A Sense of Place

When I play golf in the desert I want to feel like I am in the desert……..

It seems the best and most loved golf courses have a ‘real sense of place’. They sit harmoniously in their surroundings as if they had been there for an eternity. They certainly don’t look out of place. Think Royal County Down, Shinnecock Hills even a golf course like Utrecht De Pan. Also what about modern golf courses like Sand Hills and Wild Horse in Nebraska and courses as far a field as Laguna Lang Co in Vietnam.

These courses are attractive and work because they are not in conflict with their space rather in tune with the space. Nothing seems out of place. Everything seems right.

But how can one achieve this if the site itself is featureless or lacks representation?

It is of my belief that if the Architect has comprehensively studied the surroundings (and this includes the greater surrounding of course) for sources of information and inspiration, then incorporates these findings into the design, a memorable and recognizable golf experience is possible regardless the site situation…one with a real sense of place.

You got to look to the surrounding landforms, flora, even some hardscapes for guidance and then where it is necessary to move earth the thing should be done with the delivery of a sculptor modeling his clay  (Tom Simpson).

Many golf courses today merely exist with little (if any) relationship with their surroundings and this is a flaw. We need more golf courses that fit seamlessly into their space and have a real sense of belonging….a sense of place.


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