By Design – Issue 57, Spring 2022

14 PARTNERSHIP A good partnership between club and architect can deliver great results on the course. But what does it take to achieve a strong bond? Richard Humphreys considers three examples. Bill Gates once said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” In the software business, you may well get the opportunity to win back unhappy customers. But golf course architects rarely get that second chance. They may prefer to take comfort from the adage: “People who are the most difficult to please are often the least worth pleasing.” In the golf business, where there are countless variables and tastes are subjective, it can be difficult to pin down a precise formula for success. But one thing is for sure, the quality of the relationship between a club and its golf course architect will be a key contributor. To understand more about how great partnerships are forged, and what makes them work, we took a deeper dive into three examples, from Michigan, New Jersey and, firstly, South Korea. CJ Group and Golfplan The relationship between South Korean developer CJ Group and the design business Golfplan was forged with a trip to Scotland. “When Chairman Jay Lee asked me what I thought of his property in a mountainous area of Jeju Island and its potential to attract a global audience, I spoke of the Highlands golf experience,” says David Dale, ASGCA, who was first appointed by CJ Group in 1996. Following Dale’s advice, Lee organized a trip for his key staff to experience some of Scotland’s finest for success A formula