GOLF COURSE DESIGN , GOLF COURSE AR

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Laying the ground for golf

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on December 3, 2016 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Golf architecture has its own philosophy that reflects in the design

Nearly all popular sports have standardised playing fields. Not so with golf. Except for the size of the hole into which the ball must eventually enter, there is no level playing field when it comes to any other aspect of the course. From three-hole courses in 5-7 acre land to 18-hole championship golf courses that span over 125 acres, nearly every golf course is unique and distinctive. Not just that; each and every hole in any golf course is different and this is what makes golf a truly unique sport. 

And designing a course is hence both an art and a science. In the past, golfing locations were chosen in such a way that they naturally had the desired landforms, grasses and hazards. Blind shots, crossing fairways and a variety in the number of holes were all considered par for the course (see graph). Modern ones have integrated the traditions of the game, while innovating to increase the appeal to suit the new age.

Different strokes

Designing a single hole in a golf course is no child’s play. “It takes anywhere between ₹2-₹5 crore to build one golf hole, depending on the amount of earth to be moved, the type of grass used and whether or not the fairways need to be sand capped or not”, says Arjun Lall, Director - Golf Operations, Zion Hills Golf County.

Golf course designs are divided into two types — links and parkland. The links are usually next to the sea. They tend to be windy and with less greenery and require less effort to maintain. Parkland courses are the typical image of golf course with green fairways, lots of trees and water bodies serving as hazards.

Based on the game, courses can be classified into different types. For instance, a par three course is one where each hole has a par of three. For the uninitiated, par refers to the number of strokes that an expert golfer needs to finish the course. An executive course, popular with beginners, high handicappers, seniors and players with limited time has mostly par three holes and the maximum par for the course rarely exceeds 64. A regulation course, on the other hand, has a total par of 70 to 72. A championship course is designed keeping in mind length, challenge, playability and aesthetics for playing major tournaments.

The same course can be configured differently as well. For instance, a course can be made suitable for weekend golfers and for a Championship, says Lall. “Each of the holes can be lengthened substantially to make it more challenging. The roughs can be grown and the fairways can be narrowed. The greens can be made to roll really fast as well”, he says. 

Likewise public, private and resort golf courses have different end goals and are designed accordingly. In a public golf course, fast play and easy maintenance are higher priority, while challenge of the design and quality of the turf outweigh these considerations in a private course. Resort courses place emphasis on aesthetics. “This is accomplished through the artistic use of retaining walls, sand colour, plant material, fairway contouring, views and vistas and general course maintenance”, says Aashish Vaishnava , CEO and Golf Course Architect at AV Golf International.

Matter of style

Architects also use various design methods to challenge, reward and penalize players. For example, in a heroic design style, hazards are positioned to give the golfer a choice to play around, on a longer route to the green. They can also negotiate a full carry over the hazard – partly or fully, and be rewarded with an easier subsequent shot. “The design enables players to bite off what they can chew”, says Vaishnava.

Alternatively, in the penal design style, poor shots are penalized by placing hazards directly in the line of play. A player must carry the hazard as there is no route provided to play around it. The popular one is strategic design, which gives golfers the option of taking a risk in order to reduce the difficulty of a subsequent shot. Width is an essential ingredient of strategic golf, along with cleverly positioned hazards that tempt and test golfers across the ability spectrum.

Architects have their own philosophy that reflects in the design. For example, Ron Fream believes that a poor golfer with a big ego deserves no mercy. Each hole in the Zion Hill golf course he designed is set to be reactive to the golfers game and balance risk reward pay off. The course retained a few strategically located trees, adding to the challenge of some holes says Lall.

Designers may also go for minimalist philosophy by retaining the natural terrain. They also consider factors to both challenge and reward golfers. For instance, they ensure that there is variety and balance in the length, orientation and playing strategy of holes and there is inducement for golfers to create new shots and skills.

Green in spirit

Golf courses are also swinging for sustainability and environment-friendly architectures. Ongoing maintenance is just as expensive as building a course — maintenance costs that include machinery and staff can be ₹2-4 crore per year, says Lall.

Keeping the course lush green is a great challenge and requires a lot of water, fertilisers and other related resources. Vaishnava says that the trend now is to keep the greens, fairways and tees well manicured but the rough areas and the non-playable zones less green and more brown.

In new developments, the choice of grass plays a vital role in the look and feel as well as ongoing maintenance of the course. For instance, the type of grass that is selected must be suitable for the weather condition, appearance and maintenance requirements. Warm season grasses such as Bermuda have poor shade tolerance, while cool season grasses such as bentgrass do well with consistent rainfall or irrigation, says Vaishnava.

By Meera Siva (THE HINDU BUSINESSLINE)

Small is the new big thing!!!

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on October 7, 2016 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Small is big, don’t we hear about it most of the time, especially in the last few years. This simply means that things are becoming smaller, shorter, compact and what not; from electrical goods to our daily usable items, something or the other is changing every day, new feel, new technology. Probably it’s a good sign, it shows that we are evolving for better times with a much faster pace. In a time when everything is changing, how can we forget Golf. Golf has a history of being associated with the term 18, a golf course has 18 holes to play, its more than 125 acres to build and it takes around 5 hours to play 18 holes. Sounds familiar, right? Now, Golf has something more to offer, something new, something fast, something trendy and something for all.


Lets understand how golf is evolving now.


Golf is moving from 18 holes to 9 holes Golf Courses, which does mean that 18 hole courses are loosing its luster, not at all! Like in Cricket, Twenty/20 format is trending, it doesn’t mean that test cricket and other formats don’t shine. Everything has its own value and its own demand. So, 9 Holes are becoming very popular due to various factors like, less land requirement, less development cost, less maintenance cost, takes less time to play and one can play twice to complete a 18 hole game. Golf is further not restricted to 9 holes, we have 3 and 6 hole golf courses, so a golf course can now be customized based on the land availability.


Being a Golf Course Architect, I tend to work with a lot of Real Estate Developers who are planning golf centric real estate projects. I am currently working on various types of Golf Courses and driving Ranges (Practice Facilities). Most of the short courses can be properly called par-3 courses (where the hole lengths vary from 80 yards to 180 yards), there are other short courses that contain par 4 holes and an occasional par 5. These are called Executive courses. Since most of the golf courses have adjacent real estate, we try to keep the hole distances shorter so that the safety of the residents is not compromised by reducing the probability of the golf balls flying to the adjacent properties.


There are different types for Golf Course projects, based on land availability:

• Less than 1 Acres – Mini Golf Courses or Putting Courses

• 2-3 Acres – 9 Hole Chip & Putt Golf Course

• 4-7 Acres: Driving Range (Practice Area) requires (50-100 m) Width X (200-300 m) Length with playing holes

• 8-10 Acres: Driving range with 3 playing holes

• 12-15 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course without Driving Range

• 20-25 Acres: 6 or 9 Hole Executive Golf Course with Driving Range

• 30-35 Acres: 9 Hole Golf Course without Driving Range

• 40-50 Acres: A standard 9 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range

• 65-75 Acres: An international standard 9 Hole Championship Golf Course and Driving Range

• 100 Acres and above: several formats of 18 Hole Golf Course with Driving Range 


We have seen a combination of various formats of Golf Courses as well. An 18 Hole Golf Course also has a mini golf course, short or executive golf course which attract all levels of skill, plus both the junior and elderly players and not the least, women. (I personally feel women make a tremendous contribution to this wonderful game). Furthermore, there is a great psychological advantage of playing the Short / Executive golf course in the ego status which is attained. It's interesting to note how many players are shooting better scores in these friendly courses. The fun of playing night golf in these golf courses can not be ignored, so even if you get late from work, you still get a chance to play a quick round of golf with your friends.


Apart from the trend of new type of golf courses, there are various new playing formats being introduced to existing 18 hole courses to make them more interesting and fast to play. Like playing only 9 holes, two-pin / power play format, tee-it-forward (golfers play from the forward tees to have a quick and easy round), 3 clubs only format (putter, wedge and any iron of your choice) and you can invent your own format of play, as long you are having fun on the Golf Course.


So, plan your next round of golf with a new playing format or by playing on a new format golf course.



- Aashish Vaishnava

Golf Course Architect

AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL

CORPORATE GOLF

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on February 24, 2016 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Corporate Golf is a term coined for the group of people from corporate world playing Golf on regular basis, either for fun or for business. They keep the Golf courses busy across the Globe where ever Golf is appreciated. Corporate firms are large organizations with influential decision makers, professionals, high profile personnel and Golf has always been associated with being elite and sophisticated. This is what makes Corporates and Golf go hand in hand. It will be suffice to say that Corporate leaders have a great hand behind the growth of Golf worldwide, without them, Golf would have remained only a recreational sport. But now it’s an industry in itself. Golf has an attribute of elegance attached to it and is very popular among the corporates as it gives an opportunity for golfers to interact with each other while playing and it also helps in cracking some lucrative business deals. Golf is considered synonymous with business and probably every second Golfer is playing either to develop good rapport with his senior colleagues or to impress a golf-loving client. And what makes Golf more reached to the wider audience, is that it can be played by people of all ages with differing abilities; a 25 years old young executive can play with his 60 years old High Net Worth Client and sometimes losing a game may be more beneficial than winning it! Playing golf with friends or in a group helps in healthy exchange of information and communication. Many a strong & healthy business relations start on a Golf Course. The calm mind gives one the peace to communicate strongly and effectively without the stress of an official business setting. One can plan out the entire day's activity even as one is walking around the greens chasing the ball or thinking about the next shot. It teaches how to remain calm under pressure, control temper; think strategically and above all gives a nice and healthy walk on a lush green environment. What else does a corporate guy need? Generally, a lot of corporates organize Golf events for their clients and associates to build trust and rapport. A one or two day corporate Golf events are planned, specially managed by professional Golf event management companies, because its not just about playing and interacting, its about an experience which the organizers want to give to their invitees. A well-organized corporate golf event is very beneficial as it helps to distinguish your company from the rest and helps in building relationship with new clients and to reinforcing the relationship with existing customers. An event organized by one corporate is an opportunity for the other to participate and it’s a link, which keeps on building. You play one event; you organize the other, that’s how it keeps moving. And for those who are new to the sport, special clinics are organized to teach skills by a certified teaching professional. Apart from these events, a lot of corporate outings are planned as well, from team building initiatives to developing exclusive business leads; from thanking clients to company brainstorming, a corporate has all the reasons to get on to a Golf Course. Corporates want to make their clients feel privileged, from customers of a bank to luxury car owners to credit card holders, every corporate has a client to cater to. What best can be there for them to be introduced to Golf. There are now a lot of operators in the business of corporate Golf tours both domestic and International. Operators from US, UK & Australia plan trips to South East Asia especially Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and vice versa. Corporates are the key players to make Golf a multi billion dollar industry. They help in sponsoring professional tournaments, corporate events & outings. They travel to various golfing destinations, buy most of the membership, buy equipment & merchandise, sponsor players, contribute to club revenues. You name it, they do it for Golf but the question is; Why do they do so? The simple answer is Brand recognition and recall value. This is how Golf pays back to the corporates. Golf sponsorship has become the leading form of corporate branding for companies to deliver awareness campaigns and open up additional markets for them to pursue clients and grow business. Corporates reach out to their target customers by way of international Live TV, print media campaigns, on course branding & signage. Besides associating with the sport is a prestige and honor in itself. The diverse demographics of the golfers make it easy for the corporates to sponsor; from CEO’s to Entrepreneurs to Highly Educated Professionals to Decision makers to HNIs to aspiring middle class. These all are the perfect target customers for any corporate. To give you an example, what comes in mind whenever you see Tiger Woods playing? NIKE, isn’t it? With time, things change, new players come on top and new sponsors come on board. But the fact remains, it’s difficult to separate Corporate from Golf, they both go hand in hand. I just need to name few corporates and you will start recalling their association with Golf; ROLEX, ADIDAS, HSBC, FEDEX, ACCENTURE, MERCEDES BENZ, AUDI, BMW, MASTER CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, OMEGA, SHELL, METLIFE. These corporates are not there only for their own benefits. They organize various charity, fundraising events and take various CSR initiatives to give back to the society. The raised money is given to the NGO’s and other related organization working for underprivileged part of the society. As per IEG Research, the Worldwide spending on Golf sponsorship is expected to total $1.65 Billion mark by this year. Spending includes sponsorship of professional and amateur sanctioning bodies and tournaments, charity fundraisers, endorsement deals and corporate hospitality. BMW is the most active sponsor of Golf on the worldwide stage, with 27 percent of properties with a sponsor in the auto category reporting a partnership with the company. Rolex follows in a close second with deals with 26 percent of properties. Automakers are the most active category worldwide with the sector 4.4 times more likely to sponsor Golf than the average of all sponsors. Alcoholic beverages and banks follow as the second and third most active categories, respectively. MasterCard International, Inc. is the most active sponsor in North America while banks are the most active category. Corporates play a major role in the development of the game and especially in developing countries like India & Africa, where Golf is still in a nascent stage. Apart from just sponsoring events, I personally feel that the corporates should contribute in the development of new Golf learning facilities and infrastructure. Introducing Golf in schools and colleges is also very important. Golf can never grow unless it is taken to the masses. Which means Golf has to become affordable and accessible to get more customers, more growth and more return on investment, which will ensure a strong and long-term relationship between Corporates & Golf.

GOLF COURSES

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on February 11, 2016 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

INTRODUCTION

A golf course is an outdoor recreational facility designed for the game of golf. A standard golf course usually consists of 18 holes, with a tee and fairway. Some golf courses have nine holes and the course is played twice per round, while others may have 27 or 36 holes. Public and private golf courses often have different facilities available in addition to the actual golf course. For example, private golf courses usually have a golf club and restaurant or cafe facilities.


FEW DEFINITIONS AND INDUSTRY TERMS


:: Fairway – The area between the tee and the putting green.

:: Green – The mown area of a fairway surrounding the hole.

:: Hazards – Hazards may be of three types: (1) water hazards such as lakes and rivers, (2) man-made hazards such as bunkers and (3) natural hazards such as dense vegetation.

:: Tee – The tee is the area at the beginning of a hole from which the player’s first stroke is taken.

:: Bunker – A hazard consists of a prepared area of ground from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or similar material.

:: Driving range – A limited area of land with a line of bays or stalls from which golfers can practice shots.

:: Ancillary recreation – Other recreation facilities available on site that are secondary to the golf course e.g. bowling greens, driving ranges, fitness centres, swimming pools, tennis courts etc.

:: Gaming – Land used for gambling by gaming or wagering and where there is an ability to receive a monetary reward.

:: Club house – Land used by members of a club or group, members’ guests, or by the public on payment of a fee for leisure, recreation or sport. It may include food and drink for consumption on the premises and gaming.

:: Restaurant – Land used to prepare and sell food and drink for consumption on the premises. It may include: a) Entertainment and dancing. b) The supply of liquor other than in association with the serving of meals, provided that tables and chairs are set out for at least 75 per cent of patrons present on the premises at any one time. It does not include the sale of packaged liquor.

:: Function centre – Land, used by arrangement to cater for private functions, on which food and drink may be served. It may include entertainment and dancing.

:: Other improvements and facilities – A golf course and clubhouse cannot exist without a substantial number of ancillary land improvements and buildings. At a minimum, a course must have a golf cart storage place and a maintenance building for the storage of equipment and supplies, such as fertilizers. Additional structures may include a repair shop, rest stations and pump houses.


CLASSIFICATION OF GOLF COURSES


::Municipal – owned by a municipality; designed to accommodate heavy daily play throughout the year or season and to appeal to a wide variety of players. Municipal courses tend to be flat and have few rough areas where balls can be lost. Development and operating costs are typically low due to a concentrated irrigation system, easily mowed grounds, reduced landscape maintenance costs and few course obstacles.

:: Private – private courses must appeal to a wide range of golfers, but they are typically more difficult than municipal courses. A great many of these courses have a core design and most exhibit more intensive maintenance practices.

:: Resort Courses – resort courses are the most complicated types of courses. They are designed to appeal to serious golfers and serve as a marketing tool to attract convention business to the course or residents to a related housing development. Resort courses have memorable holes, scenic beauty, a feeling of privacy or spaciousness, ‘signature’ designers, lakes and a variety of hazards. Construction and maintenance costs are usually high.

:: Daily Fee Courses – Golf courses operated as profit-orientated business enterprises are referred to as daily fee courses or ‘pay for play’ courses. This broad category includes courses owned and operated for and available to the general public. Daily fee courses can be very simple 9-hole or par-3 courses, or complex enterprises of 18 holes or more providing a variety of services.


TYPES OF GOLF COURSES

:: 18-hole standard regulation golf course

:: 9-hole golf course

:: Executive golf course

:: Par-3 golf courses

:: 27-plus-hole golf courses

Unlike other sports, the playing area for a golf course has no standard dimensions based on rules or regulations, except for the size of the hole that the ball must eventually enter. The number of holes and the length, width and configuration of a golf course can vary.

The terms ‘championship’ or ‘tournament course’ are often used to describe courses. They are slight variations on the 18-hole regulation golf course, defining the quality of the course and the challenge that each presents. Often the words ‘regulation’ and ‘championship’ are interchanged. A regulation course might be called a championship course simply because championship tournaments are held there, without consideration of the course’s length or quality.

As a rule, a 9-hole golf course has nine regulation length golf holes, usually five par-4 holes, two par-5 holes and a pair of par-3 holes. These holes can be as long or short as the designer or developer wishes. In some situations the design and construction of a 9- hole golf course is preferable. Limitations such as space may preclude the construction of a regulation 18-hole course and the market may not be one that could easily support a par-3 or executive course.

An executive course is shorter than a traditional regulation course. The holes are shorter than those typically found in a regulation course, but all the criteria for playability should be met. It generally consists of par-3 and par-4 holes, with a par-5 hole possible only with the constraints of the site. Because the executive golf course is shorter it requires less land than a regulation course. It is also useful in urban areas where land is expensive.

The market appeal for executive courses is that ‘executives’ with a limited amount of time available can play in less time than a regulation course. Novice golfers, junior golfers, seniors and occasional players, for example, may also find the shorter length easier to walk and less intimidating because even a player with a high handicap can shoot a lower score.

Par-3 courses consist of all par-3 holes. An 18-hole par-3 course therefore has a 54 par total. The market appeal of a par-3 course is generally the same as an executive course, except it is particularly attractive to less dedicated and/or experienced golfers. Most par-3 courses have little appeal for strong, highly skilled golfers. Many par-3 courses also have a driving range to attract a broader market.

The major advantages of a par-3 course are substantially smaller requirements for land and lower costs associated with the smaller facility. A par-3 course is particularly useful when the site has tight boundaries or includes difficult terrain – the shorter lengths and narrower fairways associated with par-3 holes make it easier to fit a in course than one with par-4 or par-5 holes.

Where land is available for the design and construction of more than a regulation 18- hole golf course, additional holes and even courses can be added to the original site. A 27-hole layout has certain advantages for both golfers and course operators. Golfers benefit because an additional number of holes and variations are available. Operators benefit because the course can accommodate a larger flow of players.

Economies of scale will translate into dollars generated by greens fees, food and beverages, and pro-shop sales. Operators also benefit because at off-peak times one 9- hole course can be shut down for maintenance, allowing the operator to maintain superior conditions on all three 9-hole courses.

THE GRASS CAN BE GREENER ON YOUR SIDE TOO

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on November 9, 2015 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Whenever we think of Golf Courses, we think of lush green environment. Golf has been synonymous to the color green, however the trend is changing; we are now noticing a lot of Golf Courses traveling on the road to sustainability. In simple terms, the Golf Courses are now focusing more on managing the playable area only rather than trying to keep the entire course green. Keeping the Golf Course lush green is a great challenge and it definitely requires a lot of water, fertilizers and other related resources. So now the greens, fairways and tees are well manicured and managed to provide the best possible playing surface to the golfers. The rough areas and the non-playable zones are kept mainly dependent on the nature and are irrigated less frequently making such areas go less green and more brown.

This trend is not only visible in existing Golf Courses but the new developments are also keeping this is in mind from the inception, specially the courses which are being developed in arid and dry tropical regions. The choice of grasses in the new development plays a vital role in the look and feel of a Golf Course. A well-designed Golf Course can look non-appealing if the grass selection is not done prudently. A lot of factors are to be considered before we choose the type of grass to form a nice playing turf for the Golf Course. I am sure you must have heard a very common term called turf management. Turf is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots. Management of Turf is nothing but the work required to keep the grass healthy and ready to be used for its various purposes. Normally a superintendent is the one who is responsible to manage the turf on a Golf Course. So now you know who is the one to keep the grass greener on the other side.

To keep the grass greener on your side, you will have to first understand the various type of grasses, their basic characteristics and above all the climate conditions based on which we choose the right grass for the right place.

It’s very interesting to know the different climatic conditions within Africa, ranging from being arid to tropical to highlands to savanna. One can experience different climates with changing milestones. Similar is the case with India, where in one part we experience extreme hot weather and on the other cool breezes make us feel blessed. In such dramatic conditions, the choice of grass is the key to success. To make things simpler, lets consider the climate to be either warm or cool, which makes us match them with the two major classifications of grasses, i.e. “the “warm season” grasses and the “cool season” grasses. Generally people not in the Turf Industry think that these grasses are incapable of surviving outside of their respective season; that warm season grasses prosper only in summer and cool season grasses flourish only in winter. However, it is a quite complex than we think it is. The aim of this article is to introduce the grasses on a broader level. A turf management expert or an agronomist should be consulted before taking any turf related decision.

Lets have a bird’s eye view on various grass species one by one.

Since, most of the Africa regions comprises of arid and tropical climate we will focus more on the Warm season grasses, which grow best during the summer season when the temperature is between 25 to 35°C.


Warm season grasses species include:

· Bermuda Grass

· Seashore Paspalum

· Zoysia Grass

· Centipede Grass

· St. Augustine Grass

· Buffalo Grass

· Carpet Grass

· Bahia Grass


Warm season grass characteristics:

· Less water requirement.

· Turf can be seeded (not all species), sprigs, or sod.

· Soil temperature needs to be 15° to 18°C for seed germination and growth of established turf.

· Dormancy is triggered by shortened day lengths and colder temperatures

· Respond well to fertilization during the summer

· Poor winter tolerance

· Extended winter dormancy with brown color

· Poor shade tolerance


Cool Season Grasses: Cool season grasses grow best during the winter season when the temperature is between 18 to 24°C and are adapted to cooler and temperate regions.


Cool season grasses species include:

· Bentgrass

· Ryegrass

· Fescues

· Blue Grass


Cool season grass characteristics:

· Most growth is in the spring and fall

· Perform best with consistent rainfall or irrigation

· The turf can be seeded or sod

· Growth will occur when soil temperatures are 4° to 7°C for established turf; a soil temperature of 13°C is needed for seed germination

· During summer, growth is reduced and dormancy is induced by high temperatures and low rainfall

· Respond well to fertilization in the spring and fall

· Good winter tolerance

· Adequate shade tolerance

· Limited winter dormancy, retain green color


Choosing the right grass at the right place is important but maintaining it well is what makes the difference. Even the best grass can look bad if not maintained adequately. Proper mowing, watering and fertilizing will help make any grass flawless. Hope this article would help you go green…

Written By - Mr. Aashish Vaishnava

Golf Resort Design in India

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on March 16, 2015 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

We’ve been working in India for over two decades now and it’s been an incredible experience right from the start. We’ve had some ups and some downs but on balance, it’s a fantastic place and we’re very lucky to be designing golf courses and resorts in India. Perhaps the best thing about our industry across the world is that people get excited about what we do and what we can achieve in terms of the end result. It’s easy to be interested in resort design whether golf related or not because people, in general, love going on holiday. The Indian people are no different. Passion, a great attitude and the positivity behind some of our clients is an inspiration. Sure, it doesn’t always work out the way they planned and sometimes, projects can be stopped by the smallest things but the vision displayed by the likes of JP Gaur of Jaypee Group or Faiz Rezwan of Prestige Constructions is incredible.

 


Our journey in India started with Aamby Valley City in 1995 where we were brought in to remodel an existing 18 hole design which was partially built. We were asked to report on its status as a championship venue. Following that report, the developers decided the course needed a redesign to enable large scale tournaments and to achieve a level of quality previously unseen in India. As well as the golf design, IDG designed much of the surrounding property, the clubhouse and PGA academy. Aamby Valley went on to win a multitude of awards including being voted the best course in India by the Indian PGA as well as a string of International Property Awards including “Best International Golf Course 2012-2013”, Rolex “World’s top 1000 courses” and in one year alone being awarded seven Asia Pacific International Property Awards.

 

Since Aamby Valley, we’ve been involved in over 30 projects across India from tented safari resorts through townships and hotels all the way up to 3300 acre industrial masterplans. During that time we’ve worked for some of the largest developers, government bodies as well as a host of private developers.

 

A small selection of these Indian Clients & Projects

 

Jaypee Group: Formula 1 Sports City

 

Unitech: Unitech Grande & Uniworld Redesign

 

DLF: DLF Golf Club Consultancy

 

Prestige Constructions: Prestige Golfshire & Prestige Augusta

 

Sahara India Pariwar: Aamby Valley City Golf Course & Architecture

 

Carnoustie Group: Carnoustie Spa Resort, Sikkim Butterfly Hotel, Film City offices and many concept golf masterplans.

 

MTDC: Seaworld India

 

We’ve also been involved with Sports Cities, Marinas, Tennis Resorts with Jimmy Connors, Sports Complexes and townships across the country – too many to list here!

 

Following the success of the Johnnie Walker Classic tournament in 1994 for which we were hired as consultants, we were then hired by DLF to deal with their preparation for their hosting of the 2008 Johnnie walker classic at the DLF Golf Club in Delhi. Working with Aakash Ohri (GM at DLF Golf Club) for two years, Bob Hunt advised on the tournament preparation by implementing an agronomy & maintenance programme to achieve the results they did. Needless to say the Johnnie Walker tournament was a complete success that year!

 

Prestige Golfshire DesignerAnother one of our greatest successes in India has been Prestige Golfshire near Bangalore. Sitting below the majestic Nandi Hills the famously difficult championship course winds through 225 luxury villas, Marriott hotel and conference centre and returns to one of the most spectacular clubhouses we’ve seen. IDG were retained for resort masterplanning, golf course design, landscape architecture, roads design as well as golf business consultancy and construction inspection. Prestige Golfshire has been winning awards and commendations such as Best Golf Development in India at the Asia Pacific Property Awards and Best Mixed Use Development at Cityscape. Since then, Prestige Group have refined their model and gone on to build a smaller 9 hole golf village named Prestige Augusta where a stunning 9 hole short course is under construction.

 

This is one of the greatest things about working in India. Long term friendships are formed and the association with the project continues. Whether it is golf course design in India, resort design, architecture or landscape design, we can’t wait to get back out there. Amongst others, there is a great project in Gujurat which we’re looking forward to getting on the ground. Watch this space!

 

Jon Hunt 

Group Director

International Design Group

 

jon.hunt@InternationalDesignGroup.co.uk

 

www.InternationalDesignGroup.co.uk

Finding a Job in Golf Course Design

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on July 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Quite often, we receive enquiries from budding golf course designers asking how to get into the industry. So I was thinking it might be good to get my definitive guide written down rather than rehashing it every time. The following list is not necessarily what the industry wants but when we’re looking for new talent, it’s certainly what we prioritise.

 

Here are my 5 top tips to put yourself in the best position possible.

 

1. Have experience in the industry. This doesn’t mean design necessarily. Perhaps get a weekend job on a golf course maintenance crew or start to understand golf operations by volunteering at a club. All our designers have this foundation and in our view it’s incredibly helpful.

 

2. Yes there are golf design qualifications around but honestly, we would say a qualification in landscape architecture (or similar) is much more important. Our best designers have this background and for us, this broad ranging knowledge can be put to great use where our remit expands beyond the golf boundary.

 

3. Be passionate. Just loving the sport isn’t enough, in fact it doesn’t even scratch the surface. Read books, web reports and watch you tube videos about the products utilised in golf construction and the methods of construction. Get to know and understand the industry in a way that others perhaps won’t bother with.

4. Understand that just like architecture, golf course architecture is more than drawing a golf course. It’s technical specifications, bills of quantities, contract administration and more. So understand the construction process of a building and you’ll start to understand our mentality. Anyone with an architecture background is in a very good position.

 

5. Know CAD. We use Bentley microstation and powercivil for our golf design process but the majority of the industry will use autocad. This can be learnt easily at evening classes or home learning courses so why not add this string to your bow? Be prepared for the first few years to work underneath a senior golf architect. This means you will be the CAD guy so it will be a huge advantage to know this before starting.

 

Having said all this, not many golf architecture companies are hiring now. This is a competitive industry with a high barrier to entry but the rewards are worth it. As we dig ourselves out of this global financial crisis, more and more developers are looking for bigger and better projects. So the demand for golf centric development is rising right now and with the right passion, experience and knowledge it is possible to join the industry and have a long and successful career.

 

 

Jon Hunt

Jon Hunt :: Group Director

 

jon.hunt@InternationalDesignGroup.co.uk

 

www.InternationalDesignGroup.co.uk

Pre-purchasing advice

Posted by ANTHONY ASQUITH on February 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I am always amazed and intrigued at the amount of products out there that come with big claims in terms of their huge benefits to turf and soils alike. There is a plethora of such products around, from biological to some that provide simple forms of plant nutrient but are marketed as a wonder product. In my many years of independent turf research looking at products and materials, I have looked at and measured the effects of such products on turf grass. A lot of these generic products have shown results leading me to the conclusion I have come to many times before that cost by far out-ways results. Whether such products have a place in the turf industry is for each individual to decide but in my honest opinion there are no silver bullet solution in turf regardless of what people say. It's important to use reliable tried and tested materials that have been tested with time. We now live in a world where we are told what to buy, what to apply and what impressive thing's it can do but sometimes there is enough truth in it to widely exaggerate the product. Far too often, a lot of the information in brochures relies on the gullibility of the reader and unfortunately some believe everything they hear/read and are possibly too lazy or simply do not have the time to do their own research and trialing. Such information shows how many dodgy sales pitches there are and misleading ones at that.

 

My advice to anyone would be ask for independent supportive data from a source you can place utter faith in and it should not be classed as sceptical to question everything. Quite often, I am classed as a sceptic but it is a very easy way for the salesman or promoter of such products to get out of answering legitimate questions. The key area for me is how much does X product improve turf? a few percent is not worth the cost but we need to see significant improvement in many facets. Also, has there been any statistical verification that such products improve turf? The answer to a lot of these is in short - No! One such generic fertilizer product and biological product I looked at was so minute and tiny in what was been applied, the application rate equated to almost ZERO and at great expense. In the last 10 years the amount of imposters and merchants in the turf industry has increased 10 fold. We now live in a world where scaremongering is so rife people find it difficult to work out what is good information and what is poor information and what products work and which ones don't. It is important turf managers ask for quality literature to support and justify claims made and not just go by the sales hype in magazines or from company brochures or presentations. Most of the time people are spending a lot of time and money on products that are producing that elusive few percent of improvement but does this X% warrant the cost and timely application of such products?. It has to be said that the amount of Iron or Nitrogen contained within some products is really the only thing that shows signs of improvement (hence the colour response) yet this leads the buyer into believing the product as a whole is the reason for improvement when in fact in most cases it's the most expensive form of N or Fe they will ever buy.

One worrying aspect for me, is the publication of research work by persons who are being paid to research, measure and evaluate the product or products by the product company (where biased or influenced results can occur) so, again, it's important to get such information from reputable sources and one's you can place faith in. Far too often, I see research done by companies that are promoting and selling the products. Therefore I have to question the validity and the authenticity of the work been carried out and the results presented. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying dismiss for the sake of it, but ask for supportive data to justify claims made that warrants and justifies the expense.

 

Part of my work over the last few years has been trying to answer a lot of the above questions. A few that I have looked at during this time are, Wetting Agents, Bio-Stimulants, Amendments, Microbiology in turf grass systems and chemical soil testing (plus more). Another major problem occurs with chemical soil testing accuracy. The results from such tests allow companies to produce lists of recommendations of fertilizer programs that encourage the purchase of products by the end users. These recommendations are given without any correlation to field trial response or historical site data. For example the methodology needs to be calibrated against extensive fertilizer trials in that region. Sufficiency levels should be obtained and calculated so fertilizer requirements can be objectively and independently assessed in correlation with response data - without all this, recommendations may be totally worthless. Unfortunately, the majority of testing is through product supply companies to support sales. A lot of this type of information is not impartial and is based on a technically flawed system. If the testing is not done exactly as outlined above the results will show a snapshot of what is going on at the time of extraction but could quickly change as it often does with moisture, temperature etc. It is essential proper calibration is carried out. This is true for both tissue testing and soil testing – the results are guides only and like anything in turf, not to be used in isolation.

 

What has become very apparent is the simple fact that very little reliable work has been carried out with turf grasses. There has been very little research or trial work into just how much grasses require nutritionally. This is down to the virtual impossibility of being able to carry out such work due to the varied range of grasses, cultivars, soils etc and the wide range of conditions that they would need to be tested under. It is important that any product is trailed, tested and statistically verified as being of significant benefit before being purchased in any amounts. If one is interested in such a product but the company cannot provide real independent data then my advice to them would be to ask to trial the product at the companies expense not yours. Any company that has a real belief in their product should not have a problem with supplying a potential purchaser with a trial amount. If they refuse then I suppose that answers your question. If they do supply a trial amount make sure you carry out reliable trails under controlled conditions which are properly measured. I have found many times products are bought and trailed without proper testing and measuring plots and standard acceptable testing procedures. My advice is always trial it, trial it yourself and trial it properly to get meaningful results. I have done this over the years so I am happy to advise anyone wanting further information.

Where is the Data?

Posted by ANTHONY ASQUITH on February 17, 2014 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As everyone knows who are part of the turf game, certainly in terms of those dealing with sports surface preparation and maintenance, that there have been some concerns of recent times with the release of turf products that have caused extensive damage to the surfaces that have been treated. Some of this damage has been dramatic in spite of the applications following label recommendations. From my point of view this raises some obvious questions both from the manufacturers/distributor standpoint and the turf managers who can suffer dismissal from their employer when severe damage occurs. It seems almost impossible to believe that a turf manager could put his or her job in jeopardy by applying a product to extensive turf areas for the first time without first conducting some small scale plot trials to determine the safety and the efficacy of the product selected. You know, on the basis of just about every guest speaker you have ever heard who express the opinion that you have to know what can be expected under your own conditions and on your own turf variety in order to have confidence before applying compounds of various types and herbicides in particular.

As an overall assessment, the example above and a multitude of other questionable decisions has to draw attention to the entire industry, or at least in part to shortcuts in the development of product labels when detailed assessment needs to be made in terms of factors such as cultivar reactions, climatic influences and many other considerations that can affect phyto toxicity and efficacy. An example that comes to mind is a popular insecticide where claims were made about the extent of the control claimed. Limited control over time resulted in extensive insect damage because the claimed length of insect control did not materialize. With this product, which is a good one when used on the basis of what it can do rather than what the claims are, it became very evident after detailed questions were raised that the field and laboratory work was scant at best when assessing various species of insects causing damage and what level of control could be expected on different life cycle stages. From my own experience, the methodology followed with the release of this some chemicals falls a long way short of the standards and the results in the field reflect that shortfall. There are many examples where chemicals are sold by a distributor to a turf manager for the control of certain pests that have absolutely no chance of controlling the pest in question and in any case, in most circumstances the damage has already been done. This is an indictment of the service industry to turf managers because there can only be two causes for this occurring, either the representative is completely ignorant of both the insect pest or the limitations of the product sold or both of these factors are in place. Unfortunately I raise this as a glaring example of ignorance in the industry but of course there are exceptions where people take a professional approach toward educating themselves and seek reliable and independent information and the data on the products they use.

I suppose the vast number of products sold into the industry that have questionable efficacy with very little, or at times no reputable data from independent sources fall into the muck and mystery bucket. It seems that for every product that gets promoted and then falls by the wayside, there are at least two to replace it. The blurb used to promote many of these products sounds like a rejected script from a Monty Python program, if it wasn’t for the fact that many people take this stuff seriously, it would give the potential of relieving a days tedium with a good chuckle. Phrases such as “promotes soil health,” and “increased plant health” are of course impossible to measure and what are they related to?

The way I see it after proper investigations are carried out on many products is just how gullible the industry is. The decision to buy or sell seems to be based on some sort of aspiration, be it profit, a magic bullet, blind faith or that Jack down the road thinks this stuff is the closest he has ever been to nirvana. I can speak from some misguided investigations that I carried out years ago using randomized plot assessment with another miracle product of umpteen bottles and containers that claimed increased organic matter reduction. After 12 months on this stuff and using control plots, the magic bullet had inferior turf quality, lower density, increased disease, reduced root mass and no reduction in organic matter when compared to the control plots. I obtained similar responses from another organic matter reduction product that had no influence after 2 years but did produce a trend towards increasing root mass but the company had no interest in following this possibility, probably because it involved some effort and work.

The story continues with attempts to increase soil pH levels, sometimes by a significant degree with the use of calcium applied in a liquid form. Anyone who is capable of doing some simple arithmetic at not much more than primary school level can soon fathom that the amounts of calcium being applied only have the effect of parting a fool and his money, or that money spent on behalf of others.

This subject deserves far greater exposure and it should be part of every turf management conference or meeting, then perhaps there would be more people deserving of the term ”professional”.

Master Plans of Improvements

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on December 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Why do a Master Plan of Improvements?

 

A golf course will change through natural and manmade forces. Over time playing features such as tees, bunkers, and greens deteriorate and become less acceptable in terms of playing conditions. Some features will actually become more expensive to maintain as extra ordinary measures have to be taken to approximate acceptable playing conditions. Sometimes, manmade changes are often made with a narrow perspective leaving a golf hole less than a satisfying experience for the majority of players.

 

• A master plan defines what we want the course to be for the long term future. Often times this vision is implemented in increments of time based upon priorities and funds. A master plan ensures the vision is implemented in the most cost efficient and creative manner possible.

 

• A master plan removes individual agendas from the process, while still allowing future committees to have input with the architect in accordance with the original master plan.

 

• A master plan provides a club the opportunity to reintroduce the original design integrity that made the golf course a special place, and to introduce design features in accordance with the original design integrity to meet today’s playing standards.

 

• A master plan provides the opportunity to restore consistency in the most important features of a golf course: the greens, fairways and bunkers.

 

• A master plan provides an opportunity to provide consistency in the most trafficked portions of a golf course: the tees, and cart paths.

 

• A master plan provides the opportunity for the superintendent to manage the most important element to them: water. Through the provision of proper surface and subsurface drainage, and an irrigation system custom designed to their golf course, a superintendent is better able to deliver excellent turf conditions for the golfer.

 

• A master plan provides the opportunity to assess the impact of vegetation on playing conditions, and maintenance budgets, and to provide a long term landscape plan to manage and enhance the wooded areas, and to allow areas requiring costly maintenance to revert back to natural conditions without impacting playability.

 

• A master plan gives the committee and the architect an opportunity to address the unique circumstances that face the golf course.

 

Typical Components of a Master Plan

 

• Inventory and analysis of the strategic design of the existing course;

• Inventory and analysis of the original course, if information is available;

• Inventory and analysis of the existing infrastructure and maintenance problems;

• Inventory and analysis of the existing landscape;

• Evaluation of cart trail system, and recommendations for improvements;

• Hole-by-hole document of master plan of improvements that includes plans and descriptions of proposed modifications of tees, fairways, greens, bunkers, cart paths, and other pertinent course elements;

• Conceptual landscape plan of the golf course.

 

Additional Commentary

 

Aerial Photographs

An important part of the master plan process is to examine the changes that have occurred to the course over the years through the use of old photographs and aerials. These important resources can help the architect and the club make better informed decisions for the long range improvement to the course.

 

Tees

The important issues pertaining to tees are environmental conditions, drainage and space. Secondary considerations are the appropriateness of the tee’s location in relationship to the design of the hole, and the height of the tee above the surrounding terrain.

 

As is typical for all course features that require excellent turf conditions, tees need plenty of sunlight, and air flow. Once these conditions are present then consideration should be given to the size of the tee in relationship to the design of the hole and to the number of rounds hosted annually by the club.

 

As a matter of preference, we design tees that are close to the elevation of the surrounding terrain whenever possible. It is important to ensure that the tee is protected from any surrounding drainage by diverting the surface water away from the tee. A tee that is close to the ground is more accessible, is not an unnecessary distraction on the land, can add distance to an uphill hole, and in some instances can add an element of excitement and uncertainty to the hole if not everything can be seen down the fairway.

There are many examples of multi-level tees that require increased maintenance because of the time it takes to move from one tee to the next, and the steep banks around the tees. Many of the tees are too small for the rounds played. Some tees are too small, have too many levels, and are stressed by trees growing too close to the teeing surface.

 

Fairways

Fairways require many of the same considerations as other features on the course. Surface drainage, sunlight, and air circulation are important issues to get right if the fairway is to be in excellent condition with little inputs from the maintenance staff.

 

An important strategic element to consider for fairways on existing courses is the fairway mow lines. Over time fairways become narrow and assume a simple shape as mowing patterns are adjusted to make mowing more efficient or to adjust in response to encroaching trees. These efficiencies and adjustments can take fairway bunkers and green side bunkers out of play by leaving a large swath of high rough grass between the fairway and the bunker. Expanding fairways closer to the bunkers brings the bunkers into play in three ways. First, the ball rolling on the ground is more likely to enter the bunker if the fairway is cut close to the bunker. Second, if more fairway is near the bunker a player may choose to play close to the bunker in order to gain a better angle from which to play the next shot. Third, if more fairway is around the bunker, including beyond the bunker, a player may be encouraged to play over the bunker to the fairway beyond it again in order to gain a better angle on the next shot, or to shorten the distance required to play the next shot.

 

Expanded fairways near greens bring interesting ground features into play allowing a player to play a bump and run shot by using the ground features to roll the ball onto the green. This gives another exciting option for playing the hole.

 

Greens

One common issue with greens on older courses is that they become smaller. Exciting and challenging pin positions along the periphery of greens are lost making bunkers and slopes around the greens almost irrelevant in the strategy of the hole.

 

Green expansions can bring surrounding features into play and make the hole a more exciting, strategic adventure. For instance, expanding the green closer to a bunker can bring into play a downward slope toward the bunker. In this instance the golfer must be particularly careful with their approach shot. In addition, expanding the green area can recapture great pin areas along the periphery of the green. Expanded greens can allow pin positions in areas much closer to bunkers or other interesting features.

 

Drainage

Drainage is probably the most critical issue for many older courses. Surrounding conditions change and more surface water is directed into areas on a course that now causes wet conditions and distracts from the play and maintenance of the course.

 

Older bunkers typically do not have subsurface drainage or the drainage is inadequate and has failed. We provide for an extensive network of drainage to be installed in our bunkers. This will make for better playing conditions and prolong the life of the bunker.


By Mr. Kelly Blake Moran - Golf Course Architect (AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL)

Message from Mr. Kelly Blake Moran on exciting time for Golf in India.

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on December 15, 2013 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello, my name is Kelly Blake Moran; I am the golf course architect with AV GOLF. I have played golf for over 45 years, and designed golf courses for over 29 years.


There has never been a more exciting time for golf in India. Developers in India have the wonderful opportunity to benefit from the lesson learned by the Western world upon the conclusion of their most recent golf boom. These lessons are:


1) It is critical to grow the game by developing shorter courses and innovative practice facilities where new players can feel comfortable and build confidence and where advancing golfers can refine their skills, particularly their short game skills.


2) Architects need to keep the game within the reach of all golfers by charging reasonable design fees and proposing reasonable construction budgets. The right architect will keep the challenge reasonable, not too difficult as to discourage players, and the architect will dedicate a lot of time to their designs and avoid mass produced styles that are repetitive, broiler plate designs.


3) Developers need to know that ultimately architect name recognition means nothing to their bottom line and is much less important as compared to having a golf course that reduces the developer’s financial risks, and is financially viable for many years to come.


4) Architects like Ashish and me know through experience that creativity and attention to details are requirements from the very beginning. A well-conceived routing plan that incorporates the site’s natural features, minimizes earth moving, and provides challenging and strategically invigorating design will always attract golfers of all abilities, and can be built for an amount that makes it a great business venture for the developer/client.


India is on the cusp of setting the standard for what golf will be like in the country for many years into the future. In our view there are clear and critical choices to be made based upon previous experiences with golf booms in other international markets. That is why we desire clients who want to build the right kind of golf courses because we intend to be a positive force that shapes the future of golf in India. We will design golf courses that inspire all levels of players to play the game for a lifetime, golf courses that fit well within the natural landscape, that are custom made to the site, and that hide the hand of man in their creation, golf courses that provide a beautiful setting around which residential and commercial communities can thrive, and golf courses that are wise investments for our clients for many years to come.

Reducing Maintenance Costs

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on October 8, 2013 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

MOWING

• Some golf courses use gang mowers on their fairways. You must keep the blades sharp, but the unit is less expensive to buy and operate. You will need a lightweight mower to fine tune your mowing patterns on fairway perimeters and at greens and bunkers.

 

• Adjust your mowing schedules to avoid golfers as much as possible. Your time is much more efficient when there are fewer players interrupting your work.

 

• Use plant growth regulators to reduce frequency of mowing which leads to less staff, less handwork, savings on fuel and equipment repairs and replacement, and less inconvenience to the golfers.

 

• Reduce mowing area by spending less time along the edges of the course. Don’t trim around trees in these areas.

 

BUNKERS

• Don’t edge your bunkers. Use herbicides like round-up at half strength to keep your turf edges along bunkers.

 

• Reduce the number of times you rake bunkers each week.

 

 

TURF MAINTENANCE

• Avoid overseeding.

 

• Be diligent regarding traffic control in order to avoid compaction.

 

• Increase the time period between fertilizer applications. If you fertilize your fairways once a month consider fertilizing every six weeks.

 

• If you fertilize roughs maybe reduce the number of applications and judge the results. Conditions may still be the same and you saved the cost of an application.

 

LANDSCAPING

• Increase mowing efficiency by removing trees and groups of trees that slow your mowing crew by having to constantly maneuver around them.

 

• Be careful in tree selection and placement. The fuel and labor costs to properly maintain trees can be significant. Such costly work items include trimming, debris cleanup and leaf cleanup and the disposal costs associated with cleanups.

 

STAFF

• Evaluate your staff often and with a critical approach. Employees that can do multiple tasks are more valuable than those that can only be depended upon to do one thing well. Cultivate your best workers and pay them well.

 

• Evaluate where you use your labor. Make certain no one is standing around. Reduce outside contractors and train your staff to handle those jobs.

 

• Eliminate over time and cut back on labor hours. If you have a good core staff then keep them busy during the work time you can afford.

 

 

GENERAL ITEMS

• Keep detailed logs such as fuel use. Fuel has a way of disappearing and this can be costly.

 

• Buy parts from your local parts dealers and avoid the turf suppliers. Find a good engine repair shop that can rebuild items rather than buying new all the time.

 

• Don’t warehouse a lot of parts and supplies. Cash flow is the key to surviving.

 

• Ask for discounts and favorable terms. Shop around and make certain you are getting the best price without making unwise compromises.

 

• Be careful with the amount of extra furnishings you put on a course like ball washers, benches, and planters. These items require maintenance, repairs, and replacement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architects need to be face-to-face with nature - By Mr. Kelly Blake Moran

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on October 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 

The process that leads to the creation of a golf course is shaped by culture. Creating a golf course entails engineering (computer technology), making (construction), packaging and marketing (mass appeal), comparing and rating (mass media) and the people (fame and notoriety).

 

This is what it takes today to be a designer -- not just to envision but to create something that will resonate with various audiences - whether golfers, fellow architects or even the media. For a moment, it might be instructive to play the role of a visionary, only to do so retrospectively. Look back at a time before the present culture overtook the past, when nature was a refuge, when art was influenced by ideas of nature, when natural artists defined culture by showing links between human and natural worlds.

 

For our use in creating a course, modern culture has equipped us with computer software, large earthmoving equipment and the opinions of golfers and writers. Yet, the past resource - nature - has been redefined by packaging and marketing and replaced by the term "environmentally friendly", a description with mass appeal that downplays how we imposed our will on the land.

 

The creative process employed in course design should begin with a face-to-face encounter with land and nature. In this way, the architect is more willing to cooperate with nature, not impose a will to make it conform. This is a land-based architect. Every project seems vast or difficult in the beginning. Technology makes almost anything possible; problems can be solved on paper and with money.

 

Hard work on the land and confronting the realities of these difficult problems are not necessary because the architect can work a solution on paper without leaving the office, and technology and money can implement the solution. This can make the land-based architect anxious when confronted with difficult problems caused by wetlands, steep slopes, contiguous forests and awkward parcels caused by property lines.

 

Given these difficult constraints, can we find a course on this land, or must we leave it to the big machines to rearrange the land to make a course? Why try too hard to work with nature if we have the modern technology and wealth to impose the kind of beauty that has mass appeal?

 

Land-based design requires a specific engagement with nature. This engagement is a satisfying creative process. All of the cultural pressures - technology, marketing, mass media, public expectations - are suspended when the land-based architect straps on boots and goes on the land to become immersed in discovery and curiosity.

 

The persistent, land-based architect walks the land repeatedly. The feeling of anxiety is replaced by exhilaration that comes from the awareness of the land's subtle qualities.

 

Through a slow process - slow when comparing three days walking the land with four hours in the office scratching on a base map - the land-based architect discovers how the course strategy connects with nature - the terrain, plants, soil, drainage, wind and light.

 

By trusting discovery, the period of walking the land looking for the natural golf hold becomes humbling and gratifying. Will this approach yield a good course? Where's the give? Where's the take? Is this approach relevant to the game? With a kind of blind faith, the land-based architect ventures out to find the energy in the land. Egotism, arrogance and the desire for recognition give way to a wild delight in the beauty and infinite space of the landscape. Routing begins to emerge from the land rather than being forced upon it, as happens so often when working on paper or computer screen.

 

When returning to the office or home, anxiety sometimes creeps back. Have I missed opportunities? Am i going to get the most out of the natural features? Am I going to create a seamless experience that captures the best of the land's natural features into the strategy of the course? Again, these doubts usually are erased with the next visit to the land.

 

Land-based design embodies the course with a majestic decorum that we never tire of seeing. Land-based design reinstalls reason and faith into the creative design process.

Golf Course Feasibility Study / Report

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on September 2, 2013 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Before the initiation of a golf project, prior understanding of the potential financial and commercial viability of the proposed facility ensures an opportunity for greater success.


The Feasibility Study, Analysis & Report have become a critical component in developing a new golf facility, helping the client to better assess the proposed product offering and to identify potential opportunities, hurdles and rewards in the development process. Basically, a credible and impartial feasibility study is essential when attempting to secure financing and/or attract potential partners; moreover, it helps in giving developers a better insight into what they are getting into and what they can get out of it.


Feasibility reports are preliminary plans of action that usually address a number of primary points which are of utmost importance to the developer prior to the initiation of a project. These points and their elaborate explanations allow easy decision making and avoid unnecessary delays in the way to go about the golf project. Some of the crucial points that are taken into consideration while compiling a feasibility report are as follows:

 

  • What is the population within a 20-mile radius of the proposed site?
  • How many other public and private courses / golf facilities are in the vicinity?
  • What is the projected volume of play and fees?
  • What are the projected operating expenses?
  • Have any courses in the area failed? Why?
  • Are employment levels and per capita income at suitable levels?

 

While the study parameters will be slightly different for each type of golf facility, the key elements addressed in a feasibility study include the following:

 

  • What is the cost?
  • Is the project practical or impractical?
  • Will it be profitable (short term as well as long term consideration) ?
  • Will it be sustainable?
  • What is the market?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the project?
  • What will the impact be?
  • What will be the effect on the environment?
  • What legal considerations exist?
  • What are the personnel, training and skill consideration?


Contents of a Feasibility Report:

The specifics of a feasibility report should cover each and every aspect of the proposed project. Basically, as it has been reiterated many times before, the feasibility report helps the developer in the decision making process, therefore the content should outline every aspect whether positive or negative giving a clear view of what the developer is proposing to do.


Generally speaking, a Golf Feasibility Report is drafted on the following lines:

 

  • Introduction: Explains the prospective project, About the developers and what culture they bring towards the project.
  • Executive Summary: It contains info on Site Factors, Demographics, Market Competition, Play Potential, Financial Summary and a Conclusion.
  • Project Overview: About the proposed project, its location, conceptual plan.
  • Market Area & Opportunity Overview: Defining the Market, Demographic Overview, Key Economic Factors, Climate, Golf Market Supply and Demand Indicators.
  • Golf Market Competitive Analysis: Competitive Assessment Review, Competitors Market Position.
  • Financial Overview: Proposed Fee Schedule, Cash Flow Statement, Fixed Expenses.
  • Recommendations: Summarizing all of the previous feasibility study steps, the recommendations and findings can shape the outcome of a project proposal and suggest ways to make the project better. 

 

How much does it cost to build a Golf Course in India?

Posted by AV GOLF INTERNATIONAL on September 2, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The type of soil, how much soil must be moved, the method of constructing the greens, any major drainage required, the type of irrigation system, costs involved in meeting regulatory requirements, who does the construction and other factors all influence the total cost of constructing a Golf Course.


A standard Golf Course can be built in between Rs. 10-20 lacs per acre, it does not include any civil building works. An international standard championship Course with a signature Golf designer brand like Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Gary Player etc would be around Rs. 30 – 50 lacs per Acre this cost includes the construction of club house and full flood lit playing facility.


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