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January 31, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: Golf Course Design

  |   Video
  • With the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament in full swing, we take a look at the art of golf course design with Forrest Richardson, a golf course architect.
  • Forrest Richardson - Golf Course Architect
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: sports, golf, courses, design, ,

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Ted Simons: With the waste management Phoenix open now underway, tonight's Art Beat looks at the art of golf course design with golf course architect Forrest Richardson. Thank for joining us.

Forrest Richardson: good to be here.

Ted Simons: We talk about the art of golf. There is an art involved, isn't there?

Forrest Richardson: There is. There's art, there's science, and there's also the game. So it's really three elements -- but the art is an important part.

Ted Simons: I know you've described it as golf -- It's sculpture. It's like a massive sculpture.

Forrest Richardson: It is. Most people see one hole at a time. You're in an airplane you can be 20,000 feet and seat whole course but most don't appreciate it that way. What I do, of course I have to look at it that way and the individual hole.

Ted Simons: How do you do that? You start with a plot of land, I want a bunker here, a T short -- How do you do that?

Forrest Richardson: I wish it were that easy. It can be, but it begin was the land. And appreciating what the land has to offer. Many of our modern golf courses didn't have -- They weren't built on the beautiful fields of Scotland and whatever, so we've had to create in the last generation of golf courses the interest. So the TPC course is an example of a completely man made environment, but nonetheless, one that's very beautiful and has a lot of spectator opportunity.

Ted Simons: Sure. So when you design it, you can see from the ground, you can see the fairway -- You can see from the ground you can kind of see overhead how it looks? Can you get that in your mind? Do you have to draw it out?

Forrest Richardson: We spend a lot of time on the land. We spend time with the mapping, the aerial photos, and so it's a combination of things, but in the end, it's all about trying to make it fit the -- Not only the land, but also fit the region and the culture, so a golf course, for instance, in Phoenix is a lot different as most people know from a golf course in Minnesota. Or one in Mexico or one in Europe.

Ted Simons: And also fit the ability of I would think your average golfer. Because for a time, they were building courses that were ridiculously difficult.

Forrest Richardson: The game is supposed to be fun. This is something that we say all the time, that probably has turned people away from golf, is the fact that we've maybe made course as to hard. So the best thing is to come out of it were a golf course that challenges the best players, but is really enjoyable for the casual golfer.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the history of golf. We have photos here including the first one which basically shows probably what the first golf course design --

Forrest Richardson: that's in Scotland, and that is a golf course that in the last few years has been rediscovered. It was closed during World War II, and it is just a beautiful old course that literally was reminiscent of the way course was have been in the 1600s.

Ted Simons: And now we've got St. Andrews, the old course -- That's what people think when they think of old courses.

Forrest Richardson: that's really where the first seed of golf course design was born, in the late 1700s they decided to change the old course from 22 holes to 18. No one knows exactly why. It could have been slow play or just the town was growing, but that was the time when all of a sudden the handprint of man was brought to golf courses.

Ted Simons: You talk about the handprint of man, our next photo shows these golf courses in some respect were close to buildings and towns and roads.

Forrest Richardson: They were. They were like the greatest ski lodge and resort you could ever imagine. You finish golf and you were right there at the pub and the restaurant and where you would spend your time. But the -- What happened is when golf came to the United States, in America, in the late 1800s we didn't really know what they were supposed to look like. So the -- My predecessors, the people that started designing courses would create these manufactured looks. So Oakmont in Pennsylvania is an example of a very archaic looking golf course. Not a lot natural about it. A lot of man made features.

Ted Simons: That does not look normal. That sand trap --

Forrest Richardson: those are the church pew bunkers.

Ted Simons: Our next one is robber Trent Jones. He's known, he is the Forrest Richardson of golf courses design

Forrest Richardson: Mr. Jones, Trent as we called him, of course he has two sons that now carried on his work, Reece and bobby, but the wigwam, which is this picture, very typical of that post-World War II golf being built everywhere in the United States. Firestone, the wigwam, and the '60s and '70s were rich with build more, build more.

Ted Simons: And signature courses meaning people know by certain details who built this course

Forrest Richardson: right. Mr. Joins coined the phrase signature golf course. He also said hard pars, easy bogeys.

Ted Simons: We have a picture here of the 7th hole at stone harbor. This looks a lot like another signature par three.

Forrest Richardson: Desmond Muirhead was one of the truly right-brained out there thinking gentlemen in golf course design. And in the '80s, he created these really wild symbolistic courses and they did a lot of them in Indonesia and Japan, and a few in the United States. Unfortunately stone harbor doesn't survive. All the work he's done has been tamed down. But it was when the art was brought to a different level.

Ted Simons: When you see the saw grass, the par three at saw grass, which golfers are familiar with, that's the one --

Forrest Richardson: that's what really was the precursor to the TPC course in Scottsdale where we were creating courses for spectators.

Ted Simons: Let's look at your courses, starting with the Arizona grand. When you designed this course, you got the -- You've got such a beautiful scenery to work with. First of all, what do you try to emphasize, and secondly, how do you keep it from standing out like a sore thumb in a beautiful desert environment.

Forrest Richardson: It was a tough assignment. It we were using land adjoining the mountain preserve. We've created new habitat for the parks, so the exchange of land brought more land to the park, but it's all about integrating it with the land, taking advantage of those great views, taking advantage of the terrain, and making it feel like it's been there for 100 years.

Ted Simons: Got hideout in Utah, same thing only in high country. Is it easier in high country or more difficult?

Forrest Richardson: It's more difficult because you have a shorter growing season and you have other constraints. Again, the idea is to really fit the land to the golf and have the golfer feel they're in an environment just like when people see pebble beach on TV, or they see any famous golf course. It's all about the land.

Ted Simons: And rocky point, Mexico, I've played this course, and you got the wind, and this is like a links course.

Forrest Richardson: It's a links course and that particular hole, there was virtually nothing done to it. It wasn't so much about designing, but going back to the very first slide you saw where the golf course was found and discovered as opposed to actually being created.

Ted Simons: We've got about a minute. Let's hit you with this one -- Critics say golf courses wastewater, there's too many of them, they're a poor use of land, leave things in their natural state. What do you say to that?

Forrest Richardson: To some degree those are fair comments. However, most course, not all of them, most golf courses out here use reclaimed water. In Hawaii, they want us to put more turf if because the land is so porous, having the reclaimed water filtered by the plant is a positive thing. And most golf courses anywhere are serving a purpose of open space, they're serving for drainage, a golf course has enough oxygen produced to maintain a city of about 10,000 people. So golf courses are sustainable open space, and if they're designed properly and built properly they can be terrific neighbors to a community.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Thank you so much for joining us.

Forrest Richardson: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Arizona's Renewable Energy

  |   Video
  • A move to reduce renewable energy standards for APS by the Arizona Corporation Commission has been tabled, but incentives for large commercial solar power projects have been cut. Commissioner Gary Pierce will discuss the commission’s stance on renewable energy.
  • Gary Pierce - Commissioner, Arizona Corporation Commission
Category: Energy   |   Keywords: energy, renewable, arizona, ,

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Ted Simons: The Arizona corporation commission voted last week to cut incentives to developers of large solar projects in areas covered by APS and Tucson electric power. We'll hear from a member of the commission, but first, a rally opposing the changes was held this week in front of the commission's headquarters.

Katie Radosevic: Commissioners Gary pierce, Glenda burns, Susan bitter Smith and bob burns all voted to eliminate key solar programs for customers of Arizona public service and Tucson electric power. Two of Arizona's largest utility companies. Specifically the ACC voted to cancel all commercial sow LAN programs and significantly reduce residential solar incentives. With this decision, the commission effectively pulled the rug out from underneath an otherwise promising industry. But it isn't just the solar industry that's hurt by a decision like this. It is now harder for businesses and homeowners to go solar in Arizona. The sunniest state in the country. What's more, it's our health and the growth of green jobs in Arizona that will also suffer. The fact is, Arizona should be the solar capital of the world. Arizonans know this. The governor knows this.

Ted Simons: Joining me now to talk about the changes to the program is commissioner Gary pierce. Performance-based solar incentives for commercial systems and residential as well. Why the changes?

Gary Pierce: Well, we've been changing every year. Remember, we consider ourselves friends of solar. We keep these programs moving forward. And in Arizona, in fact, the production based incentives or performance-based incentives -- -- we're going to call those PBis, were way over our compliance heading towards 15% by 2025. And so because of that, and because we're at year 2019 as far as compliance, we think it's not fair to ratepayers to keep plunging ahead when we've been lowering them every year and we simply did that again this year, but the natural point this year is to zero. The utility said we should have been zero last year, so this is not a surprise. The APS suggested it six months ago. So they all knew the potential was there.

Ted Simons: The idea with performance based especially for commercial, but with residential as well, even up front commercial incentives as well, the incentives are there to eventually go away. What I hear from the industry is, what you're doing now is cutting off at the knee. A set of a -- Instead of a soft landing we're getting a hard landing.

Gary Pierce: we went to zero. But we were virtually there already at the end of the year. On residential, we started the year at 70 cents and moved all the way down as production increased, we moved down to 10 cents per watt is our measure. And we are $4 a watt when we started this five years ago. So you go to three -- 10 cents a watt, so we started this year at 10 cents a watt. And that's where we're going to be throughout the year. But if we run out of money we'll be to zero. But they're ready for that. I looked at the video you just played, I don't know any of those people on the screen. They're not the solar folks that talk to us and work out these concepts we need to move forward with.

Ted Simons: The solar folks we've talked to, eye assuming some of the folks you've talked to, they're saying again, they are making that increase, you're talking about improvements, they are making the improvements as well, they're 80% was the number mentioned. Why not let it continue if it's going so well, why again the abrupt change?

Gary Pierce: Again, you say abrupt change. These are schedules on down. We look to be at five years in the discussion of the renewable energy plans from the start. We won't need anything after five years. And it really worked out that way. We kept residential up because we're not that much overcompliance with residential. But we're already to the 2015 mark. So we're building more -- If you think about it, these were created in 2006, the economy was booming and then the economy took a dive and we have slag growth. For us to say we need more energy when we're not growing, any kind of energy, is a stretch. So what's fair to ratepayers is to get them off these incentives. And they're ready to do it.

Ted Simons: But the elimination, I'm going to tell you what they're telling me, and what I'm hearing from them, the elimination of these performance-based solar incentives, they're saying that effectively kills commercial solar in Arizona. Are they wrong?

Gary Pierce: Yes, they're wrong. And there are installers who will tell you and we'll probably bring them together, I just got approval from Tucson electric power for a 500KW project. The day after the vote last week. And he said, by the way, I haven't offered incentives for nine months. So they've been coming down, he said I haven't needed them. He says I will double my business in 2013. So I think there's a lot of -- A lot to do about nothing here and the proof will be in the pudding. Just last year, we had more power -- Virtually more power added to the renewable energies power added more than the previous four years combined virtually. So it's working.

Ted Simons: You have a success story there but again, there may be other businesses out there or perhaps not, who are -- But they're saying, we could be losing jobs, we could be losing contracts because of the lack -- This incentive, we need it for now, they're saying we don't want it in the future but we need it now.

Gary Pierce: The businesses that maybe are going to release -- Let people go, those people will go to the ones who are -- Their model shows they can make it. I don't want to say that these folks are totally relying on a government subsidy. I hope they don't want to say that. But the reality is, it's time for that subsidy on the performance-based incentive to go away. Because that's a legacy cost. The legacy cost means those performance-based incentives, they're performanced-based. We've built up in APS's territory, 735 million dollars of legacy costs, which will go on. People will say, there's no more incentives, will my bill go down. No, we have created through these rules, which were created in 2006, we've created a monster of additional charges that will have to be paid over the next 20 years.

Ted Simons: Is the monster tamed when the solar industry is strong enough to where it not only needs incentives, it can go past them?

Gary Pierce: I think the reality is, the commercial side needs to say we'll do it for 10 cents a watt, the same as residential, we don't need -- They're getting more than residential. We'll do it for the same as residential and propose that plan. If they're not in compliance. But they're so far overcompliance right now. I think that's an abuse of the ratepayers who said, we want more renewable energy, and I agree. But it needs to be when we need that energy.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the ratepayers. I've heard taxpayer savings for these elimination and reductions is all of two to six cents a month. Is that accurate?

Gary Pierce: For maybe this year. But remember, those millions of dollars of legacy costs will kick the numbers up. We're talking about this year adding it on. So it won't hit so much this budget year. It's future budget years.

Ted Simons: The residential -- Renewable energy standard, 15%, 20, 25, did you try to lower that? Did you try to get an amendment passed to lower that?

Gary Pierce: What I did, I had an amendment -- I didn't actually make the motion for it. But I wanted everybody to see it. Because actually I have a copy of an amendment we ran -- With the first implementation plan for the water company. Primarily a -- At the time of Phelps dodge mine and a couple thousand residences, 15% was going -- Wasn't going to work. Most of the energy was at the mine. 98% of the energy. So the costs of that surcharge to everybody was going to be astronomical. So commissioner mayes ran an amendment to take away all that generation and do it based on the residential. So we're getting 15% based on 2% of the power over time. So it's nothing new. But I want people to understand, we already don't -- Aren't able to count Davis Maupin, they have all renewable -- A lot of renewable energy but the -- TEP can't count it as though the 15%. So we have a mismatch of concepts. We really need the industry. When I offered this amendment, I told the industry, I'm not going to make this motion, I want you to think about it. Let's get our heads together and work together to develop a plan so we're not beating on up ratepayers.

Ted Simons: So your critics who say you tried to slip it in --

Gary Pierce: that's ridiculous.

Ted Simons: Last question, you say you're a friend of solar, the commission is a friend of solar. With all of this going on, how do you convince folks you are? Because some would say if you listen to all this, doesn't sound like a friend of solar.

Gary Pierce: They have to look at history. If they're just looking at today, if you were listening a year ago, we cut solar. But we got more solar than really virtually any three years combined. But the proof is not with them.

Ted Simons: All right. It's good to have you here. Thanks for being on the program.

ASU Origins Project: Climate Change

  |   Video
  • The Origins Project at Arizona State University has invited some of the top names in climate science to participate in a discussion on climate change Saturday, February 2nd at Gammage Auditorium. ASU Senior Sustainability Scientist Arjun Heimsath previews some of the issues to be addressed at the forum.
  • Arjun Heimsath - Senior Sustainability Scientist, ASU
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: ASU, Origins, project, climate, environment, ,

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Ted Simons: ASU's origins project brings together multiple disciplines to explore key scientific issues. The project has invited some of the top names in climate science to participate, in a discussion on climate change. This Saturday at Gammage auditorium in Tempe. Here to talk about the event is ASU professor of earth sciences from the school of earth and space exploration, Arjun Heimsath. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Arjun Heimsath: great to be here.

Ted Simons: The debate on climate change, what is the debate and is there still a debate?

Arjun Heimsath: No, there's not a debate on climate change necessarily. It's the series is called the great debate. And the selling won't be a debate, it will be a moderated discussion among some of the world's top climate scientists on climate change, perhaps mitigating climate change, what we dock to prepare for climate change, what we can do to reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, what we can do to change our fuel use potentially. So it's not -- This isn't about a debate, this is about a discussion on climate change the realities of climate change.

Ted Simons: Define climate change, and are we talking man made climate change?

Yes. That's a great question. I know you've talked about this in the past. The climate change that this session, both on Saturday, all of these participants are going to be in a workshop on Saturday. Dealing with both the science and some of the policy aspects of climate change. And it's focused on what we're currently thinking of an anthroPOGENiCALLY driven climate change. Because of increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere driven by humans, potentially. That's the climate change we can do something about. Because we can alter our behavior, we can alter our fossil fuel consumption and use. Climate change in general, the world has experienced climate change since its inception. But that's a different topic. This is human driven climate change, linked to fossil fuel consumption and what we can do about that. Because that we have control of.

Ted Simons: Talk about what's at stake.

Arjun Heimsath: What's at stake, what I like to think, or what I like to say is the largest issue at stake is uncertainty. Is risk. Humans don't like uncertainty. And the insurance companies don't like uncertainty, to take good example. But what's at stake typically predictions go from increased storm frequency, obviously the warming of the planet, but some areas of the planet are going to get much, much colder. Increased drought, very likely for our neck of the woods and for other places that are already hot and dry. Most of the greatest impacts of this accelerated climate change are going to hit the belt of already impoverished people around the Equatorial regions. Perhaps we're getting a taste of what increased storm frequency might -- And then what we have to face is think about the cost of dealing with it. Look at the cost associated with cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. Is it $65 billion or something? That's one storm.

Ted Simons: The conference itself, though, panel discussion, how to expand talk into policy and these kinds of things, what is the goal here? What do you want to achieve with this?

Arjun Heimsath: I would say public awareness is probably one of the highest goals. Whether something is going to emerge from this workshop and this discussion that would be a significant step beyond what the scientists are doing already, I think the horizons project -- I'm sorry, the origins project.

Ted Simons: I like that horizons project.

Arjun Heimsath: I like the name horizon, it's a good name. The origins project and the series of great debate is about education and public awareness. And so being able to raise awareness to some of these key issues, both in the science around climate change, as well as potential steps we can do to help mitigate it, and adapt to it, and some of the policy and economic issues.

Ted Simons: OK. So we got a panel discussion, 7:00 at Gammage auditorium on Saturday. Correct?

Arjun Heimsath: Correct. I believe so.

Ted Simons: It sounds good. It's good to have you here to explain it. Good luck with the conference.

Arjun Heimsath: Thank you so much