Golf Course Evaluation
An effective course remodeling program does not require total reconstruction. The architect will evaluate several key elements while working to maintain the course's integrity and character.
- Tees--Tees establish playability and are prime targets of improvement. Multiple tees are the norm today due to the differing abilities of players. It is not uncommon for tees (four and five, in many cases) to cover 5,000 to 7,000 square-feet in area on the modern course.
- Fairways--"Sparking up" a fairway can involve reshaping of mounds, bunkers, lakes or ponds. major grading work may be required to eliminate blind shots or to soften severe terrain. Also, many fairway areas may be reduced to allow for multiple tees.
- Bunkers--The trend has been toward milder contours of the strategically placed edges of bunkers and more gentle rise from the bottom of the bunker to the top edge. Gentler contours eliminate hand mowing, reducing labor expenses. Bunker styles may vary from designer to designer.
- Ponds--Ponds enhance visual impact, offering a stimulating challange if they are strategically placed. They also can serve as a valuable water retention source for irrigation and allied real estate use. The excavated material often can be used to rebuild bunkers and mounds.
- Irrigation System--Good irrigation systems cannot be overemphasized. The trend is toward completely automated systems. Installing an irrigation system is a relatively simple procedure. An 18-hole single low-row system can be installed in a minimum of 60 days, and is generally less disruptive than most golfers think. An automatic system can conserve water, reduce labor expenses and allow watering during evening hours.
- Greens--The shape, size and protecting features of each green should be in direct relation to the approach shot. Although larger than those of earlier eras - a good, average size is 6,500 square-feet - modern greens should offer variety. More and variable flagstick placements are possible with larger greens and alleviate problems caused by heavy play. Gentle undulations permit the use of tri-plex mowers and reduce the risk of scalping. The green should be designed, if possible, to drain in more than one direction. It is possible to enlarge a green, but the best way is to reconstruct it entirely. It is less a task to install additional drainage than is supposed. Critical areas can be retiled and back-filled, and the sod replaced within one day.
- Landscape Treatment--A long-range planting program is generally the first item a club selects to execute in a master plan. Many courses find a detailed planting program an excellent method for replacing maturing trees and supplementing existing plantings. Proper tree placement provides for greater safety, more strategic shots and improved aesthetics.
- Cart Paths--Cart paths are becoming an increasing necessity. Their proper routing can make the difference between slowing or speeding play. It is imperative that they be incorporated into the overall design of the golf course.
Source: ASGCA Golf Sourcebook