From Concept to Opening :: Our Golf Course Construction Process

The construction of the course is an exciting and often challenging time. golfmarnoch will manage or support this process working with the very best in the industry to ensure the most accurate, efficient and expedient course construction.

Once the master plan is agreed we would generally provide the following construction plans and services:

Construction PLANS

Clearance and staking plan - To establish fairway centre lines, green centres and tees. We will provide a clear specification for clearance and protection of existing vegetation in order to control the works. Setting out of the course would be carried out by competent surveyors working to our 3D co-ordinates from the master plan. This will ensure that the course length will be as we envisaged. When on site we use hand held laser measuring devices to constantly check the measurements or minor alterations during the works. View sample plan

Initial grading plan - Basic shaping of the golf course areas. Generally we would provide this on a severe site where significant earth movement is required with a 'muck shift' contactor is required prior to the golf course being fine shaped.

Detailed grading plan - A more detailed plan with contours at 1m intervals showing exactly the placement of the materials for the formation of the golf course. This work must be carried out by a golf course contractor or experienced shapers. This plan would contain all fairway, practice area, mounding and water feature details.

Green details - A contoured drawing would be provided for each green complex, including the bunkers on the surrounds and approaches. The green drawing would show pin positions and internal drains/connections to fairway systems. These plans are normally produced at 1:200 with contours at 0.25m intervals.

Tee complex and bunker details – These drawings can be produced at larger scale if not too complicated so they may be contained within the detailed grading plans at 1:500. Alternatively, they can be provided with greater detail at 1:200.

Establishment/grassing plans - These would show the various grass types for the greens, tees, fairways and other zones. With the various grass varieties for turfing, sprigging, traditional seeding or overseeding even for the development of heather or wildflower areas.

Drainage plan - The detailed golf course drainage system for all playing areas, linking greens, tees and bunkers within the mains/fairway system. We currently use MicroStation and Geopack to help us in the design of our drainage schemes and outside hydrologists if necessary. Our specialist software can tell us where the surface water will flow over our reshaped landform. When developing the drainage of the course we consider not just how to drain that water away, but also how best to use that water for the creation of ponds, ditches or lakes within the site. We have in the past resolved drainage problems by introducing water holding features to store water on site for ecological reasons which periodically flood and in doing so control the flow of water through and off site.

Landscape concept plan and detailed planting plans – as a qualified landscape architect golfmarnoch can provide the landscaping/planting strategy and planting plans. We can provide reports on the proposed landscaping of the site based upon the existing site information to ensure that the proposed course 'fits' within the existing landscape. The landscape strategy plan would contain basic zoning of planting around the course including the details around the clubhouse. The planting plan contains the exact numbers and types of species to be planted and how they would be planted and maintained. View sample plan

Irrigation plan - We would liaise with the irrigation installers for all the necessary plans and specifications for the installation of this system. We would suggest that an independent irrigation specialist is employed to design the irrigation system but alternatively a design-build system can be detailed by an established irrigation company.

Circulation and buggy tracks - Detailed drawings can be developed to show the vehicular access into and out of the site, buggy tracks, maintenance routes, pedestrian footpaths and bridges. We would discuss and provide details for the surfacing of these areas to ensure they are suitable for their use (perhaps non-slip surfaces) and the colour and style fits with the proposed concept. We recommend that these are constructed as part of the main construction programme and not afterwards. View sample plan

Construction details - Drawings as required for bridges, walls, steps etc.


Specifications - Construction procedure requirements and bills of quantities for the construction and maintenance/growing-in of the golf course up to the opening day.

Tender evaluation - We would assist our client in reviewing the bids received from contractors to ensure that the best or most competent (not necessarily the cheapest) contactor is chosen for the works.

Construction period - Our role during the construction period will be as follows:

Monitor construction progress with regular site visits - To regularly visit the site to meet with the contractor, inspect the progress and quality of work and to determine that the work is being performed in accordance with Contract Documents, meets the necessary specifications and follows the programme of works and timetable. golfmarnoch believes that as much time as possible should be allowed for regular time on site. We would make at least one visit every two to four weeks for two-three days per visit to continue throughout the construction period, together with a schedule of visits during the growing-in period and through to opening for play.

Client Liaison - Consult with our Client with regard to the progress of the work - It is important that the relationship between client-architect-contractor is clear.

Contract administration - Administer terms of the construction contract and provide information to other consultants for the preparation of financial reports. Authorise payments to the contractor and issue certificates for regular payments, release of any retention money and issue final completion certificates.

Testing - As appropriate, instruct sample taking and carrying out of tests on materials, components, techniques and workmanship and examine the results of such tests, whether on or off site.


Topography Surveyor

Topography SURVEYOR

As a pre-requisite to any golf course development a topographical survey is essential. We must have an accurate and comprehensive base plan in order to develop accurate proposals.

The specification for the survey must allow for all of the salient site featuring to be collated for the proposed development area. The levels should be related to local Datum if possible. Normally a grid of around 10-15m would be sufficient and blocks of woodland or vegetation need not have every tree collated (unless protection orders are in place). Where there are individual trees or other features that could form part of a strategic design for a particular hole, these features should be surveyed individually showing height, girth at 1m above ground and canopy spread.

This information must also be produced as 3D information in AutoCAD (3D modelling) or MicroStation format, to allow future quantification to be carried out. We can also supply a detailed brief for the survey and check the details as they are supplied to us.



The agronomist can provide the following information at the following stages;

Planning and Pre-construction

  • Site survey to determine soil types and identify potential problems regarding site development, particularly drainage.
  • Develop a specification for the green and tee rootzone and undertake testing and analysis as required.
  • Provide the specifications for the seeding and fertilising of all areas. Include pesticide and herbicide applications.


  • Carry out on site testing of the construction materials and comment on laboratory tests carried out following our protocol.

Course Maintenance

  • Give general advice on course maintenance.
  • Prepare summaries of work carried out and completed.
  • Assist in the compilation of maintenance machinery requirements.
  • Provide a written specification for the maintenance requirements of the new course.
  • Full agronomy service for the growing-in period including soil analyses of all greens to determine fertiliser programme for the first year of play.
  • List of machinery required for the full 18-holes including budget costs for reasonable second hand equipment and aid in sourcing the machinery.
  • Help in staff selection (Course Manager) and attendance at interview.
  • Provide advice on staff structure, staff and machinery facilities and general budgeting of the course.
Environmental Specialist

Environmental SPECIALIST

Our design philosophy clearly outlines our views in terms of ecology and the importance of a good ecologist to ensure that permits are obtained and to enhance the site once the golf course is being created and for the longer term management.

A fundamental concern on many new golf course developments is the local (and often national) ecology. We feel that a responsibility in this area is advisable and would certainly benefit the overall scheme, if not during the construction phase, then certainly afterwards, during the maintenance/management of the course.

We would be able to utilise the skills of many ecologists but would recommend a local ecologist initially to collate and provide data. We would then introduce David Stubbs of Committed to Green Foundation to interpolate the data gathered and liaise directly with us in developing the golf course and suggest appropriate management measures.

Full-time Construction Supervision


In the case of an alternative to the Main Contractor, the role of the construction supervisor or project manager would be to assist in work sequencing, quality control and to inspect works carried out daily.

Some of our supervisors also have experience as greenkeepers who can also oversee the growing-in period after construction and through to the opening of the course.

Construction Shapers

Construction SHAPERS

Experienced shapers working on dozers or 360 excavators can be brought in to carry out the work under supervision from the Project Manager, either as an alternative construction method to using a Main Contractor or in addition to him.

In some countries experienced (golf course) main contractors are simply not available or too expensive to bring in. In this case it is often possible to find good and willing local contractors and machine operators who can be guided by the Project Manager and golfmarnoch to build the course with the client also buying the materials direct for the construction.

Construction COMPLETION

On completion of the construction of a Golf Course Project we would recommend that as the course architects we be retained after the course opening for a period of time, usually five years. We would advise that during this time we make a least one, possibly two visits per year to ensure that the course matures and is managed in accordance with our original concepts to maintain the very highest standards and to ensure that we establish a golf course that will be longstanding, well maintained and thoroughly enjoyable to play.

A successfully planned, designed and constructed project will create an easily manageable and hugely enjoyable course to play.

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golfmarnoch would be delighted to discuss your individual requirements.

Email :: or simply click here to submit your request and receive a complementary guide - 'The perfect approach to planning a golf course by golfmarnoch'.

golfmarnoch Limited
Wicksop View :: The Park :: Bakewell
Derbyshire :: DE45 1ET
Tel :: +44 1629 814 891
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Spanish Office
Avenida Litoral s/n
Edificio Vistamar Local 1
29680 Estepona :: Malaga
Tel :: +34 952 808476
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