Selecting a golf course architect
"The laying out of a golf course is by no means a simple task"
Golf Course Architecture has come along way since Willie Park Jnr made this understatement over one hundred years ago.
Golf course developers creating new courses, or golf clubs extending or renovating established layouts require exciting and original ideas, cost effective design, technical excellence and environmental sensitivity. This guide offers advice on how to choose a golf course architect.
The EIGCA is a qualifying organisation of individual golf course architects, and membership is only granted to those who have satisfactorily demonstrated their experience and understanding of a wide range of subjects insofar as they apply to golf course architecture. These include:
- Golf course master planning, course routing and hole layouts
- Land planning and permit processing
- Environmental planning and ecological issues
- Green, tee and bunker design
- Golf course safety
- Detailed design, specification and tender documentation preparation
- Earth moving and shaping
- Drainage and irrigation
- Agronomy and botany
- Golf course maintenance and management
For the developer the single most important decision determining the ultimate quality of his golf course is without any doubt the choice of golf course architect.
Not only is the golf course architect the author of the design, but like the conductor of an orchestra he is responsible for the interpretation of its realisation.
The golf course architect will be the coordinator of a team of professionals including engineers, land planners, environmental specialists, construction contractors and course maintenance and management personnel.
What ever the selection procedure used to appoint the golf course architect the following should be considered:
- Does the candidate have relevant experience of the type of project envisaged, be it a major resort course development or a simple course upgrade?
- Does the candidate have relevant experience of the type of terrain and climate involved?
- Have some of the candidate's completed projects been inspected and has his standard of service provision been discussed with his previous clients?
- How cost effective has this service proved to be in the medium to long term?
- Who is the individual architect responsible for the design and supervision of the course and is his personal experience appropriate to the task?
- How often will site inspection be carried out and by whom?
- How will the personality of the candidate fit in with the development team?
- Does the candidate have the requisite management and personal skills to ensure the smooth running of the project that ensures that his design is built according to plan, on time and within budget?