Bill Love, an ASGCA past president, has worked on more than a hundred projects throughout North America and abroad, and authored “An Environmental Approach to Golf Course Development” for the American Society of Golf Course Architects. His experience includes the development of all types of new golf facilities and extensive renovation work with existing courses. His College Park, Maryland-based firm specializes in land planning and design for golf communities, enhancement and master planning for older courses, and environmentally sensitive golf design for both new and existing facilities. Examples of Love’s projects are Hunting Hawk Golf Club and Laurel Hill Golf Club in Virginia, Bellport Country Club in New York, the Olympic Club in California, and Guadalajara Country Club and Club Campestre de Monterrey in Mexico.
Ever since I was a little kid, my brothers and I were constantly outside playing sports or spending countless hours in a large tract of undeveloped parkland near the house exploring the terrain, streams, and woods. When my dad introduced us to golf at a small, local nine-hole course one summer vacation, we didn’t think it could get any better than playing a new sport outside all day. This confluence of interests produced a profound appreciation for the unique way golf utilizes the environment and provides an unending variety of strategies, challenges, and settings.
It is always great opportunity to work on a site with conducive terrain and a lot of natural features. When these qualities exist in a site, they can provide a new course with an inherent character indicative of the regional landscape. Sometimes those opportunities occur in areas of the country that haven’t yet been pressured by development or in foreign countries where the landscape has changed little over the years. I am currently working on a project in northern Mexico where the golf course will be developed within the confines of a nature preserve. The site contains such beautiful trees and scenic waterways that it was just a matter of exploring and discovering the right holes for the course. It helps to have an enlightened, environmentally sensitive owner that gave free rein to lay out the golf course in areas of the site that would fully incorporate the character of the preserve. The golf course provides a green space buffer for the environmentally sensitive areas on the site and creates wildlife corridors so existing inhabitants are not confined. A limited amount of residential area has also been planned to lie lightly on the land in the most unobtrusive areas of the site. The owner is adopting an environmental management program for the site to utilize best management practices for resource conservation and sustainability. The end result will be a very unique golf course that is a great experience by blending into the natural landscape and allowing players, residents, and wildlife to coexist.