Golf Course Architect: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a golf course architect. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and relevant work experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Golf course architects work on the design and plans for the creation of a golf course. They usually require a bachelor's degree and must possess pertinent knowledge of golf. The mean annual salary for golf course architects is around $69,000.

Essential Information

Golf course architects are responsible for the topography and layout of a golf facility's playing surface, and they may also design the club facilities. They perform site evaluations and oversee construction work. Many golf course architects complete a landscape architecture bachelor's degree program.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture or similar field
Other Requirements Prior relevant work experience may enhance career prospects
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% for all landscape architects
Mean Salary (2015)* $68,600 for all landscape architects

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Golf Course Architect

Golf course architects apply knowledge of landscape architecture, engineering, agronomy (soil fertility) and agrostology (turf culture) to create facilities that are visually appealing and challenging for golfers. In addition to fairways and putting greens, they may also design related buildings and oversee construction.

Golf course architects can assist with the evaluation of a potential site's economic viability and environmental feasibility. They may also advise clients on key business decisions, such as membership and green fees. Course designers also coordinate the work of civil engineers and contractors in both the planning and construction phases of a project.

Duties of a Golf Course Architect

Architects begin by evaluating a new site's potential or, in the case of a remodel, an existing course's limitations. Golf course architects survey topography and analyze soil. They perform environmental impact studies with scientists to gauge the potential impact on local vegetation and wildlife. Design concepts and site evaluations are then combined into a master plan, which must be submitted to local municipalities to obtain all necessary building permits and regulatory approvals.

Golf course architects use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create blueprints. They select types of turf and irrigation systems, often taking into account playability as well as maintenance and sustainability concerns. They create cost estimates, approve materials and manage construction personnel.

Requirements to Become a Golf Course Architect

Experience with and knowledge of the game of golf is essential. Golf course architects commonly complete a bachelor's degree program in landscape architecture. Many colleges and universities require the submission of a portfolio as part of the admission process to gauge applicants' creativity and visual communication instincts. Generally, portfolios can contain a variety of artwork, including photographs, paintings, freehand sketches and CAD designs.

Civil engineering degree programs can also provide the educational background necessary for designing golf courses. Relevant coursework includes chemistry, drafting and environmental sciences.

Experience working under an established golf course design professional can help architects pursue professional memberships and find clients. In order to become a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, individuals must be over 28 years old, have eight years of golf course design experience and have completed five 18-hole designs (www.asgca.org).

Employment Outlook and Salary Information for a Golf Course Architect

Golf course architects can also be called landscape architects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that landscape architects will experience a 5% increase in demand over the 2014-2024 decade, which is about the same rate of growth as the national average. The average salary for a landscape architect in 2015 was $68,600, according to the BLS.

Golf course architects typically complete a degree in landscape architecture. They are often required to submit portfolios as part of their college application process. They can obtain professional recognition by applying for and becoming members of the American Society of Golf Club Architects.

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