With golf under pressure across the US, North Carolina-based course architect Richard Mandell is organising an event that, he hopes, will help the industry figure out how to make the game more affordable.
Mandell’s Symposium on Affordable Golf will be held on 8-9 November at Southern Pines Golf Club, not far from Pinehurst. Speakers will include pace of play guru Bill Yates, golf writer Jaime Diaz, Ron Boyd of environmental consulting group Williamsburg Environmental and Golf Club Atlas founder Ran Morrisset. Mandell also hopes to put on a session featuring course superintendents from the UK and the US, to draw a contrast between the way courses are maintained on the opposite sides of the Atlantic.
Mandell said: "For over a decade many of us have been watching in dismay as people have been overspending in our industry from all sides, often for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual game of golf itself. In fact, far from it. The Symposium on Affordable Golf will be a chance for us all to explore the definition of 'affordability' and share ideas regarding making the game a simple joy again.
"To me, spending less on the development side is the first step, something we personally have been successful at in the past and only now in these economic times seems to be in vogue industry-wide. The fact is we all should have been thinking along these lines the past two decades. Another step is learning how to do without in a way that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the game.
"The symposium will cover topics in design, operations, and maintenance. But more importantly it will be an opportunity to share ideas on affordable golf and sustainability from an economic standpoint at a grass-roots level. Don't expect a silver bullet answer at the Symposium. Instead, expect to roll up your sleeves and get busy."
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