David Heuber, a 25-year industry veteran, received his Ph.D. from Clemson University. His dissertation contends that courses built in the 1990s have led to a decline in participation and rounds, because their cost and difficulty “offers a product customers don’t want to buy.”
Golf industry executive David Hueber has earned his Ph. D. in Planning, Design and the Built Environment from Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. Hueber’s experience in the industry spans 25 years, in which he has served as the Vice President of Marketing at the PGA Tour, President and CEO of the National Golf Foundation, the Ben Hogan Company and Ben Hogan Properties.
“The research focus for my dissertation, ‘The Changing Face of the Game and Golf’s Built Environment,’ was sustainable golf course and golf community development,” said Hueber. “The gist of my research is that the golf courses built or renovated during the 1990s were more costly, difficult and take longer to play than the golf courses built during the 1920s and 1960s, which may have contributed to the decline in golf participation and rounds played.
“Consequently, the golf industry has inherited a large number of unsustainable golf courses that are not environmentally sensitive, economically viable and socially responsible,” Hueber added. “This suggests we are offering a golf course product that our customers don’t want to buy.”
Dr. Elaine Worzala, who chaired Hueber’s dissertation committee, said Hueber’s research is of great importance to the golf course and related real estate business in contending with the current challenges confronting the golf industry.
“A paradigm change in an industry is often overlooked, and irreparable damage can occur if the critical issues are not addressed proactively,” Worzala noted, “So, groundbreaking research such as this that clearly shows the product has shifted to something the consumer does not want can enable an industry to chart a new course to fix the problems, as opposed to letting the confounding winds of change determine golf’s future direction and destiny.”
In April, Clemson hosted the inaugural “Golf S.O.S.: Symposium on Sustainability,” which focused on the growth and vitality of the game. Club & Resort Business reported on the symposium at the time (“Clemson University Hosts Inaugural “Golf S.O.S: Symposium on Sustainability”).