Ken Moodie, EIGCA President 07-09
This has been a period of collaboration, and we have met and worked together with many other European golf organisations such as The R&A, Golf Environment Organisation, Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations, European Tour, PGA’s of Europe, European Golf Association, European Golf Course Owners Association, and the Club Managers Association of Europe, amongst others, to further our objectives. Many of the issues which we face as a professional organisation are common to other associations and we can achieve much more by working together when appropriate. One example of this approach has been our collaboration with most of the above organisations on the KPMG report published in 2008 entitled “The Value of Golf to Europe, Middle East and Africa”. www.golfbenchmark.com/index.thtml/en/value/ This study demonstrated the very significant contribution which golf makes to the economy in the EMA region – a total of €53 billion in revenue! As a follow up initiative, we have also been asked to work with the PGAE on a project to look at the social, economic and environmental value of golf in Europe together with other golf organisations. It will be funded by Ryder Cup Development monies.
We have developed close links with the Golf Environment Organisation and are working with them to develop “New Golf Development Guidelines” based on sustainable design principles Sustainable Golf. In addition, Mike Wood, our Environment Committee Chairman is developing an in-house project to collate case studies from our members’ golf courses which illustrate good environmental practice, and Tom Mackenzie is completing a study looking at “Recycled Materials for Golf Course Construction” Recycled Materials. The EIGCA also has a representative, Achim Reinmuth, on the EGA Golf Course Committee which is kindly supported by The R&A. The committee was established to develop a relationship with the EU and lobby on legislation likely to impact on golf course development and management.
Mike Wood and I attended The R&A “Best Course for Europe” conference last year on behalf of the Institute. The primary focus of the conference was the new Benchmarking Programme www.bestcourseforgolf.org which The R&A is launching. This is intended to be a data-gathering centre for information on golf course management practices including fertiliser, water and pesticide use, and comparing this to the playing conditions on the course. Golf clubs subscribing to theBenchmarking Programme will be able to compare the environmental performance of their courses with others in similar climatic and environmental conditions. It will also provide very valuable data for the golf industry to use when lobbying legislative bodies, such as the EU, and for answering criticisms of the golf business by ill-informed pressure groups and the media. We wish it success.
Toro International Design Lecture 2008
A highlight of last year was the Toro International Design Lecture which was held at County Louth Golf Club, with Tom Doak providing a very honest and thought provoking presentation to students and members alike. It was a very good opportunity for the students to mix with our members and to learn from the design ideas of a prominent, if sometimes controversial, golf course architect. EIGCA Senior Member, Tom Mackenzie, also spoke on the work his company has been doing to improve the challenge of the County Louth and delegates had the chance to play the course in the afternoon. Our thanks go to all those involved in the arrangements and Toro, one of our Gold Industry Partners, who hosted the day.
David Krause, EIGCA Vice President (now President)
In November last year, we collaborated with FEGGA on a conference aimed at new emerging golf nations, principally in eastern Europe intended to help them to avoid the mistakes of other countries which have developed too rapidly without sufficient knowledge. David Krause, Mike Wood and I spoke on behalf of EIGCA on the subjects of “Choosing the Right Architect”, “Building the Right Golf Course”and the “New Golf Course Development Guidelines”. Too often the wrong type of courses are built in the “championship” mould rather than the starter facilities which are primarily required in a new market to allow new golfers to learn the game. In addition, inexperienced architects and contractors are often engaged in boom times, and unqualified staff employed to maintain the golf course, which leads to the development of poorly built and managed facilities which later need to be rebuilt at huge cost to the owner. They can also give golf a bad name, especially where they are environmentally damaging, and can alienate the local population. The conference sought to explain to those likely to be involved in the golf development process about the importance of taking professional advice and employing suitably qualified staff. In continuation of this theme, the topic of our conference this year is “Affordable Golf” based on the notion that golf has to be economically sustainable in its own right without the need for supporting real estate or other built development, and it must also be accessible at a cost which the local people can afford to pay. Starter facilities, such as golf academies, pitch & putt courses and short golf courses will be required.
Looking forward to 2010, we are planning a World Forum of Golf Course Architecture at the home of golf in St Andrews, Scotland, in conjunction with our sister organisations in America and Australia (ASGCA and SAGCA). This will mark the 10th anniversary of the EIGCA as a pan-European organisation since the merger of BIGCA, ESGA and AFAG and will be a cause for great celebration. Later in 2009 we will be meeting for a study tour with members of ASGCA and SAGCA in Australia, entitled“In Search of Mackenzie”, to experience some of the great courses which were designed or inspired by Dr Alister Mackenzie around the Sydney and Melbourne. This event will provide a superb opportunity for some lively debate and, importantly, continuing the growing links between our organisations. A three-way Ryder Cup style competition will be played to add some extra spice to the encounter!