Monday, 14 May 2012

Future of Golf Architecture

The following is a summary of a round table featuring Bill Coore, Gil Hanse and Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Robert Trent Jones Jr. began with “In 1974 we all went to Japan to work, because that’s all there was, now its China.” He went on to talk about how important it was to adapt the game to other cultures to help it grow. He also opinioned the PGA Tour has detrimental impact of the game since it presents golf in its worst light of high maintenance and extreme challenges.

Gil Hanse talked about his own business and noted that he has kept his operation small and lean even through the good times. He has instead relied on sub-contractors and collaboration to get through the busier times. He pointed out that nothing is more important than creating a network of contacts throughout the entire golf industry.

Bill Coore talked about the potential of expanding what you do and reminded us that he went to work as a superintendent because there were no design opportunities. He feels that experience made him a far greater architect than he would have been because it expanded his knowledge and understanding of golf architecture.

Bill went on to share that we need more alternative golf course pointing out he learned the game on a 9 hole course. He continued on to say the loss of shorter courses has hurt the growth of the game and we need to step away from the championship golf course model and get back to the basics of somewhere fun to play. He added that perhaps the downturn and economics may force the alternatives to be reconsidered as a viable model. RTJ added that time may also push this change in views along too since new players don’t want to commit as much time to the game.

Bill offered up a pretty interesting idea based around his wife’s view of golf. “I wonder if our courses looked a little less offensive, meaning less consuming, there may be greater acceptance of golf." This plays right into the Gil’s design and concept for maintenance for the Olympic Course which is based upon sustainability and RTJ’s comment about the perfection and presentation of the PGA Tour being a detriment to the game.

This is the last of the pieces I’ll do from presentations. I have 3 more pieces to post this week from that meeting:
1. Lookout Mountain
2. Chattanooga Country Club
3. Thoughts on the Meeting

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