Design Process


To begin the design process, the area designated for the golf course is reviewed and a routing plan prepared while taking into consideration the design objectives of the project and natural constraints of the site. All tees, greens, fairway centerlines, set backs, and other relevant design features of the course are provided. In addition, the relationship of the golf course with surrounding land uses is also analyzed and suggestions are made when appropriate for the purpose of achieving the maximum integration and optimum value for the project

Routing is especially critical on sites with significant topography where finished slope plays such a vital role in determining ultimate viability. In these instances, the rough elevations of the plan must be determined in order to confirm the validity of the space plan. On sites where it is needed, conceptual grading may be provided as part of the routing process at contour intervals of ten feet (imperial) or five meters (metric).

Kohanaiki, located on the Kona coast in Hawaii, is an example of a routing plan illustrating some of the more complex elements that may need to be included in a conceptual design. In order to complete this plan, over 200 anchialine ponds (tidal pools formed in the lava containing habitat for a unique form of brine shrimp) were plotted using topographical maps and orthographic images. The site also contained several archeological sites that were to be preserved. In addition to the routing of the golf course, the residential areas were also determined as well as access and parking for a public beach side park.

Kohanaiki Routing Plan – View PDF

Conceptual Grading

The second step in the design process consists of the creation of a conceptual grading plan (on sites with significant topography, this step is generally completed concurrently with the routing plan). The purpose of this plan is to refine the design features in greater detail and to establish the rough elevations for the golf course. The blending of the golf course with surrounding land uses and within the specific constraints of the site is finalized during this phase. All golf course drainage flows and floodwater coursing is determined as well. Overall, the objective is to create a plan that balances earth movement within the limits of the site.

Construction Drawings

The last phase involves the development of final construction drawings. These plans include the finished elevations for the golf course, shaping configuration for all bunkers, finished design of any water features, cart path alignment, and any onsite drainage requirements. In addition, greens plans are produced at a larger scale to provide details of these critical areas at one-foot (half meter) contour intervals.

Final drawings are produced in AutoCad at real scale and then plotted to meet the needs of the client. A sample of a construction sheet on Arrowood Golf Club in Oceanside, California illustrates the final grading on 16th and 17th holes at 2-foot contour intervals. The following drawing, also of Arrowood, illustrate the green plans at one-foot intervals and their corresponding bearing tables to they can be specifically duplicated in the field.

Arrowood Construction – View PDF
Arrowood Green – View PDF

Extended Services

In addition, RGI offers an extended range of services beyond the core design elements outlined above including:

  • Conceptual master planning on residential and resort communities
  • Environmental planning
  • Irrigation design
  • Detailed landscape planning
  • Water-usage analysis