How We Design a Golf Course

09/09/2020

A site assessment allows us to estimate how much landscaping will need to be completed during golf course construction, and where. But it can also determine the design of many of your holes and where to place them. Where we can, we use the minimalistic approach of designing to the land’s topography.

Step 1. Complete a Site Assessment

Golf courses are green spaces where players can gather to have fun, compete, and go for a drink at the clubhouse afterwards. But the fun and the competitiveness of the course is often determined by the details in its design in ways that are hard to notice. A golf course existing at all is a feat of architectural design. Here’s how we at Golf Spectrum bring them to life.

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The most common structures needed on a golf course are a clubhouse, maintenance facility and roads. The roads and carpark coming into the course need to meet the clubhouse, then depending on the size of the course connect to the maintenance facility. If the course is quite small, you could pave a pathway to your maintenance facility for your employees to walk or buggy to. 


Once we know where your clubhouse and maintenance facility is, and how accessible they are to your patrons and staff, we decide the start and end points of the holes. Most golf architects like to work backwards from the hole to the tee with each hole. We draw a rough sketch of where each hole is and number them in the order that you’d like patrons to progress through them. Your patrons won’t want to move back and forth between the course to access different holes, so we place “hole 1” beside “hole 2”, etc. If the course is quite big, we consider designing pathways for your patrons and staff to access with a buggy between or around holes. 

Got a design idea? Let’s get started on turning it into a reality! Golf Spectrum provides golf course maintenance and construction services, as well as plant hire and civil construction services. Get in touch today to discover why Golf Spectrum is the golf course construction company for you.

We design golf courses!

We try to keep as much of the native vegetation of the site as possible. This helps the area’s biodiversity, helps to lower the water table, and supports the ecosystem around the golf course. But it can also save you money – maintaining native vegetation is much easier and more sustainable, as it’s already adapted to the environment in which it resides.

Step 6. Integrate the Design into the Natural Landscape

While it might look cool on paper to fill your course with bunkers and obstacles, it’s not that fun to play. Dotting the map with bunkers limits how far the player can hit, and where at certain points in the hole that might be interesting, placing them everywhere will unnecessarily turn the game into extended putt-putt.

Step 5. Erase 50% of the Bunkers We Just Drew

To ensure players of all abilities can play the course, we insert some offset tees on varied angels and differing demands. We don’t ask average golfers to fly their balls more than 120 metres on a 5,800-yard course. To make the course fun for everyone, we usually put everything in view and allow for recoveries. Sometimes a blind shot can be compelling, but most of the time the player should know how far they want the ball to go. If there’s water in front of the golfer, they should not only know it’s there, but where its edges are. We try to show the corners of your course at the very least, so the player knows their limits. Once the player does make a mistake, it shouldn’t necessarily put them out of the game. A recovery shot should call for skill and imagination, but not too much penalty.

Step 4. Design for the Target Player

We layout holes to make sure the golfer isn’t going to swing the ball onto an adjoining road, house or other public space – or into the clubhouse. We add a buffer distance of around 60-70m from a typical drive landing length between the centre line of play and the boundary. However, this can change depending on the elevation and prevailing winds. We also add a buffer distance of at least 60m between parallel holes’ fairway centre line. We can use vegetation as a buffer between courses, but don’t rely on it over distance as the ball can move between or over it and vegetation doesn’t always last.

Step 3. Design for Safety

Step 2. Layout the Start and Finish Points, Clubhouse, Maintenance Facility and Roads.

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