Those attending the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) Forum at the recent Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego, came away with a greater understanding of the work done by ASGCA members, especially regarding the creative process that goes into their projects in North America and around the world.

President Steve Smyers, ASGCA, reminded the crowd of more than 200 industry leaders that innovation has been a part of golf course design from the game’s earliest days, crediting it for much of the game’s growth.

“The most successful and recognized architects of past generations were very forward-thinking guys, and the founding members of ASGCA were leaders in the game because they adapted to the modern innovation of the game,” he said. “We must do the same. Some of the courses I designed early in my career are modernizing for the next generation of players, with new sand or bunker liners, improved irrigation and introduction of new turf grasses.”

Panelists Fought, Jones and Staples share projects

Smyers was joined by several ASGCA members who provided specific examples of how design advancements have helped meet the needs of players.

  • John Fought, ASGCA, spoke on the evolution of putting greens, quoting Charles Blair MacDonald, who said, “Putting greens to a golf course are what the face is to a portrait.” Today, Fought noted, greens are most often changed for one of three reasons: grass varieties and construction methods, maintenance improvements, and greens speeds.
  • Rees Jones, ASGCA, presented on the evolution of championship golf. Jones cited a number of specific course examples from a career portfolio that includes leaving his mark on seven U.S. Open venues, eight PGA Championship courses (including the 2016 course at Baltusrol Golf Club), and five Ryder Cup sites.
  • Andy Staples, ASGCA, concluded with a look at “Water: An architect’s view of what’s going on…” He noted the release of Golf & Water: Case Studies in Water Stewardship, a new publication from the ASGCA Foundation detailing more than a dozen examples from courses in North America and internationally where ASGCA members and others from the golf industry have positively impacted the management of water. He also noted the 22% decline in water usage on courses in North America in just eight years, according to data from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Information on these and other topics can be found at, or connect with an ASCGA member at

ASGCA Background


Founded in 1946 by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and 12 other leading golf course architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout the United States and Canada. Members have completed a rigorous two-year long application process that includes the peer review of four representative golf courses. ASGCA members are experienced golf course architects, able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.

For more information about ASGCA, including a current list of members, log on to the ASGCA website at http://www.asgca.local or call (262) 786-5960.

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