A lot of people will try to convince you that you can’t make money in the golf business. Meanwhile, there are scores of owners and operators out there laughing all the way to the bank. How do they do it?
There are a number of strategies to run a successful course but in the end it all hinges on protecting their core asset- the golf course. As with any other business, you have to reinvest in order to stay relevant. APDC Senior Architects share their strategies to reinvest in your course with their top 10 Reasons to Renovate.
10 Reasons to Renovate
1. Aging and Deteriorating Infrastructure.
With the exception of Twinkies, everything ages. Golf courses are living, breathing organisms subject to corrosive effects of time and use. Irrigation, drainage, and grass types have finite life-cycles and will need to be replaced periodically for the golf course to continue to function.
2. Staying Competitive.
Updating your course breathes life into the facility. The numbers don’t lie: clubs who invest in a well executed renovation benefit through increased memberships, additional rounds, and higher greens fees.
3. Leveraging New Technology.
If you haven’t remodeled your course in the past 10-15 years you’ve missed out on massive innovations in the golf course industry. From intelligent irrigation systems, soil monitoring technologies, turf grasses strains that consume less water and require less nutrients, and new bunker lining systems, golf courses that have installed these products have reaped a whole host of benefits that translate to the bottom line.
4. Evolving Tastes.
“The chief object of every golf architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself.” Alister Mackenzie
What’s old is new again. Golfer’s tastes have come full circle, preferring once again the natural over the contrived. Out with faux mounding and geometric shapes, in with natural ridge lines and features that blend seamlessly into a course’s surroundings. Distance for distance’s sake has gone by the wayside in preference of courses that provide a variety of fun and memorable holes. Now more than ever people crave the real over the fake and are willing to pay top dollar and travel great distances to experience it.
5. Restoring History.
From the timeless golf courses of the golden age to the iconic architects who created them, Thad and Brandon are students of great golf course architecture and go to great lengths to see and study the classics. Courses desiring to restore the integrity of their original design require an architect willing to check their ego at the door and roll up their sleeves to piece together it’s history and create a master plan faithful to it’s roots.
6. Reducing Maintenance.
Pound for pound, bunkers are the most maintenance intensive areas on a golf course. By reducing non-essential bunker square footage around the golf course you reduce maintenance inputs, freeing up additional hours for maintenance teams to focus on other parts of the course.
7. Making Golf Fun Again.
Making a golf course hard is easy, but it takes a skilled practitioner to exercise the restraint necessary to design a fun and engaging experience. By incorporating forward tees, eliminating overly penal bunkers, introducing recovery options around the greens, and creating fast and firm surfaces, you set the stage for a positive experience that leaves your patrons with a full set of clubs after the round and selfie on the 18th green.
8. Fostering Sustainability
Mercifully, the days of wall-to wall-turf, unbridled irrigation, and unlimited budgets are coming to a end. Responsible turfgrass selection, smart irrigation systems, recycling old materials, and the preservation of wildlife habitat are but a few of the many ways that APDC ensures its courses are successful on every level.
9. Augmenting Practice Facilities.
Golfers are always looking for ways to shave strokes. The quickest way to do that is to work on shots inside 100 yards or less. Developers and architects are now catering to this previously under-served need by creating robust short game areas that make practice fun and engaging. Our recent renovations have incorporated a 15,000 sq ft putting green at The Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, a Kid’s Short Course and Family Tees at the reinvented Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, MN, and enlarging the egregiously undersized short game area at the very active Naples Lakes Country Club in Southwest Florida by 400%.
10. Pace of Play.
Countless bunkers, long green-to-tee distances, inefficient cart path routing, and poor proximity of the practice areas are poor design features that add time to a golfer’s round and can grind the pace of play to a halt, driving the weekend warrior back home to badminton.
Bringing in an passionate architect with a holistic understanding of golf course design and land planning to evaluate all of these interrelated elements should be a top priority in the renovation master plan process.