Symposium On Affordable Golf - What Could Be More Timely?

Yesterday, a Google search... for I-don't-remember-what... yielded a result that immediately caught my eye. It was notable because it featured the words golf and affordable in the same sentence.

That's how I discovered the "Symposium on Affordable Golf". scheduled to take place on Monday, November 7, at the Southern Pines Elks Club Lodge building, just next to the Southern Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC ...adnd for those concerned about the declining popularity of the game, the topic is as timely as any I can think of. 

Though several reasons are often sited for the drop-off in golf participation, cost is the most basic.  It's the primordial reason... the one that lends credence to other factors such as the time it takes to play a round or the difficulty of the game.

Richard Mandell - symposium fou
The symposium is a one day event and is remarkable on many levels, starting with Richard Mandell, who is the force behind it all.  A noted golf architect and author of award-winning golf books, the native of Rye, NY also co-hosts a golf radio talk showblogs for Washington Times Communities and has for the past fifteen years taught a class on Golf Architecture at North Carolina State University.  ~ Richard Mandell is clearly passionate about golf and captivated by golf courses.

This emotional connection to a game currently losing ground, is no doubt what inspired him to host the first Symposium on Affordable Golf one year ago. ~ The unique cross-section of participants at last year's event is described on the symposium's website,
"The 2010 event was attended by 75 people "with a passion for the game and a stake in the business. Included in that number were fifteen golfers whose only stake was to continue playing a game each of them loves. Their input was a key component of the Symposium’s success as it is rare to have the end-user side by side those of us who serve them sharing concerns, ideas, and solutions to the challenges the business (and the game) faces going forward."
The course at Southern Pines Golf Club where symposium participants will play.
You see, what's really unique about the Symposium on Affordable Golf is that it's open to anyone with a connection to the game and a concern for its future... and its free.

There's some excellent feedback from the 2010 symposium on the forums at Golf Club Atlas.  The response indicates a well-executed event that resulted in an open forum on how to look at golf in a different light, and an exciting exchange of ideas on how golf might be made more accessible/affordable to a greater swath of the population.

Richard Mandell's white paper presents the major topics and outlines the many ideas. Quite a few of the concepts will be familiar, but seeing them presented the way they are here, allows one to better grasp the cause-and-effect dynamics that come into play whenever discussions of growing the game take place.  {continued}

The 2011 event will take up where 2010 left off, openly encouraging attendees to look at golf in a different light.  The speakers are stellar, the topics timely... and the agenda includes an optional round of "affordable" golf on an enticing Donald Ross course.  I really regret that I won't be able to attend. Though I feel I'm quite connected to what's going on in the golf industry, I wasn't aware of the Symposium on Affordable Golf until yesterday,  and I just have too much going on. However I'll be there next year and in the meantime I'm hoping others did discover it in time, and will be there to add to the discussion and perhaps, share some insights post-symposium.

It's a fact of life that in our current all-about-page-views golf media environment a predictably lame comment by Stevie Williams... or a random WozniAckilroy rumor will be covered ad nauseum; picked apart, anylised, tweeted and retweeted... by everyone from the most casual Sunday blogger to the sport's most esteemed scribes.  That's not the case for an event like the Symposium on Affordable Golf.  Pertinent as it may be to the golfers and golf business people of today, a story like this can be easily eclipsed by golf's more tabloid-ish tales.

Related Links

Take the The Golf Experience - Your Way! survey. Results to be discussed at the 2011 Symposium on Affordable Golf.
Richard Mandell talks about Affordable Golf.
A profile of Richard Mandell by Stephen Goodwin of "The A Position"