As both landscape architects and golf course architects we are excited to work and live in a time where we experience an increased focus towards the health of our planet and the environment in which we live. Our love for nature, and the desire to create environmentally sustainable golf courses which successfully integrate the golf course both visually and environmentally in its native surroundings, is one of our core values. While all this is easy to say – to get there can often be a completely different issue. So how do we do it?
Besides making all the considerations we can during the design and construction phases – like protecting sensitive areas, encouraging indigenous vegetation and considering the movement of soil within the site – we will work closely with local environmental agencies and landscape architects on our projects across the globe. This helps us understand the often unique habitats and environmental situations on a specific site.
As professionals we keep updated by following the latest research and participate in yearly conferences regarding recent developments within the world of sustainable golf course design. We support and learn from the efforts which are carried out through the R&A, USGA, GEO, EIGCA and other similar organizations which focus on working with, protecting and enhancing the natural environments.
Another challenge we experience is that water resources are increasingly strained. We believe this will be one of the biggest issues facing the golf industry in the future. By working and consulting with market leading experts we are able to implement the use of the correct grasses as well as the latest methods in collecting, re-cycling and re-distributing water within the golfing property”.
We believe one of the biggest differences between Spogárd & VanderVaart and most other golf course architects is not only the time we spend on site but also how we spend it. As our design philosophy is routed in the desire to uncover the greatest potentials of each and every site we work on, we always carry out a thorough analysis to fully understand the site.
During our initial site visits we get to know the site from every possible angle. We get a feel for the soil, the landscape and the unique design possibilities. We take this back to the drawing boards where the first design ideas are explored together with relevant topographic maps and aerial photos.
On fully understanding the site we start putting together various conceptual masterplans. If the golf course is part of a larger overall masterplan we work closely with the overall masterplanning team to make sure the golf course is integrated with the many other functions planned on the site.
After agreeing on the final boundaries and the layout of the masterplan we start producing the documentation and drawings required to physically build the golf course. These drawings can be used for tendering the project and gives a good identification of how much soil and other materials are required to create the golf course.
We prefer to spend as much time on site as possible during construction to make sure our design is implemented correctly. Some architects produce many drawings – some few or none. Some spend much time on site – and some very little. We try to take the best from both worlds. By producing precise, high quality drawings based on our thorough analysis, we are able to use the features of the land in the best possible way and thereby get most of the design correct to begin with. That gives us the opportunity to maximize our time on site to find and implement the finer details, which we believe makes the difference between a good and a great golf course.