Meet Bobby Jones
The Bobby Jones Initiative
focuses on the identity, physical and social environment, and marketing of Bobby Jones Golf Club, including Capital Improvements, with the development of a Strategic Vision and a Master Plan.
Identify the essential and valuable parameters of Bobby Jones Golf Club, its relationship to its neighboring community and its reach into the City of Sarasota's past and present to help define and develop a Strategic Vision and Master Plan for a sustainable future.
Rebrand Bobby Jones Golf Club, to consistently identify and celebrate the unique and enduring connection between the City of Sarasota and golf immortal Bobby Jones.
Provide the necessary research and working framework for and market the new Bobby Jones Clubhouse, to support the needs of the community and the golf club patrons, to respect and enhance the historic restoration of The Ross Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club and the modern renovation of The Azinger Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club and to compete within a higher and wider spectrum of the marketplace.
Identify and provide necessary Performance Metrics through research, consulting and player and patron surveys to meet or exceed industry standards and achieve best practices to continually enhance the experience of Bobby Jones Golf Club for the City of Sarasota and her guests.
Towards a Strategic Vision
A Strategic Vision
An essential element of the Bobby Jones Initiative is beginning and continuing a public discussion about what Bobby Jones Golf Club ought to represent and accomplish for the City of Sarasota and its visitors. The Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club continues to recommend, and the leadership within the City of Sarasota recognizes the need for, a long-term plan established in concert with a STRATEGIC VISION for Bobby Jones Golf Club.
At another crucial point in time, to prevent repeating the mistakes of the past.
A review of the history of Bobby Jones Golf Club reveals a series of well-intentioned but ultimately counter-productive decisions at each point of major "capital improvement" investments over the past forty-plus years:
In 1967, the City of Sarasota completed the last nine-hole addition to the championship course facility, bringing the total number of holes to thirty-six, and allowing for two separate 18-hole championship courses. While the City had at that time stewardship of an original, intact and operating, classic and historic 1925 Donald Ross designed golf course, the Ross course was divided in two and each half joined to a new nine hole track, unnecessarily negating the Ross design intent and the value of the historic course.
In 1971, the City of Sarasota replaced an aging clubhouse with a new 8000 square foot building, siting the building so as to locate its vehicular entry area directly on the original Donald Ross first tee. In that year, the City of Sarasota added a larger facility for the garaging of golf carts, as well as a smaller golf bag locker building, directly on the original Donald Ross first fairway. These capital improvements unnecessarily re-routed and shortened by 66 yards the historic Hole No. 1 of the Ross course, further negating the Ross design intent and the again devaluing of the historic course.
In 1987, the City of Sarasota commissioned major irrigation and drainage improvements to the American Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club, including unnecessary renovations (not restorations) to nine of the historic Donald Ross holes No. 10 through No. 18. These renovations included, most notably, re-routing and design modifications to Ross' historic No. 11, No. 14, No. 15 and No. 18 holes, unnecessarily locating ponds in Ross strategic fairway landing areas and relocating and renovating classic Ross greens and tees.
In 2008, the City of Sarasota recognized the deteriorated condition of the 1971 clubhouse with plans for a replacement clubhouse. While the Great Recession and the responsive City budgets of 2008 through 2012 delayed major capital improvements at Bobby Jones Golf Club, the 2013-2014 and future Annual Budgets again included major capital improvement investments planned on the golf courses and for new buildings, absent a Strategic Vision or a Master Plan.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club is leading the discussions, review and critique of the planned budgets and management plans for Bobby Jones Golf Club, insisting upon a recognition of the historic nature and value of the Donald Ross course, and consistent with a Strategic Vision that includes the restoration of the Ross Design Intent and a Master Plan in accordance with the Four Initiatives.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club is developing tools to establish benchmarks and to measure and integrate best practices for the continued development and improvement of Bobby Jones Golf Club, and to share this conversation in partnership with the community and with appropriate government, business and not for profit organizations and Friends.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club will continue to measure and address decision-making, performance, attitudes and perceptions to provide relevant and comprehensive recommendations, effective strategies, programs and proposals for Bobby Jones Golf Club.
Creating a Master Plan
Identity Master Plan
Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota, Florida offers a unique and extremely rare set of links within the history of golf.
THE CITY OF SARASOTA is the site of the very first golf course in Florida, a state now home to more than 1400 golf courses, leading the nation. Sarasota's first elected mayor, Scot John Hamilton Gillespie, built a two-hole course on two acres of what is now downtown Sarasota in 1886 and extended this to a nine-hole layout in 1905. Some claim that the City of Sarasota is home to the first golf course in the United States, though evidence suggests at least one golf course in operation prior to Gillespie's. Today's Gillespie Executive Golf Course is named in his honor. However, a search will find no mention of Sarasota's golf history and Gillespie's leading role in it at the course.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to identify and celebrate John Hamilton Gillespie and his place in golf history at Sarasota's Bobby Jones Golf Club to ensure that John Hamilton Gillespie remains an integral part of Bobby Jones Golf Club now and in the future. Visit our website's pages on John Hamilton Gillespie and the Gillespie Initiative.
WHEN GILLESPIE'S ORIGINAL GOLF COURSE CLOSED after his death in 1923, forward thinking city leaders authorized land acquisition for Sarasota Municipal Golf Course, and in 1925 commissioned the great Golf Course Architect Donald Ross. Yet today, there is no direct attribution to Donald Ross at his classic golf course at Bobby Jones Golf Club.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to identify and celebrate Donald Ross and his place in golf history at Sarasota's Bobby Jones Golf Club to ensure that Donald Ross remains an integral part of Bobby Jones Golf Club now and in the future. Visit our website's pages on Donald Ross and the Ross Initiative.
VERY FEW GOLF COURSES in the United States, indeed in the world, offer direct links to both Donald Ross and to Bobby Jones.
1) Bobby Jones grew up and learned the game at Donald Ross designed East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. East Lake was the venue for six Southern Amateurs, including the 1922 tournament won by Bobby Jones, and for three Southern Opens, including the 1927 tournament won by Bobby Jones.
Since 1998, East Lake Golf Club has been home to the Tour Championship, the final tournament of the PGA Tour playoffs deciding the winner of the FedEx Cup. East Lake also hosted the 2001 United States Amateur Championship, the 1950 United States Women's Amateur, the 1963 Ryder Cup and the 1997 Western Junior Championship.
2) Bobby Jones won the 1926 United States Open at Donald Ross designed Scioto Country Club. Young Jack Nicklaus learned the game at Scioto. Scioto also hosted the 1931 Ryder Cup, the 1950 PGA Championship, the 1968 United States Amateur, the 1986 United States Senior Open, and will host the 2016 United States Senior Open Championship.
3) Bobby Jones won the 1926 United States Amateur at Donald Ross designed Brae Burn Country Club. Brae Burn has hosted seven USGA Championships, including the 1919 United States Open.
4) Bobby Jones won the 1930 United States Open in his Grand Slam campaign at Donald Ross designed Interlachen Country Club. Interlachen also hosted the 1914 Western Open won by Jim Barnes, the 1935 U.S. Women's Amateur, the 1986 USGA Senior Amateur, the 1993 Walker Cup, the 2002 Solheim Cup and the 2008 United States Women's Open.
5) Bobby Jones Golf Club in the City of Sarasota, Florida was designed by Donald Ross in 1925 and hosted the immortal Bobby Jones in exhibitions, including the dedication match on February 13, 1927.
The Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to identify and celebrate Bobby Jones and his place in golf history at Sarasota's Bobby Jones Golf Club to ensure that Bobby Jones remains an integral part of Bobby Jones Golf Club now and in the future. Visit our website's pages on Bobby Jones and the Jones Initiative.
ON SUNDAY, JUNE FIRST 1980, 1978 Sarasota High School graduate Paul Azinger won the Sarasota City Amateur Golf Championship at Bobby Jones Golf Club. Azinger had recently accepted a golf scholarship at Florida State University, and two days later competed for a spot at a United States Open Sectional Qualifier at Atlanta Athletic Club Country Club. Paul Azinger went on to win the PGA Tour "Q-School" Qualifying tournament toward a career that included a dozen Tour wins, an additional six professional wins, Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year, a major championship victory in the 1993 PGA Championship at Donald Ross designed Inverness Club, and the captaincy of the winning 2008 Ryder Cup American team. There is no significant recognition of Paul Azinger at the Bobby Jones Golf Club clubhouse today.
The Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to identify and celebrate Paul Azinger and his place in golf history at Sarasota's Bobby Jones Golf Club to ensure that Paul Azinger remains an integral part of Bobby Jones Golf Club now and in the future. Visit our website's pages on Paul Azinger and the Azinger Initiative.
Today, at the golf course and in online and print advertisements, editorials and reports, Bobby Jones Golf Club is referred to variously as "Bobby Jones Golf Course" and as "Bobby Jones Golf Complex", creating confusion in the public eye. In addition to displaying no consistent name, Bobby Jones Golf Club offers no consistent graphic identity, creating further confusion.
A study of all online reviews of Bobby Jones Golf Club reveals further marketplace confusion, as some customers falsely attribute the design of the golf course to Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones, Jr., while other customers are unaware of the course designed in 1925 by Donald Ross. On the course, the confusion is not abated: advertising, signage and even scorecards do not offer the visitor a clear and consistent understanding and appreciation of the links between Bobby Jones Golf Club, Bobby Jones himself, and Donald Ross.
A prime example of the marketing disconnect is seen in today's golf course scorecards: The cards are not consistent with facility and course names, on-course signage, on-course or online graphics, or hole yardages. The scorecards feature advertisements for competitor's golf driving range, golf academy, golf equipment, PGA golf instruction, club fitting and repair and restaurants and food services, directing customers away from services offered at Bobby Jones Golf Club. The scorecards further dilute and degrade the golf experience by offering advertisements for such unrelated businesses as automotive services, fencing contractors and liquor stores. The Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club suggests that such advertising programs are counter-productive, and welcomes sponsorship opportunities for businesses to support programs at Bobby Jones Golf Club that include public recognition for those sponsors.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to create and offer a consistent and integrated IDENTITY MASTER PLAN to serve the on-course and marketing interests of Bobby Jones Golf Club, including logo, graphics, messaging and on-course way-finding systems, as well as development of sponsorship programs for individual, business and organizational support, and through development of a series of ToolKits that will be provided to the City of Sarasota as gifts.
Site Master Plan
Bobby Jones Golf Club comprises more than 260 acres, approximately 3-1/2 miles from City Hall and downtown Sarasota. Situated on former agricultural land and adjacent to the former site of the Winter Quarters of Ringling Brothers Circus, the property has been, since it's opening as Sarasota Municipal Golf Course and Recreation Grounds in 1926, dedicated to serve the golfing public.
East of Beneva Road between Fruitville Road and 17th Street and viewed from each of these major East-West thoroughfares, Bobby Jones Golf Club is accessed from Beneva Road via the tertiary Circus Boulevard. The clubhouse address is 1000 Circus Boulevard.
Essential elements of a SITE MASTER PLAN include identification and analysis of options for site and facility regular and emergency access and egress; interior circulation for vehicles, riding and walking golfers, and pedestrians; identification of areas to be planned for primary (Clubhouse) and secondary and service buildings; Tree Inventory, evaluation and maintenance guidelines; requirements for infrastructure improvements and systemic utility and energy planning; environmentally and economically sustainable practices for man-made and natural areas; identification and planning for parking, Landscape Architecture, site lighting and way-finding/signage systems and amenities; interface with on-site non-golf public services and amenities; and planning for site perimeter areas to address relationships with adjacent properties and neighborhoods.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to inform the SITE MASTER PLAN through development of a series of ToolKits that will be provided to the City of Sarasota as gifts.
Clubhouse Master Plan
Since 2008, following a consultant's report produced by the ADP Group, "Existing Condition Report For Bobby Jones Golf Complex", the City of Sarasota has recognized that the 1971 Bobby Jones Golf Club Clubhouse has been obsolete, under-performing, deficient relative to current Codes, and no longer provides a return on investment. Unlike the process followed in developing the 1971 building, a new Clubhouse must respect, respond to, support and enhance the historic 1925 Donald Ross designed golf course.
Development of planning for the Clubhouse and support buildings must recognize overall priorities defined by and supporting the STRATEGIC VISION, IDENTITY MASTER PLAN, and SITE MASTER PLAN. This will include development of an appropriate program for spaces and systems, golfer and non-golfer amenities and services, peak seasonal and off-seasonal uses and environmental and energy performance.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to inform the CLUBHOUSE MASTER PLAN through development of a series of ToolKits that will be provided to the City of Sarasota as gifts.
PERFORMANCE METRICS measure information that is relevant to the users and managers of a set of products and services, providing a system for capturing and analyzing data from the points of view of all stakeholders. For Bobby Jones Golf Club, this suggests that we listen to and evaluate those areas that are of concern to the every day golfing and non-golfing customer, the occasional visitor, the management and employees, the owners (the City of Sarasota as stewards on behalf of the City residents) as well as the potential customer and those who independently assess the Club: reviewers, the competition, the media.
With the right measurements defined and in place, Bobby Jones Golf Club can better address customer requirements and priorities, learn what works and what doesn't regarding in-house management practices, and establish targets to quantify results and suggest areas and methods for improvement over time.
In 2008, the City of Sarasota commissioned a comprehensive management analysis of Bobby Jones Golf Club, "Operational Review and Recommendations For City of Sarasota Golf Operations" by National Golf Foundation Consulting. The NGF recommendations included a number of important PERFORMANCE METRICS and Industry Standards suggesting a range of goals that could and should be measured, analyzed and responded to over time.
Historically, including since the 2008 NGF report, Bobby Jones Golf Club has measured only the most basic levels of performance, such as rounds per month and per year, revenue per month and per year, and from these established whether the club is under or over performing based upon recent comparative data. These basic reports have in turn informed as-basic budgets for subsequent years for continuing both operating and capital expenses.
In 2012, Shawn Glen Pierson, appointed by the Sarasota City Commission to represent the interests of Bobby Jones Golf Club on the City of Sarasota Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board, authored "RRx: The Reports Report: Analysis, Context and Recommendations for Sustainable Investment in Bobby Jones Golf Club". In RRx, the previous consultants' reports referenced here, and including additional outside and inside City government past reports, were in turn analyzed and presented in a matrix to be able to discern which consultant-recommended Project Goals have been rejected, accepted, or accomplished since 2008.
In addition to providing the inspiration for the establishment of Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club as well as the basis for the Four Initiatives, RRx: The Reports Report reinforced the recommendations by National Golf Foundation Consulting that a series of important PERFORMANCE METRICS be instituted by management at Bobby Jones Golf Club.
In 2013, the City of Sarasota Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board unanimously voted to recommend the RRx: The Reports Report forward to the City Commission for consideration.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club continues to recommend and promote the adoption and use of PERFORMANCE METRICS of Industry Standard and Best Practices measurements such as those recommended by National Golf Foundation Consulting and other meaningful measurements of performance or reporting standards. A goal is to put in place practices and investments to create a documented way to measure or demonstrate the relative effectiveness or return on investment of these policies and practices, and necessary changes, and to suggest further adjustments, improvements or investments.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club operates independently relative to the CIty of Sarasota, the Sarasota City Commission, the recommendations and oversight of the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club reviews and provides comment on City activities such as the proposed Bobby Jones Golf Club 2013-2014 Annual Budget presented to the City Commission representing nearly $1M in projected spending, and seeks back-up data, breakdown of areas of costs, or justification or reasons for the identified expense areas.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club continues to engage in both informal player and Friends surveys, as well as to conduct research and continuing education in the areas of best practices and budget analysis and proposals to help inform each at Bobby Jones Golf Club, toward the successful implementation of the Four Initiatives.
Friends of Bobby Jones Golf Club intends to inform the operational and management PERFORMANCE METRICS through development of a series of ToolKits that will be provided to the City of Sarasota as gifts.
141 Garden Lane Sarasota Florida 34242 Shawn@FriendsofBobbyJonesGolfClub.org