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Since the early 80’s, Gary Player Design has been a global leader in golf course design, marketing and real estate planning services. We employ a small team of seasoned and dedicated professionals with a cumulative 210 years in the golf course development industry. Through the years, Gary Player and Gary Player Design have executed a portfolio of over 300 projects in 35 countries on five continents. In the end, our success is driven by our proven ability to add substantial value to real estate and resort properties.
The mission of Gary Player Design is to conduct our business in the same manner in which Gary Player has conducted himself as a golfer and gentleman during his 50-year career. Our services revolve around building long-term mutually rewarding relationships with our clients by displaying integrity and credibility in a business setting. From project conceptualization through planning, design, construction, marketing and opening, we take a proactive role in providing experienced solutions throughout the intricate development process. When a design agreement is signed, we join our client’s team and do whatever is necessary to contribute to that team’s success.
As a company, we are careful to accept a reasonable number of select jobs at any given time. We recognize the time it takes to give the service that our brand represents and deliberately follow the steps necessary to deliver the attention to detail that will enhance the quality of each project. In addition to the technical services, experience and support we provide, we deliver significant added value to our clients and their projects. The personal participation of Gary Player in both the design and marketing process, together with the reputation and visibility of the Gary Player brand bring significant value to all facets of our projects.
Over the past 50 years of playing professional golf, I have visited and studied most all of the great golf courses of the world, and have been fortunate to apply my experience in the design of over 300 golf courses worldwide. The design of a golf course is a far more sophisticated process than many people would ever imagine, as it requires not only an understanding of the game, but a great deal of vision and clever planning. To a large extent the topography of the land one works with will determine how the golf course is to be laid out, and in this regard it is always my objective to work as much as possible with the natural topography, environment and features of the site.
The first foundation I require of our staff is a respect for the environment. I am a rancher at heart, and leaving a piece of land better than we found it is extremely important to me. Inherently, creating open space through the construction of a golf course allows us to do that, however it is important that we take great care with regard to moving a minimal amount of earth, protecting wildlife and existing ecosystems, remediating and/or adding indigenous plant material and adhering to established local environmental guidelines.
We promote a design philosophy based on the combination of modern technology and traditional design principles. In every instance we seek to design courses that are unique so that a golfer who finishes playing has had a very positive experience; however, is not able to identify a specific trade mark that is carried through in our designs.
It is also essential that a golf course is able to cater to all level of golfers. By this I mean that a course must be flexible enough to provide enjoyment for the average 15 to 20 handicap golfer, whilst also being capable of being set up for a major tournament. This can be achieved by the design of multiple tee positions and angles, through strategic bunker positioning, particularly around greens, and by varying the approach to the maintenance of the course.
Vision in design is all-important. The golfer must not only see all the hazards, but also should enjoy the various vistas that the topography offers. In this regard, the routing of the golf course should account for the position of the sun to avoid blinding the golfer at certain times of the day. This thoughtful process will also create interesting and beautiful shadows early morning and late afternoon.
Golf equipment and machinery is improving all the time, which results in courses designed 30 or more years ago being too short for the longer hitter today. It is obviously not possible to continue to lengthen golf courses; however, a clever and strategic approach to design will give a golf course the kind of elasticity that is required to stand up to the inevitable technological advances that will be incorporated into golf equipment in the future.
As a course designer, one of my prime concerns is always to create beauty and harmony and a playable golf course, whilst respecting a developer’s objectives. Quality and the opportunity for our client to make a profit is something that is foremost in my mind when we approach a new course design. The financial viability of any scheme is obviously critical and accordingly means one has to work within a set budget. One does not have to spend an unrealistic amount of money to achieve an outstanding end product, and in many instances, money is spent unnecessarily when courses are constructed.
There is no doubt that designing golf courses is an area of business that gives me significant pleasure and reward. There are various reasons for this; however, perhaps the most important is the fact that I feel we are putting something back into nature by designing and building golf courses. There is a natural reward in being able to play a course once it is built, but that is far outweighed by the satisfaction experienced when I see other people deriving enjoyment from something we’ve helped create. I get a great kick out of knowing that hundreds of years after people have long forgotten me, the courses with which we have been involved will continue to give people tremendous pleasure!
- Gary Player