Beyond the firing of Stephen Ross, there was plenty of interesting news coming out of the golf show on Friday.
Golf designer Thomas McBroom pulled my aside at the Raven at Lora Bay party to let me know he had big news — he’ll be designing courses with LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam had made it known she’d like to build more designs, and apparently McBroom will help facilitate that. He wouldn’t say where the courses will be built, though he indicated that would be intriguing as well. He’s also building a course for gold baron Peter Munk of Barrick Gold fame in Europe. These are interesting moves by McBroom, as savvy a businessman as he is a designer. He’s already worked alongside Tom Lehman at Lora Bay, and is still pushing ahead with a design with Seve Ballesteros in Celebration, Florida. Now Sorenstam. I guess the question will be how involved she is with the projects, or whether these are just more mail in jobs for marketing purposes.
Several course owners were decidedly disappointed in the RCGA’s decision to invest in the Skins program, including one that said he had considered voicing his displeasure in a letter. “Why should the RCGA be supporting golf discounts?” was his question to me. I told him I didn’t understand it at all. However, I think course owners need to be careful in understanding the RCGA is not the NGCOA and does not necessarily represent their views. Of course this is complicated by the fact the course’s members pay fees to the RCGA. Some might see this as the RCGA having used fees from course owners to buy a program that will discount the fees those course owners charge. However, I think it isn’t quite that simple. Needless to say this program hasn’t been marketed or communicated very well.
Lots of public golf on display at the show, many offering discounts themselves. Fewer private courses, but still a number trying to gain some members.