Dear Staples Golf Client,
Greetings from my office in Scottsdale – in full Top Gun mode! I write this year-end edition of the SGDQ having just been crowned the Champion of the Wingman tournament played at my local Club! <insert double knuckle emoji to my partner Bryan> As we put another year in the books, there’s much to be thankful for. I can say I’m ready for a bit of down time before we kick 2022 into full gear! Ok, it’s time to buzz the tower…
I feel the need...
… the need for speed!! Well, not really… I’m actually happy to see things slowing down a (little) bit. As the pandemic continues to provide the spark for increased work in all areas of the golf design world, I’m feeling thankful for the prosperity this year has brought, and respectful to those who have been affected by this crazy pandemic.
Just for fun, I totaled up my review of travel for the year:
- 38 car rentals and 93 Lyft/Uber rides (I'm taking more Ubers these days instead of car rentals)
- Reached executive Platinum on American, and achieved a Companion Pass on Southwest
- 108 nights in a hotel, or someplace other than my own bed
- Played enough golf to somehow keep my USGA index at 3.8 (Yas!)
Great Balls of Fire!
This year has been incredible! I saw the completion of two major projects – PGA National in Florida and Pinnacle Peak CC in Scottsdale – while I also saw work start in earnest on the renovation of the South Course at Olympia Fields CC (CLICK HERE to see the latest)! I’ve also started Master plans in Montreal, New York, Cincinnati and my home state of Arizona.
I am also proud to say that San Vicente was awarded Golf Inc.’s Best Renovation of 2021, Sand Hollow hit #3 on Golf magazine’s Top 100 Value Courses (w/ San Vicente at #32), Meadowbrook CC in Detroit continued to climb the lists (130 on Golfweek’s Top Classic Courses and #23 in Michigan per Golf Digest), and our project at The Match was featured in Forbes!
It’s been a fantastic year, and one that I hope to look back on as a turning point in in my design career. On to 2022!
Talk to me, Goose
This year also found us doing a lot of “talking” for some great articles, podcasts, and other media showcasing our work and philosophy—we were even provided a feature spot on Golf Channel! Here are some links to some of our highlights:
- The Match at PGA National | Golf Today Special Segment
- Andy Staples talks teeing equity on the USGA Green Section podcast
- Golf Course Architecture | Post-Pandemic Golf Pt. 2 – feat. Andy Staples
- Golfweek | The Match course offers something new at PGA National in Florida
What's your problem, Kazansky??
Over the past year, I’ve been finding the successful clubs across North America are continuing to look for ways to truly separate their golf course, and expect the highest levels of design excellence, maintenance presentation and operational efficiency. This is a far cry from the first days of my own company when I seemed to only have conversations around cost cutting, not spending money, and looking for ways just to stay afloat when no one was playing golf! But as optimistic as I am today, I still find myself wrestling with my instinct to keep our golf footprint as lean as possible. Water, power, and labor will continue to play a major role in the management of golf courses, and we need to keep sustainability top of mind. Our leash may be getting longer, but I still plan to express to my clients that efficiency is a top priority come 2022, while balancing where to push the limits in letting their golf course shine.
Take me to PGA, or lose me forever...
Back to PGA National for a minute. Pre-pandemic, we talked a lot about what was keeping people from playing more golf, and if there was a “secret sauce” moving into the future. At PGA, we bucked a long-standing trend for longer, harder courses, and turned an existing 6,700 yard 18-hole golf course into two new courses – a 9-hole par 3 course with all shortgrass that can be played with a putter, and an 18-hole Match course that is void of par, measures 5,841 yards from the “tips” (but has no tee markers), and promotes camaraderie and fun on the course through match play. I’m proud to be a part of a project that took to such a forward thinking idea and brought it to reality! Kudos to our Owner Brookfield Properties for "riding into the Danger Zone" with me— I can’t wait to find another situation where this philosophy fits and look forward to this concept *hopefully* becoming more mainstream across the country.
Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash!
This title has nothing to do with this section – I just wanted to include it! I have to announce a new hire in Arizona, and the moving on of another. Andrew Sander – my first major hire over 7 years ago – has found an incredible opportunity, and I’m so happy for him! Through his behind-the-scenes market research, self-made technological expertise, and countless “out of the blue” calls, Andrew was extremely responsible for the expansion of our firm. He wrote proposals, drove our newsletters, and always worked to keep the job pipeline full. Thanks Andrew – you’ve been awesome to work with!
With that, I need to welcome Joshua Goeden into the fold! Josh hails from small-town Nebraska with a Master of Landscape Architecture degree in tow from the University of Georgia. Josh turned down a great opportunity to come work with me, and I’m incredibly thankful for his choice! Josh will attempt to fill Andrew’s large shoes while adding another dimension to the firm’s offerings. Looking forward to where this goes and showing off the fruits of our collective labor!
You can be my Wingman any time... Bull----! You can be mine!
You are all my Wing-people and I sincerely thank you for the continued support. The year started with a bit of uncertainty, and now appears to be ending with well needed optimism. My hope this Christmas season is that this confidence follows you not only through this time of reflection, but continues into next year and beyond. May 2022 be healthy, happy, and filled with many matches won… and perhaps another Championship (or 3!).
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Until next time…
Andy Staples, ASGCA
P.S. When the movie Top Gun comes rolling around the tube this holiday break, give it a watch!
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.