Covia announced with the joining of Fairmount Santrol and Unimin last June to form Covia, Best Sand and UNIPAR bunker sand and topdressing can be sourced from the same company. Nearly half of top 100 golf courses in the U.S. are using Best Sand and UNIPAR bunker sand – making Covia products a choice of America’s best facilities.
Whether on the tees, the greens, or the hazards, consistency and playability set Covia’s golf sand apart. The cleaner, pure white sand that is always playable — with championship-level performance and enduring aesthetics ¬— is an important reason why country clubs and courses can attract new members.
Superintendents and course maintenance directors, thinking about spring restoration projects, can count on Covia’s coast-to-coast supply capabilities to ensure fast, door-to-door solutions with a comprehensive distribution network. Nearly 50 plants with more than 50 million tons of annual production capacity are strategically located, defining Covia as a dependable supplier.
“We’re a new company with the same enduring commitment to our customers, which was the promise of Fairmount Santrol and Unimin,” said Terry Gwinn, regional sales manager for golf and turf products. “Our name has changed, but our desire to see golf courses impress their players is permanent.”
Covia is showcasing its golf sand product lines in booth #1919 at the Golf Industry Show Feb. 6-7 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Club Car has launched the new Carryall 502 and will unveil the the next generation turf utility vehicle during the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego at booth #3827.
After extensive engagement with superintendents, dealers and customers, Club Car has taken the best of previous utility models and blended its 30-year tradition with a new modern vehicle. The Carryall 502 delivers a spacious occupant area with extra-large dash pockets to easily transport crew and equipment. With a total vehicle capacity of 1,200 lbs. (544 kg), the Carryall 502 tackles heavy work with ease.
“Superintendents played an important role in the design of our new Carryall 502,” said Jeff Tyminski, vice president, marketing and product management at Club Car. “Input from more than 400 golf course superintendents contributed to the updated design, which incorporates features such as additional floor space and the best sight lines on every axis, allowing them to do their best work more efficiently and productively.”
The turf utility vehicle has a 14 horsepower Kohler gas engine with closed loop EFI engine. An electric zero emission option is available with Trojan T145 extended range batteries.
As 2019 dawns and we examine the state of the industry, it seems like a good time to shine up the old crystal ball for a glimpse of the future. (Be advised this is the same crystal ball that said East Coast private clubs were recession-proof in 2008 so all predictions should be taken with a large grain of salt.)
That said, Jonesy’s Magic Crystal Futurama Ball Reveals …
The golf market will continue to shrink. There’s no reason to think the current slow deflation of the supply of U.S. courses will stop. Sure, we’re still building a few fabulous new courses every year, but we’re annually closing or converting 200 or so that just can’t compete because of overbuilding, debt, bad management or failure to invest in good conditions.
The current remodeling trend will further reshape our industry. Smart facilities – mostly private clubs and high-value resorts and semi-privates – are investing now to ensure they can compete in 10, 20 or even 50 years. Golf still has strong appeal and experts like our friend, Henry DeLozier, believe the future is bright for private clubs. But you must offer today’s customers something fresh, appealing and fun. A zillion trees, worn-out practice areas, and stupid rules about collared shirts and music on the course ain’t gonna cut it. As we’ve said before, the future belongs to those who adapt and change. Jeez, even the blue blazers at the stodgy old USGA simplified a bunch of rules in the past year. Can’t we all evolve a little?
The fixer-upper boom that’s being driven by bunkers, regrassing and full or partial renovations is about halfway over. Builders and architects (particularly regional folks doing master plans) are still extremely busy, but in another seven or eight years, the courses that are going to invest will have done so. At that point, we’ll settle into the next new golf market.
The new market will be smaller but healthier and more hospitality driven. A decade from now we’ll have about 13,000 courses (vs. about 15,000 today). The winners in 2029 will be clubs and facilities offering a fresh new golf product combined with fitness, classes, and other activities that attract more women and families. You simply cannot expect to succeed in the future by offering the same crap. What’s the average age of your member or customer? Is it over 50? If so, you’re screwed if you don’t act soon to attract a new, younger and more diverse customer base.
From a supplier standpoint, the market 10 years from now will be even more stratified than we see today. Currently, the top 20 percent of courses account for about 60 percent of all spending. I think it will feel more like 75 percent in future as labor costs grow and make it even more difficult for facilities in the bottom half of the market to maintain current spending levels or invest in infrastructure. That said, the profitability we’re seeing today at top clubs and high-end daily fees suggests the overall golf market will continue modest growth despite closures at the low-end.
A lot of amenity courses built in the ’80s and ’90s as housing anchors will struggle and fail in the next decade. It’s a bad business model because they don’t have enough play within the development to support the course and few ever attract much outside public play because the perception is they are private and expensive. Homeowners around these courses are starting to reject the idea of paying exorbitant HOA fees to maintain a course they don’t use. Hard to blame them.
The result of that will be a mini-boom in the business of shutting down failed courses and turning them into greenspace, hiking trails or other recreation areas. There’s an entire industry waiting for smart people who figure out how to repurpose these courses that simply can’t be turned into more housing.
Maintenance will be reshaped by labor costs. Again, this will be a story of haves and have-nots. The haves – 5,000 or so top facilities – will solve problems by hiring the appropriate number of people and employing the lion’s share of the shrinking number of kids coming out of traditional four-year turf programs. The have-nots will struggle, discount green fees and further reduce investments in the property. Not good.
Yes, there will be more robotic mowers (and probably “bunker roombas” that rake sand). It’s inevitable. Again, we’re not replacing workers with robots, we’re focusing trained humans on important stuff and letting the machines do simple, repeatable tasks.
Lastly, I’m not saying that superintendents will rule the world in 2029, but in a future that demands sustainable urban greenspaces, supers will be pretty damned important. After all, you manage the asset that matters – the big, living, breathing green thing that attracts and inspires so many people. Because of that, your future looks very bright indeed.
Pat Jones is GCI’s editorial director.
Horseshoe Bay Resort, nestled in the picturesque Texas Hill Country just outside of Austin, is putting the final touches on a $70-million resort and multi-course renovation.
With four acclaimed championship golf courses and the innovative Whitewater Putting Course, Horseshoe Bay offers an appealing array of unforgettable golfing experiences designed by World Golf Hall of Fame members Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jack Nicklaus.
In 2016, Horseshoe Bay embarked on an expansive $7.5-million project to upgrade all three of its Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designs, Slick Rock, Ram Rock, and Apple Rock. The improvements to the courses and overall golf product has the resort community in position to earn nationwide attention and a rise in out-of-state rounds.
“Everything traveling golfers’ value, you’ll find here in a truly distinct and elevated presentation,” Horseshoe Bay Resort managing director Bryan Woodward said. “The investment we have put into these renovations have elevated the quality of our golf to a national level and has made the overall golf experience more fun for our guests.”
Situated on the gleaming shores of the constant-level Lake LBJ and meandering through a rugged 7,000-acre expanse of rolling Hill Country, the scenic Horseshoe Bay Resort is the only waterfront resort in Texas. Tropically adorned with palm trees, bold water features and the most colorful vegetation this side of Hawaii, this resort stands apart, both visually and in the guest experience. The golfing experience matches that uniqueness.
“People know desert golf, mountain golf, links golf and parkland golf, but if you’ve never experienced golf in the rocky, panoramic Texas Hill Country, your bucket list has another line to check,” Woodward said. “Once you play golf in this setting, it just stays with you.”
Before there was ever a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Horseshoe Bay was home to three very distinct courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The Ram Rock course, constructed in 1981, has made its reputation as one of the toughest courses in Texas. Slick Rock, the first golf course built (in 1971) at Horseshoe Bay, features a classic parkland setting and classic elements of Jones’ renowned architectural sensibility. Wall-to-wall renovations to both courses have enhanced playability and fun from the forward and middle tees while maintaining each layout’s legendary challenge for scratch players.
Each of the course renovations included installing the latest 007 bentgrass greens to improve quality of turf, expanded green sizes by as much as 50 percent in some areas, renovating bunkers, re-shaping and leveling tee-boxes, new irrigation, as well as adding beautiful rock retaining walls along all of the water-hazards to improve over-all course aesthetics. This was most significant with the awe-inspiring "Million Dollar Hole" where golfers follow a winding path across a 35-yard rock-walled waterfall.
The final course and renovation project, Apple Rock, will see much of the same renovations completed as its sister courses and will re-open in May 2019. The course offers some of the most picturesque views in the region. Jones Sr. strategically routed holes to take advantage of the many higher elevation points that overlook Horseshoe Bay and Lake LBJ.
Punctuating the re-opening of the Ram Rock and Apple Rock courses will be the unveiling of the luxe, new Cap Rock Clubhouse. Members and guests of Horseshoe Bay will enjoy the new Cap Rock setting with its expansive views of the courses and Texas Hill Country. It will feature a dining room and bar area along with a pro shop, swimming pool, cabana, pavilion area for groups, and a practice/teaching facility.
Complementing the championship golf is the highly-unique Whitewater Putting Course, a tropically-adorned 18-hole day/night real-grass putting course that sits adjacent to the hotel and is routed around the energetic 360 Sports Club.
Alice Dye, the first female President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), a Fellow and 2017 Donald Ross Award recipient, died Feb. 1, 2019, at age 91. The matriarch of the most famous family in golf course design – and architect of the famed 17th hole “island green” at TPC Sawgrass – ASGCA members will remember Dye for her service to ASGCA and the game of golf.
A winner of more than 50 amateur golf tournaments, Dye earned the Indiana State Championship nine times, and won three Florida State Championships and 11 Indianapolis City Championships. She also won the Doherty Cup, and secured a place on the U.S. team for the 1970 Curtis Cup.
She met her future husband, Pete, at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. The couple married in 1950 and moved to Indiana, where Pete began a career in golf course architecture in 1955.
Their commitment to golf course design was cemented after a tour of Scottish golf courses that followed Pete’s competing in the 1963 British Amateur. “Both Pete and I were champion golfers and played famous courses, which influenced our design features,” Dye said in a 2018 interview.
“I think our golfing ability was significant to our design work. It helped us to make tees for all abilities, as we truly understood the game. I have worked hard on playable yardages for women,” she said.
Alice joined Pete in the design and construction of their first course, El Dorado (Royal Oak), now called Dye’s Walk, in Indianapolis. She continued as co-designer for numerous courses, including: PGA West, LaQuinta, California; Harbour Town Golf Links and Long Cove Club, Hilton Head, South Carolina; Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Indiana; and Teeth of the Dog, La Romana, Dominican Republic.
Her “Two Tee System for Women” was cutting edge, encouraging clubs to introduce an additional set of forward tees for women.
"Alice was certainly a pioneer and inspiration to us all regardless of gender, but she blazed a trail as only she could for great architects like Jan Bel Jan, Vicki Martz and Cynthia Dye McGarey to follow," ASGCA President Jeff Blume said. "She will definitely be missed."
A leader in golf administration, Dye served on the USGA Women’s Committee and USGA Handicap Committee, the LPGA Advisory Council and on the Board of the Women’s Western Golf Association.
The Dyes’ golf course legacy stretches far beyond the courses they designed themselves. Many of golf’s leading course architects honed their craft while working alongside the Dyes. The couple’s sons, P.B. Dye, ASGCA, and Perry Dye, ASGCA, have also gone on to develop their own golf course design portfolios. Many other members of the extended Dye family are now also involved in golf course architecture, including their niece, Cynthia Dye McGarey, ASGCA.
Alice Dye received numerous awards and honors, including inductions into the Indiana Hall of Fame and Florida State Golf Association Hall of Fame; The Heritage of Indianapolis Award; the Don Rossi Award for Lifetime Contributions to Golf; the Women’s Western Golf Association’s Woman of Distinction Award; and the PGA of America’s 2004 First Lady of Golf Award.
Dye became an ASGCA member in 1983, served as President from 1997-98 and achieved Fellow status in 2004. She is survived by her husband, Pete, and sons, P.B. and Perry.
A Florida Celebration of Life will be held at Gulf Stream Golf Club 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 20, 2019. An Indiana Celebration of Life will be held at Crooked Stick Golf Club 2 to 4 p.m. May 29, 2019.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wayside House, 378 NE 6th Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33483, or the Indiana Golf Foundation, 2625 Hurricane Road, Franklin, IN 46131.