It takes a lot of work to create a golf course classified as “above average”, “excellent” or “fun to play”. As the architect, I have to spend many weeks on site during construction, but before that, I have to make detailed project documents to specify, for the client and the contractor, the looks and qualities of the finished product. To attain this, I use my long time experience as a player and architect. My tools are my creativity, knowledge of and respect for the classic courses, and the latest design programs for computers.
The routing process
When you play a golf course, you soon find out if the routing is good. The playing areas are adjusted seamlessly to the native areas and each hole flows in symphony to the contours of the terrain. To make a good routing, you have to know the game of golf, how to interpret a landscape and how to read a topographic map. Before I visit a site for the first time, I have to get as much information as possible. I ask the client for a digital topographic map, known analysises of the soil, limitations because of wetlands, and more. The first hours in the field, I want to just walk and “get a feel” for the area. I prefer that the client or a local walk with me. I will ask a lot of questions, and sooner we can leave out the “trouble areas” of the site, the better. After the first walk, I spend a couple of days there alone. I take pictures, walk to every corner of site, take notes, make sketches and try to find green areas according to possible routings.
Back in the office, I start to work on different options, and maybe after a couple of weeks, I can present a prelimenary routing, a Layout Plan that shows the different holes with tees, fairways, bunkers and greens
With the Layout Plan, I make a Design Manual. The Design Manual explains the architecture of the course and the proposed construction standards.
The Layout Plan shows the holes of the golf course. A good golf course shall be varied, which means that each hole shall be different from the others. With the Layout Plan and the Design manual, I make a digital sketch of every hole. Each sketch shows the thoughts behind the design of the hole; the golfing strategy, the visual appeal, the modification of the existing terrain etc.
When the Layout Plan and the Design Manual are agreed on, I can make a Bill of Quantity and a Construction Budget. The budget is a necessary tool in the process of financing the course, deciding the club´s members profile and need of sponsors.
To select a contractor, and for use when constructing the golf course, detailed plans and specifications are needed. I make all the necessary drawings including grading plans, drainage plans, irrigation plans, surveying plans and scheme plans for bunkers, greens and tees. Detailed plans for every tee and green are made during the construction period. Construction Manual with Bills of Quantities are made to get an exact construction price and later for the contractor´s and the architect´s use during construction. I always use qualified spesialists (agronoms etc.) for the specifications concerning types of seeds, plants, fertilization, and seeding methods.
To create a unique golf course, I must, as the architect, be at the site as the Construction Supervisor most of the days during the construction period. The drawings and the Construction Manual are only guidelines. My goal is, during the whole period, to try to make the golf course less expensive, more strategic, more classic and natural looking and more fun to play.
To do the last shaping, I prefere a shaper former used by the architect. The shaper knows how I think and can get the shapes right the first time. The shaper will be hired by the contractor.
The green keeper of the course will lead the work during the grow-in period. I will visit the course a few times the first months after the course is finished and, if needed, bring a qualified agronom.