We offer a variety of golf course planning, design and construction services to meet the needs of our clients, all provided under the constant watchful eye of Tripp Davis with his 25 years of experience, along with assistance from one of the most talented staffs of professionals in our industry for a total 50 years of combined experience.
Our focus in everything we do is to assist our clients with defining their objectives, help plan the way forward to meet those objectives, develop fundamentally sound and highly creative design that exceeds expectations, and to ensure construction is carried out with the highest quality in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
Our areas of focus include:
You can scroll down to read more in detail about each of the services we provide.
Relative to fees, we don’t maintain standard fee schedules. Upon request we will provide a tailored fee proposal to meet your needs.
Preliminary Planning is the process of helping our clients evaluate and define their project objectives in the early stages of a potential project. This process can be done for a variety of types of projects to include original designs, new practice facilities, new short courses, or small renovation or restoration projects. We have also gone through this process with major, or complete, renovations or restorations to help our client better define their objectives before getting into the more involved Master Planning process. The Preliminary Planning process will typically include:
Master Planning is an involved process that goes beyond a preliminary perspective, to result in a final plan and direction to move forward.
For original designs, new practice facilities or new short courses, Master Planning is a continuation of Preliminary Planning with the objective of developing final design, final schedules and final cost estimates.
For renovations or restoration projects, Master Planning is often the start of our work with a client, with the objective varying depending on whether or not our client intends to do all of the work in the Master Plan in one project, or if they expect to phase the work in the Master Plan over time. If the expectation is to do all of the work in the Master Plan in one project, the Master Plan will develop final design, final schedules and final cost estimates. If the expectation is doing the work in the Master Plan over time, we will develop final design to guide any work done over time, we will develop a phasing plan that fits the work together in the most efficient and effective way possible, and we will develop a broad cost estimate to cover the entire Master Plan, which must be updated with each new phase to account for changes in market pricing for labor and materials.
We define golf course renovation as the rebuilding of what exists so that the course functions better, can be more efficiently maintained, plays better, and is a greater visual experience for the players. This may involve changes to the existing design.
We define golf course restoration as restoring the original design intent, both strategically and stylistically, to the greatest extent possible with the play of the modern game for those who play the course being a strong design criteria.
When we are working on a golf course with a unique history, which may include a unique stylistic theme, a rich tournament history, or having been designed by a distinguished golf course architect, where restoration may be a part of what we do, renovation will still be a part of how we approach the project, especially in making certain the course functions better and can be more efficiently maintained.
While we regularly do smaller projects that are based on renovation or restoration, which may be only a few tees or a few bunkers, where we may go straight to developing construction documents after Preliminary Planning, most of our renovation and restoration projects follow our in-depth Master Planning Process.
Master Planning for Renovations and Restorations
We are somewhat different in that I believe it is very important to first study the existing course in detail before considering any design solutions. Finding the right answers is most often the product of asking good questions, which is what the Evaluation is about – why is a tee shaped the way it is, how does the drainage function, can this area on the course be used better? etc.
Relative to the landscape, visual elements, strategic elements and playing interest, and the infrastructure of the course that helps support what we play on (irrigation, drainage, turf types, structure of tees, greens and bunkers, cart paths and others as may apply), we look at strong points, areas of concern that need to be addressed, and opportunities for enhancement. Too often I have seen work done that did not fully recognize what existed and how, leading to work that ignored strong points or opportunities, even if subtle, and did not fully address or acknowledge areas of concern.
We develop this Evaluation in graphic form and written form. We will use aerial images of each hole to note specific strong points, areas of concern or opportunities, to also include the practice facilities. This helps everyone to “see” where these are on the course. We will provide a written summary of the common strong points, areas of concern, and opportunities, to include notes relative to the life span of things such as the irrigation system, drainage, structure of greens, tees and bunkers.
In some cases, we have found it valuable to conduct a variety of small group meetings with members to explain our Evaluation, ask them for their input, and then ask them to provide additional information relative to strong points, areas of concern, and where opportunities may exist. This gets the membership involved in helping us to learn the course and practice facilities, which also tends to encourage them to “spread the word” to other members that this is well done process.
This Evaluation helps all of us to better understand what we are working with so that we use those good things that exist or may be opportunities, which tends to save dollars, and we fully address and/or acknowledge areas of concern.
In the process of communicating to the membership what we want to do, this Evaluation will better help us also to explain why in detail. The most often asked question from members in my experience is why.
We are also somewhat different in that we believe it is important to work with everyone to develop themes to help guide how we will move forward before we start to think too much about design in detail. This helps to define project objectives and develop consistency in how we will do things – it develops common themes. The intent is to get things to work together, especially as work is done over time.
Theming is something we do in roundtable discussions with our client, taking notes of those things we want to accomplish in design, both in broad and very specific terms. For instance, we may identify that we want to enhance the playability of the course for the average to higher handicap player as a general theme but note that we want to widen the approach to most greens as a specific design criteria.
One of the more interesting parts of our Theming process is to develop what we call the “image gallery”, which is the gathering of pictures of design, along with our own sketches, to provide options of how to carry out design. As most people are better at understanding a picture, rather than a written description, this part of Theming is very useful in getting everyone on the same page.
Theming also helps in the process of communicating to the membership what we want to do by way of helping them to understand the basic approach, rather than having to try and understand every minute detail.
Working from what we learned in the Evaluation and Theming, Master Planning is a continuation of the fun and creative process of developing the vision for what the golf course and practice facilities will look and play like. The Evaluation and Theming literally set the foundation for good design.
Rather than starting this process with us coming up with a design to discuss, we find it more valuable to first sit down with our client with to sketch and “play” with ideas. This approach allows input from all to help form how details will contribute to style, playability, management, and maintainability.
We will then develop a Hole by Hole Master Plan Booklet, to include practice areas, replete with a lot of detail as to what to do and why. We also prepare a Written Master Plan that further details what to do and why, along with a detailed cost estimate and a potential schedule/phasing plan for potential projects. This is presented to our client for discussion and revisions, which tends to require multiple site visits and meetings.
We now have a Master Plan that we all use to guide the evolution of the golf course. While the value in the Master Plan is ultimately adhering to the plan, we know from experience that it is subject to change, most frequently as to when things are done. We do not want to continually rethink what to do, but it is common to adapt to when it is best to do specific elements of the plan. Our role is to help make sure any adaptations to the Master Plan don’t materially change what we all worked hard to outline, while adapting to changing conditions and priorities as necessary.
Educating the Membership – Getting Membership Approval
Some may suggest getting membership approval for what we want to do is a selling process, but I have learned over the years we are far more effective when we don’t focus selling, but rather focus on educating.
Our approach to developing an in-depth Evaluation to learn about the existing facilities, developing design that is based on preserving strong points, addressing problems and needs, and using opportunities to enhance the facilities, creates sound reasoning for why things need to be done. We don’t have to sell, we educate. The membership will appreciate the difference and they are more likely to buy in when they know why, not just what.
Educating is a process, which is best accomplished in strategic phases, beginning with small group forums of “leaders” at the club to gain their support and have them spread the word, followed up with distribution of information to the general membership, concluded with multiple general membership Q&A sessions.
If any part of a project is going to be completed by a golf course builder, we prepare detailed plans, specifications, details and bid documents. While we are very hands on during construction and make a lot of small changes to fit design on the ground, having detailed and comprehensive construction documents is what allows us to get strong bids for the work and then keep projects on budget and on schedule. Without detailed and comprehensive construction documents, these things are left to chance.
We have strong relationships with highly qualified golf course builders all over the country, thus allowing us to market projects to these builders, gain strong interest and get good bids. The process of marketing the work to golf course builders actually begins almost as soon as we are hired by our clients to make sure the best golf course builders have the project on their radar screen.
We will conduct a Pre-Bid Meeting with all qualified builders, approved by our client, to explain the scope and anticipated schedule of the work. Further, we will be open to meeting any builder who wants to spend more time on site to evaluate the best way to bid the project.
We will help our client to evaluate all bids and select the builder that is the best fit. We also have experience with helping our clients to see how existing maintenance staff can be utilized during construction if the course is to close, which can help save dollars, but as importantly this helps keep the staff intact when it comes time to preparing the course to reopen.
In House Projects
For those projects to be done in house, we tend to still prepare detailed plans, specifications and details, for no other reason than to make sure all work done in house over time is consistent. We will also prepare budgets and schedules to track the work. We will work very closely with the golf course superintendent to prepare these for each in house project.
For projects done with golf course builders or in house, we will have a Pre -Construction Meeting to review project objectives and establish protocols for meetings and communication that will be a part of the construction process. We are big believers in communicating in writing, especially with larger projects where there are a lot of moving parts. This is critical to keeping everyone on the same page.
During construction, we will have weekly meetings on site with all involved to review work, discuss and address issues, review cost and schedules, and establish objectives for the following week. After each meeting Tripp Davis will distribute Project Notes, which are kept in an excel spreadsheet organized to allow for all to track what is going on with the work. In addition to weekly meetings, Tripp Davis will be on site as often as possible, which is typically 2 to 3 days a week minimum.
When a golf course builder is doing all or a part of the work, Tripp Davis will review pay applications with the club to make sure all approved to be paid have been properly completed. When working with a golf course builder on larger renovations or restorations, we require the golf course builder to submit pay applications based on GPS with CAD based as built drawings of the work.
Near the completion of any project, we will conduct a walk through to identify any work that needs to be completed or corrected. This forms the Punch List that we will approve as complete before review of the final pay application. We do the same for in house work, less approval of a final pay application.
We do our own shaping of the work on most of our projects, with Jason Gold doing all shaping other than the finish shaping of greens, which Tripp Davis does before planting. When doing in house projects, we will help the golf course superintendent to perform or oversee all parts of the work.
Tripp Davis will be available to participate actively in the marketing of the project, to include media events, interviews, and events surrounding the opening.
As the golf course designer, we are best able to “tell the story” of what was done and how the work will make an impact.
Whether an original design, a new practice facility, or a new short course, our process of design is focused on addressing all project requirements in a way that exceeds expectations.
Our process for original designs begins with Preliminary Planning, as noted above, to be followed with a Master Planning process that involves working with our clients and their consultants to develop comprehensive design solutions in the most creative way possible. This involves a variety of site visits and design meetings to work through and address every design detail.
We communicate in both written and graphic forms, allowing our clients to both read and see to understand. While most would expect us to communicate in a graphic form, it is being committed to communicating in writing all project details and requirements that helps to make sure all involved are on the same page. This is a critical part of the Master Planning process in an original design, and for every step in the process to follow, because with the scale of an original design there are a lot of moving parts.
Our collective efforts will result in developing the best of golf experiences in a manner that provides the best economic opportunity for the client, and works in harmony with surrounding land uses.
Our process with new practice facilities and short courses is very much the same, only on a smaller scale.
Once we have developed the Master Plan, and our client is ready to move forward with the project, we will move into the process of construction. The following is a repeat of the construction process outlined above under renovations and restorations, with a few differences specific to original designs, new practice facilities, or new short courses.
We prepare highly detailed plans, specifications, details, and bid documents. While we are very hands on during construction and make a lot of small changes to fit design on the ground, having detailed and comprehensive construction documents is what allows us to get strong bids for the work and then keep projects on budget and on schedule. Without detailed and comprehensive construction documents, these things are left to chance. For original designs that are being built on raw land, making sure your construction documents have considered every way in which to develop the land is critical to schedule and budget. Surprises can impact both cost and/or design intent.
We have strong relationships with highly qualified golf course builders all over the country, allowing us to market projects to these builders, gain strong interest, and get good bids. The process of marketing the work to golf course builders actually begins almost as soon as we are hired by our clients to make sure the best golf course builders have the project on their radar screen. With original designs, because we are building a new course from scratch, we also will typically ask golf course builders to visit the project site, review the work, and meet with all of us to discuss how to work on this site.
We will conduct a Pre-Bid Meeting with all qualified builders, approved by our client, to explain the scope and anticipated schedule of the work. We prefer to have a 60 days bidding period for original designs so that each builder has the opportunity to study the site in-depth. We will be very involved in meeting any golf course builder on site that wants us to help with going over the project design intent and objectives.
We will help our client to evaluate all bids and select the builder that is the best fit.
We will have a Pre -Construction Meeting to review project objectives and establish protocols for meetings and communication that will be a part of the construction process. We are big believers in communicating in writing, especially with projects the size of an original design where there are a lot of moving parts during construction. This is critical to keeping everyone on the same page.
During construction, we will have weekly meetings on site with all involved, to include all consultants that may be involved working on surrounding development such as homesites or the clubhouse, to review work, discuss and address issues, review cost and schedules, and establish objectives for the following week. After each meeting, Tripp Davis will distribute Project Notes, which are kept in an excel spreadsheet organized to allow for all to track what is going on with the work. In addition to weekly meetings, Tripp Davis will be on site as often as possible, which is typically 2 to 3 days a week minimum.
Tripp Davis will work with our client to review pay applications to make sure all approved to be paid have been properly completed. We require the golf course builder to submit pay applications based on GPS with CAD based as built drawings of the work.
Near the completion of the project, we will conduct a walk through to identify any work that needs to be completed or corrected. This forms the Punch List that we will approve as complete before review and approval of the final pay application.
We do our own shaping of the work on most of our projects, with Jason Gold doing all shaping other than the finish shaping of greens, which Tripp Davis does before planting.
As with our renovation and restoration projects, Tripp Davis will be available to participate actively in the marketing of the project, to include media events, interviews, and events surrounding the opening.
As important with original designs, if not more so, Tripp is best able to “tell the story” of what was done and how the original design, new practice facility, or new short course will impact the game and the community.