As in previous years the meeting started with two days of golf hosting the prestigious President’s Cup. The first round was played at a classic Harry Colt venue and several times host to Open de France – Golf de St. Germain. The architectural masterpiece of traditional Colt features was played with great enthusiasm by everyone and the course received some outstanding reviews at the end of the day.
The second and final day was played at a more modern golf course and proven to be a much tougher test. The golf shown by the Europeans during last autumns Ryder Cup at Le Golf National was long gone when the European Architects took the stage of this magnificent test of golf.
Winner at the end of two days of golf and 2019’s winner of the President’s Cup is Niall Glen. Niall managed the almost impossible task of shooting a 3 under par finishing round to ensure to bring the title home back to Scotland. The title for Partners and Guests was also brought to Scotland after two very impressive rounds by contractor David Nelson.
The Annual General Meeting was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel Paris-Boulogne on the Wednesday morning. It was a well-attended meeting where some great discussions were held regarding not only the business of the organisation but also about the state of the game. It was great to see the enthusiasm shown by our members in how to develop the game of golf and what role we as the EIGCA can play in the future.
At this year’s AGM current President Ross McMurray was to retire succeeded by his Vice President Christoph Staedler. The council also had several members retiring and three new council members were elected. Paul Kimber, Gareth Williams and Christian Lundin and Tim Lobb was elected as the new Vice President.
Following the members’ meeting the annual conference took over the stage. This year a fantastic list of speakers was brought in to discuss everything from how the Ryder Cup has affected golf in France to what The R&A is doing with the long-term plan which the EIGCA plays a central role in.
It started with Member Robert Berthet talking about the “Ryder Cup effect” in French golf. Next up was Emanuel Frauenlob from Trackman who spoke about how to use trackman technology in our industry and in the golf business as a whole. After listening to this we all know that the golf business will undoubtedly change over the coming years, it’s just how it’s going to change that is the question.
Steve Isaac from The R&A explained their initiative called “Golf Course 2030”. This is a very important initiative on how our main golfing body, collectively with all organisations, wants to plan for the future.
After a short break we got to listen to how artificial grass surfaces will be more and more included in future projects. Can it actually save maintenance costs? Kevin Holinaty from Southern Golf explained in detail how this much discussed material can be a good tool for us as golf course architects.
Vanessa Bell from the Golf Foundation followed with an inspirational talk on how they support Junior Golf, helping to generate more future golfers and members.
Harry Cloke from Shorehill Analytics showcased his software on how to utilise data from actual golf rounds in design decisions for our projects. It is obvious that more and more data is available to everyone in the business and utilised in the right way it can be a great tool.
To sum up the day Will Carr from Ransome Jacobsen explained about their commitment to Le Golf National and the Ryder Cup and what it has meant for them as a company, as individuals and for their customers. Fantastic to see how such a big event can affect so many people that is not part of those 24 players teeing up for 3 days of tournament golf.
As tradition dictates, the Annual Meeting should conclude with the President’s Dinner. This year it was held on a river cruise in the city centre of Paris. A very emotional speech by newly elected President Christoph Staedler finished a fantastic dinner before retiring President Ross McMurray was given some retirement gifts. A great finish to what is most likely the greatest Annual Meeting event to date!