Kari Haug Ken Moodie

Date: Thu 17 Jun 2021

Making your golf course more appealing to a wider audience

The long-running debate to make golf courses appeal to a wide audience was the topic of BIGGA’s Continue To Learn webinar in June.

EIGCA members, Kari Haug AEIGCA and Ken Moodie MEIGCA, took to the virtual stage with BIGGA member, Caroline Munro.

First to speak was Ken on the topic of ‘broadening the golf offering’. He talked about the upsurge in golf participation during the pandemic and the importance of adapting to a range of needs. The demand for shorter courses and quicker forms of the sport are increasing and the need to make golf courses more family friendly is becoming more important as golf is rapidly turning into a lifestyle choice, not just a sport.

Ken’s suite of solutions included:

  • Technological advances – the gameability element such as TopGolf, golf pods by Hi-Nets, TopTracer simulators
  • Improvements in facilities, including accommodating the needs of players with disabilities
  • Stepping stones – teaching people to putt first, adventure, SNAG golf, pitch * putt courses, including swells instead of bunkers
  • Future golf clubs to include Par 3 for new players, putting and chipping greens, short courses.

Ken concluded with five things to note:

  1. Practice needs to be fun
  2. Provide space for group tuition
  3. All-weather use
  4. Comfort facilities, e.g. toilets, shelter, food & drink
  5. Good access for disabled and older golfers

Kari joined the stage for a ‘spotlight on women golfers’. She advised on the need for holes to be designed by considering the physical characteristics of golfers, for example, the difference between female and male golfers is that women tend to have a slower swing speed with a lower carry and trajectory, and less spin. Most of the distance travelled is a roll along the ground rather than in the air. Women golfers tend to be shorter than their male counterparts and have difficulty seeing over hazards such as a flag if there is a rough in-between the golfer and the hole.

Without accommodating the differing needs, a course will be perceived as too difficult, less enjoyable and lead to the course being less likely to be played.

The final speaker was Caroline Munro, a BIGGA member and Greenkeeper at Bonar Bridge and Ardgay Golf Club in Scotland. Caroline discussed the may initiatives in place at the club to encourage and welcome the local community.

The session concluded with the views of the speakers on their vision of how a golf course should look in the future:

  • Ken thinks the course should be the hub of the community whether people play the course or not. By introducing food and drinks and providing activities to encourage people to play and enjoy the sport
  • Kari said courses should be celebratory, i.e. a fun place for all to be and enjoy the facilities together, and
  • Caroline believes everyone in the local community should be able to use the facility.

This Continue to Learn webinar was recorded and is available in Members Area of the EIGCA website ready for members to earn credits towards their CPD completion.

Golf Course Design
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