We have certainly learnt some lessons from this and will be taking these forward when we build QWAD again at the 2027 Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Ireland.”
Building for the future
The versatility of QWAD at Ryder Cup has not been lost on the European Tour, as Paul Dunstan, the Ryder Cup’s Operations Director explains:
“QWAD is an impressive structure. It’s a borderline semi-permanent structure. You can’t call it a tent; it just feels different. It’s the first time GL has built it to this scale. It’s enormous and I think there’s a lot they can do with it. They’ve learned a lot about this structure having built it on this scale and for future events, they have said there is so much more they can do with it. They can potentially do four floors, and awnings off the front of it. You’ll see a golf course doesn’t have much floor space. They’re always very tight but we can always go up so four floors would be incredible.”