We are planning to develop a new golf course.  What is the first step?


Depending on the scope of the project, things may vary slightly.  Typically, however, the first thing that you will need to begin the design process is a topographic map of the site.  This map should include any existing site features or constraints such as the property boundary, trees, streams, adjacent roads, wetlands and buffers, endangered species, etc.  If needed, we can refer you to (or include on our design team) a firm or firms that can prepare this information for you. (Please take a moment to review our outline of Design Services for a new golf course project.)   

We are planning to renovate our existing golf course.  What is the first step?

Once again, Call us!

As with a new project, it may depend on the specific scope of work.  Typically, however, the first step in the design process is to obtain an engineered, spot-vertical, aerial photograph.  Topography for the golf course can be derived from this photograph, however, topography is not always necessary - the photograph is.  (Please take a moment to review our outline of Design Services for a renovation project.) 

How much land do I need?

Exactly how much hypothetical  land is needed for a golf facility is a difficult question to answer - since every site, every golf course, and every set of conditions is different.

The following chart should be viewed as a broad set of guidelines only.  The areas listed for each type of facility are based on usable acres - in other words, that portion of the land which does not include 'steep slopes', water bodies, wetlands, buffers, protected habitats, right-of-ways, or any other constraints which would prohibit the construction of the course.  Wooded or forested areas (that can be legally cleared) are usable, and (depending on local regulations) most types of zoning can be either re-zoned or special exceptioned to allow golf development.


18 Hole
Golf Course
18 Hole
Golf Course
18 Hole
Par 3
Golf Course
9 Hole
Golf Course
(No Range)
Practice Range /
Golf Learning Center
(No Golf Holes)


140 - 200 80 - 120 25 - 50 10 - 15 15 - 30
These figures may or may not include parking, infrastructure, and any other amenities.
These figures do not include any adjacent residential development.

Does Ault, Clark design design driving ranges or 'Golf Learning Centers'?


In addition to renovating and adding practice ranges at existing golf facilities, we have designed numerous stand-alone, commercial driving ranges and golf learning facilities.  In fact, several of our designs have been ranked among Golf Range Magazine's Top 100 Ranges in America.

Does Ault, Clark work outside the United States?

Definitely!  In addition to the hundreds of golf course projects that we have completed throughout the United States, Ault, Clark & Associates has a vast amount of experience designing courses in other areas of the world.   Click here for a partial list of International projects.

Does Ault, Clark design backyard putting greens or miniature golf courses?

Yes and No.  If it's grass you want, we can help you!

If you are serious about having an actual, real turfgrass putting or chipping green designed and built on your property, give us a call.  We can design a green, as simple or as elaborate as you would like; with bunkers, mounds, positive surface and sub-surface drainage, etc.; just as you will find on an actual golf course; sized and proportioned to fit your needs.  We will assist you in getting in permitted and built; and make recommendations for its maintenance.  Most people, however, after discovering that this can cost into the 10's of thousands of dollars, and will require intensive year-round maintenance using expensive professional equipment, are dissuaded from the idea of building a 'real' green and may find that it would be more practical to contact one of the many firms that specialize in installing artificial or 'simulated' putting greens.  There are pro's and con's to both options, however, and if would like to discuss some of the details, please feel free to contact us.

At Ault, Clark, we have also designed several real turfgrass putting 'courses', however, we do not design miniature ('putt-putt') golf courses with artificial turf over concrete.

What new projects does Ault, Clark have coming up?

As one of the most prolific golf course design firms in the world, we currently have numerous projects in various stages of design and construction.

Please take a moment to review our 'Featured Courses' as well as those projects currently 'On the Boards'.

Does Ault, Clark & Associates also build or manage golf courses?

No.  However, we can still offer these services to our Clients.

At Ault, Clark & Associates, we have a lot of experience in teaming up with leaders from both of these fields, therefore we are able to offer a comprehensive design/build or complete 'turn-key' approach to golf development projects around the world.

What is the average cost of an Ault, Clark designed golf course?

Once again, since every site, every golf course, and every set of conditions is different, the cost of costruction varies.  Typically, an 18 hole golf course on a reasonable site can be built for between $2 million and $5 million dollars.  This figure would most likely include a complete, automatic irrigation system as well as a complete system of golf car paths, but would not include the clubhouse, maintenance facilities, maintenance equipment, furbishings, entrance road, parking, or any other infrastructure.

As a part of our services during the design process, we will prepare and update a detailed construction cost estimate. 

What are Ault, Clark's fees to design a golf course?

Our fees vary depending upon the objectives and criteria for each project, and the extent of services provided. 

A brief discussion regarding the project will enable us to be specific, however typically, our fees for complete design services tend to fall somewhere in the range of 6% - 10% of the projected cost for construction for a new golf course and 10% - 15% for a renovation project. 

What is the best educational route to becoming a golf architect when I graduate?

Though there are a few schools across the country that offer courses in golf course architecture, few (if any) offer a degree in this field.

You will find that the most closely related educational background for aspiring golf course architects is either Landscape Architecture and/or Civil Engineering.  Other relevant courses include architecture, turfgrass management, and horticulture. 

Though a degree in one of these fields is probably not mandatory, in addition to a 'love for the game of golf', any prospective architect should have some experience in the areas of graphics, large scale outdoor planning, project management, civil design and/or similar disciplines.  Further, any experience in computer aided design and drafting, landscape construction, or turfgrass maintenance will help.

What else can I do to improve my resume?

If possible, while you are searching for a position with an architecture firm, you may want to consider an internship.  Not everyone can afford this, however, it is an excellent way to experience the environment of an architecture office and get some insight into those aspects of golf architecture which are common to and which are different from other forms of architecture.  Besides looking great on a resume, a successful internship will undoubtedly put you at the top of the list when the same company is looking to hire.

Other experience which reflects well on a prospective architect's resume (and may serve as an excellent 'stepping-stone' to a career in this field) is to work or have some knowledge of golf course maintenance or construction.   Try working for some time at either a golf course construction company or on the maintenance crew at a golf course.  Not only does this put you directly into the related industry, but the knowledge you will gain by seeing what goes into building and maintaining a golf course will prove invaluable when you begin to design them.


Web design by GOLFHOLEgraphics.com (c) All rights reserved: AULT CLARK & ASSOCIATES, LTD