BY DESIGN ISSUE 57 // SPRING 2022 Excellence in Golf Design from the American Society of Golf Course Architects POWER OF PARTNERSHIP What does it take to develop a strong bond with a client and deliver great results on the course? ALSO: // 2022 GCSAA Show // Union League National // Astor Creek CC GOLF FACILITY TRENDS Jon Last of the SLRG provides insight into recent data about decisionmaking at golf facilities
FOREWORD By Design is sponsored by: The human connection The GCSAA Show in San Diego this February was the first large scale in-person industry event I had attended for two years. And what a delight it was to finally be able to reconnect face-to-face, with so many friends and colleagues throughout golf. I have always found these events valuable and enjoyable, but this year definitely felt like a case of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. While, understandably, the show didn’t quite see a return to pre-pandemic attendance levels, there was great enthusiasm among participants and a strong sense of renewed optimism, particularly in light of the momentum we are experiencing in the golf business. Delegates collaborated to discover new opportunities, exchange ideas and form new partnerships. Collaboration is a strong theme for this issue of By Design. Our main feature article, which begins on page 14, explores the power of a strong partnership between golf course architects and their clients. By delving into three such relationships, we understand some important elements in the formula for successful golf projects. One personal collaboration that has been active for over 30 years now is my partnership with Dana Fry, ASGCA, initially as designers alongside ASGCA Fellow Dr Michael Hurdzan and, for the last 10 years, as partners in our own design business. Our recent work in New Jersey (featured on page 6) will undoubtedly become one of the projects we are most proud of, thanks to a wonderful partnership with our client, The Union League of Philadelphia. I hope you enjoy the read. Jason Straka President, ASGCA
4 22 Green light for course projects Jon Last of Sports & Leisure Research Group tells us about the factors that are driving decision-making at golf facilities. CONTENTS 6 Digest The issue begins with news of Fry/Straka's work at Union League National in New Jersey, and our Digest section also includes news of projects in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. 14 A formula for success Richard Humphreys considers three examples that showcase how a strong partnership between a club and architect can deliver great results on the course.
5 On the cover The closing green at The Club at Nine Bridges in South Korea, designed by Golfplan for CJ Group. David Dale, ASGCA, talks about the partnership on page 14. Photograph courtesy of The Club at Nine Bridges. 24 We meet again Scenes from the 2022 GCSAA Conference & Trade Show, where ASGCA is a Presenting Partner. ISSUE 57 // SPRING 2022 Editor and Publisher Toby Ingleton Editorial contributors Richard Humphreys, John Last Design Bruce Graham, Libby Sidebotham, Dhanika Vansia ASGCA Staff Chad Ritterbusch, Mike Shefky, Aileen Smith, Marc Whitney Subscribe to By Design at www.tudor-rose.co.uk/bydesign © 2022 American Society of Golf Course Architects. All rights reserved. www.asgca.org 26 Sketchbook Chris Wilcznyski, ASGCA, shares a sketch of the fifth hole at Astor Creek Country Club in Florida.
6 Fry/Straka approaches completion of new Union League National layout DIGEST Golf design firm Fry/Straka has nearly completed work on one of the most ambitious projects underway in the United States, for the Union League National Golf Club in Swainton, New Jersey. The club purchased the former Sand Barrens property in 2017, and appointed the design firm of Dana Fry, ASGCA, and ASGCA President Jason Straka to completely recreate the 27-hole layout. Taking inspiration from Pine Valley, located just an hour northwest of the club, more than 1.6 million cubic yards of material was moved to create an enormous landform dubbed ‘The Big Fill’ at the center of the 268-acre property, which has ridgelines spreading out in various directions to a series of plateaus and smaller ridges. “All these ridges are like the arteries a human body,” said Fry. “By the time we finished with the major earthwork, the largest section of The Big Fill accommodated eight tee complexes, nine green complexes and parts of seven fairways. It’s massive, 78-feet-high
7 Photo: credit Photo: ASGCA The American Society of Golf Course Architects has appointed ASGCA Past President Jeff Brauer, designer of more than 50 new golf courses, as its first director of outreach. Brauer took on the role in February, with the responsibility, among other things, to advance the goals, benefits and positive impact of the ASGCA and its members as well as develop deeper partnerships with allied associations and provide support for ASGCA Foundation initiatives. “This position is about connecting people and uniting everyone from golf course architects and builders to owners and regulators, and there is no doubt Jeff is the right person for the job,” said ASGCA executive director Chad Ritterbusch. “Jeff will also be an educator, from webinars to simple conversations, to ensure people have an accurate understanding of how today’s golf courses are created and bring value to their communities.” ASGCA names Jeff Brauer as director of outreach New ASGCA director of outreach Jeff Brauer (left) attended the 2022 GCSAA show in San Diego. For more from the show, turn to page 24. Photo: Evan Schiller in places, and covers 45 acres! In the same way an architect blends surrounding contours into a single green complex, we are blending an entire routing into the contours we created via The Big Fill.” Straka said: “We specified 13 different species of native grasses, ground covers and shrubs, plus dozens of wetland plant varieties, to create a rugged Pine Valley look, and to control erosion. Additionally, thousands of oak, cedar and pine trees were planted or relocated to connect the existing tree-lines and those native edges to The Big Fill itself.” The project is almost complete, and all 27 holes are expected to be playable by July 1. The sixth hole on the Grant nine at Fry/Straka’s new Union League National layout
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9 DIGEST ASGCA Fellow John LaFoy has completed a three-hole project on the Windmill nine at Bent Brook Golf Club in Birmingham, Alabama. LaFoy has introduced classic template designs, including a Redan-style green for the short par-four sixth and a Biarritz green on the par-three seventh (pictured), featuring a four-foot-deep swale between two puttable areas. “Both putting surfaces are mildly sloped, as once the ball is on the proper level, the putt should not be terribly difficult,” he said. “Other Biarritz greens are flanked by two long and narrow bunkers, but here, the long bunkers were cut in half – making four of them – to facilitate surface drainage from the swale. “The rear platform, unlike many Biarritz greens, is kicked up a little with a significant center-rear mound to help hold shots that are in most cases hit with a long iron or fairway metal.” Photo: GDS Golf Design Services Furber completes ‘epic journey’ for Canadian course Photo: Mike Klemme GDS Golf Design Services has completed work on the remote RotaryLinks course in Fort McMurray, five hours north of Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta. GDS founder and principal Les Furber, ASGCA, says the project has been “an epic journey” ever since he developed the first master plan in 2006. The club has overcome the 2008-10 financial crisis and associated funding challenges, and a huge fire that burned a substantial area of the golf course property. The front nine officially opened in 2019 and construction of the back nine started in August 2020, after the club had received a recreation grant from the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. “Three of the new holes are integrated into the middle of the existing nine, three others are adjacent to other holes or the driving range, and three are somewhat remote, which was per the original 18-hole design and were to be separated from the rest of the course by real estate,” said Tim Birnie, design associate at GDS. The back nine will have a soft opening in late summer 2022 ahead of an official opening in 2023. John LaFoy designs Redan and Biarritz greens for Bent Brook
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DIGEST 11 Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club in Florida has reopened following a comprehensive renovation by Bill Bergin, ASGCA. Santa Rosa’s fourth and fifth holes stretch out to the beach, and inspired Bergin to adopt a coastal aesthetic throughout the course. “We opened things up and exposed the natural sand deposits throughout the property,” said Bergin. “Tree removal, pond expansion and exposure, and manufactured sand dunes combined with a full golf course renovation to create the allnew Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club. “While the routing has not changed, it was pushed and pulled in many directions. During one member tour, a long-time member even asked which hole they were on, the changes were so dramatic.” Bergin said the revisions, which were unveiled to members in October 2021, have “turned this quiet little semi-private course into a highly sought-after private club with a waiting list”. The latest podcast from Golf Course Industry’s “Tartan Talks” series sees Dana Fry, ASGCA, discuss his love for international travel and his overseas work. “I love the adventure of foreign travel. The nomadic lifestyle is what I thrive on and fits my personality,” said Fry. “When you travel overseas you meet people from other cultures, which helps to open your eyes to other ideas. And without a willingness to put in the time, as it’s incredibly competitive to get this work, we wouldn’t have got projects in China, South Korea and Vietnam.” Currently, the Fry/Straka design firm has international projects, at various stages of progress, in Cabo del Sol, Thailand and Brazil. “Like many architects and firms over the last couple of years, we’ve used Zoom, images and videos to progress work,” said Fry. “Now, countries are opening up and I’ll be traveling overseas once again. “We’ve got a lot of international work and I plan on spending the next 15 to 20 years traveling overseas as it’s important for me to be building these courses in new markets.” Listen to the full “Tartan Talks” at golfcourseindustry.com. “ The nomadic lifestyle is what I thrive on” Dana Fry, ASGCA • ASGCA Past President Tom Marzolf, Tripp Davis, ASGCA, and Bill Bergin, ASGCA, talk about the influx of design and construction work • ASGCA Past Presidents Jan Bel Jan and Forrest Richardson discuss the life, career and work of golfing pioneer Marion Hollins Here are links to other recent “Tartan Talks,” now featuring over 50 episodes: Bill Bergin transforms Santa Rosa layout in Florida Photo: Bill Bergin, ASGCA
12 Tripp Davis, ASGCA, is under way with a renovation of the Riverside course at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia. The two main aims of the project are to update the course infrastructure and improve the ‘flow’ of the layout, especially on the back nine. “We are taking advantage of the fact that everything is being rebuilt as new to move the strategic elements of the course – tees, bunkers, fairways, greens – to create a more strategically interesting golf course that will be very fun to play for the entire membership, while being flexible enough in set-up to be as challenging as they want,” said Davis. “We are focusing on giving the course a more interesting flow from start to finish that will see some holes becoming better opportunities for players most of the time, while some holes will become more challenging at strategic points in the round.” The course is expected to reopen in late 2022. The R&A selects Toro for golf community project Photo: Tripp Davis, ASGCA The R&A has named Toro as a founding partner and the official golf course maintenance provider for its new golf facility in Glasgow, Scotland. The project will see the Lethamhill golf course redeveloped to create a community venue with a nine-hole course, par-three layout, putting greens, short game area, adventure golf and 25-bay floodlit driving range. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “We look forward to working alongside Toro in the development of the new venue and providing golfers with excellent facilities so that they can fully enjoy playing the sport in a variety of formats with family and friends.” In addition to providing equipment and irrigation products to the facility, Toro also plans to provide a grant to be used toward the development of a greenkeeper apprenticeship, as well as for efforts that promote the global development of the game of golf. Photo: The R&A Tripp Davis focuses on flow for Atlanta Athletic Club renovation DIGEST
13 Search ASGCA on the below channels for more posts: LinkedIn @gcamagazine Bill Coore says site of new fourth course at Streamsong Resort “is dramatically gifted for golf” Twitter @marzolf_thomas Bonita Bay – Cypress – Naples, Florida – coming soon! Instagram @linksgems A set of aerials from Essex County Country Club. Originally designed by Tillinghast, redesigned by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks, and restored by Gil Hanse. SOCIAL UPDATE Renovation of BallenIsles’ East course to begin in April BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, will begin renovation work on its East course next month. The project is being led by Nicklaus Design’s Chris Cochran, ASGCA, and Chad Goetz, ASGCA, who are working with Troon project manager Ron Despain. The trio’s work aims to modernize bunkers and greens, create more playing options for golfers of all abilities and add length to the existing 7,189-yard layout, while also regrassing the entire course. Work is expected to be complete by December 2022. The project team will also update the practice facilities, with all teeing areas, target greens and practice greens revamped. A new short-game area will also be added, along with a pitch-and-putt course and a large putting green. Clubhouse architecture firms agree partnership Clubhouse architecture firms Peacock + Lewis and JBD JGA Design and Architecture have partnered to create a new private club-focused professional services network. The ClubWorks network will support both firms’ independent operations while allowing them the resources for their own growth and development. “Both Peacock + Lewis and JBD JGA have long been design leaders in the private club industry,” said Brian Idle, CEO of Peacock + Lewis. “This exciting relationship will not only support each companies’ individualism and identity but enhance the ability to provide even better service and a higher level of creativity to a wider geographic market.” Photo: BallenIsles Country Club
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
15 Photos: Golfplan courses, and better understand Golfplan’s vision for what would become The Club at Nine Bridges. Upon their return, the team could formulate ideas together in the knowledge they had common reference points. “We would have the plan draped over Jay’s coffee table and discuss the nuances of shot options within each hole,” says Dale. The Club at Nine Bridges would open in 2001, with two nines inspired by the trip, named ‘Creek’ and ‘Highland.’ The Creek nine features dry streams, shrubs and stone walls, while the Highland nine has a wider grassland feel. The course is widely considered to be among the very best modern courses in Asia and has been appreciated by a global audience as the host venue of several tournaments, including the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup. With a shared appreciation of historic courses as inspiration for modern design, the developer would return to Dale, along with his current Golfplan partner Kevin Ramsey, ASGCA, in the late 2000s for the design of a new venture, the Haesley Nine Bridges course in Gyenggi-do province, southeast of Seoul. “David has a high understanding of the course concept we are pursuing and has actually completed it,” says Chris Ahn, CEO and vice president of CJ Logistics. “During the last two decades, we have renovated parts of both courses and he has achieved what we wanted every The eighth hole at The Club at Nine Bridges, the first collaboration between CJ Group and Golfplan
16 PARTNERSHIP single time. He listens closely to the chairman’s wishes and takes care of all the details. “David has the correct medicine to ensure the holes present the same challenge as they did on opening day. On holes with site challenges, David devised clever solutions to direct tee shots to areas that would still test players. “The PGA Tour players… wow! We never believed they could hit the ball so far in such a location, but the holes have a good defense for the big hitters. The almost-daily winds on Jeju make the eighteenth hole very exciting for the CJ Cup. David is clever with strategy: he is always talking about angles, approaches, the landing positions for drives, and the importance of variety for members and PGA players alike. This is the reason why we have been working with him for so long.” Those ever-present winds play a key role in the strategy of the course, especially during the typhoon season, which is also peak golfing season in South Korea. “More often than not Jay and I discuss climate, site and soil conditions and then the cost to sustain the design concept,” says Dale. “We reference concept drawings and 3D sketches along with other visual aids, but in each instance, we spend numerous hours on the course talking, arm waving, painting lines and flagging to convey our thoughts and ideas.” Dale and Ahn both highlight the importance of effective communication between architect and client, not just at the initial design stage, but throughout the course’s lifetime. “Our chairman has plenty of ideas about course improvements and he listens to experts, but he is always asking for David’s opinion,” says Ahn. “David speaks with a smile and emotion about both golf courses. Photos: Golfplan Chairman Jay Lee of CJ Group and David Dale, ASGCA, have now worked together for over 25 years, including on the Haesley Nine Bridges course (hole 10, pictured right) “ There is a balance that must be struck, and I am looked upon to find it”
17 The chairman likes that David is so passionate about the layouts, the members, and the special events where the world gets to see that Korea has great golf courses. “David has a very keen eye, and he will say things like, ‘that sightline would be better if moved a little lower.’ He is always watching and protecting the chairman’s vision of the golf course. The pair of them have worked together to make the golf course what it is, always sharing that same passion.” From Dale’s perspective, balance is crucial: “Jay is always considering alternatives ways to toughen the golf courses for the professional player and at the same time I am always looking at how we balance this goal of high-level competition with member play. There is a balance that must be struck, and I am looked upon to find it. “The team that manages the golf courses are always innovative and evaluating how to heighten the experience for the customer and improve the financial sustainability of both courses. Strategic planning for introducing improvements is a constant conversation we have with their team. We develop numerous concepts to provide the player with strategic options, risk and reward opportunities and discuss at length the most practical manner to implement the vision.” Crystal Mountain and AJH Golf A silent auction was the unlikely event that brought a Michigan club together with a golf course architect. Crystal Mountain Resort’s golf course superintendent Jason Farah and assistants Trevor Mills and Daniel Heiss had successfully bid for bunker liner installation at a Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association event, and A. John Harvey, ASGCA, was supplier Porous Pave’s specialist assigned to oversee the work. Harvey and Farah got to know each other during that pilot project and, impressed with Harvey’s meticulous approach, Farah invited him to review a tree management project that was under way on several holes of the resort’s Betsie Valley course. Chris and Jim MacInnes, the owners of Crystal Mountain Resort, had initiated the project to harvest timber, in the knowledge
that it also represented a healthy ecological development of the environment, nurturing more favorable and indigenous species to regenerate and thrive within the managed areas. But Harvey was able to add a new perspective, that could extend the value of the work out onto the course. “This tree program allowed the ownership to realize that it could create opportunities to improve playability, turfgrass management, drainage, sunlight penetration, aesthetics and strategic values. Once the trees started to come down, ideas to benefit the course’s design began to brew.” Harvey was appointed to oversee a six-hole renovation on the course, which included reclaiming corridors of play, creating and renovating bunkers, sculpting sand waste areas, rebuilding and recontouring several tees, and shifting fairway landing zones. “The goals have been to piggyback course improvements on top of the significant corridor work that were reclaimed and widened by the tree management program,” says Harvey. “This has opened up some incredible vistas throughout the property, as well as towards the distant northern Michigan countryside.” “As owners, we are grateful for our partnership with John,” says Chris MacInnes. “He not only listens carefully to our goals, including playability, revenue generation and budget, but also sees potential for the Betsie Valley layout that we never imagined. Working closely with our golf course team, led by superintendent Jason Farah and the course contractors, Chris Furness of Great Lakes Golf Construction and Doug Thielen of Thielen Turf Irrigation, John has transformed a humble track into a masterpiece. “John has guided us to better honor the Betsie Valley layout and improve playability. This allows us to increase rates and the number of rounds we can comfortably accommodate. We believe this is a great example of the value of a partnership with a very talented golf course architect – preserving and enhancing our land and generating more revenue from our golf course operations.” Strong communication was also pivotal for work at Crystal Mountain. “We were able to discover new ideas together to strengthen the overall experience for golfers so that the course would be more enjoyable to play, all while having the passion for making golf great and rekindling the spirit of golf at Crystal Mountain,” says MacInnes. “We were able to bounce ideas off each other in a constructive fashion and have a lot 18 PARTNERSHIP The partnership between A. John Harvey (foreground) and crew and contractors on the Betsie Valley course (pictured right) at Crystal Mountain Resort has, according to owner Chris MacInnes, “transformed a humble track into a masterpiece” “ We were able to discover new ideas together to strengthen the overall experience”
19 Photos: A John Harvey, ASGCA of fun while building the design concepts laid out on paper during construction with the golf course contractor and their team. “Because our land is so important, we are committed to its thoughtful and wise stewardship, as well as its highest and best use. Working with a golf course designer who shares these values, communicates well and is respectful, will help us to accomplish our objectives.” Metedeconk National and Raymond Hearn ASGCA Founding Father Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and his senior designer, ASGCA Past President Roger Rulewich, laid out the first 18 of 27 holes at Metedeconk National, on the edge of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, in 1987. The course was instantly considered one of the most beautiful in the state, with holes sprawling in splendid isolation, framed by fescue and trees, across the vast property. But like any course over 30 years of age, time will take a toll, and by 2018 work was needed to return the Jones design to its best. “Paramount to the club was ensuring all revisions honored its proud past while preparing it for the future, which is the same ethic I have applied at many other classic courses,” says Raymond Hearn, ASGCA, who was contacted by the club. “I knew what an honor and privilege it would be to partner with them in respectfully bringing their course into the 21st century.” Hearn gained the trust of the club with an emphasis on listening. “Ray carefully listened to our goals and objectives and brought everyone ‘into the tent,’” says club president Fred Price. “He involved our director of golf, Brent Studer, with playability discussions; golf course superintendent Andrew Mallick with maintenance considerations; general manager Derek Kopp; myself as club president; and Rob Bakos, our greens committee chair. We were present in all his communication throughout the design phase, site visits and after.” “While my partnership with the club’s leaders was crucial to the outcome, I knew I had one other important partner in this project to consider – Robert Trent Jones, Sr.,” says Hearn. “I was in total agreement with the club that the legacy left by Jones should be preserved at all costs. “I have always respected the work of Jones and the best way to honor an architect is to preserve their routing. Jones, along with Roger Rulewich, did an incredible job routing the 27-holes, and I wanted
20 The twelfth hole at Metedeconk National, where Raymond Hearn, ASGCA (pictured below, with the club’s director of golf Brent Studer), has built a partnership with a foundation on open communication Photos: Raymond Hearn Golf Course Design Inc to restore the original ragged-edge capes and bays of the bunkers, which was an integral part of the Jones design, lost to ever-changing sand lines and bunker edging.” While respecting the original design was key, Hearn also oversaw changes that would improve the playing experience for today’s golfers. “A respectful renovation provides an opportunity to improve two elements I consider paramount to design: angles and options,” says Hearn. “While we were restoring the course to its original glory, we also found ways to refine and increase strategy and shot value with more angles and options. Overall, the original design intent of Jones was safeguarded, but, as Price would say, ‘creatively tweaked.’” Kopp says: “Ray made sure his renovation work still screamed RTJ, which was important to us. He also improved shot value and strategy with his creative bunker, fairway and green runoff area adjustments.” There were, of course, differences of opinion along the way. But by giving each stakeholder’s views careful consideration, and talking through his own rationale for design decisions, Hearn found his path clearing. “Listening to different thoughts, recommendations, concerns and compliments allowed me to understand the club’s expectations and ultimately gain their trust to implement my plan,” says Hearn. “From the club’s leadership to the construction crew, communication was key in the partnership approach – a crucial part in any relationship. Thanks to a true partnership and open communication, Metedeconk will maintain its living legacy to golf ’s past, present and future.”• PARTNERSHIP
21 “Traditions are just as important as innovation. I’m a voice of the ASGCA.” — BILL COORE Photo by Joey Terrill
22 GOLF FACILITY TRENDS The pandemic-fueled surge in golf participation has paved the way for an increase in the number of golf facilities speeding up capital projects. While last spring I wrote about seeing an increase in the number of golfers taking to the course, the highlight of this year’s Golf Facility Market Trend Watch report is that more than twice as many golf course architects, in comparison to last year’s survey, see facilities accelerating timetables for capital projects. The question related to this data was introduced for the 2021 report, with 16 percent of architects saying that clubs sped up capital projects because of COVID, while the 2022 report, the fifth annual study produced by the Sports & Leisure Research Group (SLRG) and American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), shows an increase to 37 percent. Clearly a healthier top line, due to the surge in participation during the pandemic, has encouraged facilities to move forward with longcontemplated capital projects. Our 2021 report saw practice area improvements as the most popular type of project that golf course architects were involved in over the previous 24 months. In 2022 though, master planning regains that position, with 82 percent of architects working on at least one. Optimism among golf course designers is rising, with 29 percent (compared to 23 percent last year) saying they expect a 5 to 10 percent increase in their renovation revenue over the next 24 months. ASGCA Past President Tom Marzolf highlighted to SLRG and ASGCA an area he felt warranted research. “There is an ongoing issue in the US with labor for golf maintenance, and we hoped to use the survey to track what is going on with the hourly wage rate,” says Marzolf. “The goal with the questions we added was to help course owners, club managers and board members to better understand how difficult labor budgets are for course superintendents, as most supers struggle all year to attract a stable Jon Last of Sports & Leisure Research Group tells us about the factors that are driving decision-making at golf facilities. Green light for course projects Jon Last Jon Last is the founder and president of Sports & Leisure Research Group, a full-service marketing and research consultancy.
23 workforce with open positions not being filled due to low wages.” Our recent data shows that 85 percent of private facilities and 76 percent of public facilities had at least one open golf maintenance position during the 2021 golf season. “The hourly rate must increase to allow golf to flourish and grows,” says Marzolf. “Golf is behind the curve, and club management needs to look at the data to educate themselves to the reality of the situation.” However, some positive steps have already been taken regarding staff wages. Sixty percent of public facilities have raised minimum hourly wages for golf maintenance positions during or for the past season, a 39 percent increase in comparison to the previous season. This is mirrored with private facilities, with 65 percent of clubs raising wages for golf maintenance positions during the same period. I was also intrigued to see a greater focus on creating more forward tee placement options and the various benefits they have produced, as seen in the graph at the top of this page. This is consistent with a significant body of additional research that we’ve conducted, which points to the benefits of providing a greater variety of options for newer and less skilled players, which historically have received less attention in course set-up and design.• Find out more in the full 2022 Golf Facility Market Trend Report produced by Sports & Leisure Research Group for ASGCA What benefits do shorter teeing options offer? Golf operators that have recently added forward tees to their facility analyze the impact they’ve had Public Private They have increased player satisfaction and enjoyment 69% They helped with the pace of play (flow) They have helped disperse wear and tear across tee surfaces in general They have led to a more diverse player base They have led to more rounds played 78% 38% 33% 31% 29% 33% 22% 19% 18% What factors do operators see as the most important when planning a renovation? Golf facilities see project cost as the key consideration for undertaking renovation work Cost of the project due to current demands 61% Ability to obtain materials and components Interruption of play during the work Availability of labor Availability of a qualified contractor who could schedule the work 44% 37% 37% 34% Availability of a qualified golf course architect to handle the project 9%
GCSAA SHOW The annual GCSAA Conference & Trade Show is the foremost event in the golf course development industry with architects, superintendents, builders and vendors from across the world meeting to learn about the latest in golf design, construction and maintenance, and network with their peers. February 2022 saw a return to an in-person event, a year after the 2021 edition was held virtually. The industry gathered in San Diego, taking the opportunity to renew old friendships and make some new ones. Here is a selection of ASGCA’s images from the show. Scenes from the 2022 GCSAA Conference & Trade Show, where ASGCA is a Presenting Partner We meet again 24 The exhibition floor saw suppliers from around the globe, including By Design sponsors Tahoma 31, Toro and Rain Bird, showcasing their products and services The event was a welcome opportunity to network in person, following 2021’s virtual experience
25 Visitors to the ASGCA booth were able to pick up some of our wide range of publications, including the By Design: 75 Years Special Report and Life Cycle Chart Jeff Danner, ASGCA, (above left) and ASGCA Past President Forrest Richardson were in attendance for the first time since launching their new Richardson | Danner design partnership Golf course architecture societies from both sides of the Atlantic were represented; EIGCA President Tim Lobb, left, with ASGCA President Jason Straka ASGCA was well represented at the show, with several members appearing as speakers, including David Ferris, ASGCA, (above), ASGCA President Jason Straka (below left) and Bill Bergin, ASGCA Panel discussions on a variety of topics were held throughout the week, including a renovation roundtable that included (from right), Justin Apel of GCBAA, ASGCA President Jason Straka and GCSAA Past President Darren Davis
26 SKETCHBOOK The par-four fifth hole at the new course for Astor Creek Country Club in Port St Lucie, Florida, is a short par four, playable from 200 to 360 yards. Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA, is designing the new course, and wanted this hole to provide golfers with a good scoring opportunity. “As with all golf courses, variety and memorability are key elements to the enjoyment of the overall playing experience,” said Wilczynski. “The design of the fifth is meant to provide golfers of all skill levels a chance to score given its short length and easier level of difficulty. “A large waste area runs parallel to the left side of the tees and fairway and then cuts across the hole and stretches up and along the right side of the green. It serves as a strategic feature and the primary circulation system for golfers. Golfers who play up the left side and as close as possible to the waste area are given the ideal angle into the plateau green that is flanked to the right and back-left with bunkers. Tee shots that find the right side of the hole will have a poor angle to the green given its orientation and the location of the bunkers.” Wilczynski’s sketch also shows his ‘ribbon’ tees that connect to the fairway. “This features allows for more flexibility with the location and movement of tees, ease of maintenance and visual continuity as the ribbon mowing pattern pulls a golfer’s eye up to the hole,” he said. “Our vision is for golfers to enjoy a blend of tranquility and ease of playability. We’re designing a course for today’s golfer – one who loves beauty and a challenge and wants to have fun.”• Astor Creek Country Club By Design inspects a page from the sketchbook of Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA.
Tahoma 31 ® Bermudagrass Developed by the turfgrass experts at Oklahoma State University, Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass pushes the geographic boundaries of bermudagrass into the northernmost reaches of the Transition Zone. Highly cold tolerant, the name “Tahoma” comes from the Native American word that means “frozen water,” and the grass lives up to its name. Golf courses as far north as Chillicothe Country Club in Ohio (fairways and tees), and Liberty National in Jersey City, NJ, (driving range tee), benefit from Tahoma 31’s ability to stand up to cold winters yet thrive in hot summer temperatures. Tahoma 31 creates a sustainable and maintainable golf course with dramatically lower disease pressures compared to cool-season grasses. A tight, dense turf generally mowed as low as ¼ to ½-inch for excellent playability, with notable wear tolerance to heal quickly from divot damage, and strong drought tolerance to save water, its deep blue-green color offers stunning visual contrast for golf course design. Tahoma31Bermudagrass.com Rain Bi rd Corporat ion Since 1933, Rain Bird has built a reputation on delivering irrigation systems that combine performance with efficiency. Rain Bird leverages state-of-the-art technologies to innovate and develop products that apply water in the most effective and efficient manner possible. From highly-efficient sprinkler nozzles to cutting-edge control systems and pump stations, Rain Bird is widely recognized as the leader in golf course irrigation control system technology. We take the challenge of using water responsibly very seriously. That’s why our over-arching philosophy, The Intelligent Use of Water™, guides everything we do. The revolutionary Integrated Control System™ provides innovation at a lower overall cost to golf courses enabling the user to maximize system efficiency and conserve water with a smaller environmental footprint. For more information, please contact 1-800-RAINBIRD or visit: www.rainbird.com Toro The Toro Company is proud of its legacy of quality and innovation. Customers around the world rely on Toro for high performing products that include precision fairway and rough mowers, greens mowers, compact utility loaders, commercial zero-turn mowers, bunker management machines, and water-efficient irrigation systems. In 1919, Toro provided a motorized fairway mower to the Minikahda Club, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to replace horse-drawn equipment. By mounting five individual reel mowers onto the front of a farm tractor, Toro developed the Toro Standard Golf Machine and helped create the motorized golf course equipment industry. Today Toro continues to lead the global market with best-in-class turf maintenance equipment and precision irrigation solutions. Approximately two-thirds of the top 100 courses in the world use Toro irrigation systems. The company also leads the way in environmental innovations, making products safer, cleaner and quieter whenever possible. www.toro.com
ASGCA Leadership Partners Support ing Educat ion in the Gol f Course Industry ASGCA thanks the following companies for their continued support of golf course development and renovation – helping ASGCA members do their jobs better, for the good of the game. // MAJOR LEVEL PARTNERS // SPONSORS // MERIT LEVEL PARTNERS