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The Future Of Golf

For those of you that are true golf enthusiasts, the discussion surrounding the future of golf is a longwinded debate had on the patio while enjoying a beer with your friends after your round of golf; a debate thatusually ends in a stalemate.

The reality for the game of golf is that it has changed over the years for many different reasons, whether it’s technology in the equipment, interest in the sport, or the economic landscape. Having been in the private golf club industry since 1999, I can tell you that there is one constant that has not changed; people who play this game love it and want to play all the time.
A major challenge I see is the time commitment in which we must place on playing golf. Long gone are the days where you would go to the golf course for lunch, golf, and then enjoy plenty of libations after the round. The game is becoming a family sport with more spouses, children, and
grandchildren spending time at the golf course. The future of golf may be simple; offer better value to a wider range of golfers and their families, however, this may be easier said than done. Anytime you start to consider expanding your offerings as a golf club, there is an inherent cost vs. benefit analysis, where cost usually trumps benefit as generating capital dollars can often be a challenge. Here at the Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club (EPGCC), we are taking a proactive approach to enhance the value we offer to our members through our Capital Sustainability Program. We recognize that there is a need to continually develop our business to meet the future needs of our members. Our members need flexibility, adaptability, and accessibility that equate to the value proposition. Time is of the essence; having a full-service club that offers you all your golf needs gives you more time to enjoy the game of golf.

The EPGCC is embarking on exciting renovation plans that will provide our members with the flexibility and accessibility we want to achieve. Our goal is to redevelop our practice facility, increasing the size, and adding new features that will enhance your golf experience. Plans for the newly renovated area include a larger driving range, short game areas to practice any shot you can imagine under 100 yards (including bunker shots), a large putting green, and a three hole loop with a full-length par 3, 4 & 5. These areas will be perfect to not only practice your game and improve your skills, but also to spend time with friends and family without playing a full 18 holes.
Three Hole Loop/ Upgraded Practice Facility 

The drive for new membership will always be at the fore front of the EPGCC, especially in the upcoming years as the golfing market changes. Properly understanding and leading the way into future of the golf industry will assist in separating our club from the others. We have begun the process of becoming visionary thinkers and considered a number of options to increase our impact in the market and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. There should always be a component of our long range planning that improves the marketability our club and addresses the industry gaps.

The completion of our three hole loop will firstly give us the ability to plan and address multiple areas on the golf course within any one year while giving our members a full 18 holes of golf each and every season. This means less disruption to 18 hole golf while we upgrade and maintain our golf course. The ability to complete multiple jobs within any one year while giving our members an 18 hole experience will prove to be extremely cost efficient. Secondly the EPGCC will be the only 21 hole facility offering 3 championship designed practice holes for member use on a daily basis.

One of the largest areas of growth in the past few years within the golf industry has been in the area of practice facilities. More and more golfers are placing a priority on practice facilities when deciding which club to join or where to play. The newer generation of golfer is spending as much time practicing as they are playing as time can often impact the amount in which a member uses the golf course. When time becomes a factor it is just as attractive to come out to the course to practice a little with your spouse or kids as opposed to playing 18 holes of golf. In addition to the three hole loop the EPGCC is embarking on complete renovations to the driving range, short game area and large putting green.
Three Hole Loop & Practice Facility Rendering

Renovation Hole #1

Renovation on Hole # 1 will start immediately in the 2019 season. We are addressing some lingering drainage problems that have affected the ability of our turf experts to maintain premier turf conditions. The poor winter conditions and growing season in 2018 highlighted those drainage deficiencies. The renovation will also address some upgrades to the mainline irrigation & tee structures. We are bringing in sub surface herring bone drainage to properly manage surface water as well as slightly increasing the slope of the fairway. We will remove a bunker as determined by our course architect. Once all shaping is complete we will be complete sodding all areas with Pencross bentgrass. The timeline of this project is very short and we will be complete by June 1st, our member will be playing our current additional hole to start the season.
 During the Renovation

Hole 1 progress.JPG