Mostly Cloudy   74.0F  |  Forecast »

Architects Of The Land

Golf course design requires a number of considerations to turn Florida’s sand and scrub pine into a challenging golf course.

Golf course architect Jan Bel Jan stands before the initial construction of a sandtrap.

Golf course architect Jan Bel Jan stands before the initial construction of a sandtrap.

A golfer stands on the tee at a Vero Beach golf course, driver in hand, and looks at the golf hole in front of him. He has been here before but still takes in the view, the green stretch of manicured fairway that doglegs to his right around a sparkling blue lake, the white sand bunker carved into the landscape on his right. He feels the direction of the wind and then assesses where he will hit his drive to be in the best position for his second shot. 

Two playing partners at another local course stand on their tee amidst the beauty of the setting and hear the caw of birds on a nearby pond. In front of them lies the corner of a water hazard edged with a slope that is sure to be unforgiving if a ball lands too close to the bank. One player can hit a shot with enough trajectory and club-head speed to carry the water and land the ball for an easy pitch to the green. Her partner knows she has no chance of that and is happy to take the longer but safer option around the water.

Similar scenarios are repeated daily on the county’s golf courses where players with a passion for the game compete against the course and their friendly rivals. What they might not realize is that a golf course architect, in his design of that course, considered every aspect of their round of golf from tee to green and all possibilities for a great golf shot or a miss.