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Welcome to the Green Committee Guide
[Editor's Note: This is a brand-new section for Cybergolf. It was borne from the fact that there have been quantum industry shifts - as noted in golf course architect and longtime Cybergolf contributor Jeff Brauer's initial piece and in future installments - over the past decade.
The "build-it-and-they-will-come" era of golf-course development in the 1980s and '90s is decidedly over. Indeed, quite a few of those verdant, multimillion-dollar centerpieces of mega-projects from that period have been shuttered or undergone major transformations that took them from exclusive private enclaves to daily-fee facilities.
In the meantime, there's been a shift to addressing renovations and restorations of the golf courses that either survived the economic realities of the past 10 years or have been around for years prior to the boom period.
With that in mind, the Texas-based Brauer, whose "Brauer's Book" section on Cybergolf was a long-running hit for many years and still resides on our site (http://www.cybergolf.com/brauersbook), will detail in the upcoming months how best those who maintain and run golf courses - whether the owners, superintendents, general managers or the chairs of the Green Committees at private clubs - should strategically approach the myriad issues they'll face when upgrading, modernizing or restoring their golf courses to their former glory.
Here's Jeff's first installment. We hope you'll enjoy this new Cybergolf feature.]
Everything Your Greens Chair Wanted to Know About Golf Architecture but Was Afraid to Ask
by Jeffrey D. Brauer
Over 10 years ago, at the height of the golf course building boom, I began writing installments for Cybergolf trying to detail and demythologize golf course design and lay bare the complexities of the art form.
It was popular among some, but people were having trouble with what George H.W. Bush once called "the vision thing." As times get tough, the real need seems to be for down-to-earth, practical information about building and rebuilding golf courses.
As new courses turn to renovations in this economic climate - and for the foreseeable future, the need for overreaching design principles has reduced while the need for quick answers to real problems has increased.
In other words, questions like "How wide does that cart path really need to be?" and "What should it be built of" now trump "How wide did 'Golden Age' architects make their fairways" and "Who built their golf courses?"
Also, it has come to our attention that blogs trump books, so the idea of ever putting this on real paper in a real binder has been reduced in importance . . . to the world, if not to the author.
We listened! Over the next several months we're going to reveal, as we did before - chapter by chapter - the burning questions greens chairmen and their committee members really ask.
As with his previous works, I see no reason to poke fun at myself and others, or the whole dumb game we all love. So here goes: another attempt at "edumacating" the Cybergolf reading audience through entertainment.
Jeffrey D. Brauer began his career as an apprentice in the Chicago area in 1977. His first project was Kemper Lakes, which shortly after hosted the 1989 PGA Championship. He formed GolfScapes in Arlington, Texas, in 1984. In the last 29 years he has designed and consulted on a wide spectrum of projects, ranging from partial renovations to international resorts. His recent work includes teaming with the design team of Pascuzzo and Pate on a remodel of the world-famous La Costa Resort & Spa in California, and renovations at Superior National Golf Course in Lutsen, Minn., and Mesquite Municipal Golf Course in Mesquite, Texas.
He has been a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects since 1981, serving as President during its 50th Anniversary year in 1995-96. Jeff still studies the classic works - both old and new, and has played more than 75 of the best courses in the world.
Jeff gives many presentations and is a regular architecture columnist for many publications and websites, including Golf Course Industry and Cybergolf.com. He has also been a strong advocate for the "Tee it Forward" campaign and strives to make his courses fit the description of "fun to play every day."
Jeff's work has been spotlighted in most of the world's major golf magazines. Golf World ranked him as one of the top-20 golf course architects and Golf Inc. ranked him as the world's fourth-best value in golf architecture in 2010. Jeff's portfolio and reputation keep him at the forefront of desired designers for new courses, reconstruction and renovation projects.
For more about Jeff, visit http://www.jeffreydbrauer.com/sites/courses/layout.asp?id=859&page=48451.