Entitled “Golf For All – Designs on the Future” the EIGCA Conference looked predominantly at what could be done to make golf more inclusive, particularly to women, children and people who were visually or physically impaired. Speakers included Tony Bennett, Director of Education for the PGAs of Europe & President of The European Disabled Golf Association, who gave a thought provoking talk on the potential of golf for those with disabilities, Steve Isaac, Director of Golf Course Management at The R&A, who outlined the work of The R&A to inspire the next generation of golfers around the world, and Alexandra Almeida, Chairman of the Sport and Environment Commission on the Olympic Committee of Portugal, who made it clear how important it was that golf proves to be a success at the next two Olympic games in Brazil and Japan.
EIGCA Associate Member, Kari Haug, made an impassioned plea for golf course designers to think more about how their courses should be set up for women golfers, illustrating her talk with some interesting statistics on the ideal length of courses from the ladies tees.
Jose de Sousa e Melo, the President of Estoril Golf Club, was the first speaker of the day and gave an historical context to the development of golf in Portugal and in particular the Lisbon region. Drew Rogers, of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and who was the lead architect for Arthur Hills on the Oitavos Dunes project, also gave a fascinating presentation about the development of Oitavos which helped those who had played the course two days previously to fully understand the important environmental issues which needed to be considered during both the design and construction phases.
As well as The R&A, EIGCA Patrons were represented during the conference by Dean Cleaver of FEGGA, Sam Thomas of GEO and Lodewijk Klootwijk of EGCOA. Lodewijk wound up the conference with an entertaining and forthright talk on VISION 2020, a research project undertaken by the EGCOA to look at the existing golf industry in Europe and develop a policy for the development of golf over the next six years.
With other EIGCA members contributing to the conference programme on a range of topics, especially during the popular 3 minute open mic spots, there was much to learn and plenty to entertain during the day.
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