On Wednesday, November 1, we hosted our first golf community event in our Urban Clubhouse. It was a great success and we're looking forward to hosting more events in the future! To be the first to know about our event schedule, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Special thanks to our guest speakers, Bo Links, Jay Blasi, and Ran Morrissett. Also a big thanks to Andy Johnson, of The Fried Egg Blog, for moderating. Tip of the hat to all of the golfers in the audience (from all over the country!!) for challenging the speakers and contributing to the depth of the discussion.
For all who've been asking, here's the link to the event audio in podcast format, compliment of the NoGimmes Podcast out of San Francisco.
The event focused on golf course architecture, in particular the state of public golf, restoration of publicly available golden era designs (eg Allister MacKenzie's Sharp Park), logistics and reality of restoration and design in general. Typical and unique to the panel discussion format, there were many fun interludes, tangents, and opinions that took us from sustainable course maintenance (Jay Blasi), favorite template holes, caddie fees (Ran Morrissett), and whisky (Bo Links).
It was particularly special to get off the internet and mobile phones, and have so many golfers interacting in the flesh. It created a lively and dynamic discussion and debate, which continued on Facebook and Instagram. Perhaps Merrill Hiserman, of the Meadow Club, said it best, "What a great event. State Apparel does have a great vibe while being in the City. The forum was very interesting and informative. Being reminded that golf at the municipal course or golf club should and could be inspiring."
Here are a few of best excerpts from the discussion:
Bo Links on accessibility of public golf: "I don’t know that there’s any easy formula for it [keeping public green fees reasonable] but I keep coming back to this college [alumni] model. It’s sorta like what would it cost to go to an art museum if you had to really pay to acquire all those paintings? Nobody could afford to go. Reason we’re able to go in and enjoy them is somebody gave it to the public and they let people go in at a reasonable fee. That’s what golf has to be. To me, it’s as plain as day."
Jay Blasi on sustainability: "The trend that I’d most like to see isn’t necessarily a type of golf course but just how they are maintained. For so long, at least here in America, we’ve really trended towards a maintenance practice that’s not sustainable. If you go to the British Isles or Australia you see something very very different in terms of what’s accepted or commonplace in terms of conditioning. As soon as we can start to embrace some of that, which also, just by chance, happens to coincide with fun golf, golf can become more sustainable and all of the sudden we’ve got more people playing and it’s easier for people to maintain."
Ran Morrissett on mandatory caddies: "What did you tip your caddy? And I say that because you have to take a caddy. Does that make anyone else in this room sick? What an enormous waste of money that somebody is carrying your golf bag when you’re out there for exercise. It’s so hard for me to say nice things about a place that makes you take a caddy. It is a walking sport and any place that gets in the way of that is taking back the game."
What's your take? Let us know in the comments section. See you next time at the Urban Clubhouse.