2012 Agenda


Monday, October 29, 2012



8:00 to 8:15 am: Introduction

Gary Strohl, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture



8:15 to 9:15 am: Brown is the New Green? Firm and Fast? or is it Something Else?

  • During his term as President of the USGA, James Hyler made reference to the browning of golf courses today being a good thing.  The resulting backlash seemed at first an over-reaction to a word (brown) that required a little more consideration than literal translation.  Mr. Hyler and Mr. Randquist debate the sensitive issue of how to manage golf courses in this age and how choices made for playability can affect public perception and a facility’s bottom line.

Robert Randquist, Immediate Past President, GCSAA

James Hyler, Jr, Immediate Past President, USGA


9:15 to 10:00 am: Returning the Game to Affordability – How Less Can Actually Be More

  • For decades, advances in golf course construction and maintenance have pushed the limits of the business far from their intended goals of efficiency and quality.  Instead of solving problems in terms of time and costs, we have created more problems than solutions in the search for the perfect playing fields.  Ironically, golf was never intended to be played on a perfect playing field. 

    One way to do more with less is to re-visit the basic principle that golf was originally meant to be played within nature’s own constraints.  Returning the Game to Affordability – How Less Can Actually Be More is based on the return to the way golf was meant to be played, which first requires an understanding of how the game got from there to here. 

Richard Mandell, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture


Break: 10:00 to 10:15



10:15 to 10:45 am: Case Study #1: Askernish Golf Club, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

  • Gordon Irvine returns to the Symposium on Affordable Golf to recount the tale of his re-discovery of an Old Tom Morris classic.  He shares how with a little ingenuity, a lot of hard work, and the smarts to leave well enough alone, what some environmentalists now consider the “most natural links course in the world” was re-born. The genius of the place is clearly in the simplicity of the place and is a model for great golf at little expense.

Gordon Irvine, MG, Golf Course Management Consultancy


10:45 to 11:45 am:Value vs. Lower Green Fees:  When Discounting Gets Counter-Productive

  • One controversy brewing in the golf industry over the past decade actually results in affordable golf.  But for many in the industry, discounting green fees and making them available through third-party organizations could be the death-knell for anyone who wants to stay in the black.  Affordability shouldn’t come at a cost of financial sustainability, say some.  Others say they are just selling empty tee sheet space.

Jim Woodring, Executive Vice President, National Golf Management

Paul Sampliner, Senior Director of Training & Products, Golfnow.com


Lunch:  11:45 to 12:45


12:45 to 1:45 pm: When Sustainability and Golf Speak Intersect

  • It seems sustainability is the recent buzzword for the golf industry, yet the principles of sustainability have been present since the days of sheep and featheries.  The public’s perception of sustainable principles often mistakenly translates to an expensive proposition for a golf course operation.  Two ends of the spectrum in Teresa Wade and Chris Hartwiger come together to show that sustainability and golf intersect in an affordable way.

Chris Hartwiger, Senior Agronomist, Southeast Region, USGA

Teresa Wade, Principal, Sustainable Solutions and Founder, Experience Green


1:45 to 2:15 pm: Case Study #2: Knight's Play Golf Center, Apex, North Carolina

  • A lighted executive course in a major suburban area is a recipe for bringing people to the game and producing lots of rounds.  Learn how Knight’s Play Golf Center has consistently kept its tee sheets full for more than a decade and been a starting point for a different generation.

Kevin Jones, Head Golf Professional and General Manager

Knight's Play Golf Center


Break: 2:15 to 2:30


2:30 to 3:30 pm: Zero Waste Golf

  • At our second Symposium on Affordable Golf, we discussed the Many Facets of a Sustainable Golf Facility and that the fundamental challenge in maintenance is to reduce inputs.  Superintendent Josh Heptig has devised a system at his facility where he has indeed done just that and as a result, nothing is wasted at Dairy Creek Golf Course, a truly self-sustaining facility.

Josh Heptig, Director of Golf Operations

County of San Luis Obispo, California


3:30 to 5:00 pm: Round Table:  The Golf Generation Gap

  • As more and more ideas are shared to help expand the numbers of golfers in the world, each one seems to meet resistance in the form of “golf isn’t like that.”  Are the traditions of the game truly keeping people away or is that just an excuse?  A group of golfers covering seven decades come together to share their thoughts on the game and discuss what are impediments to growing the game and what opens doors. 

Drew Beatty (golfer)

Jan Eyer (golfer)

Brian Griffith (golfer)

Hunter Jefferson (golfer)

Bob Zydonik (Life Member, PGA)

Jim Dodson (Traditionalist Golf Writer)


5:00 till: Get Together - Social Hour

Southern Pines Golf Club Clubhouse

Tuesday, October 30, 2012



8:30 to 9:15 am: The Golf Experience - Your Way Poll Results                   

  • RMGA conducted a poll of golfers to determine what they think about golf and its affordability. The second day of our Symposium will begin with an open group discussion about the results from that poll (led by Richard Mandell). Maybe we can figure out what attracted us to the game in the first place.

Open Discussion

9:15 to 9:45 am: Case Study #3: Wolf Point Golf Club, Gulf Coast, Texas

  • Wolf Point Golf Club was built for one individual.  That’s too bad because it was designed for all golfer types in a way that hearkens back to the golden age of golf course architecture when designers worked with an avocational attitude and didn’t over-build golf courses just because they had the financial resources to do it. Instead, the principle of uncovering the land’s attributes was the driving force in the layout and not technological “advances.”

Mike Nuzzo, Golf Course Designer




10:00 to 10:45 am: The Curious Case of The Taj Mahalics

  • For years, golf course developers were convinced that the bigger the clubhouse, the more successful their golf course development would be.  That logic was flawed from day one and has led to many failures in the golf business and the necessity for green fees to bail out catering dreams.  Learn what works and what doesn’t in clubhouse design if the goal is an efficient operation focusing on the golfer first and the wedding coordinator second.

Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, FH Design

David Hawkins, FH Design


10:45 to 11:45 am: Let's Start Romancing The Game Again Instead of Selling The Business

  • Selling the sizzle instead of the steak is the barrage of new equipment over the virtues of hard work and learning the fundamentals.  Romancing the game is re-kindling the fascination with hitting it flush, enjoying a good walk with nature, and enjoying the company of your playing partners, not necessarily someone meeting you when you pull up to the front door to take your clubs, GPS on the carts, and the newest driver or shoes to improve your game.

Dana Rader, President of LPGA T&CP and LPGA Master Professional
            Smithtown Landing, New York


11:45 to 12:00 pm: Final Thoughts

Open Discussion


Golf Outing on Southern Pines Golf Club

Tee Times Beginning at 1:00 pm



Date: Tuesday, October 30th, 2012