The Sacramento Bee recently gathered a number of Northern California golf experts to get their views on various industry topics. ASGCA Past President Damian Pascuzzo (Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Course Design) provided an architect’s perspective on alternative formats, water, growing the game and more. As Pascuzzo says, “There probably is not one national solution, but there are a million local ones.” Here he provides a few.

Topics and Pascuzzo’s opinions from the article include:

Q: The golf industry has a financial stake in growing the game. Does the game’s growth/decline really affect the recreational player?

A: Damian Pascuzzo: The current recreational player does have a vested interest in growing the game because somebody grew it for them. There is a legacy there. What they may face personally is that if the game continues to decline, there will be fewer opportunities, fewer places to play.

Q: What is the status of women in golf? What can be done to attract more women to the game?

A: Pascuzzo: We are trying to open our clients’ eyes to those type of opportunities, where we will identify six-hole loops, or five-hole loops or seven-hole loops, whatever works with the routing of the golf course – we call it a taste of golf. It’s shocking to me how much resistance we get. The operations folks just can’t wrap their head around it because it’s not what they’ve done for the past 30 years.

Q: What is the future of course design and maintenance as water conservation becomes more critical?

A: Pascuzzo: Water is an issue that’s not going away. We’re working with six clubs in Southern California on turf-reduction programs. Part of that is being stimulated by the rebates the water districts are offering. The incentive is there. We can do on a single golf course what it would take 2,000 homeowners to do to achieve the same water savings. I have seen a trend for the last six or seven years of moving away from overseeding. Something as simple as that. I was at TPC Sawgrass a few years ago in February. Brown as could be. They didn’t overseed and they were full and getting top dollar.

Q: Are 15-inch holes any kind of solution?

A: Pascuzzo: I think there’s a place for larger cups. Our Challenge Course at Monarch Dunes has two cups on every hole. Our guys made one of them an 8-inch cup. It’s really fun. They are doing it as part of their program to introduce people to the game. Would I want a steady diet of it? Absolutely not. But is it an interesting and fun alternative, and if my kids were young again, is that the way I introduce them to golf? Absolutely.

The complete Sacramento Bee article can be seen here.