GCA - Anyone else like to draw golf courses? / Course Plans?

Sitting through a conference call or a webinar can be BRUTAL without the proper amount of caffiene.
While listening to the durge of the “Bob’s” as they discussed which of the newest layout of TPS reports our company was going to transition to, I found myself designing my own golf course.

This practice goes back to when I was in school, when I would fight boredom with a pen and ANY amount of open space on a piece of paper.

Recently, I have been sharing my doodles on Twitter (TCRBrad shameless plug) to get the thoughts of the GCA community on my work. I’m sure some Refugees do this as well, so I figured this would be a good place to share designs and get your thoughts!

Feel free to post your drawings on scrap paper, cocktail napkins, tapestries, papyrus, etc

This was an inland “links” inspired course, with fescue + pot bunkers and some subtile elevation changes (par 72). Thoughts?


I am enthralled by this. First of all, I think it’s beautiful. Second, it’s so much fun to look at these holes and try to picture the strategy and, without contours, how these holes might play. I saw it on twitter and was asking about #8, but would love to hear your vision for some of these holes. Any conception of where you picture this course? What part of the country or type of topography? When you say inland “links” course I am not sure what you mean, but this layout makes me picture almost Lawsonia like land - open, but some rolling elevation change.

I am an abhorrant artist and new to GCA, so I have never attempted to sketch holes, but I am going to start trying…

Really well done and thanks for sharing!


I draw holes all the time in classes when I am bored. Have never truly sat down to do a whole course but you have inspired me!


So you’re THAT guy! lol
Lawsonia style undulations, but set in the UK mid country (more gorse and fescue instead of blue or bent grass).

I love using uni-ball gel pens for my bunkers or water (shows just enough of a color contrast so you know I’m drawing a bunker or water etc etc). As mostly a “stick figure” artist, this is a hell of a lot easier to draw

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Man, I can’t tell you how many times I would flip over a class syllabus and start drawing during the first week of classes. That was like Christmas day haha

Feel free to share the holes that you’ve conjured up as well! Judgement free zone here

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I suck bigly at art, but giving it a go for the BCN routing.



Workshopping a short par 4 at the moment. The best holes to draw in my opinion. I tend to do little sets of holes and incorporate the cool architecture things I love like a walk between holes or green straight into tree transitions. Left my notebook at home (legitimately need to focus this week) but the short par 4 is the third of a little 4 hole stretch.

#FinalsWeek yeah?

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The green at #1 looks oddly familiar :smirk:


I used to do this all the time. I don’t as much anymore, but I always loved cross-hatching the rough. That was always soothing.

I used to sketch like this. So much fun.
Of course, I learned that you have to use pencil and not pen, since you will have to keep moving tee boxes back to accommodate modern equipment.


Very interesting layout. I noticed 10 and 18 are par 3’s, which is sort of cool and unusual. How do you go about determining where the par 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s happen? Is it just whatever you feel while you’re drawing it or is there a set out plan before you start?

(and the quote of the year goes to…)



Question: How do you even start putting a “routing” together? Or, what do you start with for each hole?

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Oddly enough the LAST thing I do is number the holes, so in this case it was just a lucky coinscidence haha
Normally, I just start drawing holes with the only goal being to “find the clubhouse” with the 18th hole. As one that frequently walks courses, I try to keep tees and greens fairly close together. It’s a “would I want to play this course” mentality with routing AND hole design.

But there are no thoughts of par or specific course plans. To quote the great Michael Scott, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentance, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.”

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Biggest 2 things with routing are:

  1. Can I walk and not be totally gassed? (Green to tee distance)
  2. Are holes all not going in the same direction? (Some holes play into wind, against wind, and across wind from all directions)

Bonus: Are players able to have different “options” with the length of their round?
If you squint, there’s a 4 hole loop (1-4) there lol

@LJP To add to this a bit - if you don’t have a specific piece of land you are laying a course out on, just let your imagination go with it. Select a general shape of a piece of land and let the ideas flow on the paper.

I think it is easier to make decisions if you start with a piece of land you want to build a course on. You need to have a great imagination to do what @TCRBrad is doing.


@LJP or just look at a LOT of golf courses on Google Maps in your spare time like me lol

It also does help if your land has things to work around. Eg: Today’s early sketches (it’s SLOW in the office today lol)

The “boxed” off area is OB (think like a service road or a residential street or something)
I’m going to try and put 18 holes on the left side, with a short course on the right side. Nothing that puts the OB area into play immediately (shoutout to the push slice community), but something that works around it


Pot bunkers are a much underused feature outside of GB&I.

And for me an excellent one. They are a genuine hazard, even for top players and a proper deterrent to taking a tee shot on.

Also, given the size and depth of them, they don’t need as much sand in volume and very little can blow out of them.

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I have lost many an hour down this rabbit hole…

I think like @sundaybag mentioned and you describe with your current project, it will help to have an idea of some type of land shape/type to being with and then to vary the routing like you described above (walk, direction, etc.). I guess I was wondering with a literally empty canvas, how do you determine what types of holes you are going to make, because so many architects talk about “discovering” them on the land. Obviously you can’t do this on paper, but I suppose this is where the imagination comes in to conceive the land in your mind and just make up some cool holes as you go. Do you keep notes on the holes as you work on the project, so you can remember some of the subtleties of each as you “design” them?