The Pellucid Perspective - January 2011 - (Page 10)

AfforDABility in golf commentAry Symposium examines varied aspects of affordability in golf Much old ground plowed, but some interesting conclusions unearthed By Jim Dunlap Editor’s Note: The following article is based on the White Paper produced following the inaugural “Symposium on Affordable Golf ” held in Southern Pines, N.C. on November 8 of last year. Approximately 75 people attended, representing various segments of the golf industry in the U.S., Canada and Scotland as well as some folks who love the game but don’t work in the industry. Symposium organizer and Pinehurst-based golf architect Richard Mandell has provided the White Paper for this publication’s review. The following is commentary on selected points raised in the panel speakers’ discussion. The discussion topics included the following: n Environmental strategies that can also make the game more affordable n Simplicity of golf course management in the British Isles n Cost-conscious lessons to learn from the Golden Age n Pace of play: affordable golf is quality golf n The folly of replicating tournament conditions CONDITIONED FOR SUCCESS. The golf landscape in America has changed. In a market overcrowded with golf courses and little prospect for demand to grow significantly, today’s course owners and operators are experiencing extreme competitive pressure in nearly every aspect of their business. Never before has there been more reason to work smarter and more efficiently—or more reason to partner with ValleyCrest Golf Course Maintenance. As the national leader in golf course maintenance contracting, we’re a trusted steward of all manner of golf properties throughout America. 24151 Ventura Boulevard Calabasas, CA 91302 (888) 406-GOLF Comprehensive Golf Course Maintenance At first glance, those topics might not dovetail with what some would expect to hear from a symposium on “affordable golf.” The word “affordable” would seem to apply “cheap.” The gathering agreed that perhaps “affordable” should more accurately reflect the quality of the golf experience, regardless of the price point paid for a round of golf. The goal should be a reliable and satisfactory golf experience based on the price, delivered in a manner that enables the course operator to generate a reasonable profit. Some of the strategies discussed focused on tactics that can be implemented on existing courses, such as pace of play, daily course maintenance practices that cut costs without sacrificing strategy or playability, or administrative cutbacks in middle management or other unnecessary labor that inflate operating overhead. Other topics targeted course development and design, which may be relevant in this country at such point that new courses once again begin to be built, but are of little immediate import in solving the game’s current problems. In terms of existing courses, the symposium offered several suggestions relating to course conditioning that while not new, deserve reinforcement. Speaker Tim Moraghan, principal of ASPIRE Golf Consulting and a renowned agronomist with extensive Tour course setup experience, pointed out that excessive green speeds do slow play and increase difficulty for the average player, but the reason is that players actually have trouble keeping approach shots ON the green, rather than putting the faster surfaces. The other suggestion was that maintaining bunkers is largely an aesthetic function, rather than a strategic one. The point was made that bunkers are hazards for the average player, not merely “alternate shot positions” as they are for the pros. They don’t need to be pristinely raked and maintained to serve their function, and the money can be spent elsewhere, or actually applied to the bottom line. Another point made previously which deserved repeating was a key element of the Southern Pines symposium. Forward thinking and sustainable environmental practices might (See Affordability on page 13) January 2011 10 The Pellucid PersPecTive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - January 2011

The Pellucid Perspective - January 2011
Municipal Courses Face Major Property Tax Challenge
Dec YtD Weather Impact, Nov YtD Utilization
2011 Equipment News Highlighted by Acushnet Fate
Is Groupon Good for Golf?
Symposium Examines Varied Aspects of Affordability in Golf
Dallas, Tx Core Business Statistical Area (CBSA)
Yes! Golf the Recession’s Latest Victum
Year of Change for Golf, for Better or Worse?

The Pellucid Perspective - January 2011