The Built Environment, Land Use, Health and Golf Courses

As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, the built environment—in terms of what is built, where it is built, and how it is built—is having a critical impact on the physical and emotional well-being of residents and workers, according to Richard Jackson, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health… Read more at Linking the Built Environment to Better Health

Golf clubs going back to nature to be greener

Beyond birdies – enhancing biodiversity on urban golf courses

Golf Industry Executive David Hueber earned his Doctorate (in 2012) with breakthrough research on sustainable golf course development. David Hueber, a “nontraditional” doctoral student stepped outside of the golf industry for four years and was awarded his doctorate at the 2012 summer graduation services. He has served as a senior executive in the golf industry for over 25 years 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 (owner of the Pebble Beach Company).

Hueber was awarded a Ph.D. in Planning, Design and the Built Environment from Clemson University. “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;” Hueber continued, “Consequently, the golf industry has inherited a large number of unsustainable golf courses that are not environmentally sensitive, economically viable and socially responsible. This suggests that we are offering a golf course product that our customers don’t want to buy.”

Dr. Elaine Worzala, who chaired Hueber’s dissertation committee and in 2010 co-authored a paper published in The Journal of Sustainable Real Estate published by the American Real Estate Society, “Code Blue for Golf Course Real Estate Development: Code Green for Sustainable Golf Course Development,” commented that Hueber’s research is of great importance to the golf course and related real estate businesses 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.”

On April 2, 2012, the Richard H. Pennell Center for Real Estate Development and the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership sponsored the first “Golf S.O.S. Symposium on Sustainability” to discuss 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. “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.

Dr. Worzala, Director of the Pennell Center for Real Estate Development, was particularly intrigued with Bobby Weed’s entrepreneurial approach in his presentation, “Repurposing for Sustainable Golf Course Development,” which focused on the innovative 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 golf community, and overcome what seems like major obstacles by engaging the community and turning them into partners in the redevelopment process.”

The symposium concluded with Dr. Worzala presenting Bobby Weed with the first David Hueber Golf Community Sustainability Award. Throughout his professional career and later in his doctoral research, David Hueber has opened the eyes of the industry, and this new “Game Changer” award will annually recognize leadership and innovation in the principles and practice of sustainable golf course development and operations.


Now come back to 2015:

“The idea of building residential developments in the United States around golf courses is being rethought as demand for golf facilities continues to fade. The National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports that 2013 was the eighth-consecutive year that golf course closures outpaced openings, with 158 closures and 14 openings. Ninety-six percent of those closures were public courses.

The foundation also reports that there had been an estimated drop of 600,000 golfers compared with the year before, reflecting a continuing decline in golfing since 2006. The total decline in golfers since 2006 has been roughly 4 million. Following a 40 percent growth in golf in the United States from 1986 through 2005, a period when more than 4,500 courses opened, 643 18-hole courses have closed since 2006, according to the NGF.”

Read more here: Golf: No Longer a Hole in One

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