The principal objective of good golf course architecture is to create a balance of challenges and strategies that seamlessly range from the extreme to the benign. The most desirable courses inspire golfers of all skill levels, providing designs that are engaging and rewarding from tee to green.
To accomplish our objectives, the Robinson Golf design philosophy is founded on three core elements – Flexibility, Memorability and Natural Beauty – and an inherent quest to incorporate these fundamental golf course characteristics into the spirit of each landscape we embrace.
To challenge golfers of widely ranging skill, a golf course must possess an intrinsic capability to vary the degree of difficulty of each hole, while maintaining its intended character. This flexibility may be achieved by the implementation of following:
- Multiple tees, strategically placed hazards and numerous options for flagstick settings, all of various rigors, are three ways to adjust the challenges.
- Just as importantly, each hole should provide a more subtle capability of rewarding a good shot and progressively penalizing others.
- As the skill of the player increases, the course should demand greater shot execution and accuracy to receive the desired result.
- Occasionally, a hole should provide a “heroic” opportunity – a more daring way to play, which allows the golfer to gamble skill against the chance of saving a stroke.
By integrating the course into a single, ever-changing entity, the design will be fun, exciting, challenging, rewarding and frustrating – all at the same time – to golfers of widely divergent skill levels.
A mark of a good golf course design is when every hole is distinctly memorable, not only in aesthetics but in playability as well. That requires 18 discrete challenges be presented that require the golfer to use a variety of shots to score effectively. One hole may reward a long fade to the left. Another might demand a short shot with an ability to stop the ball quickly. The penalty for an errant shot on one hole might provide an opportunity for recovery out of a sand bunker. On another hole, the same error may invoke the finality of a water hazard. Our goal is to provide the golfer with sufficient variety to nurture the recall of each shot on every hole, and the corresponding results, long after the round has been completed.
Good golf courses improve with age. Designs that integrate the strategic elements of the game within their natural surroundings provide for an experience far greater than the challenge of the course itself. The maintenance and strategic use of existing natural elements – such as streams, wetlands, trees and shrubbery – within the design of the course is a core objective for Robinson Design. The basic contours of the landscape are also to be preserved whenever possible. When new features are introduced, they are meticulously designed and constructed to blend naturally with those that already exist. With time, a golf course should develop the appearance of maturing naturally, as opposed to being manmade, and each round should evoke the same exhilaration as an outing at a nature preserve on a glorious spring day.