Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) returned to the “Home of Golf” to bring together its expertise in the rural and land-based sector with the latest innovations in golf management.
Former SRUC Golf Management students, who are now managing top-ranked clubs around the world, were joined in St Andrews by guest speakers, a panel of experts, as well as SRUC’s current Golf Management students, to explore current directions in redesign aimed at improving the participation, enjoyment and profitability of the game.
Looking to the Future: Redesigning for a Sustainable Golf Management Sector, sponsored by Double A Trading Ltd and John Deere Ltd, was held at the Old Course Hotel on Friday 28 September, the same day as the 2018 Ryder Cup teed off in Paris.
Speakers included Stuart McColm, General Manager at Castle Stuart Golf Links, who talked to delegates about redesign at his own course, where they are working to ensure all visitors leave after a good day of golf. Stuart said: “If the game of golf is going to remain popular and grow in participation, it has to be fun to play. Course design, course set up and quality of playing surfaces are critically important to get right.”
Also speaking at the event was Scott Macpherson, Golf Architect & Author, was in agreement, adding: “It’s easy to make golf courses hard, and hard to make golf courses fun.”
Scott also discussed the benefits of course renovation, using detailed cost-saving analysis from bunker renovation projects he had managed: “Golf course renovation can be beneficial in financial terms. Golf Clubs should be guided by a masterplan for long term decision making.”
John Aherne, owner of Golfgraffix, showcased how new technology can improve communications in project management: “IT and software can play a major role in supporting the communication process within golf clubs. Communication is a 21st Century skill that modern managers need to excel at.”
Event organiser Ian Butcher, Golf Management Lecturer at SRUC’s Elmwood campus in Cupar, said: “It’s fantastic that Looking to the Future was held in in this ancient and inspiring location at the Old Course Hotel, to look at modern challenges and innovations for the golf industry. The fact that it was held on the weekend of the Ryder Cup only added to the excitement of our alumni coming together again. The presentations provided much debate. It is hoped Course and Club Managers will view the prospect of course renovation with less trepidation. We’re looking forward to holding the event again, to explore other areas impacting the future of the golf sector.”
Scotland’s Rural College www.sruc.ac.uk