Public Courses. All Original Designs.
The heart and soul of golf are daily fee golf courses because they provide affordable, sustainable, and easy access to a wonderful, 600-year-old form of recreation, which is open to everyone regardless of age, gender, race, or economic status. My love of public courses was nurtured by growing up on such a family-owned facility. The golf course was not only a place to play golf, but it was also a center for social interactions and friendships that are the precious lifetime treasures shared by everyone who played there.
Today the sophistication and maintenance of the daily fee golf course has reached country club levels, but it is still the “characters” that are attracted to the golf course that distinguish it and make it special. Most of us in the golf industry today first experienced golf on a daily fee course, so it can be said that they are the incubators for golfers. I have great respect for country clubs and their importance to the game, but without a supply of potential new members who aspire and graduate from the masses of daily fee golfers, country clubs would have a difficult time sustaining themselves.
Daily fee courses can be publicly, corporately or privately owned, be simple and low cost 9-hole affairs, or upscale, “country club for a day” types of golf experiences. We have worked on the full spectrum of such courses, from Bully Pulpit in western North Dakota built of all native materials, to Erin Hills, which will host the 2017 U.S. Open. Each one is vital to the array and spectrum of experiences that can make a day on a golf course so special for someone. But regardless of the level of sophistication, for a public access golf course to be successful it has to be affordable to its target market, offer a healthy and relaxing experience, and be a forum for friendly, social memories. We have a profound understanding of this, and we keep them in mind during the design process.
To meet with those expectations, the country club course we create is a little more demanding, the visual presentation is heightened, and we often employ finer materials and methods in the construction process in the name of firmer, faster, more consistent playing conditions. Ultimately, each round of golf must offer the opportunity of a valued memory and a mental exercise seemingly fresh and unique. The greens are more strategically designed with deliberate, defined target areas of varying degrees of difficulty. Tees are placed not only at different lengths, but also at varied played angles. Bunkers can be made more demanding than on public courses, and the integration of natural resources such as water hazards and native areas are intended to inspire as well as represent formidable hazards.
In short, the country club experience must be an explicitly overt step up from the more easily accessed golf facilities. Hurdzan Golf Design has proven it possesses the creativity and knowledge to deliver an experience of that stature.