How Is A Golf Course Designed?

Seen by the amateur or non-lover of the sport, a golf course is merely a landscape filled with green grass, trees and sand pits.

However, to a golfer, golf enthusiast  or club member, a golf course is a work of art.

Golf course design involves the challenging patterning and precise location of sand, grass, hills and slopes, and must be as visually pleasing as it is playable.

Design Principles

The perfect golf course design architect is one with an understanding of the natural landscape, and who understands the cohesion of vegetation, ponds, grasses, paths, stonework and woodwork.

Golf course design layout follows certain traditional principles involving the specific number of holes, par values, as well as the number of holes of each par value per course.

Another important component of design is the arrangement of greens proximity to the next tee box, minimizing the travel distances and varying the mix of shorter and longer holes.

Golf Course Layout

18 hole courses are traditionally broken down into a “front 9,” holes numbered from 1-9, and “back 9” numbered 10-18. Older courses lend to have one long loop layout, beginning and ending at the clubhouse.

The front 9 term is referred to on the scorecard as “out” since players are heading away from the clubhouse, and back 9 is used to describe the “in” with players heading back to the club.

Modern courses now tend to be designed with the front 9 and the back 9 positioned on separate loops beginning and ending at the clubhouse.

This has been put into place to be more convenient to golfers if they choose to play just 9 holes, or wish to take a break in the club in between holes 1-9 and 10-18.

Building Process:

  • Topsoil: The very first step of building a golf course after the design, is removing all of the topsoil on the designated areas. The soil is then replaced with a special soil composition for the different areas.
  • Hills and Dips: The contours of a golf course design display where the hills and hollows will appear, and these areas are then marked with posts. The posts are marked with different colors meaning different things: red equals a hollow to be cut, blue means filling the area to produce hills, and yellow signifies the gradient of dips.
  • Drainage: Without a proper drainage system, you might be left with an un-playable course filled with excessive water and puddles. Not only will the marshy ground be difficult to play on, but will also come with the addition of mosquitos and other pests.
  • Healthy grass: Keeping properly watered grass will ensure a beautiful golf course design. The most popular way of ensuring this is through the use of an automated irrigation system. An automated system takes the serious work out of maintaining the grass on fairways, greens and even the rough.

There is a lot more involved in golf course design than might first meet the eye.

A huge amount of thought and planning goes into the process from start to finish in order to come up with a design that is both challenging and easy on the eye.

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