Reading The Green Newsletter

Muni Golf Highlights 2019!

Here's a quick recap of the Top 5 Best Performing Reading the Green's from 2019 (including our personal favorite!) according to you the subscribers.

Community Golf Fan,

2019 has been incredible for Staples Golf, and we hope for you as well! We've had the great fortune of working with many Municipalities this year, from Washington State to Florida, including many places in between!

Here's a quick recap of the Top 5 Best Performing Reading the Green's from 2019 (including our personal favorite!) according to you the subscribers.

And if you're interested in revisiting any of these highlighted newsletters, please just click the newsletter title that links to the original!)

Repurposing Muni Golf - Pros and Cons (March)

*Highest Click Rate*

While local government operated facilities have a few more challenges than the private golf operators, we'd argue that it's offset by its benefits to the community. Every time a municipal course closes, opportunities for would-be-new-golfers to learn the game also close.

We’ve underscored this more than once, but no other sport teaches patience, disciple, integrity, etiquette, etc., etc., quite like golf, and giving kids a great reason to get outside has never been more relevant than today.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Many municipal golf facilities are often in better shape than they appear
  • Operating expenses for these golf courses come with inherent disadvantages
  • The closure of municipal golf facilities result in lost opportunities for youth development
  • Muni golf facilities located in urban areas will always be the most vulnerable

Municipal Golf Renaissance (May)

*Staples Golf’s Personal Favorite*

As pointed out in this article, something of a “munaissance” seems to be occurring around the country, correlating great architecture with people’s interest in playing more golf. This quote sums it up very well:

"We are in the midst of an American municipal golf renaissance. A Munaissance, if you will. And it might just be the game’s best chance at growth. Not the wishful-thinking, overnight kind, but something real, sustainable and, like the places where it figures to take place, modest."

Without a doubt, almost everyone I poll when working with local stakeholder groups say their pride in both their community and their municipality would greatly increase with facility improvements. Above is a real and recent example of such polling, and post renovation data years later also proves this out.

Here's what you need to know:

  • A great course design will always results in more play and increased revenue.
  • Instilling local pride into municipal golf starts and ends with the people that play your course.
  • Municipal golf is being improved with great success when municipal owners act.
  • Most municipalities are neglecting significant opportunities to reinvigorate their course.

Leveraging Muni Golf (June)

*Highest Subscriber Feedback*

Believe it or not, there are people out there, perhaps even in your community, who have both the necessary resources to help improve your course(s), and the willingness to make a local, philanthropic impact. We’re seeing this happen more and more, and we find that by asking for help, help tends to reveal itself in a variety of impactful ways.

Step one for municipalities looking to their future is to understand where things stand as soon as possible. Get a third party in there, and begin to figure out how your course(s) could appeal to a broader portion of your residents; both golfers, and non-golfers alike.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Determine realistically the long-term “health” of your course(s).
  • Begin to (or continue to) inspire local pride in your golf facilities and…
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance in the form of time, money, energy for certain projects!
  • Identify possible “leverage” opportunities, and begin to create win-win scenarios with your community.
  • Remember- the successful muni facilities of tomorrow are creating grand visions for their golf today.  

A Better Muni Golf Clubhouse (September)

*Highest Open Rate*

There's an exciting new trend in the business of Municipal golf; the clubhouse of the future is emerging and pushing the boundaries toward a much more entertaining place to hang-out!

Clubhouse trends include an increasing emphasis in the following areas:

  • An atmosphere that focuses on family and friends
  • A place for business meetings, lunches, and team-building
  • Leveraged Indoor/ Outdoor social areas with overlap to non-golfing amenities
  • Broader food & beverage options to drive guest diversity and increased revenue
  • Fun and engaging golf simulators for all seasons, leagues, non-golfer intros to the game
  • Community areas for local, non-golfing related events

Muni Golf Labor Hacks (October)

*Highest Impact for Course Planning*

One of the biggest concerns facing the golf industry at large, is the rising costs of labor due to various market forces. In light of this, golf facilities must adapt their course maintenance approaches in order to remain feasible.

Not every low-to-no-cost approach to labor reduction is going to work for your course, but we’d be willing to bet at least one or two new approaches would. It comes down to looking at your course a little bit differently than what has been the status-quo, and from there, it just comes down to implementation!

Here's what you need to know:

  • Most municipal golf facilities are spending an increasing amount of their budget on rising labor costs.
  • Inefficient mow-lines are quite common and easy to adjust.
  • Native and/ or low-maintenance areas when done properly, do dramatically save costs.
  • Bunkers are a significant resource drain, and most courses have too many.
  • Too many trees on a course impede turf growth and hinder the bottom line!

Here's to a Great 2020!

We at Staples Golf certainly hope you enjoy our Reading the Green newsletter as much as we enjoy creating them. We look forward to providing more great content for improving your golf facility’s bottom-line on a quarterly basis beginning in 2020, so please stay tuned!


Andy Staples, ASGCA

PS- If you haven't gotten a chance to read our Community Links White Paper on Municipal Golf in America, you can download it here!

Andy Staples

Andy Staples, ASCGA member and principal of Staples Golf Design, was brought to golf at the age of seven by his dad, having learned the game at West Bend Country Club, in West Bend, WI, a turn of the century course designed by Langford & Moreau.

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