2015 Agenda


Monday, October 12, 2015

All Presentations Held at Courtyard by Marriott Canton



8:00 am to 8:10 am: Introduction

Chuck Bennell, President, Tam O’Shanter Golf Course



8:10 am to 9:00 am: Define "Affordable"

  • Our Symposium will begin with an open group discussion about what "affordable" means to the business of golf. Affordable means different things to different people. Can affordable be at different price points? Is affordable even a goal we should aspire to? As a group, we will try to answer these questions and lay out a map for the rest of the day's discussions.

Open Discussion

9:00 am to 10:00 am: What Is the Media’s Responsibility in Promoting Affordable Golf?

  • Sizzle sells in golf as it does everywhere. Whether it is real estate sales, green fees, or rankings, sizzle sells and nobody sells better than the media. Those who are the media have a conundrum on their hands when it comes to promoting affordable golf because it just doesn’t sell like the sizzle. So how does affordable golf get the attention of the golfing establishment when they are just more attracted to the sizzle? Does the media have a responsibility to making golf a sustainable effort or can it just sell that sizzle?

Kevin Kane, Virginia Golf Report


Break: 10:00 am to 10:15 am



10:15 am to 11:00 am: Case Study: The Quarry Golf Club in Canton, Ohio

  • The Quarry Golf Club opened in 2008. Built on an old quarry dating back to the 1800s for $3 million, the course is routed through natural waste areas, 100-foot plus cliffs, streams, and deep water lakes. This is the story of a brownfield-site transformation on the wrong side of the tracks.

    Golf course architect Brian Huntley was charged with creating an affordable destination golf course that went beyond the quarry as the primary hook. He will share the ups and downs of building a golf course on a tight budget on a tough, but beautiful site and the compromises an architect must face on a daily basis when designing and building a golf course of modest financial means. Most importantly, he will discuss both the right and wrong decisions that were made during the process and reveal the consequences of those decisions.

Brian Huntley, President, Golf Sense, Inc.

11:00 am to 11:45 am: A. W. Tillinghast, Champion of Affordable Golf

  • The golf industry in the 1930s and 1940s wasn’t much different from how it was the past couple of years. Few people found the time for golf and even fewer could afford it, coming off the worst economic catastrophe of the United States. Golf course architects had very little to keep them busy yet some found a way to survive. A. W. Tillinghast spent those decades working for the PGA of America, cris-crossing the nation to consult with golf courses finding ways to cut costs, many of which are very applicable today.

Rick & Stuart Wolffe, Founders, The Tillinghast Society

Lunch: 11:45 am to 1:00 pm


1:00 pm to 1:45 pm: Women in Golf: Are They In Or Out?

  • The participation rate among females in the United States has been steady at a bit more than one in five for almost a quarter-century. Yet female participation rates are almost twice as high in Germany and Korea and fifty-percent higher in Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Twice as many women in America play tennis, bowl, and ski. Yet annually up to 40% of new golfers are women and half of them give up after that first year. Why?

Debbie Waitkus, President and Founder, Golf for Cause



1:45 pm to 2:45 pm: Environmental Responsibility Makes Economic Sense

  • Recently, minimalism has been the name of the game in response to the over-designed, over-built, and over-promoted golf courses that lacked any connection to the land. For most, the disconnect was a sleight in the name of better design as well as the notion that environmental restrictions were costly to overcome and provided no benefits to the bottom line. The fact is that the more natural the golf course is, the benefits to the bottom line are plentiful and long-lasting.

Frank Rossi, Associate Professor, Cornell University


Break: 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm

3:00 pm to 3:45 pm: The Conflict Between Playability & Challenge

  • In the beginning, playability will establish a golfer’s obsession with the game. At some point, that playability transforms into challenge. But when does challenge eliminate the fun? The conflict between playability and challenge is the tipping point between keeping golfers engaged in the game over a lifetime and pushing golfers who have stopped having fun away from the game. Is there a way to bridge that conflict between playability and challenge to engage everyone in the game for a lifetime?

Richard Mandell, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture

3:45 pm to 5:00 pm: Disc Golf, Fling Golf, and Foot Golf

  • Empty tees sheets lead operators to consider how to fill the empty tee boxes with something other than golf. Cart paths as walking paths, fairways as cross-country trails, and water hazards as educational opportunities don’t really utilize golf course features and create a disconnect with an empty playing field. Games such as Disc Golf, FlingGolf, and FootGolf are ready-made competitions that make great use of all elements of a golf course and often these games can co-exist with the Royal and Ancient Game.

Brian Graham, Executive Director, Professional Disc Golf Association

Roberto Balestrini, Founder, American FootGolf League

Alex Van Alan, Founder, FlingGolf

5:00 pm till: Cocktail Hour and Demonstrations of FlingGolf, FootGolf and Disc Golf

Tam O'Shanter Golf Course Clubhouse

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All Presentations Held at Courtyard by Marriott Canton



8:00 am to 8:45 am: A Little Friendly Competition Ain’t So Bad

  • In much the same way management groups take advantage of economies of scale, golf courses with similar needs can adopt the same strategy. This is the story of how a collaborative attitude can create a golfing destination in the most unlikely of places - Northeast Ohio.

Chuck Bennell, President, Tam O’Shanter Golf Course

Rick Snode, General Manager, Tannenhauf Golf Club

8:45 am to 9:50 am: Let’s Create a Business Model

  • Many say that most golf courses built in the past thirty years were built for reasons far beyond the need for golf. Even today’s movement toward re-branding existing courses may not have the ideal business model for their decisions. The SOAG group will work through a series of questions to come upon the ideal business model for golf. The results may shine a light on what to do moving forward with existing facilities as well as new facilities. More importantly, the results may shine a light on what not to do.

Stuart Lindsay, Principal, Edgehill Golf Advisors


Break: 9:50 am to 10:00 am



10:00 am to 10:45 am: Case Study: The River Club in Clarksville, Tennessee

  • Seeking to fill a niche with the vision of fun, affordable golf for every member of the family, Greg Guinn debuted The River Club in September, 2014. The unique facility presents golfers with nine flexible holes that can be played in just a 3-hole loop or up to an 18-hole loop at 7,150 yards. The full driving range and short-game area featuring 15 target-greens provide the infrastructure for achieving Guinn’s main goal: introducing as many people to the game as possible.

Greg Guinn, Co-Founder and Managing Director, The River Club

10:45 am to 11:55 am: Customer Service:  What Does the Golfer Really Want?

  • Utilizing The Golf Experience - Your Way survey as a guide, four everyday golfers speak out on what truly is important to their own golf experiences. When pressed, the industry may find out that much of the effort is being expended without the desired results expected from the end-user. Maybe that effort can be directed elsewhere.

Roundtable Discussion

11:55 am to 12:00 pm: Final Thoughts

Open Discussion


Golf Outing at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course

Tee Times Beginning at 1:00 pm




Tam O'Shanter Golf Course is a 36-hole public facility just minutes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tee times are reserved on the Dales Course. It opened in 1928 at the height of the Bobby Jones era during the golf-crazed "roaring 20s". The Dales course has been a popular championship venue over the years for statewide and national amateur events as well as hosting the final rounds of the Ohio Open Championship and local qualifying tournaments for prospective players in the United States Open Championship.




Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Time: Tee Times will start at 1:00 pm

Limited Space Available