Do you love golf and have your own idea about how the "perfect" course
should play? Why not design golf courses? Golf course designers create lush,
beautiful and challenging courses that blend perfectly with the natural surroundings.
Successful golf course architects have a broad background in landscaping.
They need skills in engineering, landscape architecture, cost estimation,
chemistry, agronomy (soil fertilization) and turf grass. Of course, they also
understand and enjoy golf!
Course designers visit a prospective site and analyze its soil, climate
and land slope. Then computer-aided drafting (CAD) is used to create the course
design. Designers work with structural engineers, architects, civil engineers
and environmental scientists.
"Job duties are to visit a potential site [150 acres of raw land], analyze
the conditions, design a plan for 18 holes of golf and its related facilities,
prepare construction drawings, and oversee construction," says designer Lorrie
Golf course designers split their time between the beautiful outdoors and
the office. Successful designers must travel where the courses and clients
are, and projects could be in the same city or a different country. Golf courses
have been built in Thailand, Australia and Alaska!
"For me, travel is quite sporadic. Perhaps one week a month out of state
and one time per week within driving distance to a site or potential site,"
A designer's busy day can include creating designs and models, client meetings,
cost estimates and research. Outside of the occasional paper cut or smashed
finger, it's a hazard-free career.
"Hidden hazards are just the bugs and insects from outdoors. Other than
that, keep out of the way of bulldozers. They can make you kind of flat!"
says Steven Halberg, president of a golf course architecture firm.
A typical week runs from 40 hours to a whopping 50 to 60 hours. Self-employed
designers may work longer hours to meet construction or design deadlines.
"As owners, we need to do whatever it takes to get the work done. That means
weekends, evenings and even all-nighters. That is the price to pay when you
own the shop," says Halberg.
Course designers need to be computer savvy and comfortable with CAD, other
drafting tools, measuring devices and cameras. "We use computers, computers,
computers! We use a CAD program for computer-aided drafting. We also use spreadsheet
programs, a word-processing program, copiers, and the Internet for research
purposes," says Halberg.