We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Staples and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I was told early on in my work to find one thing you’re good at, and be great at that one thing. For some reason one of the things I’m good at is building consensus. You’re not going to build anything in the golf business unless you can get someone behind what you’re doing. I find more than anything, once I started to understand that building trust with my clients was as important as building creative golf courses, my business started to grow.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m a golf course architect that focuses on the re-imagination of golf course facilities across the world. My golf courses drive participation around creative, fun designs that fit naturally with the land, and are efficient consumers of resources. I was the first to bring to the golf industry a specific energy and water efficiency program designed for golf courses, and their facility. I’m confident my efforts led to greater awareness of how golf courses could reduce their environmental footprint, and be better stewards of the land, resources, and people.
We all have passion for what we do, but taking that passion and building a unique, lasting business takes time. I overcame the challenges of a traditional business by carving a niche focused on sustainability combined with proven strategic concepts that are fun to play. I’d say the mainstays of my business philosophy are as follows: 1) work hard, 2) do what you say you’re going to do, 3) build trust with your owners.
I’ve learned to always be learning, and to never take yourself too seriously. There’s always someone coming up behind you, with more knowledge, a better social media following, or a unique background. My business is about the long haul, and generally the sprinters tire out, and fade away.
I’ve spent a great deal of my energy over the past 10 years understanding a golf course’s impact on the social aspects of community. Via a program I’ve trademarked Community Links, I design my golf courses with both the golfer and non-golfer in mind. It is this synergy that really shows the value of a golf course for 100% of a community. I’m one of many across the world that feels the game of golf provides so much value to people and their relationships. It teaches ethics, it allows you to be outdoors in nature (socially distanced, of course!), and it provides health benefits and through physical activity in a world bombarded with technology, If I can bring responsibly designed green-space that educates a community on how to be healthy, productive individuals, and I think this is a good thing.
I have high hopes for how Community Links will help bring the game of golf to more youth, women, seniors, and anyone currently unfamiliar with the game. I want to leave the golf industry, and the impact of my projects on communities, better than I found it. I’ll never get tired of hearing “I forgot how fun golf could be” after playing one of my courses, and that their experience encouraged them to play more.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d first make sure he came to town during baseball’s spring training, as this is the most exciting time to be in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area in my opinion. If he couldn’t make it during that time, the second-best time is during the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open. So, we’d take in a few games, probably the SF Giants in Old Town Scottsdale, or the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick. If it was during the Open, I’d make sure to get him to the 16th hole during the Wednesday practice round to see that madness. Other days we’d fill in a hike to the top of Camelback Mountain, and perhaps a day trip to Sedona. We’d certainly make a few trips to the golf course – the courses at We Ko Pa, or a round at Arizona Country Club, and FireRock Country Club. For meals and a good hang, I’d make sure to hit some Sam Fox restaurants in town – Doughbird, The Henry, or The Arrogant Butcher. A really good afternoon excursion, perhaps with the family, would be a bike ride along the canal system and hit the spots in Old Town, maybe even make it to The Grapevine karaoke bar. I’m a Midwesterner, but I have to say, having spent over 16 years in the Valley, you really have an appreciation for desert living, and I really can’t imagine myself ever leaving the area – it’s got everything you’d ever need for a reasonable cost of living.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I have to recognize my dad, Jim Staples. Jim was the person that introduced me to the game of golf, gave me the opportunity to build my first course in the sand beach of northern Wisconsin at the age of 12, and has mentored me through my personal and professional life. He had started his company at an early age in the marketing and PR business, so there is no doubt owning our company, and being self employed, was not a new concept in my family growing up. I’m know this was an important factor behind me understanding the upside for being out on my own.
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