Golf Course Designer: Job Duties, Outlook and Salary

Golf course designers require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Golf course design is a specialized field of landscape architecture, and involves the design or renovation of golf courses. Learn about how golf course designers collaborate, what knowledge is necessary, and the types of technological skills that are needed when remodeling or designing a course.

Essential Information

Golf course designers are landscape architects who design new courses or renovate existing courses. Many workers draft plans with computer software programs to create layouts of each site, including putting greens, thoroughfares, walkways, and course obstacles. They consult with course owners and staff to develop desired features, and they must have knowledge of budgeting and construction techniques. Most positions require either a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture. Every state has licensing or registration requirements for landscape architects, although the District of Columbia does not.

Required Education Professional bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture
Other Requirements Licensing or certification required in most states
Projected Job Growth 5% for all landscape architects from 2014-2024*
Mean Salary $68,600 for all landscape architects (2015)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Job Duties for Golf Course Designers

Also called landscape architects, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that golf course designers merge the architectural needs of a golf course project with the surrounding environment. To better understand ecological issues, designers frequently meet with other experts, including horticulturalists, soil scientists, and land surveyors. They also consult with the owners of the golf course and other investors to balance business needs with those of the environment.

When creating a golf course, job duties vary based on whether a designer is remodeling an existing site or creating a new location. Some common duties include first obtaining information from the owners and staff, such as current site concerns, design theme, space restrictions, and budget. Next, designers usually use computer-aided design (CAD) software to make full-scale models of the plans. During the planning stages, designers often create several reports, such as budget projections and construction schedules, which require approval by the golf course owner or board.

Golf Course Designer Career Outlook

In general, the BLS reported that careers in landscape architecture would rise 5% between 2014 and 2024. Although this may not accurately reflect a job increase for golf course designers specifically, the current trend of environmental preservation makes golf course designers who can focus on sustainability in higher demand. Furthermore, designers with significant technological training, including CAD and geographic information systems, should have increased employment opportunities, according to the BLS.

Salary for Golf Course Designers

The 2015 wage statistics reported by the BLS showed the mean annual wage for landscape architects was $68,600. Those in California area earned an average of $77,540 that year. This category reflects all landscape designers and architects, including golf course designers.

Golf course designers are landscape architects who are hired to design or remodel golf courses. An aspiring golf course designer must have knowledge of environmental concerns, how architecture and golf courses intersect, new technology, budget planning and construction. A degree and licensing are required for landscape architects, and they typically work within a team of other planning experts.

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