Dear Staples Golf Fan,
Happy summer!! I find myself writing this edition of SGDQ fresh off some time away in my home state of Wisconsin – a trip filled with family, fishing, fried cheese curds, bowling, and of course, mosquitos! But it’s been back to business since – even as material and labor prices skyrocket, the industry continues to move at a record pace.
This year is about one thing: Balance! I’m focused more than ever on blocking out the noise and concentrating on what really matters – doing great work, building a great team, and continuing to forge a legacy for leaving the game better than we found it… oh, AND spending more quality time with the family!!! Okay, on to the updates...
Whiskey is for drinking, water's for fighting...
The water crisis in the Southwest has come to full attention this summer… to the point I heard it being discussed all the way in Toronto this past week. And, honestly, as I travel the country, it’s not just the desert Southwest – water usage is a topic everywhere, actually.
I remember the first water & energy visits I made in 2004 when I started my company. Now, some 18 years later, its interesting how the conversation has evolved. What was once a topic of varying attention is now completely front and center. Almost everyone in the business seems to be talking full scale irrigation system updates, turf renovations, and water availability. Here in Arizona, we’re even beginning to eliminate overseeding… yes, your heard that right, some courses are starting to not overseed!!
I’m currently working on three projects now in Arizona and California that are addressing all of the above. So while there’s still work to be done across the industry to keep up with the significant cuts in available water, I also know our clients - and others across the country - have become far more proactive in their water use efficiency over the years.
Here’s an interesting article on the drought affecting golf courses in Arizona:
LIV and Let Die
So… have you heard of the LIV Golf Tour?? Ha, of course you have! Sadly, this battle is likely to continue well into the foreseeable future. Here’s my take: To me, the PGA Tour product has been something in need of improvement for some time now. The 4-day / stroke play / lowest score format, week-after-week, is in need of some refinement. I think this Fried Egg episode really hit the nail on the head, listen to it here:
Things I took away from this pod are spot on: How about a PGA Tour All Star Weekend? How about forging some level of team event, where countries or even States take on each other in a Ryder Cup match play format? Or even mixed events with the LPGA, much like Geoff Ogilvy has been promoting in his native Australia!? The bottom line – LIV will have an impact on the Tour, and I sure hope it’s ultimately for the better!
Keep Producing the "Art"!!!
Taking my concepts and communicating them properly to my clients is difficult. But, I’m trying to make it easier. The latest… the ability to complete a full scale, 3D rendering of our project vision in the Course Builder software of PGA2K21! Check out this video of our work for Mesa CC – the first of many I hope to produce as we refine this process:
There’s a certain power in being able to represent a vision fast, efficiently, and in a manner that sells it for the client, and I’m constantly trying to keep up with the latest innovations to get me to that point.
(shoutout to Peter Flory for the fantastic rendering job!)
Expanding the Tent!!
Surround yourself with people better than you, they say! Over this post-COVID boom, I’ve worked to build the best team I can to keep pace with all the new opportunities and expand the value we can offer our clients. With that, say hello to the newest members of Team Staples:
Joey Chase has joined as our full-time design shaper and man-on-the-ground. He has been a HUGE help in keeping our construction projects moving forward, with a keen focus on building awesome golf features! His resume speaks for itself – Garden City Golf Club, The Creek Club, The Alotian Club, and Oak Hill (to name a few).
Tim Cloninger has joined as our #1 consultant for all things agronomy and project management. He brings over 20 years of experience as a Superintendent including experience leading both Shadow Creek in Las Vegas and Eugene Country Club in Oregon.
I’m extremely thankful for the team that I’ve had come together, and am excited for the great work we’ll be producing moving forward!
In the Dirt...
As of today, I’ve got three (3) projects in various forms of construction, and a number of others being planned, hoping to be in the dirt as soon as feasible. Here’s the updates on construction:
- Olympia Fields CC – we’re buttoning up work on the Front 9 and are gearing up for the Back 9 come September. Here’s to more friendly fall weather in Chicago (fingers crossed)! To date, we have built/renovated 29 bunkers, constructed 2 brand new greens on the course, a kick@$$ putting course right off the back porch, and have installed nearly 8 miles of drainage!!
- Meadowbrook in Detroit – in conjunction with their new maintenance facility, we’ve been making a lot of headway here including an expanded range tee, performance center, a large short game practice area (that mimics the Willie Park Jr. greens on the course), a new wedge range, and renovated range targets that double as a short course… huuuuuuuuggeee improvements!
- Heritage Club in Cincinnati – this past Spring, we were able to accomplish various improvement projects around the course, instilling more classic Pete Dye-inspired features such as railroad tie walls, grass faced bunkering, and fescue areas. We’ve now turned our attention to a newly renovated practice range with expanded teeing ground, new targets, wedge range, and a 30,000 square foot putting course and practice green.
As I switch back out of “vacation” mode and into “road warrior” mode, I just want to throw out a big thanks again to my readership. Apologies for the lag from our last newsletter – it’s hard to find the time! Stay tuned for at least one more update before year’s end.
Until next time – let’s keep up the pace!
Andy Staples, ASGCA
The weather is getting colder, but these takes are toasty! In this edition of the Staples Golf Design Quarterly, we have assembled a list of 23 goals, predictions, and life aspirations for Andy, the firm, and the golf industry at large looking into 2023 (and beyond).
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.