Immediate Past President Bruce Charlton, ASGCA recently offered his thoughts on international golf course design and construction. Charlton also shared his thoughts on international examples of making golf more fun and accessible for kids in an attempt to strengthen the game.
In the article, “Making the Jump to International Golf Course Construction – A Leap of Faith?”, written for the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA)’s quarterly newsletter EarthShaping NEWS, Charlton suggests that golf course builders in North America penetrate the international golf course construction market to combat lesser North American golf development. Charlton also suggests forming an alliance or joint venture with a successful organization already doing business in the country.
Charlton has also embraced another aspect of international golf – specifically the role children and young adults play in strengthening the game. With golf rounds slowing down and clubs facing difficult financial times, golf needs to be more kid-friendly, intriguing, and even “cool” to engage a new generation. Charlton believes this involves creating facilities where children will feel welcome and comfortable.
In Europe, facilities often include “pitch-and-putt” courses where younger players can practice and learn the game informally and without pressure. Charlton’s other ideas include designing more nine-hole short courses, three-hole practice loops adjacent to driving ranges, 18-hole courses consisting of three six-hole loops, or full courses with junior tees set up in the fairways.
For more of Charlton’s thoughts on this subject, please read his article “Developing a Great ‘Short’ Game: Kids and Golf“, which recently appeared in Asian Golf Monthly.