150 individuals from 35 countries recently gathered at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland, for a four-day programme of education, training, golf and celebration to mark the fifth anniversary of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA).
The conference had an international flavour, with Stanley Zontek from the United States Golf Association delivering a presentation on architectural trends in the United States and Ross Perrett, president of the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects, providing delegates with an overview of the golf developments in Australasia. Guoyong Zhan spoke of his experiences and the unique challenges he faced in the design and construction of Beijing Willow GC in China.
A series of presentations on the environmental aspects of golf course design came from Steve Isaac of The R&A, Jonathan Smith of the Committed to Green Foundation, and Bob Taylor, a senior ecologist from STRI.
Commenting on the success of the event, Mark Adam, president of the Institute, said: "The sheer number of participants and their countries of origin, the quality and overall organisation of the speakers, and the camaraderie shown between members, sponsors and delegates and their interaction attests to the professionalism of our institute, its dedication to its existing members and the defence, promotion and education of the profession in an impartial way." Delegates had the opportunity to experience golf at St Andrews, with competitions held on both the Old and New Course, and additional visits to Kingsbarns, the Torrance course at St Andrews Bay and the Balcomie Links at Crail. Twenty sponsors, including The Toro Company, Ransomes Jacobsen and John Greasley Ltd, exhibited their products and services, and supported the golf with prizes.
The EIGCA plans to add to its membership and, through its unique education programme, will strengthen the reputation and quality of its 100 or so practising members.
This article first appeared in issue 1 of Golf Course Architecture, published in July 2005.