ASGCA Members Share Viewpoints on State-of-the-Game

Roundtable sparks discussion on growing the game, course rankings, planning and more

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – At the recent Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, several American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) members shared their views on some of the industry’s top issues. The discussion took place during the event’s annual “Trends in Contemporary Golf Course Architecture” presentation moderated by ASGCA President Rick Phelps and featuring ASGCA Past President Damian Pascuzzo; Gil Hanse, ASGCA; and Jerry Lemons, ASGCA Associate.

On growing the game…
Jerry Lemons: “Everyone needs to ask, ‘What first made you fall in love with golf?’ From there, work on making golf fun for all, affordable, accessible to anyone and then you are making business sense.”

Damian Pascuzzo: “Part of the attraction is that I can play with the same equipment and on the same courses as the very best players in the world. I will never get together with my friends and play baseball at Fenway Park, but I can play Pebble Beach and TPC.”

On the value of golf course rankings…
Gil Hanse: “Rankings are more a popularity contest than a true evaluation of architecture. Rankings fill magazine pages in the offseason, but most people buy golf magazines for instructions and features, not rankings.”

Pascuzzo: “Reading about rankings is no substitute for going out and seeing the great golf courses. It’s like just reading about great works of art instead of going out and seeing them firsthand.”

On course superintendent’s participation in the design process…
Lemons: “The superintendent serves as the owner’s liaison and is often one of the owner’s best investments in a project. A good superintendent can assist in quality control and is an extra set of eyes for the architect.”

Pascuzzo: “The architect and superintendent need to work well together. Before even working with a superintendent, the architect may have hundreds of conversations about the project’s vision, goals and objectives, and meetings with government officials from all over, including the Environmental Protection Agency or Federal Aviation Administration.”

One standard design tip for any project…
Lemons: “Design for when times are bad rather than when times are good. As budgets decrease, some with over-the-top maintenance designs are suffering. They are looking for ways to decrease maintenance dollars and that is tough to do.”

Hanse: “When looking at Master Planning or renovations, you need to work with the superintendent. Discuss if it will cost more to maintain the course, and ask if members agree to the changes, even if it means a change in their dues. Communication is crucial.”

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