Staples Golf Fan,
Oh man, the Holidays snuck up on me once again! Thankfully, things have slowed down a wee bit this winter, so I’m looking forward to having some down time with the family. I’ve had another busy year, with tremendous growth, as we continue to benefit from golf’s upward trend since the pandemic.
My end of year has led me to thoughts of gratitude, reflection, and self-improvement. It’s been a year of travel, playing very little golf, in-person meetings (yas!), even more online meetings, and a slew of new project interviews.
To be honest, being busy has been easy getting used to, and I look forward to another incredible year. Balancing prosperity with the memory of lesser times is front of mind, so with that, I thought I’d put together a list of 23 bold predictions, goals, and life aspirations for myself and my design firm in 2023, and beyond!
Here we go!!
Personal and Professional Achievements…
1. I get to do a new course from scratch on a raw piece of land! Yeah, that’s right – a NEW golf course on undeveloped ground!!
2. I play more golf (!)
3. I fly less (!!)
4. I get published in a major national or world-wide media outlet.
The Golf Design Biz...
5. It becomes normal to design golf courses in a computer game (PGA Tour 2k23) and build them with GPS-enabled equipment and technology.
6. Bunkerless golf courses become a thing (to reduce maintenance costs, while placing a premium on design creativity).
7. Golf course construction costs continue to skyrocket, which makes many projects not feasible. (Big stretch here, but let’s hope I’m wrong!)
8. Strategic trees surrounding landing areas make a comeback due to their ability to mitigate how far the golf ball goes. (Funny how my design thinking changes when I actually witness regular 340 yards drives!)
9. More golf courses with non-traditional numbers of holes or total par less than 70 open than ever before.
10. Olympia Fields South Course makes a jump on the lists of top courses in Chicagoland, and maybe even beyond! (#shameless-plug)
11. We will perform more work in our home state of Arizona in the next 1-2 years than we did for the first 20.
12. We get back into golf course maintenance consulting, just like when the company first started.
13. We develop 3 more tools for our website based on our most recent working experience.
14. I actually publish 4 issues of the Staples Golf Design Quarterly… (maybe in 2024!)
The Game of Golf...
15. Tiger Woods becomes PGA commissioner.
16. Everyone that follows the game will know what the OWGR stands for, and what it means for professional golfers. (Official World Golf Rankings, fyi)
17. There’s continued discussion about a serious roll back on club and/or ball technology.
18. You’ll find out that Team events in golf are more interesting to watch than individual play.
19. "Off-course" golf participation (TopGolf, Popstroke, etc.) could amount to nearly half of golf's total participation. (roughly 33% in 2022!)
The Future of the Industry...
20. Water availability on golf courses becomes a national initiative.
21. Desert golf courses in Arizona and Nevada begin to stop overseeding in the winter.
22. Robots will begin to mow fairways, roughs, and pick range balls on a golf course near you.
23. Virtual golf courses take root in the Metaverse, with rounds paid in Bitcoin, designed by digital golf architects, with memberships on the blockchain. (Eh, it’s more real than you think…)
Bonus: Year-End Highlights
Best Design Experience: As part of the South Course renovation, our Team moved a 350-year-old Oak Tree, found on site, to the middle of the 11th fairway, properly restoring the hole’s namesake - Lone Tree.
Best “Pinch Me” Moment: I made trips to both Montreal (Mount Bruno CC, 1918) and Toronto (Weston G&CC, 1922), developing plans to restore these incredible golf courses to their original vision of Willie Park Jr.
The “You Travel Too Much” Award: I achieved Executive Platinum on American Airlines AND gained a companion pass on Southwest Air. (I still can’t believe I’m writing these words!)
Best New Golf Course Seen This Year: The incredible restoration of Oakland Hills South, restored by Gil Hanse and Team, future site of the 2034 U.S. Open.
Lowest Round for the Year: Oh that’s right, I don’t play golf anymore. (See point #2 above)
Company News: Golf Resource Group, as it was first called, was formed in 2002, which means my company turned 20 years old this year! (Crazy how time flies)
Personal News: I turned 50 this year, and spent it on Long Island New York with my Family! (I repeat, it’s crazy how time flies)
If I’ve learned anything from this year, 2023 will be a year filled with exciting opportunities, new relationships, and continued daily reminders of how appreciative I am to be in this business. Let’s remind each other to continue to be grateful, respectful, and thankful, and take action on this reminder when interacting with our fellow humans.
So, to put a bow on this, a big thanks to you, my readers – have a great Christmas, a Happy Holiday season, and a prosperous, healthy New Year! On to the next one!!
Andy Staples, ASGCA
The National Links Trust hosted their 2nd annual "Symposium on Municipal Golf" in October 2022, and Staples Golf was there to check out the action! Read more about our key takeaways from the event and presenters in this issue of RTG.
Between skyrocketing material prices, water rights in the Southwest, and the rise of LIV Golf, the industry has been going through a shake up these past few months... and so has business in our office! We cover all of this and more in this August 2022 edition of SGDQ.