I am interested in many facets of golf, and one that I spend a ton of personal time on, but I don’t write about as much, is architecture. My parents might say that I wanted to own a course when I was a kid…but as non-golfers I think they were confused…I simply wanted to build a course. They inferred the owning part. I want to paint with a very broad brush, how you go from paper to playable.
Once land is acquired, the routing begins. Routing is how it will play. If you know the clubhouse is in a certain spot, well the routing has to start and return you there. If there is going to be houses or a development near by, well the routing needs to steer clear of that. If there has to be a certain par achieved, well then the holes have to fit to that. If there is certain topographical features that must be maximized, well you need to figure out how you will get out to them, use them, and then get back without being awkward.
If you have a budget constraint, then minimal earth will be moved, how do you maximize slopes, ridges, plateaus, vistas, etc. How do you blend long holes, short holes, holes than turn left, holes that turn right, holes that play up or downhill? Will the proximity of tee to the proceeding green be walk-able, will holes be dangerous, will they drain? There are so many questions to consider.
Concessions When You Build a Course
Often times a course has many routing plans, the problem becomes which is best, or which one sucks the least. Sometimes a property is not utilized to it’s full potential, other times, earth moving takes featureless land and gives it flavor. I’m sure there has never been a perfect routing. At some point, something has to be conceded for something better to stand out. Maybe there are tons of concessions for it simply to work. Wow, I would love to route something someday. Then it would be fun to hear everyone comment on how much my routing sucks. Of course they would never be privy to all the constraints, no one ever thinks like that.