Golf courses are gems. Abundant greens, steadfast trees, water features, and glimpses of wildlife, Golf is invigorating and satisfying. In addition to exercise, players experience a sense of social and psychological well-being. Inasmuch as players reap a wealth of benefits at the course, golf courses have been disappearing for years. The causes are many. However, an important lesson to be learned is that massive overly managed vegetation is neither environmentally prudent nor accessible to all. Perhaps it’s time for a mulligan.
When developing unused spaces or re-purposing current courses, draw from an environmentally friendly multi-purpose perspective. Although we all like championship golf courses we need to rethink our strategy for 18 hole courses, it’s not for everyone geographically speaking. We should be thinking of reducing, reordering, redesigning and reevaluating conventional courses into multi purpose golf courses.
Traditional 18-hole courses require a vast amount of land. Consider some aspects of a multifunctional project and the manner in which cost is minimized while innovatively improving usability and the environment, smaller and flexible footprint that can adapt to nature and embellish it.
By featuring existing landscapes, courses shape experiences while respectfully acknowledging sustainably and environmental impact. Native wildlife needn’t fear crossing the green when they’ve a natural path instead. Likewise, topography’s character can be woven into planning whereby natural clearings create bunkers, green locations or fairway landings. Resetting natural topography lowers cost, an improvement over changing the landscape in order to create expensive and contrived courses. Multi-use/multi-functional and sustainable course amenities are as individual as their sites. Such projects also attract and benefit a broader range of visitors in both age and interests.
A pitch and putt, hailed as ‘the most wonderful way to introduce people to playing golf’ by Jack Nicklaus, is an appealing destination for several reasons. Though similar in holes (18), time and distances are lessened, driving the ball is eliminated, players only need three clubs, and the rules are similar. Cost is lessened by reducing area.
A driving range of 16 acres, serves all—young to old, novice to pro—and provides essential practice of golf: driving, chipping, and putting. Ranges can be played by individuals or as team play.
An innovative outdoor golf lounge creates beautiful functional design: the multi-purpose space might include a free-form putting green, sand hazards, a fire pit, and central bunker. Daytime pleasures range from shots to putting (and children’s sandbox play), while nighttime lighting reveals relaxation and conversation, beauty, and perhaps a little extra putting.
A golf course that includes elements of Wellness Golf creatively caters to all clientele. Wellness is achieved by connecting with nature; the natural elements of a naturally beautiful course encourages spiritual, emotional, and environmental connections. Why not play multi-modal, such as barefoot (depending on players’ moods) on a multi-model course?
Youth and adults alike delight in diverse offerings that come with multi-use and multifunctional designs. The concept can include open-space preservation (passive parkland recreation areas) for walking, biking and hiking. Enhance existing courses with a multi-purpose sports field to satisfy the exercise and sports enthusiasts’ needs for sports diversity that conveniently sparks interest among all ages. Include park space for family picnicking that’s smartly intertwined within the golf course project. Appeal to all; they will come.
Golf is growing in popularity across many countries. The key is thoughtfully designed courses that appeal to diverse groups of athletes, sports fans, learners, and wellness enthusiasts. You’ll help others recognize golf’s values of discipline, perseverance, and companionship as you appeal to diverse groups. This is as courses should be; each individual player adding personality to the sport. Such is the nature of the courses that should be reflective of their natural surroundings, embracing sustainability and diversity of offerings—creatively contributing unique experiences—where learning and growth, fun and play, and the development of exquisite human experience is open to all.
Golf is a game for life and no matter what sport you practice most likely you'll end up playing golf at some point.
About Agustín Pizá
Agustín Pizá is an architect with a masters degree in Golf course architecture from the University of Edinburgh. Member of the American Society and European Institute of Golf Course Architects. Pizá Golf is an award- winning golf design firm.
Story by Richard Humphreys