efore a summer trip to Brazil to visit a client’s
course, Jason Straka reflected on how much his
job has changed in the past decade.
Ten years ago, he and his Fry/Straka Global
Golf Course Design team would have walked
around a client’s property with a paper map in
hand, trying to identify roughly where they were
standing on the planned course.
Today, while they still carry stacks of course
layouts, golf architects also use GPS on iPads.
Innovative software allows an architect to locate
exact spots on the property and determine proposed routings. While on the site, a designer who
finds a unique landform or a dramatic view can
easily make a note of it, with plans to put a tee or
“It doesn’t make it faster, but it makes it better,”
During the past decade, innovations in golf
course construction have included everything
from better GPS applications for course design
to custom-made sand for bunkers. New products
and techniques aim to make customers more
satisfied with their experience and reduce the
amount of maintenance courses need.
Improvements in technology also can improve
communication between architects and contractors. Such aid can help complete renovations
faster by coordinating the efforts of various work
“We used to have three or six crews work-
ing on an 18-hole course,” said Jeff Cordes of
Landscapes Unlimited. “Now we have three or
six crews working on a single green.”
This helps meet the demands of clients who
want projects completed quickly.
Here are some areas of construction that have
seen the biggest changes.
From bunkers to irrigation, a wave of new
technology and products is revolutionizing
the way courses are built.
By Katie Thisdell
in golf course construction