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Combined golf range and golf course

Here is a brief description and diagram using the same area as a golf range and course. Such a combination allows a great deal of golfing activity while being economical on land, limiting the construction and not needing much maintenance. Before a new conventional-sized golf course is ready, this type of facility could permit the beginning of play if its range is opened early. Or it could be a golf learning academy. The included short course would add a dimension to a public driving range. And in a large enough “backyard” one could be for family members and friends.

How are all these benefits accomplished? Part of the time this facility is a regular golf range with a tee line on grass or from synthetic turf tee mats or both. The range’s fairway should have sufficient width and length for drives of up to 300 yards. Ideally on both sides of the fairway should be a strip of trees for framing. In these buffers the trees help to knock down to retain some errant shots hit off the range’s fairway. What is shown in this diagram is approximately 12 acres. But be warned, as at any range and course no surrounding area is hardly large enough for shots which go far astray. Those offline balls can be a safety hazard to people in those areas or damage nearby property.

So how does a course fit on the same land as a range, how is that course played and what about scoring? Its two tees, back and forward, should best be tucked into wooded areas on each side of the range’s fairway. Due to potential intense “divoting” those tees would ideally be synthetic turf mats. The course is played as hitting only tee shots on a par 3 course, but at targets not greens. These targets are rings mowed at a slightly lower height than rings between at the same height as the grass on the range’s fairway. The lower-mowed rings are shown on the diagram with a darker green color than the remainder of the fairway. As on the diagram, seen from above targets would look somewhat like bullseyes. There is a pole in the center of each target for golfers to aim at. A golfer’s tee shot stopping in a ring closer to the center pole or in the center circle receives a higher score than for a ball in an outer ring. On this course high score wins. As soon as a golfer sees which ring their tee shot stopped in they have their score, they then pick up their ball and go to the next tee. This means fast moving fun, yet the challenge of hitting shots the correct distance and direction for a good score.

Are there drawbacks to this combination of golf range and course? The course is not a conventional golf course and only irons from tees would be hit. The range and the course could not be used at the same time. Each must be scheduled for when to be available. Likely the course should be open during mornings and afternoons, when golf is played most. The range should generate more traffic in the evenings and, if lighted, after dark. Other schedules are possible, such as alternate days for the course and for the range. It would be up to the operator the schedule best fitting the patrons of that facility. After use as a range, the range balls should be picked up prior to the starting of play on the course. This is a good practice anyway to reduce theft and the weathering of range balls.

A “tee shot only course” like this could also be built alone or along side a golf range. On such a course the tees and targets would follow each other in a loop like most golf course’s holes are routed. A course with targets could be on the site of the future holes of a par 3 course. The greens for the future par 3 course could eventually be constructed, where the targets are located. This postpones the greens until later, which are the most expensive and difficult part of any golf course to construct and maintain.

What are the advantages of this type of combined facility? It provides a lot of golfing action enjoyed in a limited space at a relatively low cost. This facility occupies roughly the same area as one mid-length par 4 hole. And there are no expensive greens necessary for this course. So you can get an idea how efficient it is. On the range both experienced and beginning golfers can hit from wedges to a driver, practice those clubs and even take instruction. There could also be the playing of rounds for a score in competition or purely for personal satisfaction and recreation. If there is a putting green, this would permit putting. Any of these activities could be for short periods of time or as long as anyone wants. This is an ideal place for people of any age to be introduced to and than gain competence at the game.

How could someone learn more about building this exciting place for golf? Contact ASGCA Golf Course Architect Bill Amick at amick@iag.net or call him at 386-767-1449. The design services he offers and details on his professional background can be found at www.amickgca.com. More could be seen on www.youtube.com/amickgca

Bill Amick started his golf course architectural practice in Florida in 1959, making his the oldest in the Southeast. Since then he has designed more than 75 courses of all kinds. These courses are located in more than a dozen states and half a dozen countries. From Daytona Beach he continues his journeys to design new golf courses. Bill has also served as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and received that organization’s Distinguished Service Award.

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