Architectural Design Competition

An architectural design competition allows a developer to generate a broad search for the best solution to a future or existing golf course. The objective is to select the best design for the project and thereby chose a golf course architect to develop and complete that design on a specific site.

This guide provides information on how to hold a design competition as well as the types of competition available.

Why choose a Competition?

  • An architectural design competition is a method of achieving a quality design by generating a broad search for the best solution to a future or existing golf course.
  • A properly conducted competition will put the design brief to a thorough testing by the profession.
  • A competition can generate a wide array of solutions to a variety of design problems.
  • Competition formats can be adapted to accommodate most project requirements.
  • The objective of holding a design competition is to select the best design for the project and to select a golf course architect to develop the design and complete the design on a specific site.
  • A competition places the client’s design objectives in front of a number of golf course architects. The benefits include the opportunity to draw the public’s attention to the project through media releases, prize ceremonies and exhibitions of the proposals.

Types of Competitions


The objective of holding a design competition is to select the best design for the project and to select a golf course architect to develop the design and complete the design on a specific site.


OPEN COMPETITIONS are appropriate when:

  • All competing golf course architects have an equal opportunity to be selected on the basis of design merit.
  • The project requires the widest exploration of potential design solutions.

LIMITED COMPETITIONS restrict entry for specific reasons, such as:

  • The golf course architects must reside within a specified area.
  • The golf course architects must be registered in a particular State.
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to local or regional styles and concerns.
  • Small projects.
  • Budget restrictions.

Involvement of the EIGCA

The EIGCA is available to guide and advise clients in all aspects of golf course design competitions. The EIGCA supports clients wishing to run a fair and equitable golf course design competition. The EIGCA endorses competitions that:

  • Provide equitable conditions, procedure and assessment for all participants.
  • Are run by a professional advisor, appointed with advice from the EIGCA.
  • Clearly define the requirements to be incorporated in the design, the design constraints and encourage environmental responsibility.
  • Clearly define the competition rules and conditions.
  • Have a realistic timetable and project budget.
  • Are assessed by a jury selected on advice from the professional advisor.
  • Have fair and appropriate prize money separate from subsequent commissions.
  • Don’t include fee proposals as a criteria for selection.
  • Provide arrangements for publicising the winning design.

The Professional Advisor

The professional advisor acts as a consultant to the client and is the person most directly responsible for the advising, planning, organising and running of the design competition. The professional advisor:

  • Is an impartial intermediary between the client, jury, competitors and the EIGCA.
  • Should be an independent golf course architect capable of approaching a competition objectively with all the participants’ welfare in mind.
  • Must have no interest in the project, as a golf course architect, investor, employee of the client or through association with any competitor.
  • Forwards the competition brief to the EIGCA for endorsement and promotion amongst its members.
  • His fees for his advice and services shall be separate from the prize money allocated to the participants of the design competition.

The Jury

The client with assistance from the professional advisor must select a jury. Golf course architects who serve on the jury will have no interests in the client’s project nor in any of the competing firms.

  • The jury should be composed of at least one golf course architect member of the EIGCA.
  • The use of a qualified jury ensures expert judgement in the competition selection process.
  • Golf course architects are more willing to enter competitions when they are confident that the jurors have the ability to judge their work fairly and fully.

Competition Handbook

Download PDF:
Competition Handbook

Additional Information

For clients seeking additional and more detailed information concerning design competitions procedures endorsed by the EIGCA, please download the Competition Handbook.

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