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The design process

Landscape Integration

Members of the Association must create a golf course that fits harmoniously into the surrounding landscape. This demands that the Golf Course Architect carries out an assessment of the site, the landscape surrounding the site and the wider landscape. The assessment will take account of topography, landscape character, natural vegetation and views into and out of the site.

The formation of golfing features such as greens, tees, sand bunkers and other alterations in topography should reflect the general character of the wider landscape.

The Environment and Ecology

The Golf Course Architect must endeavour to improve environmental elements of the new site and have a positive impact on the site's ecology. This includes assessing requirements for enhancing wildlife habitats and vegetation and minimising any negative impact on existing wildlife and other environmental features such as water quality. Only indigenous planting will be acceptable.

The Golf Course Architect should seek advice from experts such as The Scottish Golf Environment Group, Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA and local groups such as Park Rangers or Managers.

Playing Surfaces

The achievement of excellent playing surfaces is part of a memorable golfing experience. The Golf Course Architect must ensure that the materials and construction methods specified will provide the base from which the ideal playing surfaces can be achieved. This involves commitment to quality standards for such processes as effective drainage and the production of the best grasses for each playing surface. The Golf Course Architect must also be able to provide the client with the documentation for the correct “grow-in” procedures and key maintenance requirements for the future.

The Quality of the Golfing Experience

This is fundamental to the principle of enhancing Scottish golf. Achieving our goals for landscape integration, environmental and ecological aspects of the site contributes greatly to the golfing experience. It is also essential that the Golf Course Architect pays particular attention to the inclusion of features that help to create “memorable” courses. The Association requires that certain standards must be achieved within the design to ensure that golfers get maximum enjoyment from their game and that the course contributes to the development of their skills. This can only be achieved by adopting key design principles as follows:

  • Maximising variety of play such as: club selection, shot selection and hazards.
  • Achieving a good balance of length and accuracy.
  • Emphasising strategic play with “risk and reward” options.
  • Enhancing special views into and out of the site.
  • Good visibility to target areas where possible.
  • A correlation between the degree of challenge and golfing ability.

Communicating Design Material to Contractors

The Association requires that its members adopt a professional approach to communicating the design requirements to contractors. An effective communication process requires clarity to ensure that the construction is carried out correctly. Methods of communication will vary but these would normally take the form of detailed plans and written specifications.

Safety Measures (Internal and External)

Golf Course Architects must advise clients on the subject of safety to minimise the risk of injury to golfers and members of the public adjacent to the course. The Association is presently working to develop guidelines for safety standards and this will be published in due course.