By Design - Spring 2020

4 | By Design DIGEST A round-up of recent golf design news in association with: T he executive committee of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) agrees with the initial conclusions reached by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A in the recently released Distance Insights Report . The report concluded that “the inherent strategic challenge presented by many golf courses can be compromised” and “the overall trend of golf courses becoming longer has its own adverse consequences that ultimately affect golfers at all levels and the game as a whole.” It said that golf would flourish best if the continuing cycle of ever- increasing hitting distances and golf course lengths is “brought to an end.” “Longer distances, longer courses, playing from longer tees and longer times to play are taking golf in the wrong direction and are not necessary to make golf challenging, enjoyable or sustainable in the future,” read the report. “In reaching this conclusion, our focus is forward- looking with a goal of building on the strengths of the game today while taking steps to alter the direction and impacts of hitting distances in the best interests of its long-term future.” ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan said, “We look forward to reviewing with all ASGCA members the complete report findings, which appear to confirm what ASGCA members have seen from their work for some time: increased hitting distance can lead to golf course lengthening. This cycle may have a negative impact in a number of areas, including economic sustainability of facilities, their environmental footprint, the strategic challenge of playing the course as designed by the golf course architect and the pure fun that comes from playing the game from tees that match a player’s skill level.” Forrest Richardson, ASGCA, added, “Discussions have gone on for over 100 years. Designers responded by adding tees, widening hitting areas and expanding ranges. I hope strategic principles, and need to conserve natural resources, are stronger through the study’s results.” The report’s findings also serve to reinforce the value ASGCA members place on forward tees and multiple tee options, stating “that many recreational golfers are playing from longer tees than necessary. We have a particular concern that the forward tees at many courses are very long for the hitting distances of many of the golfers who play them.” Bel Jan said, “Golfers of all skill levels should be encouraged to play from tees that provide the most enjoyment and the best opportunity for them to score well. We are thrilled to see continued promotion of the benefits of moving forward.” Download the USGA and R&A Distance Insights Report at: usga. org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/ distance-insights/SOC-FINAL.pdf ASGCA supports conclusions of latest distance research The ASGCA provided information and data to the USGA and R&A for its Distance Insights Report Image: Istockphoto/ Dmytro Aksonov