At that time it was clear that I should stay on the Council of the new Institute to share the knowledge I had gained from the ESGA Board and my earlier work on the Council of the German Federation of Landscape Architects. This experience allowed me to take a hard look at the development and alterations of the Articles and other formal regulations of the newly formed EIGCA. But a more satisfying task which I fulfilled over recent years has been as a member of the Membership Committee. This for me was a very responsible position - guiding our younger and elder colleagues through the process to become Associate or Senior Members.
It needed those 11 years to gain the experience to become President – which is the highlight of my career in the Institute. And I had to set aside my self-doubts in order to take over this important role in our community of golf course architects. I am very proud and honoured to be asked to do so and to have the trust of the membership shown through their voting for me.
It is a great honour for me to become President of EIGCA and I would like to congratulate David for the superb job he has done over the last two years. I am looking forward to continuing the important work of the EIGCA during my tenure. I would also like to thank my colleagues on the Council as well as on the Committees for agreeing to stay on board and continue to work for the Institute.
I see myself as a team player
At all times in my commitment to the professional representation of golf course architects I have seen myself as a team player - a team player working together with other colleagues and the head office staff to lead and develop our Institute, and to increase the reputation of golf course architects in society.
But as a team player I expect the support of all other members. Not just the 20 – 30 colleagues who are already actively working in the Council and the Committees, or representing the Institute in working groups, on seminars and conferences. I ask all members for their support wherever it is needed – with their specialist knowledge or simply in organizing regional events.
The success of our organisation is documented through the development of our membership: we started in 2000 with 92 members and have grown to 122 members with several membership levels. During the eleven years since the amalgamation we have also achieved tremendous success together with other organisations in the world of golf and the golf industry. The best example is the great work we have done for golf and the environment with the Golf Environment Organization (GEO).
This is very important in the task of reducing the opposition to golf – and golf courses – and to lower the obstacles in obtaining planning permissions. The work on GEO Legacy Guidance has been finished and the Best Practice Case Studies have been published on the Institute’s website.
To keep the ball rolling and to strengthen our leading position in creating environmental friendly golf courses we are thinking of creating a kind of Register of Competence in Environmentally Sustainable Design which is to be run by the EIGCA with technical input from GEO. Tom Mackenzie has drawn up a programme for this Register and put the following aims forward for discussion:
To educate the members on as many aspects of environmental golf course design as possible.
To build on the work already done by the Institute in establishing its environmental credibility.
To improve the professional standing of the Institute by creating an independently recognised and verified register of members with further CPD training in environmentally sustainable design.
To add value of being a member of the Institute to those members who go through the process.
To involve the Golf Environment Organization to add credibility to the Register.
To continue to build the reputation of GEO, which is good for golf in the long run.
The idea is to start with an induction then to continue with a series of webinars in a similar format to the current education programme covering a syllabus established by GEO, finishing with a case study to prove competence. This would help us to ensure that EIGCA members are as well educated as possible in all aspects of environmentally sustainable golf course design and allow us to continue playing a leading role in future discussions on the subject, together with GEO.
It is also high time to continue the discussion about other aspects of our work as golf course architects, especially the necessity of making golf more attractive and playable for all. This is of great interest to other associations and to the golf industry in general. There might appear to be a conflict of interests here, but it is really time for us to play a more active role in discussions with other organisations and the golf industry about the criticisms leveled at us – that many courses are too difficult, that they take too long to play, and that the costs, both financial and social, are too great.
We cannot have someone from outside the Institute dictating to us what golf courses should look like in the future
We’ll be continuing our discussions with other golf bodies, looking at the possibilities of making golf more attractive and less time consuming in order to encourage increased numbers of players to take up the sport.
We cannot have someone from outside the Institute dictating to us what golf courses should look like in the future. I would be very pleased if the discussion of these questions could be a focal point of the conference during the AGM next year in France.
Another topic of concern is the education of young colleagues who are interested in becoming golf course architects. Following the experience of running a number of courses leading to a Diploma in Golf Course Design, which was founded by the British Association in 1997 and successfully continued by the Institute, and considering the current economic situation, we can all understand why the Institute decided to continue the programme in the form of an in-house, web-based learning programme. This course is open to staff of membership practices only.
A further new aspect in the development of the Institute is that we have established an additional type of partnership. Beside our Industry Partner categories we have created a “Consultant Partner”. This partnership is open to individuals who are working in a solely fee-based professional practice associated with the golf course design business such as agronomy, irrigation engineering, drainage design, land planning, surveying, landscape architecture, environmental consultancy, legal, financial and marketing services, photography and clubhouse architecture. The aim of this partnership is to encourage increased interaction with professional people in the golf industry and to expand possibilities for meaningful professional development within the EIGCA and its partners. Although not part of the membership, this programme gives Consultant Partners an exceptional opportunity to meet and converse with EIGCA members at our official functions and to promote their services both to the membership and, through our website, to a much wider audience.
All these partnerships are very valuable for the Institute and I would like to thank all Industry Partners and Patrons for the support they have given the Institute.
But all these activities – and not forgetting the two-day Marketing and Management Seminar on A Practical Guide to Building an Effective Business Growth Strategy planned for October this year – which involve a massive workload, have been organised and accomplished by Julia Green, Virginia Turner and Sue Stranger, and we all have to thank them for their assistance which is always very professional and friendly – absolute veritable ambassadors for our Institute.