|At Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects we believe that, whether designing new golf courses or remodeling existing courses, it is important that the architect and the Owner understand the niche which the golf course will occupy in the local market – entry level, municipal, up-scale public, private or destination. This is particularly important on municipal and entry-level public daily-fee courses where the “average golfer” may make up as much as 85 to 90% of the revenue source.
The process of designing a municipal or public daily-fee golf course is very different from the way we design a private country club. We feel strongly that properly designed golf course will provide an enjoyable experience for the average golfer while at the same time offer the challenge and strategy which the more skilled golfer seeks. However, we also recognize that the average golfer at a municipal or public golf course is not necessarily playing golf for the challenge and strategy of the game. In fact, they may not even keep score or have a USGA handicap.
Providing an enjoyable experience where the golfer won’t feel intimidated or rushed is paramount to the long-term success of the golf course and to growing the game. The placement of bunkers and water hazards, the positioning of tees and the contouring of the greens all play a role in creating an enjoyable experience.
Lastly, we believe that there exists a strong relationship between the natural and the built environment and that a well-designed golf course should respond to the existing site and blend easily into the surrounding landscape. Using natural drainage patterns, preserving natural wetlands and minimizing earthmoving results in a course which is less expensive to construct, less costly to maintain and one that is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Growing the Game
We’ve all heard it said “golf is too hard, too expensive and takes too much time”. We’ve also heard it said that kids are the future of our game. Unfortunately, I still see websites and advertisements inviting golfers to come play their “challenging” course and wonder how they can so disconnected. We are an aging population and our youth and families have many choices for activities that don’t cost as much, have as many rules or take as long as the game of golf does. Foot Golf and Snag Golf are good ideas but don’t really address the fact that we need to have golf courses that are fun, playable and accessible to golfers of all abilities.
At Herfort Norby, we understand what it takes to make golf fun and how to attract those who golf but don’t necessarily consider themselves “a golfer”. This starts by designing golf holes that have generous landing areas, multiple teeing options and carefully placed hazards. Tees and bunkers need to be positioned so that golfers using the forward tees are not unfairly penalized and required to hit a disproportionately longer approach shot to the green. .
The days of building longer, more-challenging courses are over.