Welcome to the year-end volume for the 2018 Staples Golf Design Quarterly!
Looking back on this year while I don my ugliest-of-ugly Christmas sweaters in these freezing Phoenix temps, I have to say 2018 has gone by FAST! It honestly feels like just the other week I was penning last December’s corny newsletter intro, and I’m wondering if 2019 will go by even faster!?
This time of year is always reflective for me, and sharing my thoughts with you is something I enjoy doing, so here’s a bit on what happened over the past 12 months, my recent design excursion to Australia, competing in 2019 and beyond, as well as some project updates, so without further ado (!):
World Sand Golf Design - Australia
I have to begin with my latest “work” trip! Last month I was fortunate enough to spend 12 days in Australia, seeing golf, and exploring the country with some architect colleagues from the US, Europe, and of course, Australia.
One of the best aspects of this trip (aside from finally seeing the courses in the Sand Belt) was a cool little on-the-beach design contest between the US, the Aussies and the Euros. Each team of 6 were given a 6x12 ft. plot of beach, and charged with designing a golf course/ hole/ or whatever we wanted. We went with a unique, never-before-built, drivable par 4. It came from an idea I’ve had for a hole for some time, but haven't have the chance to build yet. Inspired by the Sand Belt of Melbourne, while paying homage to Pete Dye, andutilizing the dunes theme, we won! (Click here for a link to Golf Digest Australia’s coverage of the competition.)
From Melbourne to Tasmania, to Adelaide, and back to Melbourne, it was trip that rivaled my first experience in Scotland, and the Old Course at St. Andrews. I also connected with Mike Clayton, and Mike Cocking, being shown a first class look into the courses of Kingston Heath, Royal Melbourne, Metropolitan GC, Victoria GC, and Peninsula Kingwood. Also Barnbougle Dunes! Incredible! For those interested in seeing the photos from my trip, here is a link to my Instagram.
Good News! I'm now competing against Nick Price! (Yes- that Nick Price!)
And, well, the bad news is... I’m now competing against Nick Price. Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen my fair share of misses, having interviewed with some solid clubs across the country. We lost out to Nick Price for Boca National, down to the final two for a masterplan at a big-time Chicago-land club, as well as a near hit for a parks district in another part of Illinois, that would have been great for Community Links. From Florida, to California, to Illinois and to my own home-base state of Arizona, there have been a number of times where this business has gotten the best of me.
On a more positive note, I remember being the young, upstart architect, just trying to build a resume, and now I sense I’m moving into the veteran phase of my career, with a strong resume, and a stable workload <insert atta-boy emoji>. At 46, I’m in a good place, getting great opportunities, but I feel it’s time to shift into a higher gear, and steamroll into that next stage of my career! I have some great ideas planned for 2019 that will allow me to expand my network and be more selective in how I choose to spend my time. I’ll let you know how it goes 😉!
A Few Words about The Match
Who of you watched this thing?!?!
I’ll be honest; I was one of those who had little interest in watching The Match between Tiger and Phil, until literally minutes before it started (which meant it got it for free!). Here’s my take: I think you’ll see more of these events in the future. Yes, it was awkward, and yes, Jacobsen talked too much, but some of the stories, especially from Phil, were epic.
The PGA Tour today has done a poor job of connecting the players with the fans, outside of watching them hit golf shots. My feelings are the pros are more like us than we are led to believe (with exception of the 400 yard drives!), and these types of events could be an opportunity to get more people excited about the game. How great would it be to watch Phil and Tiger take on Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, and ask for one shot a side!?
It’s incredible that another year has gone by. Here are some highlights:
San Vicente Golf Resort (Ramona, CA) – Greens and bunker renovation starting in April of 2019. The first project since visiting the Sand Belt– look out!
City of Mill Valley (CA) – Happy to report I just struck a deal with Mill Valley to explore a Community Links opportunity and masterplan their 100-year old nine-hole community golf course.
San Jose Country Club (CA) – The masterplan is completed and is working towards the first phase of implementation.
University Club of Milwaukee (formerly Tripoli) – The 10-acre short game facility in partnership with Marquette essentially got rained out this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing the 4 hole short course finished next year!
Fayetteville Country Club (AR) – We revised our ongoing masterplan and will be tackling some projects in the very near future.
City of Denver (CO) – We were selected to be one of the on-call architects for their up-coming work, so hopefully we get tapped sooner than later!
Community Links commissions for San Luis Obispo County, City of South Jordan, UT, Stansbury Park District, UT, among others.
I was graciously asked to speak at the Golf Industry Show, the Turfgrass Summit, the California Parks & Rec Society Conference, a few annual Superintendent meetings, and co-hosted an impromptu Warm Season Turfgrass event sponsored by the USGA and Brian Whitlark (although he deserves most of the credit!). By all accounts it was a great success!
The Championship Course at Sand Hollow Golf Resort got a spread in Golf Digest earlier this year and was named by Golfweek as the Number One Course You Can Play in Utah for the 9th year in a row!
Meadowbrook keeps on rocking, and Rockwind just won Course of the Year from the Sun Country PGA.
I just passed 5 years in my Scottsdale office on Miller Road!
And lastly, I achieved Companion Pass Status on Southwest Airlines in record time <insert thumbs-up emoji>, meanwhile, the kids keep getting bigger and my wife loses track of what city I’m in!
I just want to say thanks again as always, for taking an interest in my thoughts and my business happenings! I certainly hope you enjoy this holiday season, get in some great time with the family (maybe some golf???), and have an amazing start to an amazing 2019!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Andy Staples, ASGCA
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