A few months after calling for seismic changes to the golf industry in Asia, the organizers of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit have proven their dedication to the cause by inviting yet another signature ‘designer’ to spruik for work at the 2012 event. They are also trumpeting the news that Jon Scott, head agronomist at Nicklaus Design, will speak at the summit as well.
Those who follow these things closely, will be aware that last year it was Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tony Jacklin who headlined the industry talk-fest, and that during both the previous two events Nicklaus and Player have either spoken or received awards from the event organizers. As the APGS announcement noted, Jon Scott has 35 years experience in the field and has worked with Nicklaus Design for the last 12. Despite recent admissions from Jack himself that his company might have contributed to golf’s current woes, the organisers were nonetheless comfortable in declaring the Nicklaus agronomy team as, ‘arguably the leading maintenance consulting group for golf course design, construction and maintenance.’
Allowing the Nicklaus team another opportunity to promote their brand of signature golf course design is hardly surprising, given they are a major sponsor of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit. Neither is earlier news that former European Tour star and Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie will also attend the function. Montgomerie stopped cashing sizeable prizemoney checks several years ago, and clearly sees signature course design as a good little earner. Speaking directly to delegates at the summit is the ideal platform to impress upon them your achievements in golf and, if they are naive enough, your suitability for their golf course project. Those who haven’t seen any of the IMG courses designed under Colin Montgomerie’s name are likely to be impressed by the Scots apparent knowledge, and status within the golf business.
Sadly, while we hoped that calling for seismic change meant undertaking seismic change yourself, it seems like business as usual at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit with signature and celebrity design once more pushed to delegates as an alternative to ‘proper’ golf course architecture. One can only wonder what the publishers of the Asian Golf Monthly made of the recent decision to award the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course design contract to a relatively unheralded designer like Gil Hanse.