The upcoming European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) annual conference provides golf course designers with the opportunity to discuss how to make the game more accessible and enjoyable to people across a wider demographic.
Increased participation for juniors, ladies and those with disabilities will be a prominent topic at the one-day conference, which takes place on 4 April at the Hotel Palacio in Estoril, Portugal.
Entitled ‘Golf for All – Designs on the Future’, the conference will see presentations from a diverse group of speakers, including Steve Isaac, director of Golf Course Management at The R&A, Lodewijk Klootwijk, director of the European Golf Course Owners Association, and Tony Bennett, who is both director of Education for the PGAs of Europe and president of The European Disabled Golf Association.
With Rio 2016 approaching, Alexandra Almeida, chairman of the Sport and Environment Commission on the Olympic Committee of Portugal, will discuss the impact of having golf at the Olympics and how it plans to foster positive legacies.
Jose de Sousa e Melo, president of Estoril Golf Club, will open the conference, providing a local context and explaining the history of golf development in Portugal. American Society of Golf Course Architects member Drew Rogers will also give a presentation on Oitavos Dunes, the course that will co-host the upcoming EIGCA’s President’s Cup golf tournament alongside the Estoril Golf Club.
The popular ‘3 Minute Slots’ will also take place, allowing attendees to take to the stage and quickly debate any issue about which they feel passionate.
“We have developed an exceptional range of speakers for this year’s EIGCA Conference and I hope that it stimulates much thought and discussion about what we as golf course architects can do to broaden the popularity of golf,” said EIGCA president Peter Fjallman. “As a sport, golf is almost unique in that it can be played competitively at any age, it has recognised health benefits, both physical and psychological, it improves social skills and promotes an image of honesty and integrity. We must take the opportunity to promote these benefits to non-golfers, and golf course designers must do what they can to help encourage wider participation.”