We begin each engagement by getting to know our client and developing an understanding of their goals, their preferences and the niche which their course will occupy in the local market. I’m still old-school and, although we use state-of-the-art computer technology to create working drawings, our design process starts with walking the site and then putting pencil to paper. There is no substitute for time spent walking the site with a topographic map to understand the nuances of the property. We look at natural drainage patterns and existing trees as well as things like sightlines and vistas that don’t show up on a map or aerial photograph. On existing golf courses, we work closely with the superintendent and the golf professional to understand existing drainage issues and problems with safety or pace of play.
We have learned that there is no substitute for time spent on-site with a topographic map in hand. We look at natural drainage patterns and existing vegetation as well as things like sightlines and vistas that aren’t apparent on a map or aerial photograph. We work closely with the golf course superintendent and the golf professional to understand their customer base and issues like on-going maintenance, safety and pace of play. I like to visit existing courses in the vicinity of our projects to understand what the competition has to offer and what we can do to differentiate our project.
Once the design phase is complete, we prepare detailed plans and typewritten specifications, which can be used for cost estimating, bidding and construction. We have been told by contractors on many occasions that our drawings are the most detailed in the business. That means our plans are easy to bid, easy to understand and have fewer change orders and cost over-runs. Detailed plans and specifications mean our clients can take full advantage of the negotiated bid or competitive bid process. It insures that both the owner and the contractor thoroughly understand the scope of the project prior to breaking ground and allows the contractor to submit his bid with confidence based on definitive quantities of materials and labor.
During construction we make frequent visits to the site to monitor progress and to look for opportunities to make the course better. We have developed a reputation for providing an uncommon level of hands-on service. Being on site every 3-5weeks during construction simply isn’t enough to stay on top of the issues and provide the contractor with the guidance he needs. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the detail”. Often times this is simply saving an existing tree, enhancing drainage or what we call “naturalizing the features”. Having a regular presence on site allows us to focus on the subtle details of the design and to insure that the contractor stays on schedule and on budget.