2013 Agenda


Monday, October 28, 2013



8:00 am to 8:15 am: Introduction

Richard Mandell Golf Architecture



8:15 am to 9:00 am: Loving the Game of Golf

  • What is it about the game of golf that people love? How much of that is reflected through actions by the golf industry on a long-term basis? Richard will lead a discussion to define the elements of the game of golf that are most important to golfers and how they can lead efforts to transform the business of golf into something that better reflects the tenets of the game. The results may help to redirect efforts in all aspects of operations.

Richard Mandell, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture

9:00 am to 9:45 am: When Sustainability and Golfspeak Intersect - The Sequel

  • It seems sustainability is the recent buzzword for the golf industry, yet the principles of sustainability have been present since the days of sheep management and featheries.  The public’s perception of sustainable principles are mistakenly translated as an expensive proposition for a golf course operation. But in fact, terms of sustainability have always had counterparts (and precedent) in a golf course’s best management practices. When Sustainability and Golfspeak intersect, one realizes how sustainable (environmentally and economically) a golf course actually is.

Greg Lyman, Environmental Programs Director, GCSAA


Break: 9:45 am to 10:00 am



10:00 am to 10:45 am: Case Study: Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Georgia

  • Certified GCS Anthony Williams will share some of the environmental and financial programs from the 2006 Overall winner of the Environmental Leaders in Golf Contest, the Stone Mountain Golf Club by Marriott. Topics include Integrated Pest Management, Water Quality and Conservation, Blending Environmental and Financial Stewardship (Environomics) and the value of Public Relations. Anthony’s practical strategies certainly follow the mantra of achieving more with less and saving almost $200,000 in the process.

Anthony Williams, CGCS


10:45 am to 11:45 am: Shortchanging Women - Shortchanging Revenue

  • About one of every five golfers is female and as much as men may think they are designing, maintaining, and operating golf courses for women, growth of the female segment is stagnant. Until men understand the female golfing thought process beyond just tee placement, a revenue gap will remain. When filled, costs will come down for all.

Victoria Martz, ASGCA

Mary Lyons, LPGA Class A Teaching Professional

Lunch: 11:45 am to 1:00 pm


1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: The Caddy Conundrum

  • The caddy has been a part of the game as long as the game itself and has been the very definition of access to a game that really was of the common man. With the advent of the golf cart and the transformation of golf into more of a business, the caddy was relegated to far less than even a secondary figure. With it, golf has continually become less and less accessible. Is there a connection or is it just an evolution of the game? Does the recent renaissance in the profession of the caddy open the doors to more people to participate or is it just a means to provide more service in an increasingly service-focused business?

Kris Shreiner, Principal, Artisans Guild Golf Management

Dan Costello, Vice President, Caddiemaster

2:00 pm to 2:45 pm: Case Study: Chisholm Trail Golf Links, Abilene, Kansas

  • Follow Ron Whitten’s trail from Golf Digest Architecture Editor to golf course owner. Along the trail, Ron shares his experiences of course ownership. Learn how his efforts to keep golf affordable in America’s Heartland helped shape his views on golf course architecture in the rest of the world going forward at the Editor’s Desk.

Ron Whitten, Architecture Editor, Golf Digest Magazine


Break: 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm


3:00 pm to 3:45 pm: The Uphill Flow of Irrigation Costs

  • The largest line-item in golf construction today is that of irrigation. Even with continued innovation in the science of hydrology, costs continue to escalate. One questions the true value in irrigation technology while the industry continues to stress the importance of state of the art systems at ever-increasing costs. Can irrigation system expenses be reduced yet still provide efficiency? Or could it be that the simpler systems of the past are just as efficient when valued to cost of installation?

Andy Staples, ASGCA Associate
Don Mahaffey, Irrigation Consultant


3:45 pm to 5:00 pm: Innovation or Insanity?

  • Charles Blair MacDonald once said, “Never seek an original idea”. This came from one of arguably the most creative golf architects in the history of the game. He did not mean that there should be no creativity in design. Instead, he called for tried and true design principles to lead the way to innovation through replication of past successes. Nonetheless, innovation in golf architecture has still led to memorable design in both positive and negative ways – to the point of insanity in a few cases. The SOAG group will analyze specific design innovations in an attempt to separate smart business practices from poor choices that can lead to impractical and poor results in design, maintenance, and operations.

Group Discussion

5:00 pm till: Happy Hour

Southern Pines Golf Club Clubhouse

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



8:00 am to 9:00 am: Bridging the Gap Between The Gateway Golfer and the Core Golfer

  • Grow the game initiatives are only effective to a certain point in a golfer’s early journey into the sport, which is the number one reason why there has been a revolving door to the game as of late. Retention of core golfers – those who consistently add to the success of the business – is the biggest challenge to the golf industry. Chris Hartwiger explores the pitfalls of grow the game initiatives and how we can convert those pitfalls into positive steps as a gateway to retention of core golfers.

Chris Hartwiger, Senior Agronomist, Southeast Region, USGA

9:00 am to 9:30 am: Case Study: White Bear Yacht Club, White Bear Lake, Minnesota

  • White Bear Yacht Club is a utilitarian design on an inland piece of property without any connection to the ocean or mountains or any other memorable large-scale landforms. Yet the routing of the site should be the paradigm for sensitive application of golf on the ground. Simplicity in routing, judicious placement of hazards, and leaving well enough alone is the genius behind this gem. The design principles exhibited at White Bear can be adapted anywhere in the world. It is the antithesis of over-design and the prototype for affordable construction and enjoyable golf for all levels.

Richard Mandell, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture


Break: 9:30 am to 9:45 am



9:45 am to 10:45 am: The Triple Bottom Line

  • Triple Bottom Line is a business philosophy based in economic sustainability whose three points of the triangle are People, Profits, and Planet. Whereas many consider the environment and design when it comes to the planet and its resources, economic sustainability means a golf business that pleases customers, employs capable people, and pays bills. A Triple Bottom Line philosophy keeps businesses focused on the big picture and be successful as well. Following this philosophy closely does not mean an adverse effect on profitability either.

Chuck Bennell, President, Tam O’Shanter Golf Course

10:45 am to 11:45 am: The Rules of Golf: Roadblock to Affordability?

  • Many think that the rules of golf are so complicated that it inhibits the growth of the game. Is that truly the case or is it just an excuse masking other issues? Does the new golfer know anything about the rules of golf or even care? If the rules of golf are indeed a roadblock to the game, what can be done to fix this problem? How can golf courses use the Rules of Golf to their advantage in making the game more accessible and affordable? Are the Rules of Golf a contributor to the cost of the game? How does the general public look at Rolex’s sponsorship of the actual Rules of Golf publication?

Scott Cain, PGA Master Professional
John Morrissett, Competitions Director, Erin Hills

11:45 am to 12:00 pm: Final Thoughts

Open Discussion


Golf Outing on Southern Pines Golf Club

Tee Times Beginning at 1:00 pm




Southern Pines Golf Club and the Symposium on Affordable Golf invite you to tee it up for 18 holes of some of the best golf that the Sandhills of North Carolina can provide. Legendary golf course architect Donald Ross carved 18 of perhaps the most rewarding golf holes in the region. A true shotmaker's golf course, Ross gives players options. At 6300 yards, Southern Pines does not measure up to today's length of courses, but it makes up for it through a variety of shots from the tee and even more challenges into the greens. The result continues to prove the course's notoriety as the most entertaining 18 holes of golf in the area. A throwback to days gone by, where bump and run shots were the norm and tee shots demanded precision over length. One trip around this Ross gem will leave you wanting more, not just at that moment, but rather each every time you tee it up.


Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Time: Tee Times will start at 1:00 pm

Limited Space Available