Golf clubs that struggle with stagnant income, tight budgets, or deferred maintenance are like a high-arcing shot that lands close to the pin, says Chris Wilczynski, principal of C.W. Golf Architecture in Ann Arbor.
Faced with an abundance of golf courses in the country, including Michigan, along with diminished play, Wilczynski hit upon a novel idea to boost C.W. Golf’s revenue. For a fee of $1,500, the golf course architect will spend a day examining all aspects of a club — including walking every hole — and writing a detailed report on every shortcoming, along with prioritizing the most urgent work that needs to be done to improve the club.
“It’s kind of like a financial planner taking all your information and analyzing it,” he says. “I see it as something that adds value for clubs that can’t afford to do a full master plan or spend a lot of money. It’s a roadmap.”
While he may not yet be a household name in the golf industry, for two decades Wilczynski was lead architect and planner for nationally renowned golf architect Arthur Hills in Toledo.
Alongside Hills, Wilczynski worked on more than 20 projects nationwide, ranging from developing award-winning upscale private, public, and resort courses to designing residential golf communities and overseeing major and minor renovation projects.
Wilczynski says the ideal situation is an evaluation that leads to new business. That was the case at the University of Michigan’s Radrick Farms Golf Course in Ann Arbor, where four years ago he did a one-day study of the 50-year-old course, originally designed by famed architect Pete Dye.
“I did that study and then last year I did some more detailed planning work for them for a few different holes, and this year they asked me to do a master plan for the entire golf course,” he says. “That’s exactly how the business is evolving.”
Corbin Todd, director of U-M’s golf courses — who was both the superintendent and general manager at the time Wilcznyski did the initial work at Radrick Farms — says it’s worth it to him to have another set of eyes on the business.
“He’s pretty adaptable, he’s pretty flexible. He’s seen a lot of golf courses. So while Pete Dye is our primary architect and the guy we consult with, Chris is local and it’s just real easy to have him come and look around and bounce ideas off him,” Todd says. “It’s certainly worth the $1,500. I think he brings to mind that saying, ‘It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.’ ” db