According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional golf course designers and other landscape architects typically have at least a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture (www.bls.gov). Students may find classes in golf course design in landscape architecture programs, as well as turfgrass science programs, through the architecture or landscaping departments of 4-year colleges and universities.
10 Top Schools with Landscape Architecture or Turfgrass Science Programs
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Ohio State University-Main Campus||Columbus, OH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$10,037 for in-state/$27,365 for out of state (undergraduate), $12,934 for in-state/$32,406 for out-of-state (graduate)**|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, TX||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$10,176 for in-state/$28,768 for out-of-state (undergraduate), $8,656 for in-state/$18,183 for out-of-state (graduate)|
|California State Polytechnic Institute||Pomona, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$7,016 for in-state/$18,176 for out-of-state (undergraduate), $8,282 for in-state/$17,210 for out-of-state (graduate)|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$49,116 (undergraduate), $32,000 (graduate)**|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Blacksburg, VA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$12,485 for in-state/$29,129 for out-of-state (undergraduate), $14,116 for in-state/$26,377 for out-of-state (graduate)|
|Louisiana State University||Baton Rouge, LA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$9,714 for in-state/$26,877 for out-of-state (undergraduate), $10,954 (graduate)|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||Master's, Postgraduate certificate||$34,268|
|Kansas State University||Manhattan, KS||4-year, Public||Master's||$9,972 for in-state/$21,459 for out-of-state|
|Purdue University||West Lafeyette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,002 for in-state/$28,804 for out-of-state|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||4-year, Public||Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral**||$11,622 for in-state/$29,832 for out-of-state (undergraduate), $10,750 for in-state/$26,348 for out-of-state|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website
School Selection Criteria
Important considerations for choosing a program centered around golf course design include:
- Look for programs containing specific classes in golf course planning as well as construction methods and styles for fairways, greens, sand traps, and tees.
- Turfgrass degrees may offer courses in golf course design and construction, covering things like the cultivation of turfgrass and the various types of turfgrass used in construction.
- Some schools may have their own golf courses or partnerships with local courses to provide practical experience.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Landscape Architecture
A 4-year landscape architecture degree program typically combines ecology, urban studies, and design. Students may create a golf course concept for their design portfolios. Many B.S. in Landscape Architecture programs offer coursework in golf course design, landscape architectural design, and environmental design
Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass Science
Interdisciplinary degree programs like turfgrass management usually include courses in the fundamentals of golf course design and construction. Internship opportunities at turfgrass production companies or golf clubs may be required. Program content may address agricultural sciences, agronomy, soil science, plant pathology, and business management
Master of Landscape Architecture
Students may choose to earn a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA). The MLA is a professional degree that prepares students for licensure. Graduate seminars and independent thesis research are usually required. Aside from studio classes, coursework may include, landscape theory, design software, and advanced techniques in landscape design
Three of the most common degrees to earn in order to become a golf course designer are the B.S. in Landscape Architecture, B.S. in Turfgrass Science, and Master of Landscape Architecture. These degrees, along with other programs like certificates in related disciplines, provide students with the skills to competently design golf courses and manage the resources that go into it from both architectural and environmental standpoints.