Losing out to the Maintenance Crew

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Losing out to the Maintenance Crew

Losing out to the Maintenance Crew

Golf Course Architect v Golf Course Managers
I recently lost yet another possible project. The maintenance crew will be carrying out the renovations. It can be frustrating at times. Here is a blog about my thought on the matter.

Golf Course Architect v Golf Course Managers
It should not be a competition; after-all, they are two completely different occupations - or at least, they should to be.
The Golf Course Architect knows a little about maintenance – agronomy, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation and maintenance budgets. However we do have extensive Golf Course Design knowledge – its history, layout/routing complexities, design strategy and perhaps most importantly, we are artists; sculptures of the land.
The Course Manager; is in many ways the opposite – they have some Golf Course Architecture knowledge, but extensive knowledge of golf course maintenance. I, for example, have no idea what or how much herbicide is required to treat take-all patch or how to forecast a maintenance budget for the year ahead. I do however know how to design a great golf course; playable, fun and visually inspiring.
Then why is it that increasingly so Golf Course Architects are losing out to the Course Manager when renovation of the golf course is concerned?
Time after time, when bidding for a possible renovation or remodel, the kind of projects that for so many Golf Course Architects are their “bread & Butter”, does the Club in question simply end up saying that the Course Manager/Greenkeepers (or Club Pro and not to forget the Captain bunker) can do it. After all; it can’t possibly be that complicated renovating bunkers and, most importantly, it’s for FREE. That point sums it up - economics. Why pay a few hundred or a maybe a few thousand for the expertise of a Golf Course Architect, when quite conceivable a smooth talking golf course manager can convince a naive committee that he can do the job just as well, for a fraction of a price?
I would argue, the money invested on professional advice is well spent. A good job is guaranteed if an Architect is commissioned.. More often than not, more money ends up being spent correcting the inevitably problems if the job is not carried out professionally.
The perfect scenario would be for the Architect to work with the maintenance crew as well as an experienced shaper. The shaper builds the architects designs and the maintenance crew not only make sure they are satisfied with any maintenance challenges of the bunkers, but can also become involved in their construction, install drainage, turf the bunkers, install the sand – it should be a team effort.
Is not commissioning an architect worth the risk?