Matted fur can also give your dog a bad odor besides the already mentioned problems. You can only imagine what kind of stuff can get caught in the matts (dirt, grass, food) and even urine/waste around the potty area. It can get smelly pretty quickly!
There are some groomers who will cord a poodle for you but it's very hard to take care of. The impression I get from it is that it's basically organized matts, lol. It looks pretty nifty but if you're already not wanting to brush him it would be next impossible to keep the cords healthy and to keep the dog from smelling bad. The bathing process alone for a corded dog is a good day project.
I agree with the short/summer clip on your dog, it would be easy to maintain and easy to brush through to get dirt and such out. With a little bit of research it's something you could easily do yourself with the right blades and good clippers. I like using a #3 for a semi-plush look but still fairly easy to brush out and doesn't need daily maintnance like some of the longer cuts.