Small is the new big thing!!!

October 7, 2016

Small is big, don’t we hear about it most of the time, especially in the last few years. This simply means that things are becoming smaller, shorter, compact and what not; from electrical goods to our daily usable items, something or the other is changing every day, new feel, new technology. Probably it’s a good sign, it shows that we are evolving for better times with a much faster pace. In a time when everything is changing, how can we forget Golf. Golf has a history of being associated with the term 18, a golf course has 18 holes to play, its more than 125 acres to build and it takes around 5 hours to play 18 holes. Sounds familiar, right? Now, Golf has something more to offer, something new, something fast, something trendy and something for all.

Lets understand how golf is evolving now.

Golf is moving from 18 holes to 9 holes Golf Courses, which does mean that 18 hole courses are loosing its luster, not at all! Like in Cricket, Twenty/20 format is trending, it doesn’t mean that test cricket and other formats don’t shine. Everything has its own value and its own demand. So, 9 Holes are becoming very popular due to various factors like, less land requirement, less development cost, less maintenance cost, takes less time to play and one can play twice to complete a 18 hole game. Golf is further not restricted to 9 holes, we have 3 and 6 hole golf courses, so a golf course can now be customized based on the land availability.

Being a Golf Course Architect, I tend to work with a lot of Real Estate Developers who are planning golf centric real estate projects. I am currently working on various types of Golf Courses and driving Ranges (Practice Facilities). Most of the short courses can be properly called par-3 courses (where the hole lengths vary from 80 yards to 180 yards), there are other short courses that contain par 4 holes and an occasional par 5. These are called Executive courses. Since most of the golf courses have adjacent real estate, we try to keep the hole distances shorter so that the safety of the residents is not compromised by reducing the probability of the golf balls flying to the adjacent properties. 

There are different types for Golf Course projects, based on land availability:

  •       Less than 1 Acres – Mini Golf Courses or Putting Courses
  •        2-3 Acres – 9 Hole Chip & Putt Golf Course
  •        4-7 Acres: Driving Range (Practice Area) requires (50-100 m) Width X (200-300 m) Length with playing holes
  •        8-10 Acres: Driving range with 3 playing holes
  •        12-15 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course without Driving Range
  •        20-25 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course with Driving Range
  •        30-35 Acres: 9 Hole Golf Course without Driving Range
  •        40-50 Acres: A standard 9 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range
  •        65-75 Acres: An international standard 9 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range
  •        100 Acres and above: several formats of 18 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range

We have seen a combination of various formats of Golf Courses as well. An 18 Hole Golf Course also has a mini golf course, short or executive golf course which attract all levels of skill, plus both the junior and elderly players and not the least, women. (I personally feel women make a tremendous contribution to this wonderful game). Furthermore, there is a great psychological advantage of playing the Short / Executive golf course in the ego status which is attained. It's interesting to note how many players are shooting better scores in these friendly courses. The fun of playing night golf in these golf courses can not be ignored, so even if you get late from work, you still get a chance to play a quick round of golf with your friends.

Apart from the trend of new type of golf courses, there are various new playing formats being introduced to existing 18 hole courses to make them more interesting and fast to play. Like playing only 9 holes, two-pin / power play format, tee-it-forward (golfers play from the forward tees to have a quick and easy round), 3 clubs only format (putter, wedge and any iron of your choice) and you can invent your own format of play, as long you are having fun on the Golf Course.

So, plan your next round of golf with a new playing format or by playing on a new format golf course.

 

Intersection of Design and Instruction

April 24, 2016

Width is a critical element in the design of a new golf course and equally in the renovation of existing courses.  More fairway can mean more maintenance if this concept were to be universally applied throughout the course.  The Old Course at St. Andrews is an excellent example how to make a balance between between width and maintenance costs. It is surprising how narrow is The Old Course in many fairway areas, but almost without exception the fairways are wide leading into the greens. 

This allows the magnificent land features in front of the greens to become an important element in the ground game and this width extends to bunkers off to the sides where the terrain will carry the ball to them if the shot played is careless.  


An important strategic element to consider for fairways on existing courses is the fairway mow lines.  Over time  fairways become narrow and assume a simple shape for a variety of reasons such as as making mowing more time efficient, accommodating encroaching trees, and attempting to match the irrigation patterns with regard for the head layout.  These efficiencies and adjustments can take out of play fairway bunkers and green side bunkers by leaving a large swath of high rough grass between the fairway and the bunker.  Expanding fairways closer to the bunkers brings the bunkers into play in three ways.  First, the ball rolling on the ground is more likely to enter the bunker if the fairway is cut close to the bunker.  Second if more fairway is near the bunker a player may choose to play close to the bunker in order to gain a better angle from which to play the next shot.  Third, if more fairway is around the bunker, including beyond the bunker, a player may be encouraged to play over the bunker to the fairway beyond it again in order to gain a better angle on the next shot, or to shorten the distance required to play the next shot. 

Interestingly, the design concept regarding fairway width and strategy has strong links with instruction books where design and instruction intersect to make for intriguing and fun golf. Percy Boomer, the well-known English golf teacher from the early 20th century, describes his frustration with a pupil and driving the ball; he came to the conclusion that concentrating on trying to achieve a specific task is counter to good golf. He wanted the pupil to feel the swing, to focus on the feeling of a good swing and achieving that rather than concentrating on the specific task that needed to be accomplished. He believed if you put an average golfer on a tee with a 50 yard wide fairway they will slap it down the middle no problem. Narrow the fairway to 15 yards and suddenly they become so focused on trying to keep the tee shot straight they will almost always play into the rough. Having wide fairways without any threatening features can make the golfer feel comfortable which will result in good swings, however, that easy tee shot to the fairway may result in a difficult approach shot to the green if the golfer doesn’t pay attention to the angles into the greens. “I drove the ball great, but just couldn’t score!” I wonder why!! I drove the ball great every time I played The Old Course in large part because many tee shots were blind so I was more focused on the feel, but I was not always in a good position to play the next shot.

Tommy Armour, the great Scottish player and teacher, wrote in his classic book,How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time, “Play the shot you’ve got the greatest chance of playing well, and Play the shot that makes the next shot easy.” This exhortation has always been very important to me. As a designer, this precept from Armour is most meaningful when applied to the idea of providing wide fairway approach areas to greens. Combine this precept with Bob Rotella’s observation that the average player does not hit many greens (nothing earth shattering there) and in my view there is a whole other game within a game happening from 100 yards and in to the green that must be incorporated into the design process.

Clothe these approach areas in fairway, wide from side to side, and now you have a play area loaded with strategic options requiring your next shot be placed in the best position for your pitch into the green. If you are not paying attention to this area and just see a nice wide approach and mindlessly hit your shot you now face a very difficult angle from which to pitch into the pin. This also brings to mind another Armour exhortation, “Action before thought is the ruination of most of your shots.” 

It would be a shame if the recovery shot to the approach area in front of the green required no thought. A wide approach with a lone bunker, and interesting contour within the approach and into the green should demand thought before action about exactly where to place the recovery shot in relation to the pin. The approach areas are not just for the average player who can not reach the green in regulation; it also affects good players particularly when they don’t hit a good drive and must play a recovery shot.

Dave Pelz puts a lot of emphasis on what happens from 100 yards in with special emphasis on distance control with your wedges. As long as you place your shot at the proper angle from which to approach the pin the challenge is not what is on either side of your target rather it is the distance to your target, the club you choose and the swing you make to reach that distance. He wants you to play to within the “golden 8”, that distance between 2’and 10’ from the cup that can determine whether you make the putt or not. In general, the design of the putting surface as it relates to all of the angles out front in the approach area can make for some very intriguing challenges if there is a significant amount of fairway out front and from side to side.

A wide fairway approach to the green paired with an interesting green design requires the golfer to think before hitting which makes the game more fun to play. It also brings back the chess game approach to golf that was so well articulated in the instruction books produced by some great players and teachers.

 

Development of a Practice Center - Other Considerations

April 22, 2016

Developing A Practice Center

There are many resources like the NGF, articles, and blogs regarding the planning for golf course practice centers. Most of the resources contain valuable information, but for the most part cover the same basic subjects. Here are some other important considerations you might not otherwise find when doing a search on this topic.

Drainage, Stormwater, Irrigation

The desire to insert many amenities into the practice center design can easily make use of all of the ground available for development. In some of the research I found many consultants who advocated including more amenities than what may be needed. 

Developing a tract of land also requires providing for setbacks and for storm water management. Storm water management typically requires creating a depression where surface drainage from the hardscape areas like the parking lot and walks and the softscape areas like the turf areas can be detained for a designed period of time. 

Ideally the detention area can be designed to a sufficient depth to provide for storm water management and have freeboard space available in order to use the detention area as an irrigation source as well. Harvesting storm water is an critical component in respecting the natural hydrology of the land, while making good use of this valuable resource. The detention area would have to be lined and supplemental water provided from an alternative source like city water, treated effluent, or a well for purposes of irrigation.

As a last resort if water must be sourced from a nearby city owned water main line you will need to engage the utility authority in a permitting process. Initially, it is important to know the flow rate, pipe size and line pressure (PSI). The utility authority may require that you create a pond area from which to irrigate as opposed to irrigating directly from the water line in the event the specifications for the main line (flow rate, pipe size and line pressure) are not capable of irrigating your practice center without compromising the system as a fire suppressant.

Lighting

It is estimated that stand-alone golf ranges do anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of their business after five o’clock in the evening. Lighting the practice center can be instrumental in making the center a profitable business. The amount of light that can spill beyond the site could be an issue with regulatory boards and local neighbors. In this scenario, consideration must be given to incorporating berm lighting into the overall lighting scheme which will further reduce any obtrusive light and minimize impacts upon the nighttime environment. The berm lights are strategically located along the fairway and rough grounds and some floodlights may have to be installed off of a covered building or poles in the teeing area.

Artificial Turf Greens

Artificial turf on the target greens in order to reduce maintenance is a good option particularly when resources for  maintenance practices may be limited. The initial investment can be significant, but it will result in lower maintenance costs over the long term, and it will address your limits in maintenance resources. I also am excited about an added benefit the artificial turf has in distinguishing the targets from the surrounding natural turf grass.

Winter, Snow, Heating, Extra Balls

In our practice center design we have a double deck building with space for 20 bays on each level making for a total of 40 bays. We recommended heating the 20 bays on the ground floor so that the facility can be used year around. In this situation additional practice balls may be needed in the event balls can not be picked up during snow conditions. One source recommended buying 30 to 40 dozen practice balls per tee station and up to 100 dozen balls per tee station at a busy range. A range in Connecticut has a double deck building with a total of 60 heated hitting stalls. They claim to have over one million golf balls (1,400 dozen per stall!) which can supply balls year around even if balls can not be gathered when snow is on the ground.

Storage

Once you work through the details of a practice facility you can appreciate the need for lots of storage. I was at a nice, private club with a 4 bay indoor teaching facility, yet only three bays were available for use. The fourth bay was filled with teaching aids and other equipment. There are a multitude of items to be stored related to turf maintenance, teaching, merchandise, service equipment, office supplies, food service, and so forth. Plan for storage; then add more!

Target Greens

Individual target greens are fine as long as there are no distance gaps that prevent you from playing every iron to a target green.  Some ranges don’t allow you to hit a target green with all of your irons.  To ensure most players can play to a target green with every iron there needs to be target greens that span the range of shots from 80 yards to 210 yards. This can be done with as many as 4 target greens or as few as two greens that are designed in a long, circuitous style. 

Fairway Target

The practice center should feature a fairway that fronts the target greens to simulate a real course. Ideally, the fairway continues for over 300 yards and includes a fairway bunker to enhance practicing tee shots within a golf course type setting. The fairway bunker adjacent to the fairway provides a realistic situation for practicing tee shots. Most driving ranges are too wide. It is difficult to have meaningful practice with the driver if there is not a fairway and bunker targets similar to what is experienced on a golf course.

Teaching Facility in Public Area

For many years I remember the standard practice range had a tee at the opposite end of the main tee and it was to be used for private lessons. Recently a teaching professional suggested that the teaching facility should be located in the area of the main tee in order to increase exposure to the membership or the general public. 

Numbers Game

How big to make a parking lot? Create enough area using the rule of thumb of 1car per 350 square feet;
Some architects advocate making the range over 400 yards in length due to equipment technology advancements;
Here are some interesting statistics from a local practice center in the northeast United States: 18 hole miniature golf course does 20,000 rounds per year; 3PGA pros give 2,000 lessons per year; driving range, miniature golf, golf simulator and full service club fitting and merchandise pro shop produces gross revenue of $850,000 (best year ever was $1,500,000).

 

Invigorate Your Membership

April 22, 2016

A colleague asked me to meet with him and his club owner to talk about ways to invigorate the membership and possibly attract new members. I had no previous engagement with the club so I was considered as someone with a fresh perspective. We had an informal meeting to discuss ideas about marketing memberships at their private club. They have been doing some interesting activities and I gave them new ideas as well. Here were some of those ideas:

Introduce the club to the membership. Many probably do not know the history of their club. They also may not be aware of some of the interesting design strategies. Make a short presentation to the members highlighting the important and interesting design features of the course. It sounds self serving, but I have seen people invigorated after a detailed discussion about the design strategies and merits of their golf course. They are made to see many golf holes in a new way that they never contemplated even after years of playing the course.

Give them confidence that they made an excellent choice and they can be confident when contemplating inviting guests and and potential new members. The purpose will be to invigorate members with pride and hopefully embolden them to invite friends, family, and business colleagues to join the Club. Conduct a “Townhall” meeting event to present their course to them and do it in a format that can be easily converted into a pamphlet that can to be given to prospective members.

People like to be perceived as being associated with the right product or movement. This translates to their golf club as well. Members want to be associated with a club that is seen as a positive impact on the land and its natural systems. I related how pleased I was to read about a restaurant I patronized that relied heavily on the strategy of farm to table when choosing food for its menu servings; I felt good about eating there. The golf club is the same way. Publicize the many ways the course positively impacts the environment. There were many ways we discussed: composting, organic cultural practices, alternative energy sources, and so forth. I suggested they put these stories into a format that they an easily update and reissue on a periodic basis. The same approach can be said for the restaurant. Strive to be at the forefront of the farm to table movement, the composting movement, the clean energy movement, the best management practices movement and so on. There is no reason why golf clubs can not be apart of the certification process for programs like the Living Building Challenge.

Along these similar themes have a superintendent’s blog that provides interesting insights into the course and the maintenance operation. The superintendent does not need to write it. The person responsible for producing content can meet with the superintendent periodically to gather information for the blog.

Newer members, particularly younger ones, probably have the largest pool of business colleagues and friends that may be good candidates for membership. Have events where they can invite guests for a day of golf or a wine and hors d'oeuvre party, give a short presentation about the course as described above or at least have the pamphlets available. Use the new members to develop other ideas; they may be the most eager to help.

Always seek to host prestigious local or statewide tournaments. Exposure.

Golfers who have a desire to improve their game will be the ones who most enjoy the club and use it more. So it seems logical to have state of the art teaching facilities, and have a pro who is committed to helping the members play better and is willing to take them out on the course for playing lessons where they can talk strategy and together deepen their appreciation of the design attributes presented by their course. Locally there is a golf pro who took the club's junior program from 3 participants to 100 participants and that can positively impact the club in many ways.

Let the pro conduct pro-am tournaments. For instance he or she can invite local pros who can bring 3 of their members and have a pro-am day. Again, exposure, and it gives your pro an opportunity to show off their facility to your benefit.

What assets do you have on the property or near by that may add value to a membership. They have a farm home and creek on the property. Can it be converted to a fishing lodge? They have an out of town membership so can a fishing lodge add value and attract more visit? Is there an appropriate place for a gun club? Again, activities can add value to the membership. 

Younger members want to work out. Is there a way to provide outdoor activities that may be attractive to the active member. They have 3 machines in a room that looks like something a low-cost hotel would provide. If you have a young, active membership or want to attract them then you have to do more research into how they exercise. The answer is probably not 3 machines in a room.

We had a good meeting and it was fun to contemplate different ways to breathe new life into a club.

 

CORPORATE GOLF

February 25, 2016

Corporate Golf is a term coined for the group of people from corporate world playing Golf on regular basis, either for fun or for business. They keep the Golf courses busy across the Globe where ever Golf is appreciated.

Corporate firms are large organizations with influential decision makers, professionals, high profile personnel and Golf has always been associated with being elite and sophisticated. This is what makes Corporates and Golf go hand in hand. It will be suffice to say that Corporate leaders have a great hand behind the growth of Golf worldwide, without them, Golf would have remained only a recreational sport. But now it’s an industry in itself.

 

Golf has an attribute of elegance attached to it and is very popular among the corporates as it gives an opportunity for golfers to interact with each other while playing and it also helps in cracking some lucrative business deals. Golf is considered synonymous with business and probably every second Golfer is playing either to develop good rapport with his senior colleagues or to impress a golf-loving client. And what makes Golf more reached to the wider audience, is that it can be played by people of all ages with differing abilities; a 25 years old young executive can play with his 60 years old High Net Worth Client and sometimes losing a game may be more beneficial than winning it! 

Playing golf with friends or in a group helps in healthy exchange of information and communication. Many a strong & healthy business relations start on a Golf Course. The calm mind gives one the peace to communicate strongly and effectively without the stress of an official business setting. One can plan out the entire day's activity even as one is walking around the greens chasing the ball or thinking about the next shot. It teaches how to remain calm under pressure, control temper; think strategically and above all gives a nice and healthy walk on a lush green environment. What else does a corporate guy need?

Generally, a lot of corporates organize Golf events for their clients and associates to build trust and rapport. A one or two day corporate Golf events are planned, specially managed by professional Golf event management companies, because its not just about playing and interacting, its about an experience which the organizers want to give to their invitees. A well-organized corporate golf event is very beneficial as it helps to distinguish your company from the rest and helps in building relationship with new clients and to reinforcing the relationship with existing customers.

An event organized by one corporate is an opportunity for the other to participate and it’s a link, which keeps on building. You play one event; you organize the other, that’s how it keeps moving. And for those who are new to the sport, special clinics are organized to teach skills by a certified teaching professional.

Apart from these events, a lot of corporate outings are planned as well, from team building initiatives to developing exclusive business leads; from thanking clients to company brainstorming, a corporate has all the reasons to get on to a Golf Course.

Corporates want to make their clients feel privileged, from customers of a bank to luxury car owners to credit card holders, every corporate has a client to cater to. What best can be there for them to be introduced to Golf.

There are now a lot of operators in the business of corporate Golf tours both domestic and International. Operators from US, UK & Australia plan trips to South East Asia especially Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and vice versa. Corporates are the key players to make Golf a multi billion dollar industry. They help in sponsoring professional tournaments, corporate events & outings. They travel to various golfing destinations, buy most of the membership, buy equipment & merchandise, sponsor players, contribute to club revenues.

You name it, they do it for Golf but the question is; Why do they do so?

The simple answer is Brand recognition and recall value. This is how Golf pays back to the corporates. Golf sponsorship has become the leading form of corporate branding for companies to deliver awareness campaigns and open up additional markets for them to pursue clients and grow business.

Corporates reach out to their target customers by way of international Live TV, print media campaigns, on course branding & signage. Besides associating with the sport is a prestige and honor in itself. The diverse demographics of the golfers make it easy for the corporates to sponsor; from CEO’s to Entrepreneurs to Highly Educated Professionals to Decision makers to HNIs to aspiring middle class. These all are the perfect target customers for any corporate.

To give you an example, what comes in mind whenever you see Tiger Woods playing? NIKE, isn’t it? With time, things change, new players come on top and new sponsors come on board. But the fact remains, it’s difficult to separate Corporate from Golf, they both go hand in hand. I just need to name few corporates and you will start recalling their association with Golf; ROLEX, ADIDAS, HSBC, FEDEX, ACCENTURE, MERCEDES BENZ, AUDI, BMW, MASTER CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, OMEGA, SHELL, METLIFE. These corporates are not there only for their own benefits. They organize various charity, fundraising events and take various CSR initiatives to give back to the society. The raised money is given to the NGO’s and other related organization working for underprivileged part of the society.

As per IEG Research, the Worldwide spending on Golf sponsorship is expected to total $1.65 Billion mark by this year. Spending includes sponsorship of professional and amateur sanctioning bodies and tournaments, charity fundraisers, endorsement deals and corporate hospitality. 

BMW is the most active sponsor of Golf on the worldwide stage, with 27 percent of properties with a sponsor in the auto category reporting a partnership with the company. Rolex follows in a close second with deals with 26 percent of properties. Automakers are the most active category worldwide with the sector 4.4 times more likely to sponsor Golf than the average of all sponsors. Alcoholic beverages and banks follow as the second and third most active categories, respectively. MasterCard International, Inc. is the most active sponsor in North America while banks are the most active category.

Corporates play a major role in the development of the game and especially in developing countries like India & Africa, where Golf is still in a nascent stage. Apart from just sponsoring events, I personally feel that the corporates should contribute in the development of new Golf learning facilities and infrastructure. Introducing Golf in schools and colleges is also very important.

Golf can never grow unless it is taken to the masses. Which means Golf has to become affordable and accessible to get more customers, more growth and more return on investment, which will ensure a strong and long-term relationship between Corporates & Golf.

 

GOLF COURSES

February 11, 2016

INTRODUCTION

A golf course is an outdoor recreational facility designed for the game of golf. A standard golf course usually consists of 18 holes, with a tee and fairway. Some golf courses have nine holes and the course is played twice per round, while others may have 27 or 36 holes. Public and private golf courses often have different facilities available in addition to the actual golf course. For example, private golf courses usually have a golf club and restaurant or cafe facilities.


FEW DEFINITIONS AND INDUSTRY TERMS

:: Fairway – The area between the tee and the putting green.

:: Green – The mown area of a fairway surrounding the hole.

:: Hazards – Hazards may be of three types: (1) water hazards such as lakes and rivers, (2) man-made hazards such as bunkers and (3) natural hazards such as dense vegetation.

:: Tee – The tee is the area at the beginning of a hole from which the player’s first stroke is taken.

:: Bunker – A hazard consists of a prepared area of ground from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or similar material.

:: Driving range – A limited area of land with a line of bays or stalls from which golfers can practice shots.

:: Ancillary recreation – Other recreation facilities available on site that are secondary to the golf course e.g. bowling greens, driving ranges, fitness centres, swimming pools, tennis courts etc.

:: Gaming – Land used for gambling by gaming or wagering and where there is an ability to receive a monetary reward.

:: Club house – Land used by members of a club or group, members’ guests, or by the public on payment of a fee for leisure, recreation or sport. It may include food and drink for consumption on the premises and gaming.

:: Restaurant – Land used to prepare and sell food and drink for consumption on the premises. It may include: a) Entertainment and dancing. b) The supply of liquor other than in association with the serving of meals, provided that tables and chairs are set out for at least 75 per cent of patrons present on the premises at any one time. It does not include the sale of packaged liquor.

:: Function centre – Land, used by arrangement to cater for private functions, on which food and drink may be served. It may include entertainment and dancing.

:: Other improvements and facilities – A golf course and clubhouse cannot exist without a substantial number of ancillary land improvements and buildings. At a minimum, a course must have a golf cart storage place and a maintenance building for the storage of equipment and supplies, such as fertilizers. Additional structures may include a repair shop, rest stations and pump houses.


CLASSIFICATION OF GOLF COURSES

::Municipal – owned by a municipality; designed to accommodate heavy daily play throughout the year or season and to appeal to a wide variety of players. Municipal courses tend to be flat and have few rough areas where balls can be lost. Development and operating costs are typically low due to a concentrated irrigation system, easily mowed grounds, reduced landscape maintenance costs and few course obstacles.

:: Private – private courses must appeal to a wide range of golfers, but they are typically more difficult than municipal courses. A great many of these courses have a core design and most exhibit more intensive maintenance practices.

:: Resort Courses – resort courses are the most complicated types of courses. They are designed to appeal to serious golfers and serve as a marketing tool to attract convention business to the course or residents to a related housing development. Resort courses have memorable holes, scenic beauty, a feeling of privacy or spaciousness, ‘signature’ designers, lakes and a variety of hazards. Construction and maintenance costs are usually high.

:: Daily Fee Courses – Golf courses operated as profit-orientated business enterprises are referred to as daily fee courses or ‘pay for play’ courses. This broad category includes courses owned and operated for and available to the general public. Daily fee courses can be very simple 9-hole or par-3 courses, or complex enterprises of 18 holes or more providing a variety of services.


TYPES OF GOLF COURSES

:: 18-hole standard regulation golf course

:: 9-hole golf course

:: Executive golf course

:: Par-3 golf courses

:: 27-plus-hole golf courses

Unlike other sports, the playing area for a golf course has no standard dimensions based on rules or regulations, except for the size of the hole that the ball must eventually enter. The number of holes and the length, width and configuration of a golf course can vary.

The terms ‘championship’ or ‘tournament course’ are often used to describe courses. They are slight variations on the 18-hole regulation golf course, defining the quality of the course and the challenge that each presents. Often the words ‘regulation’ and ‘championship’ are interchanged. A regulation course might be called a championship course simply because championship tournaments are held there, without consideration of the course’s length or quality.

As a rule, a 9-hole golf course has nine regulation length golf holes, usually five par-4 holes, two par-5 holes and a pair of par-3 holes. These holes can be as long or short as the designer or developer wishes. In some situations the design and construction of a 9- hole golf course is preferable. Limitations such as space may preclude the construction of a regulation 18-hole course and the market may not be one that could easily support a par-3 or executive course.

An executive course is shorter than a traditional regulation course. The holes are shorter than those typically found in a regulation course, but all the criteria for playability should be met. It generally consists of par-3 and par-4 holes, with a par-5 hole possible only with the constraints of the site. Because the executive golf course is shorter it requires less land than a regulation course. It is also useful in urban areas where land is expensive.

The market appeal for executive courses is that ‘executives’ with a limited amount of time available can play in less time than a regulation course. Novice golfers, junior golfers, seniors and occasional players, for example, may also find the shorter length easier to walk and less intimidating because even a player with a high handicap can shoot a lower score.

Par-3 courses consist of all par-3 holes. An 18-hole par-3 course therefore has a 54 par total. The market appeal of a par-3 course is generally the same as an executive course, except it is particularly attractive to less dedicated and/or experienced golfers. Most par-3 courses have little appeal for strong, highly skilled golfers. Many par-3 courses also have a driving range to attract a broader market.

The major advantages of a par-3 course are substantially smaller requirements for land and lower costs associated with the smaller facility. A par-3 course is particularly useful when the site has tight boundaries or includes difficult terrain – the shorter lengths and narrower fairways associated with par-3 holes make it easier to fit a in course than one with par-4 or par-5 holes.

Where land is available for the design and construction of more than a regulation 18- hole golf course, additional holes and even courses can be added to the original site. A 27-hole layout has certain advantages for both golfers and course operators. Golfers benefit because an additional number of holes and variations are available. Operators benefit because the course can accommodate a larger flow of players.

Economies of scale will translate into dollars generated by greens fees, food and beverages, and pro-shop sales. Operators also benefit because at off-peak times one 9- hole course can be shut down for maintenance, allowing the operator to maintain superior conditions on all three 9-hole courses.

 

THE GRASS CAN BE GREENER ON YOUR SIDE TOO

November 9, 2015

Whenever we think of Golf Courses, we think of lush green environment. Golf has been synonymous to the color green, however the trend is changing; we are now noticing a lot of Golf Courses traveling on the road to sustainability. In simple terms, the Golf Courses are now focusing more on managing the playable area only rather than trying to keep the entire course green. Keeping the Golf Course lush green is a great challenge and it definitely requires a lot of water, fertilizers and other related resources. So now the greens, fairways and tees are well manicured and managed to provide the best possible playing surface to the golfers. The rough areas and the non-playable zones are kept mainly dependent on the nature and are irrigated less frequently making such areas go less green and more brown.

This trend is not only visible in existing Golf Courses but the new developments are also keeping this is in mind from the inception, specially the courses which are being developed in arid and dry tropical regions. The choice of grasses in the new development plays a vital role in the look and feel of a Golf Course. A well-designed Golf Course can look non-appealing if the grass selection is not done prudently. A lot of factors are to be considered before we choose the type of grass to form a nice playing turf for the Golf Course.  I am sure you must have heard a very common term called turf management. Turf is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots. Management of Turf is nothing but the work required to keep the grass healthy and ready to be used for its various purposes. Normally a superintendent is the one who is responsible to manage the turf on a Golf Course. So now you know who is the one to keep the grass greener on the other side.

To keep the grass greener on your side, you will have to first understand the various type of grasses, their basic characteristics and above all the climate conditions based on which we choose the right grass for the right place.

It’s very interesting to know the different climatic conditions within Africa, ranging from being arid to tropical to highlands to savanna. One can experience different climates with changing milestones. Similar is the case with India, where in one part we experience extreme hot weather and on the other cool breezes  make us feel blessed.  In such dramatic conditions, the choice of grass is the key to success. To make things simpler, lets consider the climate to be either warm or cool, which makes us match them with the two major classifications of grasses, i.e. “the “warm season” grasses and the “cool season” grasses. Generally people not in the Turf Industry think that these grasses are incapable of surviving outside of their respective season; that warm season grasses prosper only in summer and cool season grasses flourish only in winter. However, it is a quite complex than we think it is. The aim of this article is to introduce the grasses on a broader level. A turf management expert or an agronomist should be consulted before taking any turf related decision.

Lets have a bird’s eye view on various grass species one by one.

Since, most of the Africa regions comprises of arid and tropical climate we will focus more on the Warm season grasses, which grow best during the summer season when the temperature is between 25 to 35°C.

Warm season grasses species include:

  • ·     Bermuda Grass
  • ·      Seashore Paspalum
  • ·      Zoysia Grass
  • ·      Centipede Grass
  • ·      St. Augustine Grass
  • ·      Buffalo Grass
  • ·      Carpet Grass
  • ·      Bahia Grass

Warm season grass characteristics:

  • ·      Less water requirement.
  • ·      Turf can be seeded (not all species), sprigs, or sod.
  • ·      Soil temperature needs to be 15° to 18°C for seed germination and growth of established turf.
  • ·      Dormancy is triggered by shortened day lengths and colder temperatures
  • ·      Respond well to fertilization during the summer
  • ·      Poor winter tolerance
  • ·      Extended winter dormancy with brown color
  • ·      Poor shade tolerance

Cool Season Grasses: Cool season grasses grow best during the winter season when the temperature is between 18 to 24°C and are adapted to cooler and temperate regions.

Cool season grasses species include:

  • ·      Bentgrass
  • ·      Ryegrass
  • ·      Fescues
  • ·      Blue Grass 
Cool season grass characteristics:

  • ·      Most growth is in the spring and fall
  • ·      Perform best with consistent rainfall or irrigation
  • ·      The turf can be seeded or sod
  • ·      Growth will occur when soil temperatures are 4° to 7°C for established turf; a soil temperature of 13°C is needed for seed germination
  • ·      During summer, growth is reduced and dormancy is induced by high temperatures and low rainfall
  • ·      Respond well to fertilization in the spring and fall
  • ·      Good winter tolerance
  • ·      Adequate shade tolerance
  • ·      Limited winter dormancy, retain green color

Choosing the right grass at the right place is important but maintaining it well is what makes the difference. Even the best grass can look bad if not maintained adequately. Proper mowing, watering and fertilizing will help make any grass flawless. Hope this article would help you go green…

 

ADD GOLF, ADD VALUE!

May 31, 2015



I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of real estate developers who are developing projects ranging from 10 Acres group housing to Mega Townships spreading over 500 Acres. It’s interesting to know that all of these real estate tycoons have one important question in common i.e. HOW GOLF CAN ADD VALUE TO OUR REAL ESTATE PROJECT?

I would like to take the opportunity to answer this interesting & important question. Before we start, it’s important to keep in mind as to what are the different options for Golf Course projects, based on land availability?

4-7 Acres: Driving Range (Practice Area) requires (50-100 m) Width X (200-300 m) Length

8-12 Acres: Driving range with 3 playing holes

15-30 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Par 3 Executive Golf Course with Driving Range

30-50 Acres: A standard 9 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range

50-75 Acres: An international standard 9 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range

75 Acres and above: several formats of 18 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range

125 Acres and above: An international standard 18 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range

 

Based on the above, you can choose which one to go for. However, it’s advisable to consult Golf Development Advisors/ Consultants to suggest the option which would match the overall project plans to make the venture commercially viable.

Now, an overview on Golf and it economics would explain, how Golf is contributing to Worlds economy and how it can prove to be a valuable asset for the projects?

Many experts say that Golf is not just a sport; it’s an industry in itself. As a sport and as a business, Golf operates on a huge scale. Although there are no official figures, an estimated 80 million Golfers worldwide play on close to 40,000 courses across the globe. Golf events are close to $2 billion a year, and the Golf tourism market exceeding the $1 billion.

In short, Golf is a huge business which is growing despite of the financial crisis. Golf is becoming more popular in Asia as Asian consumers turn to leisure activities.

India has a much longer history associated with Golf since Royal Calcutta Golf club’s inception in 1829. According to the Indian Golf Union, there are currently 200 Golf courses and approximately 100,000 Golf club members in the country. Out of the existing facilities more than half belong to the Indian Army. Over 50% of the Golf courses are 18-hole courses, 40-45% are 9-hole facilities, while there are just a few courses in India having more than 18 holes. There are a number of championship and high-end courses, including a few designed by world famous Golf architects.

Time to understand the economics of Golf, which I like to call as GOLFONOMICS, however I later realised that there is a book named on it, by Mr. Stephen Shmanske. Anyone keen to do some more research may go ahead and order one. It’s already on my wish list!

A large number of Golf courses operate on a “membership only” basis. Private Golf courses generally allow only club members and their guests to play. Courses in India are usually not part of a residential community. However, Market trends and recent investments seem to confirm that the future growth of Golf in India could also be linked to the development of a certain number of Golf communities and Golf resorts aiming at the local market and to a certain extent to international tourism demand.

Golf course revenues comprise the following main components: membership fees, green fees, revenue from food and beverage, pro-shop, and others (e.g. sponsorship, lease income, etc).

In terms of revenue structure, two-thirds of the total revenues are generated by membership fees, with around 17% coming from green fees. Food and beverage revenues account for about 6% of the total revenues.

Locating apartments and villas alongside golf courses has helped developers to increase sales velocity and add a sales premium to pricing, premiums which can range from 5% to as much as 30%. Numerous studies have indicated that golf courses come second only to water as the most desirable amenity for a residential community, that a bit too much but still I would still agree to this.

With any new real estate project in India, there is a minimum requirement of 15-30% to be kept as green space, which is good enough to fit in any of the different options as I mentioned above. So, by this you are utilising the green space in a much better way, not only helping the adjacent real estate get more premium but also helping residents to start at Golf.

The population of India stands at 1.2 billion. The estimated population of India with a disposable annual income of more than USD 10,000 is approximately 1.5%* of the total population, resulting in a potential Golf target market of 18 million. The proportion of active Golfers from this population is 0.8%. Assuming that in the next 10 years, the proportion of active Golfers doubles to 300,000, then India would have to build between 90-100 new courses to accommodate the increased demand.*McKinsey Global Institute with KPMG elaboration.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Richard Haass, the President of the US Council on Foreign Relations, who has observed that the development of golf courses in a country is an indicator of prosperity and stability. “Large numbers of golf courses,” he says, “reflect the emergence of a domestic middle class, the traditional foundation of democracy. And they suggest a society where citizens not only enjoy leisure time but take basic security for granted.”

In recent years more than 65% of all newly developed golf courses have been integral parts of resort-oriented real estate projects or residential communities.

In Europe, the majority of golf real estate developments are concentrated in Western Europe, and typically marketed as second homes. On the African continent, South Africa has a significant number of golf real estate developments, and in more recent years the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have followed this trend, a trend which also continues in the Middle East.

In 2006, more than 150 golf real estate projects were completed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
These projects provided 2.25 million square metres of residential space, in just over 17,000 individual villas, townhouses and apartments. In total these golf real estate developments generated Euro €18.8 billion in revenue in the EMA economy and Euro €4.9 billion to EMA GDP. The developments supported more than 120,000 jobs, paying Euro €2.6 billion in wages. The greatest impact occurs in Europe where the majority of golf real estate is built. Now India is the future for Golf Centric Real Estate Developments and the time has come for the real estate players to contribute in some way or the other to this sport, which is going to bring them exponential returns in due course of time.

I am thankful to KPMG and HSBC to carry forward such an in-depth research on Golf Development, without them it would have not been possible for me to reiterate the value of the wonderful sport called GOLF.

 

Type of Golf Courses

July 4, 2012

Several terms refer to the type of golf course which may be developed:

a) Par 3
• each hole has a par of 3

b) Executive
• mostly par 3 holes with a maximum par for the course rarely exceeding 64
• par 4's are usually under 365 m (400 yd.)
• par 5's are seldom designed into executive courses
• very popular with beginners, high handicappers, seniors and players with limited time

c) Regulation
• usually a total par of 70 to 72
• length of course is over 5,500 m (6,000 yd.) and usually over 6,000 m (6,500 yd.) from the back
tees

d) Championship
• a term which is often misused
• length has too often been the criteria used to denote a “championship” golf course when it should actually be a combination of length, challenge, playability and aesthetics
• capable of accommodating major tournaments

e) Public
• course is available for public play
• usually not as difficult to play and generally designed for faster play and easy maintenance - bunkers may not be as deep or as numerous, water is less prevalent and fairways are wider

f) Private

• played by members and guests
• fast play and easy maintenance are not usually as high a priority as the challenge of the design and quality of the turf

g) Resort
• associated with accommodation and other amenities
• aesthetics are of prime importance, which is accomplished through the artistic use of retaining walls, sand colour, plant material, fairway contouring, views and vistas and general course maintenance. Speed of play is important, which is enhanced by short rough, hazards positioned to penalize primarily the low handicapper and a lack of underbrush in treed areas.

 

Is there a standard Design & Development process?

December 21, 2011
Is there a standard Design & Development process?

 

Golf Course Requirements in short

December 6, 2011

- Golf courses range in size from 35 to 80 hectares but typically take 50 to 60 hectares. More than half of this on average, forms the comparatively unmanaged areas between the fairways.

- There are 9, 18 or 27 holes, consisting of one to five tees, a fairway often with bunkers, and a green.

- Tees and greens consist of flat areas of closely mown grass, each making up around 1-2% of the total area of the course.

- The fairways are the areas for play between the tee and the green, up to 400 metres in length and typically taking 10-15 hectares of the course in total.

- Most courses need a clubhouse. These range from little more than toilets, an office and a snack bar/shop to a country club and hotel.

- Some courses have small service buildings on the course; starters’ buildings, halfway houses and toilets.

- All courses need a maintenance building usually 25m x 10m. Outside, there is a hard standing area, of at least the same size as the building.

- Courses require a road and path network to provide access to the course, clubhouse and maintenance buildings.

- Cart paths may be required in larger and especially tournament courses.

- Car parking  is  an essential requirement and varies in volume according to the type of the course.

- Virtually every course will have an irrigation system which will require a water source and  pump facility. In many instances, this involves a winter storage reservoir and a pump house.

 

AFFORDABLE GOLF COURSES

November 18, 2010

Golf has always been considered to be for society’s elite to indulge in, barring or discouraging countless from trying a hand at the game. What society has to understand is that golf can be fun and it can be fascinating but it should also be affordable.

When we talk about affordability, we shouldn’t only point out to the playability aspect of the game but to the ability to build golf courses in limited means without incurring huge amount of expenses too. When both the former and latter are in sync can we call a facility an affordable golf course.

Fees at some courses today bar individuals, couples and families from taking up golf or sticking with it.  This fee is usually high because of various foolish reasons such as the location of the course, brand name it is associated with and one of the worst reasons being the word ‘Golf’. It is not a hidden fact that Golf is more often associated with being a game for the elite; therefore it becomes an accepted norm that the amount charged for every service should also be elite whether it is playing on the course, getting a coaching lesson or practicing on the driving range.

Another main factor that makes big golf courses and establishments unaffordable is the various components that go into making and sustaining the course. For instance, a golf course of about 180 to 200 acres must forever be fertilized; sprayed, mowed, aerated and major expenses are incurred in their maintenance. Apart from all this most of these courses have to be constantly manicured, not especially for enhancing their playing quality, but to give it a good appearance.  Furthermore, various types of land and leisure taxes are paid annually because golf establishments incur huge expenses.  The bottom line is that a lot of money is required for creating and keeping these big courses, hence this money is raised from its players and visitors. 

Don’t you think that there should be golf courses which do not present those affordability hurdles faced with large courses?   Golf is still a developing sport in many countries around the world and the only way to give it a better push would be to make it more accessible to the general masses.

This accessibility will be realized through better and more efficient ways of building golf courses without incurring huge expenses and wastage of resources along with attracting people to play the game without presenting the worry of high fees and playing costs.

 

Playing Golf is a wonderful experience

November 9, 2010

Playing golf is a wonderful experience best understood by the fraternity of players who have enjoyed it for many years. In the past, most of these players would play an 18 hole course given the choice, and most would try to find the best 18 hole course in their area that they could afford. Times have changed for these same people who now have less time and a lot less money than before, and as a consequence their views have changed as well regarding the type of courses they would play. On the other side of the golf world are the beginning players who seek any golf course that is convenient to them in order to pursue their new interest. Like the veteran players, the beginners probably have less time and less money to devote to their new hobby and this defines their view of the type of courses they would play as well. Interestingly, there may be a convergence of these two polar opposites of the golf world at the same golfing facility and the savvy golf course owner should be looking to make accommodations for both.

Without question, most golfers are interested in golf courses that are well maintained (specifically the greens), have reasonable green fees, and aren’t plagued by slow play. That is a tall order to fill for some courses, but accomplishing those three goals can help a golf course attract the most customers. There are other virtues worth striving for that are needed to make any golf course attractive to the beginning golf, the familiar golfer, and every type of golfer in between.

Every golf course should be designed to fit in with the site’s natural features. This can be the distinguishing feature separating it from other local courses. Taking this approach could mean the number of holes may be less than 18, or it may allow for 18 holes, but at an overall playing distance much less than what is considered average today. The golf course with fewer holes that fits in well with the land by preserving the natural features may be more attractive than a course that obliterates the land’s natural features while trying to meet the “rule” of 18 holes. What if the land is featureless? This is a delicate subject to discuss because in our experiences land deemed featureless has in fact proven to have many wonderful and subtle features worth preserving and incorporating into the design of the course. If the land is truly featureless, maybe a distressed site abused by previous development, there may be a strategy worth exploring. If the golf course land is within a developing area then let the bulk earth movers deposit their excess soil and shape and misshape the soil in any way they see fit. At the appropriate time the architect can visit the site and see what kind of golf course can be found on the “naturally” man made site. This approach certainly takes a leap of faith but it could result in an intriguing layout not possible with a more conventional approach.

For the golfers fewer holes means it takes less time to play, and costs less money to play. These benefits can be attractive to many golfers. But in many communities the most successful golf course will provide golf holes with a heightened standard of strategy and interest which will be attractive to golfers of all abilities. Golf holes with interesting natural features, and more importantly, with exciting strategic challenges can make any golfer forget the number of holes. Fewer holes are not the only feature that may prove attractive to all golfers. Shorter courses help the better player fine tune their short game; shorter courses can be less intimidating to the beginning player; and, shorter courses with variety, like a hole or two that can play as a par 3 one time and a par 4 the next time, and holes that captivate and challenge golfers with intriguing strategic qualities can make a golf course the most attractive alternative in many golfing communities. For the developers fewer holes means construction and maintenance costs are lower. For communities fewer holes means less demand on local water resources and less of an impact on local natural features.

The position of the golf course property within the community is another important matter that deserves a post devoted to it. But, it is important to leave this post with the declaration that any golf course would do well to be integrated within the boundaries of a community, within walking distance of many of its residence so that it can be regarded as an indispensable feature within the community. Less important are the number of holes and the length of the course; more important is a golf course that locals support and in a sense take “ownership” of the course as a source of pride and source of indispensable joy in their lives.

 

Why 9 Hole Executive Golf Course?

November 2, 2010

·          Less land requirement, suits the land availability for the project.

·          Executive Golf Courses consume far less water than a normal Course.

·          Low cost of construction

·          Most Golfers struggle to learn the game – playing a Nine Hole Short Course is beginner friendly and much enjoyable.

·          Distance is not a factor on Executive Courses. Hence this executive course will  encourage

Beginners
Golf for ladies
Seniors
Kids

 ·        Executive Courses enable the completion of one game of Golf in 1 hour as opposed to 4-5 hours for a game on an 18 hole full length Course.

 ·          Less maintenance expenses

 

Youth In Golf

September 23, 2010

It is often stated that the game of Golf is for a lifetime, one in which people can compete well into their golden years. Mentioned less often but no less true, it is also a game for children, holding many advantages and life lessons. Until quite recently, Golf was considered as an adult pastime, where children have been relegated to the sidelines as Dad and Mom went out for Golf.

Times have changed and today, amidst a host of activities that pull families apart, more families are discovering that togetherness is part of the joy of Golf.

Included in this formula are children and young adults who will enjoy both the thrill of the sport, along with some invaluable life lessons.

Golf is one of those sports that one can start early in life and any kid that grows up playing Golf always stands out of the crowd. Kids learn the basic fundamentals of life such as concentration, co-ordination, control, patience and perseverance at a very early stage and consequently they turn out to be much evolved individuals in the long run. Moreover, it is one of those activities that are not very strenuous for them; hence they do not tire easily and can continue playing for hours.

Benefits Of Golf To The Youth:

   Overall Fitness: Kids who play Golf develop general physical fitness in a way that's fun, and they establish lifelong habits for good health. This is particularly important at a time when obesity and drug abuse is becoming a major problem in Punjab.

   Stress relief: Golf allows kids to clear their minds of academic and social pressures, to literally run off the tension that's accumulated in their muscles. In the words of one person, "If you play really hard, you feel better because playing takes your mind off things that bother you, and afterwards you can concentrate better”.

   Development: The game gives kids an opportunity to develop their own talents: through personal effort they get good at something they're interested in. Doing something well makes them feel good about themselves, but equally important, it teaches them about the process of how to improve and work more effectively. The process of repetition teaches the Golfer how to master a move and also how to experiment with different approaches to improve a skill. The feedback in sports is usually immediate and visible so that the athlete can change or repeat what she's doing and figure out how to get better. Not only that, the whole process of seeing practice lead to improvement gives kids a feeling of control, a feeling all too rare in their lives.

   Healthy habits: Because Golf increases awareness of one's body and how it responds to different stimuli and circumstances, it helps to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Most athletes value what their bodies can do and want to maintain those abilities. Being an athlete also gives kids an acceptable reason for telling their friends no to drugs, booze, and other high-risk, unhealthy behaviors.

Personal Benefits

   Valuing preparation: Golf helps kids learn to distinguish between effort and ability. It increases self-discipline and the awareness of the value of preparation because kids can see the difference in their performance.

Competitive athletes learn the importance of effort, being prepared (mentally and physically), and enlightened risk-taking. They see that raw physical talent is not always sufficient to win the game, but that preparation is essential. This includes mental preparation (staying focused) and physical fitness as well as practicing the plays continuously. They learn to evaluate risk versus reward. Another invaluable lesson is discovering that mistakes are part of learning; they signal that a particular approach is unsuccessful and you must try another.

  Kids also learn to deal productively with criticism as part of improvement and preparation.

  Integrity & honesty  in these times where cricketers  & footballers are seen to cheat  openly  even when these sports are controlled by umpires and referees , a golfers is taught to cal la fault oneself – very refreshing and of course this is why golf  is seen a great place to invest ones company name.

   Perseverance & Resilience: Golf provides an unparalleled model for dealing with disappointment and misfortune. Young athletes learn to handle adversity, whether it's picking themselves up after losing a big game or not getting the right shots as they wanted. They find ways to deal with losing and go on, because there's another big game next week or next year. They figure out what to do to get what they want for themselves. They put in extra time on fitness or work on specific weaknesses in their game.

Golfers also learn to deal with the physical and psychological effects of injury. People can find their internal drive through training and hard work, but adversity really brings out the real patience and resilience in a Golfer.

   Attitude control: Older teens learn that a confident attitude improves their performance, and that they have some control over their attitude. They learn to disregard comparative stats in preparing for an opponent and instead to adopt "attitude enhancers" such as visualization exercises, individual rituals, singing specific songs etc.

   Identity: Being part of a group is inordinately important to kids, and Golf helps to make kids feel that they belong to an elite sports playing society. Golf also contributes to a teenager's sense of a stable identity with particular values.

   Time management: Young Golfers learn to manage their time productively. They know they have to get their homework done, so they learn not to waste time (some of them even quit watching television and hanging out at the mall). They plan ahead, so that big school projects don't catch them by surprise. They even figure out they have to eat well and get a good night's sleep.

   Long-term thinking: Golfers learn the fundamental lesson of sacrificing immediate gratification for long-term gain. This is the basis for personal success as well as for civilization in general, and no lesson can be more valuable.

Social Benefits

   Correlation with other kids: Golfers develop playing relationships with their playing partners on the Golf course. As per a general study, for boys, sports are a primary, and unfortunately sometimes the sole, way of socializing with others. In many schools and communities, nonathletic males find it difficult to develop a social network at all. For girls, who according to the feminist theorist Carol Gilligan tend to define themselves through their relationships rather than their achievements, Golf offer yet another way to make friends and create an alternate peer group.

 

Sustainable Golf Course Design & Maintenance

September 21, 2010

Creating a sustainable golf course requires a land-based design approach that emphasizes a well-conceived routing plan.  A properly routed golf course can contribute toward reducing energy consumption and other costs expended to build a course and maintain it.  Architect's main goal is to route the course to take full advantage of the land’s natural features so that very little earth must be disturbed in the construction phase.  Disturbing large areas adds to construction costs, provides opportunities for erosion and stream contamination, releases carbon into the atmosphere, and erases any interesting natural characteristics of the existing terrain. 

In addition to the proper routing of a golf course there other items a client will want to consider in the planning and maintenance of a golf course.  These items were gathered from our experiences and consultation with golf course superintendents:

 

·                      Explore the use of electric greens mowers.

·                      There are new green’s mowers that have small gas engines and generators that power the reels. These units consume half the gas and do not use hydraulic oil.  Similar fairway units will be out soon.

·                      Only mow collars every other day.

·                      Rake bunkers twice a week maximum.

·                      Reduce the amount of area requiring weed trimmers.

·                      Use growth regulators, if feasible.  Growth regulators used on fairways can cut fuel use by 30%.

·                      Cultivate and maintain large natural areas throughout the site.

·                      Buy local sand and soil.

·                      Design a course so that it requires fewer specialized maintenance equipment.

·                      Be energy conscious around the maintenance barn - use low energy bulbs, shut off computers when there not being used, recycle waste water used to clean equipment, etc.

·                      Use Club Car utility vehicles for general jobs because they use much less gas as compared to Cushman and Toro utility vehicles.

·                      Add a tenth of a pound of urea and sulfate of potash to every fertilizer application. At year end you use only a pound of nitrogen and potassium and you get better results than when you apply three or four times that amount with conventional granular applications.

·                      Incorporate a fertigation system into your irrigation program.  This will save time, labor and fuel, plus liquid nitrogen is much cheaper than granular and saves energy on the conversion, hauling and spreading.

·                      Contour mow fairways as opposed to stripping, and alternate directions weekly.

·                      Do not fertilize the roughs.

·                      Selectively remove trees so you can grow healthy turf which will reduce chemical inputs.

·                      Establish true economic thresholds for all pests. A few weeds or brown patch in the roughs, or a little cutworm damage does not change the way the game is played.

·                      Maintain a high quality staff.  In order to promote sustainability, the people that practice it need the training, the time, and the support to make it happen.

 

 

Golf & Environment

September 20, 2010

Golf courses today are often designed to preserve the natural environment as much as possible and to provide an important habitat for wildlife and plant life, particularly in rural areas. Even more important, today’s maintenance practices minimize any potential for environmental harm. Indeed, Golf courses are known to be kinder to the environment than the typical residential lawn.

Today’s Golf courses are not only environmentally sensitive, but they can provide important environmental benefits such as making use of otherwise undesirable land, such as landfills and flood plains, but also are excellent means of disposing of effluent from waste water treatment plants.

The turfgrass that Golf courses utilize provide several very important  environmental benefits.

According to Eliot Roberts, executive director of the Lawn Institute, turfgrass provide the following benefits:

1. Water Purification and Conservation. The biology of turfgrass soils make them a nearly ideal medium for biodegradation of all types of environmental contamination. Water is purified as it leaches through the root zone. Furthermore, soil microbes help break down chemicals, including turf pesticides, into harmless materials. As mentioned earlier, turfgrass is very effective in cleaning effluent.

2. Air Purification. An acre of turfgrass will absorb hundreds of pounds of sulfur-dioxide each year. Grass also takes in carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate and returns pure oxygen.

3. Oxygen Generation. One 40’ by 50’ patch of turfgrass will produce enough oxygen for one person for an entire year.

4. Soil Building. Grass is the most effective plant for conditioning the soil as turfgrass roots are continually developing, dying, decomposing and redeveloping. It is also known that mowed turfgrass provides better production of organic matter and more root productivity than ungrazed prairies.

5. Erosion Control. Grass roots help hold the soil in place while the leaves help protect the soil from blowing away.

6. Temperature Modification. Urban areas may be 9 to 13 degrees warmer than nearby rural areas. Green, growing turfgrass may be 38 deg F cooler than brown, dormant turfgrass and 70 deg F cooler than a synthetic surface. This is true because the grass not only scatters the light as well as absorbing some of the solar radiation, but it also cools itself and its surroundings through evapotranspiration process – each blade of grass acts like an evaporative cooler.

7. Noise abatement. Grass can reduce undesirable noise levels by 20 to 30 percent.

8. Glare Reduction. Glare from artificial surfaces can be a contributor to stress. Bright sunlight is more comfortable if the glare is reduced. Turfgrass significantly reduce glare.

9. Allergy Control. Maintained lawns help reduce some causes of allergies by controlling, to a degree, dust, pollen from weeds and grasses, seeds, spores, and biting and stinging insects.

10. Entrapment of Particles. Grassed areas lower atmospheric dust significantly, as turf grass leaves trap the dust and dirt.

Today Golf Course construction and maintenance practices are extremely environmentally friendly. In addition the 60-65 acres of grass enhances the environment in several ways.

Tourists view Golf as a great value addition to established tourist destinations. Water Harvesting & Conservation techniques will enhance ground water levels at the Golf site.

 

Golf In India

September 20, 2010

According to the Indian Golf Union, there are currently 195 golf courses and approximately 100,000 golf club members in the country. Out of the existing facilities more than half belong to the Indian Army. Over 50% of the golf courses are 18-hole courses, 40-45% are 9-hole facilities, while there are just a few courses in India having more than 18 holes. There are a number of championship and high-end courses, including a few designed by world famous golf architects.

The courses operated by the Indian Army are mostly accessible only to members of the armed forces, except for a few courses which are located outside of sensitive areas.

The vast majority of the golf courses operate on a “membership only” basis. Private golf courses generally allow only club members and their guests to play. Members generally pay monthly subscriptions while their guests can play on a green fee basis. However, in several golf clubs foreigners are allowed to play for a green fee even if they are not accompanied by a member. Furthermore, the approximately 7,500 lifetime members of the Indian Golf Union are allowed to play on all the golf courses by paying stipulated green fees. In contrast with the early years of golf in India, today most golfers are locals.

Courses in India are usually not part of a residential community and very rarely are an integrated component of a tourist resort. Although golf tourism is not yet promoted in India, a rather modest number of golf tourists arrive, mainly from Japan and Korea. Market trends and recent investments seem to confirm that the future growth of golf in India could also be linked to the development of a certain number of golf communities and golf resorts aiming at the local market and to a certain extent to international tourism demand.

As per the KPMG Golf Survey, 18-hole golf courses in India have approximately 1,300 members on average. This is high compared to findings for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where only four of the surveyed countries reported average memberships at 18-hole courses surpassing 1,000. However, such a high average membership in India may be explained by the fact that courses here mainly operate on a “membership only” basis, as well as by the scarce supply of 9-hole & 18-hole courses in comparison to the population size.

Average memberships at 9-hole courses are significantly lower than at 18-hole courses. It is also interesting to note that average membership at 9-hole courses in the survey was 90% individual male members, while at 18-hole courses men to the top 5 countries in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMA) accounted for 59%. At these facilities, the share of female and junior members – 18-hole courses is significantly higher: 15% and 12% respectively. At 14%, corporate membership is higher in India than in any European country, but still lower than in the Middle East (31%).

The average number of declared playable days in India is around 336, with some courses stating all year-round playability. The average number of total rounds played at 18-hole courses is around 30,000 , while top performers exceed 60,000 rounds. With regards to the distribution of rounds at 18-hole courses, green fee rounds comprise approximately 20% of the total rounds played, while 80% of the total rounds are played by club members.

Golf course revenues comprise the following main components: membership fees, green fees, revenue from food and beverage, pro-shop, and others (e.g. sponsorship, lease income, etc).

In terms of revenue structure, two-thirds of the total revenues are generated by membership fees, with around 17% coming from green fees. Food and beverage revenues account for about 6% of the total revenues.’

18-hole golf courses in India employ 58 persons on average, comprising 48 full-time and 10 part-time employees. However, some top-quality courses in KPMG sample employ more than 150 staff. Such a number does not differ significantly from the average for Middle East courses: 188 staff on average. The average staff size of Indian golf courses is high compared to all European regions covered in our survey, but is very similar to that of South African 18-hole golf courses. The high number of staff at Indian courses, in comparison to European ones, can be explained by the significantly lower cost of labour and the availability of work force. The average number of staff working in golf maintenance (17 full-time and 7 part-time) is also very high compared to the European average. On average, more than 15% of employees work in the food and beverage department.

 

What is a Golf Driving Range?

September 11, 2010

Golf Driving Range in simple terms is a practice area for golfers. Its  a facility which is used by new comers to learn the game and by golfers to enhance their playing abilities.

No matter what level of Golf one plays, it’s very important to practice on the driving range.

A driving range is developed so that a beginner or a low handicap player, can have enough privacy and personal space to have a practice session. For this, there are various types of separators are used make up of products such as plastic, wood or steel. In addition, there are distance markers to have a better vision of the distance a ball travels. The markers are installed at different yards such a 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 etc.

Basically, a driving range is a rectangular piece of land {
(50-100m) Width X (200-300m) Length} set away to practice the game by hitting Golf Balls to targets of various distances. Driving Ranges can exist as stand-alone facilities, or in conjunction with practice holes or a course which allows players to progress to real golf.  One doesn't have take effort in carrying balls every time one visits a driving range. The club or the course provides the ball to be used in practicing session at a reasonable charge for a bucket of balls (50/100 balls per bucket.

A practice Putting Green and Chipping Green with a bunker are also an integral part of a Driving Ranges.

 

How much does it cost to build a Golf Course in India?

September 11, 2010
The type of soil, how much soil must be moved, the method of constructing the greens, any major drainage required, the type of irrigation system, costs involved in meeting regulatory requirements, who does the construction and other factors all influence the total cost of constructing a Golf Course.

A standard Golf Course can be built in between Rs. 10-20 lacs per acre, it does not include any civil building works. An international standard championship Course with a signature Golf designer brand like Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Gary Player etc would be around Rs. 30 – 50 lacs per Acre this cost includes the construction of club house and full flood lit playing facility.
 

How much land is required to build a Golf Course?

September 11, 2010
  • 4-7 acres – Driving Range (Practice Area) requires (50-100m) Width X (200-300m) Length
  • 8 – 12 acres: Driving range with 3 playing holes holes
  • 15-30 acres – 6 or 9 Hole Par 3 Executive Golf Course with Driving Range
  • 30 – 50 acres – A standard 9 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range
  • 50 – 75 acres – An international standard 9 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range
  • 75 acres and above – several formats of 18 Hole Golf Course formats with Driving Range
  • 120 acres and above - An international standard 18 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range
 

Golf Course Feasibility Study / Report

September 11, 2010

Before the initiation of a golf project, prior understanding of the potential financial and commercial viability of the proposed facility ensures an opportunity for greater success.

The Feasibility Study, Analysis & Report have become a critical component in developing a new golf facility, helping the client to better assess the proposed product offering and to identify potential opportunities, hurdles and rewards in the development process. Basically, a credible and impartial feasibility study is essential when attempting to secure financing and/or attract potential partners; moreover, it helps in giving developers a better insight into what they are getting into and what they can get out of it.

Feasibility reports are preliminary plans of action that usually address a number of primary points which are of utmost importance to the developer prior to the initiation of a project. These points and their elaborate explanations allow easy decision making and avoid unnecessary delays in the way to go about the golf project. Some of the crucial points that are taken into consideration while compiling a feasibility report are as follows:

  • What is the population within a 20-mile radius of the proposed site?
  • How many other public and private courses / golf facilities are in the vicinity?
  • What is the projected volume of play and fees?
  • What are the projected operating expenses?
  • Have any courses in the area failed? Why?
  • Are employment levels and per capita income at suitable levels?

While the study parameters will be slightly different for each type of golf facility, the key elements addressed in a feasibility study include the following:

  • What is the cost?
  • Is the project practical or impractical?
  • Will it be profitable (short term as well as long term consideration) ?
  • Will it be sustainable?
  • What is the market?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the project?
  • What will the impact be?
  • What will be the effect on the environment?
  • What legal considerations exist?
  • What are the personnel, training and skill consideration?

Contents of a Feasibility Report:

The specifics of a feasibility report should cover each and every aspect of the proposed project. Basically, as it has been reiterated many times before, the feasibility report helps the developer in the decision making process, therefore the content should outline every aspect whether positive or negative giving a clear view of what the developer is proposing to do.

Generally speaking, a Golf Feasibility Report is drafted on the following lines:

  • Introduction – Explains the prospective project, About the developers and what culture they bring towards the project.
  • Executive Summary – It contains info on Site Factors, Demographics, Market Competition, Play Potential, Financial Summary and a Conclusion.
  • Project Overview - About the proposed project, its location, conceptual plan.
  • Market Area & Opportunity Overview – Defining the Market, Demographic Overview, Key Economic Factors, Climate, Golf Market Supply and Demand Indicators.
  • Golf Market Competitive Analysis - Competitive Assessment Review, Competitors Market Position.
  • Financial Overview - Proposed Fee Schedule, Cash Flow Statement, Fixed Expenses.
  • Recommendations - Summarizing all of the previous feasibility study steps, the recommendations and findings can shape the outcome of a project proposal and suggest ways to make the project better.