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Educating club owners about the renovation process is important, said Richard
Mandell, of Richard Mandell Golf
Architecture in Pinehurst, N.C. Some may
have preconceived notions about how it’s
done and the effort needed.
“Even when we do a little project, they
begin to realize it’s more involved than they
thought,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re
going to spend a lot of money, it’s just they
don’t understand the scope of the tasks.”
However, he noted they are quick to lis-
ten because the health of the course is at
“It’s why you hire an architect,” he said.
Mandell is an accomplished one. He
renovated Bacon Park Golf Course in
Savannah, Ga., which tied for Best of Show
and First Place in this year’s Golf Inc.’s
Renovation of the Year contest.
That course was designed by Donald
Ross, but had been altered drastically during the years. He restored it back to the
original Ross design, with the help of Agri-Scape Golf Course Construction on the
front 9 and Wadsworth Golf Construction
on the back 9.
Some renovations require just tweaks,
while others demand the complete redo of
the golf course, he said. So some courses
don’t need to be closed, while others do.
Gregory Martin, of Martin Design in
Batavia, Ill. — who is the current president
of the American Society of Golf Course
Architects (ASGCA) — argues that the
cost of doing nothing can be greater than
the cost of doing a renovation.
Why? If you do nothing, maintenance
costs increase and golfer satisfaction goes
down. That is a spiral that can cause doom.
He noted how one course, Arrowhead
Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., was forking
over $35,000 a year to maintain bunkers
because they drained so poorly. It was estimated that, during a 10-year period, the
cost would grow past $400,000.
A renovation would cost $1.2 million.
However, maintenance savings would total
$500,000 over the 10 to 15 year lifespan of
the bunkers. That means the project would,
in reality, tally $700,000.
The project was approved.
The key reason to do a renovation is to
improve the golfing experience, Martin
said. It’s pretty simple logic.
“If the golfers are not engaged and satisfied, it is necessary to make changes,” he
said. “Overspending is as bad as underspending and not spending is the worst