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Raymond Hearn Design Overview-
Philosophy & Process

The Raymond Hearn Design Philosophy:

The design philosophy embraced by Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs incorporates ideas and principles from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Our general philosophy embodies the principle that a golf development, similar to all developments, should blend harmoniously with its context. As golf becomes a more popular and democratic sport, the golf landscape will play a critical role in strengthening the vitality of communities. A golf course, in addition to being an exciting and beautiful place to play golf, should be integrated into the environment within which it is sited. A golf course should contribute positively toward the cultural identity, social structure, and environmental integrity of a community.

With regard to the specific aspects of golf architecture, we believe a golf course should be a fair challenge to all levels of golfers; economical to construct and maintain; and accessible to as many people as possible. We strive to achieve these goals through an intense design development process. Through our experience, we have found that as a design evolves on paper, the better the final product created. We work diligently with the owner and the owner's consultants to ensure the best possible design is achieved prior to commencing construction. Delving into the detail level of a golf course design on paper allows us to make very fine changes later in the field during construction. These final "brush strokes" made in the field are what separates a simply good golf course from a great golf course. Also, the attention to detail in the design phase allows for more economical construction, as builders will understand precisely what is to be constructed.

From a golf standpoint, the intent of our designs is to create a golfing environment that will challenge both the expert and the novice golfer. We work very hard during the design development stage of the project to ensure that each hole has the proper balance of risk and reward that integrates with the inherent site characteristics. Strategic golf holes, that make golfers have to think, is a critical component to a great golf course.

Aesthetic appeal is also a key component to a quality golf development. Our extensive education and experience in landscape architecture has allowed us to create golf courses that are visually appealing and function harmoniously with their natural environment. We know that a majority of golfers desire a visually pleasurable space on which to enjoy the sport of golf. Our designs utilize all of the natural features a site has to offer so the final product integrates naturally with its environment.

Golf is gaining in popularity all of the time and golf courses will continue to be developed to fulfill demand for the game. We strongly believe that to create the best possible golf course, a thorough design process that incorporates all issues, large and small, must be implemented. At Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs we believe our process is the most comprehensive in the industry. Everything from how the golf course relates to other community spaces, to the best way to slope a green on a short par three, needs to be fully addressed to create the best possible golf landscape.


The Raymond Hearn Design Process:

Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs utilizes a comprehensive and complete design process to ensure that the best possible golf course is created for every site. Raymond Hearn, a trained landscape architect, understands the power behind a thorough architectural design development process. Through a detailed and comprehensive process, not only will the best design be manifest, but it will be created in the most cost effective way. The process, many parts of which are often skipped by others, has been proven to work and to save long term dollars. There is truly no substitute for a well thought out process that is coupled with diligent field visits to put on the "final brush strokes" that will elevate a golf course from very good to great.

The process used at Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs (RHGCD) takes longer to implement, because it relies on the RHGCD team to imagine, visualize and describe the ideas before a shovel hits the ground. This allows the Owner two significant benefits:

1. Visualization of the Architects ideas before they are built.
2. Detailed construction information by which Contractors are able to provide exact and usually lower prices.

It is these two items that clients at RHGCD have found most beneficial.

To take a graphic tour of our design process, click the flag below

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The Process

Phase I

Goals and Objectives Meeting: The first meeting with Owner will involve discussing the goals, objectives, scope and program of the entire development. A clear understanding from the outset of the roles of the different team players and the expectations of each is critical to the success of the project. At this meeting, the responsibilities of each consultant will be clarified and a design schedule will be created.

Phase II

Base Plan Preparation: This phase identifies the necessary base information needed to start the design process. The Owner is responsible for securing and providing this information to RHGCD; we will work with the Owner to facilitate this process. The following are the items that need to be procured before any substantial design work can be accomplished:

1. Aerial photographs 1” = 100’ or 1” = 200’
2. Topographic mapping 1”=100’ with a contour interval of 1 ft or 2 ft
3. Graphic property boundary survey 1” = 100’
4. Survey showing existing utilities, easements and ROWS
5. Wetland boundary survey 1” = 100’
6. Floodplain survey 1” = 100'
7. Endangered & historical features 1”= 100’
8. Other applicable mapping
9. Engineering soil borings identifying topsoil type & amount , subsoil conditions,
amount and type of rock, water table, well etc.

RHGCD will then enter this information into our CAD system and format per RHGCD specifications in order to prepare a base sheet for future design work.

Phase III

(Optional – as requested) Concept Plan: This plan is only a conceptual first and only design attempt and is not always necessary. If an Owner is already sure of the potential for a golf course on the property, then this phase may be eliminated. The purpose of the plan is to serve as a general spatial analysis involving all proposed amenities on the land in question. The plan may also be used as a persuasive tool in presentations to financial institutions, potential investors and government agencies. This plan is not to be used for any other purpose, and shall in no way be construed as 'the design'.

Phase IV

Inventory and Analysis Plans: A complete understanding of the project site is imperative before planning can begin. A thorough analysis of the site will be completed which will investigate different aspects of the property. This inventory and analysis will include a review and plans of the following:

Topography or Terrain Modeling
Opportunities & Constraints
Environmental and Engineering consultant’s wetland, floodplain, easements, zoning, soil borings and other applicable mapping. (Review only)

click for Inventory and Analysis Plan examples

Schematic Land Use Plans: We will develop a host of different alternatives for utilizing the site to its greatest potential. This will include multiple drawings, which will explore different concepts of land use and golf course routings. After we develop and review many different schemes within our own office, we will present our three best options to the Owner for his or her review. Some of the land uses these plans will depict are the following:

1. Layout of the golf course
2. Entrance road, parking, maintenance and clubhouse areas. (To be reviewed by the Owner’s clubhouse architect and engineer.)
3. Conceptual layout of residential, commercial or other developments, if applicable. The land planner or engineer will review and refine these concepts as they relate to their respective locations and alignment to the golf course.
4.These plans will be presented to the Owner and the consultants for review and discussion.

click for Schematic Land Use Plan example

Master Plan and Cost Estimate: This phase entails the refinement of the Schematic Land Use Plans presented earlier. We endeavor to integrate the most favorable elements from the Schematic Land Use Plans into the Master Plan. Our role will focus solely on the golf course proper. The owner’s other consultants will be responsible for refining all other conceptual land uses around the golf course including but not limited to the residential, clubhouse, maintenance, parking, rest rooms and other development areas.

A design workshop with the Owner and consultants may be necessary in order to create the Master Plan for the project.

Once a final design is agreed upon, we will provide the following:

An illustrative, complete color rendering of the entire project at a scale of 1” = 200’.
A preliminary range of construction costs for the proposed golf course.
Detailed, multiple tee scorecard for the golf course.
Preliminary cross-sections of each hole

At the end of this stage, the Owner is to hire a well drilling company to identify if there is an adequate water supply on site.

click for Master Plan example

Phase V

(Optional – as requested) Investor, Committee Presentations: We will assist the Owner in making presentations to potential financial, investor groups or committees interested in the project. We will personally give presentations and/or tours to groups or individuals around the property and verbally describe the vision of the Master Plan.

Phase VI

Strategy and Feature Development Drawings: This phase will include the design of the strategy and feature development of each individual golf hole. Each design concept that will be explored for each hole will be based upon the master plan routing and overall vision for the project. A packet of smaller scale, individual hole drawings will be developed and presented to the Owner for review. Specifically, our plans will show the strategic design detail for the following amenities found on each hole:

Grading Features
Sand Bunkers
Cart Paths
Tree Plantings

click for Strategy Drawing example

Phase VII

Preliminary Grading Plan: We will prepare a preliminary grading plan that shows all “cut and fill” areas on the golf course as well as a preliminary estimate of the quantities involved. This plan is often necessary as part of the permit process. The Owner is to provide engineered soil borings to a depth of 10 feet (number will vary) and topsoil testing for particle size analysis, infiltration rate, pH and contaminants.

click for Preliminary Grading Plan example

Phase VIII

(Optional – as requested) Permitting Assistance: All Federal, State, County, Township and Local Government permitting is the owner’s responsibility and shall be completed by the Owner and his/her local Environmental and/or Engineering Consultants. RHGCD will assist the Owner and Consultant on an hourly basis as requested.

click for Permit Plan example

Phase IX

Construction Drawings & Specifications: The construction drawings are documents that will make the golf course constructible. These drawings will precisely describe to a potential golf course builder what is needed to create the finished project. These drawings range in scale and are drawn with exceptional detail. Drawings included are as follows

1. Staking Plans at 1” = 200’: This plan shows the precise locations of the greens, tees and landing areas that are to be clearly staked in the field.
2.  Site Plan at 1” = 200’
3. Clearing and Thinning Plans at 1” = 200’: This plan precisely shows the different areas of the property that need to be cleared, thinned and grubbed for the golf course. The specific specimen trees that are to remain will be indicated and clearly marked to be saved.
4. Soil Erosion and Storm Drainage Plan: This is the responsibility of the Owner’s Engineer or Environmental Consultant. We will consult on this plan on an hourly basis if requested.
5. Grading Plans at 1” = 100’ or 1” = 50’: This plan will indicate the existing and proposed grades for the project using contour lines and spot elevations. The grades will be indicated to the nearest tenth of a foot and will show the detailed proposed grading for all features including fairways, tees, roughs, sand bunkers, grass depressions and other features. Great care will be taken to ensure that the proposed grading integrates and utilizes the natural terrain on site.
6. Tee Plans at 1” = 50’ : These plans show the specific elevations, slopes, and grassing details for all the tees including the practice tee.
7. Green Plans at 1” = 20’: These plans show the specific elevations, slopes and grassing details for all of the greens including the practice greens. The grades for the green surfaces are shown every 10 feet.
8. Irrigation, Pump Station & Well Plans – This plan is the responsibility of the Owner’s irrigation design consultant.
9. Grassing Plans: These drawings will show the locations of all the grass species and varieties to be planted on the golf course.
10. Golf Course Circulation Plans: This drawing will show the proposed circulation of the cart paths, bridges and boardwalks. This plan needs to be reviewed, finalized and approved by the Owner’s engineer.
11. Golf Course Landscape Plan: This drawing will show the proposed locations for specific varieties of deciduous and coniferous tree species. This plan will also indicate any wetland planting areas and planting beds. This plan does not include clubhouse, parking & entrance areas.
12. Main Line and Storm Drainage Plan: This plan is the responsibility of the Owner’s engineer and should include all controlled outlets off the site. RHGCD will review and design the golf course drainage plan to tie into this plan.
13. Golf Course Drainage Plan: This plan will show the drainage system for the golf course only. The mainline trunk line for this network is to be designed, sized and sealed by the Owner’s engineer along with a storm water management system.
14.Construction Specifications: This is a booklet that verbally describes the materials and specifications for the work to be performed. This booklet will form the basis of a contract between the Owner and the Contractor.

click for Construction Drawing examples

Phase X

Bidding and Contract Assistance: Once the project is ready to be built, we will assist the Owner in finding qualified contractors to bid on the construction of the project. We will conduct a pre-bid meeting with all of the potential Contractors during which we will clarify the project and field any questions by the Contractors. Once bids are received, we will compile and analyze all of the bids received in a comprehensive spreadsheet. If necessary, we will then work with the Owner in negotiating the contract with the selected golf course builder. The specific contract is the responsibility of the Owner and the Owner’s Attorney. RHGCD will assist as requested.

Phase XI

Observation of Construction: In order to completely manifest the best final product for the client, it is essential that we observe construction of the golf course. We will make periodic visits to the site during active construction to ensure the Contractor is fulfilling the intended vision of the project per the Golf Course Architect’s discretion. Detail adjustments when necessary will be directed in the field and documented through progress reports to the Owner. Our services will also include approving any approximate percentages of work completed associated with payment requests, reviewing and commenting on any change orders or requests made by the contractor during the construction phase. Specifically we will provide the following:

1. Numerous site visits depending on the stage and pace of construction.
2. Review of Contractor’s payment request related specifically limited to quality and amount of work completed relevant to each payment request. The Owner’s representative or attorney shall be responsible for all other specifics related to the payment requests.
3. Detailed site visit report subsequent to each visit and copied to the Contractor and related consultants.
4. Final inspection walk through and punch list preparation for the owner and contractor to complete the project.

click for Construction Observation photo

Phase XII

Grow-in Consultation: We will make two visits to the site approximately one and six months after construction is complete to observe and make recommendations regarding the establishment of turf on the golf course, prevention of erosion, trimming of trees, and suggestions for details such as benches, ball washers and trash receptacles. Each site visit will be followed up with a comprehensive report of findings as well as our recommendations for any improvements.

Member American Society of Golf Course Architects

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Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs, Inc.
119 West 37th Street
Holland   Michigan   49423
Phone 616.399.7686   Fax 616.399.768

Raymond Hearn, President  
email Ray

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