Now's the time to masterplan


Sean Dudley

The autumn is a good time to evaluate a golf course and develop a master plan for improvements, according Erik Larsen, president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA).

“Many golf courses were damaged by floods or scarred by drought this year, making this a particularly good time for golf course management to review what needs to be done before the next golf season – and those that follow,” Larsen said.

Larsen emphasised that it is cost effective to develop a master plan to serve as foundation for course maintenance and improvement over the coming years. Such planning can help reduce long-term costs overall and ensures the course has a consistent vision. Some areas of ASGCA member focus noted by Larsen include:

  • Creation of family tees
  • Turf reduction leading to water savings
  • Irrigation system consultation
  • Aesthetic and functional improvements to the practice range.

“Even a one-day visit by an ASGCA member may provide golf course decision makers with the broad brushstrokes of what is needed to improve the golfing experience and address functional issues,” Larsen said. “The golf architect operates within management’s parameters, understanding some managers want to refine their current layouts while others want to address the changing face of golfers for the long term.

“For instance, more and more players may not have the time to play eighteen holes on each visit to a course. Architects work with course managers to make the course and the game accessible and competitive for everyone. A golfer does not always need to play eighteen holes in order to enjoy the game and experience the wonderful benefits of golf.”

Master Planning: Questions and Answers is an ASGCA brochure that can help golf course managers, superintendents, professionals and owners understand the process of developing a master plan and the importance of assessing the typical life expectancies of golf course components. This free brochure may be obtained by visiting or by email.