“There are intangibles involved that come into play when a golf course architect reaches the level where he or she can apply both technical knowledge and artistic sensibility to create layouts that are strategically challenging and aesthetically interesting. It is to this level that most golf course architects aspire to reach.”ASGCA Panel on “Defining the Profession of Golf Course Architecture”
Retaining a golf course architect in the early stages of development will help guide the process efficiently. Market analysis, site selection, cost estimation, permitting, master planning, detailed design, construction and grow-in must all be understood and coordinated. ASGCA members have the experience to oversee this complex process.
ASGCA members are ready to help golf course facilities take on renovation projects big and small. The most common reasons for renovation–overcoming economic issues, correcting maintenance problems, making adjustments in design, improving aesthetics and restoring historic value—can be understood and efficiently managed by an experienced golf course architect.
Every ASGCA member has myriad examples of how their designs for new developments or renovations resulted in beautiful, functional layouts. From this archive built over decades come case studies which demonstrate how creative problem solving, paired with experience and knowledge of the game of golf, resulted in great client outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much land do I need to build a golf course?
This seemingly simple question has an answer that’s very complex and situation-specific. So much depends upon the type of site available and the type of golf facility planned.
According to “Building a Practical Golf Facility” by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA Fellow, “For example, a typical par 4 hole of 400 yards will take up to 10.4 acres (420 yards long with buffers x 120 yards minimum width). So, a 10-acre parcel could contain one 400 yard long hole, or perhaps three or four par 3s ranging in length from 60 yards to 150 yards, and with skilled design, perhaps more.
“This means an 18-hole course of all short par 3s could be built on as little as 30 acres, while an intermediate length or executive course of 18 holes of par 3s and 4s would require 75-100 acres, and a full size par 72 course would need 120-200 acres. This assumes, of course, only usable land which does not allow for wetlands, restricted areas, or land not easily made part of the golf area.”
How much does it cost to design and build a golf course?
Similar to the question about how much land needed to build a golf course, the question about cost is a seemingly simple one, but also has a complex, situation-specific answer.
In “Building a Practical Golf Facility” by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA Fellow, you may read about more than a dozen golf facility development cases. The cases each describe the type of course built and list the construction cost and maintenance budget. For example, you can read about John’s Golf Course in Eureka, Mont., which was built for nothing and costs nothing to maintain. It was conceived as a project for a father and son and was built on their own land over time. Or, you can learn about the Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg, Va. which was constructed for just over $3 million and costs nearly $500,000 to maintain annually.
The answer to this question about building a golf course is similar to “How much does it cost to buy a house?” Both questions have the same answer: “It depends.” Talking with a golf course architect early in the development or remodeling process will help you get a handle on developing a realistic budget.
How do golf courses affect environment and wildlife?
The golf industry is committed to being sensitive to and a good steward of the environment. Golf course architects do their best to design layouts that work in concert with Mother Nature and have a proven track record of knowledge of and compliance with local, regional and federal environmental regulations.
According to the 3rd edition of An Environmental Approach to Golf Course Development by Bill Love, ASGCA,
“The development of a golf course has become a complex process. To deal with it, golf course architects provide the expertise necessary to create design solutions for golf courses that are compatible with the environment. A golf course presents the opportunity to meet a need for recreational amenities, while preserving green space that will provide benefits for the future development of an area. Often, the green space of a golf course can serve as a protective buffer between sensitive environmental areas and development. This buffer, which contains extensive turfed areas and vegetation, will also protect water quality by providing stabilization against erosion and storm water management. Efficient and responsible maintenance practices for the golf course will promote the proper use and conservation of water resources. A golf course can provide enhancement to the environment by incorporating areas for conservation and the promotion of wildlife habitat. Where land has been degraded over time by intensive use or mismanagement, golf courses can provide much needed land improvement. These are benefits that can result when an environmental approach is used for the design, construction and maintenance of a golf course.”