The struggling economy of recent years impacted decision makers across the country, in many cases limiting or even forestalling planned renovations at both public and private golf courses. Those plans may be moving to the front burner in 2011, notes the America Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA).
Just as a house built during the 1980s and 1990s needs a new roof or replacement windows, so too golf courses designed and constructed during the game’s growth 20-25 year ago are in need of well-designed updates to continue serving players for decades to come. A properly renovated course also has a positive economic impact on the club because it reduces maintenance costs.
“The economy impacted everything in recent years, including the ability of some golf course owners to obtain credit to make necessary renovations,” said ASGCA president Erik Larsen. “With the new year, ASGCA expects to see more attention focused on development to improve and sustain courses in infrastructure such as irrigation, greens construction, bunkers and cart paths.”
A one-page flyer developed by ASGCA and other allied golf associations, “Golf Course Items Expected Life Cycle,” provides a detailed look at how long specific components of a golf course should last before the need for replacement. The time is fast approaching for many courses developed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. For example, even items which have the longest “life expectancy” … greens, concrete cart paths, irrigation systems … are typically not designed to last more than 30 years.
Once a course owner/manager or superintendent reviews the “Life Cycle,” it may be time for consultation with an ASGCA member. Through a career’s worth of experience in Master Planning, an ASGCA member can make sure all questions are asked and answered before renovation projects begin. A well-developed plan can avoid possible mistakes, such as completing cosmetic changes to a course and realizing two years later those changes must be torn up when the irrigation system needs replacing.
Founded in 1946 by 14 leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout the United States and Canada. Members have completed a rigorous two-year long application process that includes the peer review of four representative golf courses. ASGCA members are experienced golf course architects, able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.