Exploring the History of Golf Course Design

Cutten, Keith
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University of Guelph

Golf’s future is in question. Fewer people are participating, environmental restrictions are altering construction and maintenance practices, and improved equipment technologies have necessitated longer golf holes increasing management and playing costs. There is a lack of research examining the influence that golf course architecture has had on the evolution, and current state, of the game of golf. This study explored connections between the evolution of golf architecture and external influences such as technology, media, social trends, the economy and allied professional fields. A decade-by-decade breakdown revealed 10 eras and 8 schools of design. This process led to the recognition of two high points in the evolution of golf course architecture, one pre-WWII and one on-going since 1995. Questionnaires were sent to 35 leading designers, from which aggregate findings were compared to writings of 35 pre-WWII designers. Themes were distilled which suggested a correlation between both high points of design practice.

Design, Influence, Philosophy, Environment, Social, Economic