Past Ten, Next Ten: Interview with Doug Carrick

As we roll past the first year of this decade I've asked two standard questions to a few key players in our industry. I wanted to know their thoughts, from their unique role and perspective, on what we saw over this last ten years and what to expect in the ten to come.

Doug Carrick founded Carrick Design in 85, and over the past thirty-six years he has been involved in the planning and design of over fifty golf course projects. Early in his career, Doug worked with Robbie Robinson, a very well respected Canadian golf course architect who had learned from the great Stanley Thompson.  For those of you unfamiliar with Doug's work, here is a Top Ten list from my buddy Robert Thompson.

Turfhugger has interviewed Doug Carrick before, and thought fit to invite him back to see his thoughts on the Past Ten, Next Ten in golf.

Turfhugger: To what degree have environmental issues affected your role through this past decade?

Doug Carrick: Environmental issues related to golf courses over the past decade have steadily gained more attention and scrutinity on a number of levels. Not only has the development of new golf courses had to deal with the greater amount of scrutiny related to environmental issues, but existing golf courses have also had to adjust their methods of course maintenance to meet higher environmental standards.

The most obvious changes in golf course maintenance over the past decade has been in the development of integrated pest management programs to reduce the use of pesticides, to reduce the use of water and to integrate the development of more naturalized areas on golf courses. No longer do we see golf courses that are maintained from "wall to wall" as many were 20 years ago.

Turfhugger: What major changes will we see in the next Ten Years that will affect your role most significantly?

Doug Carrick: I believe in the next decade the standards for environmental protection will only become more and more demanding. It is very likely that we will see a greater reduction in the use of pesticides and quite possibly a ban on the use of chemical pest control. This will mean an increased use of organic fertilizers and pest controls. We are also likely to see tighter and tighter controls on the use of water for irrigation purposes. This will mean more storage ponds to collect storm water runoff and the use of treated effluent or "grey" water for irrigation.

I believe the other area that the golf industry will need to foucs on over the next decade will be in reducing the costs to play, reducing the costs of maintenance and reducing the costs to build new courses. Also finding ways to speed up play and reduce the amount of time it takes to play golf. This may mean shorter and more compact courses in the future or even an increase in the number of 9 hole or executive length courses.