Date: Mon 10 Dec 2018

10 Questions for ... Casper Grauballe MEIGCA

The latest in the popular series of Member Profiles where you can get to know our members better.

1. Why did you want to be a golf course architect?

I have always had an interest in design, architecture and nature which led to a study of landscape architecture. Having played golf since I was a small boy it felt natural to combine my profession with my love for golf. Besides that, I always felt that there was a need for improvement on many of the courses I played on in Denmark.

2. Which golf course architects do you admire and why?

As most other golf course architects I have an admiration for the architects of the Golden Age. Among these H S Colt has been a favourite of mine. I received my training as a golf course architect from Martin Hawtree and to a small part his father and I have the greatest admiration for the Hawtree dynasty’s knowledge and accomplishments for golf course architecture.

3. What is your proudest design achievement?

I had the great joy and challenge of being the lead architect on Trump International Golf Links. The project was very demanding, but the result was one of the best links courses created in recent time. The project taught me great lessons about the unique geomorphology and ecosystem of the dunes which we tried to use in the design.

4. What are your favourite three golf courses in the World from a design perspective, and why?

  1. The Old Course at St. Andrews holds a unique place in the world of golf. It has a great element of strategy which makes it play differently depending on different playing abilities, small changes to the course set-up or different wind conditions. A total golf experience.
  2. Lahinch in Ireland is a course where the town and the golf course almost merges together - the second hole almost plays into town. The course has a great combination of very visual and strong holes coupled with more eccentric holes like The Dell.
  3. Augusta, I just love to see how the pros are challenged by the greens every year at the Masters.

5. What are the greatest challenges you face as a golf course architect?

The competition from my fellow architects is at times frustrating, but I think it is good in the sense that everybody is trying to improve all the time which is of benefit to the game.

The other challenge is how to balance a family life with the many days of travel. It can put a strain on any relationship. Luckily, I have a very understanding and supporting family.

6. What environmental or sustainable initiatives have you incorporated into your designs?

I always try to use the resources of the site as much as possible. At the Trump project we managed to source almost all materials within the site. Eliminating transportation and ensuring there is no contamination makes for a sound economic and environmental strategy.

7. How do you see the golf course design industry changing in the next 20 years?

I hope that the industry will begin to grow again especially in the countries where golf is still in its infancy. I believe that there are so many great aspects of the game that it should be spread to all countries. However, I do believe that changes have to be made to make the game more sustainable and a small reduction in the distance the ball travels would be a good start.

8. What makes a golf course great rather than just good?

To me it is a course which keeps challenging the player to try out new strategies or shots. A course where the player feels an urge to play it again.

9. What advice would you give to an aspiring golf course architect?

I feel that a sound base such as a degree in landscape architecture is a good starting point. Then find a way into the industry and learn the basics really well. At the heart of any great golf course is a great layout - I know it is a cliché, but I still think it is true.

10. What do you enjoy about being a golf course architect?

I thrive on the challenge of trying to achieve the full potential of a project. I really enjoy seeing the courses I work on being used and the players enjoying themselves. Besides that, I feel that the people I meet and the places I get to visit is what makes it a great job.

Click here to read more about Caspar

Golf Course Design
Sustainability