Issues confronting the future growth and vitality of the game were explored by Dr. Joe Beditz, Bobby Weed, John Reed and Dr. A.J. Thompson.
Clemson (S.C.) University’s Richard H. Pennell Center for Real Estate Development and the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership sponsored the first symposium on sustainable golf course development to address the issues confronting the future growth and vitality of the game, the golf industry and related master planned communities with golf as the central amenity.
Dr. Joe Beditz, president and CEO of the National Golf Foundation, and Bobby Weed, President and CEO of Weed Design, kicked off the event as the keynote speakers; and, John Reed, CEO of Reed Development and Dr. A. J. “Buddy” Thompson, a physician and developer of the Reserve at Lake Keowee rounded out the expert panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities in golf course community development.
Beditz’s presentation and situational analysis regarding the “Current State of the Game” portrayed an industry in peril with a contraction in golf participation, rounds played and golf courses going out of business. However, he defined the current state of golf as a natural adjustment over a longer period, and noted that as the U.S. economy and real estate market gradually improve, the golf industry will also improve.
Weed’s presentation, “Repurposing for Sustainable Golf Course Development,” focused on the redevelopment of golf communities that were running out of options.
“What I found most interesting was Bobby Weed’s ability to take a project and orchestrate relatively simple changes that allow the owners to redevelop and remarket a community, and overcome what seems like major obstacles by engaging the community and turning them into partners in the redevelopment process,” says Dr. Elaine Worzala, Director of the Pennell Center for Real Estate Development.
The panel discussion that followed included successful developers John Reed and Dr. Buddy Thompson, cofounder of the Reserve at Lake Keowee, S.C.
Reed offered a very unconventional approach and view of the challenges and opportunities ahead in stating that ”What we need to do today and tomorrow is simply give people what they want, not what we think they should want.”
He went on to say that the issues that must be addressed relate to time, women, the generational shift and the new market reality, where home purchase decisions are based more on lifestyle needs and not driven by real estate speculation.
Thompson echoed many of those same sentiments and emphasized the multi-generational property buyers at The Reserve explaining the “vertical” multigenerational membership plan, whereby everyone in the family including the grandparents, parents and children are full members under one membership.
At the end of the symposium, Weed was presented with the first David Hueber Sustainable Golf Community Sustainability Award which recognizes leadership and innovation in the principles and practice of sustainable golf course development and operations.