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Richard P. Nugent

Nugent Golf , Inc.
Sun Lakes, AZ

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We feel that great golf courses have some common elements which we incorporate into each of our designs.



First and foremost is the routing. A good routing has several facets. It should work with the sun, have good circulation from green to tee, have a good mix of par and length (or pace), change direction often, and move the golfer through various environments. Each hole should have an individual identity, but should also carry a common style with the rest of the holes -- much like brothers and sisters in a large family.



The strength of a golf course lies in the long par fours. There should be at least two par fours of 420 yards on each nine. Medium and short par fours should test the golfer accuracy and shotmaking ability by setting up risk/reward strategies from the tee to the green.



The par threes should be memorable. Natural features such as the water or ravines on this site would give a sense of tragedy that invoke golfers "love-hate" relationships with par threes. Par threes should be both aesthetically pleasing to look at and a stern test of middle and high iron play. The shorter the hole, the more demanding the green should be so as to reward a shot executed to the proper portion of the green with a birdie putt.



Of the par fives on their respective nines, one should be reachable in two great shots for the possibility of making the much covenanted "eagle". To discourage all but stout of heart, the green site should be well protected. The other par five should be a three shot hole where the length of the second shot could flirt with disaster, but yield an easier third shot to the green.



It has been written that the greens are the heart of a golf course. With half the time of a round of golf occurring on the greens, the level of scrutiny is highest here. Golfers will overlook many blemished areas of a golf course, but they will not forgive poor greens. For this reason, we spend a great deal of time both in design and in the field to insure that the putting surfaces are to our standards. In fact, Tim Nugent has been known to spend every day that the greens are being constructed on site monitoring the contouring to make sure that the slopes, contours and breaks are just right. A misplaced break may render a portion of the green unpinable.

We have been moving toward smaller greens with less undulating and more subtle contouring for several reasons.

* Greens require the highest degree of maintenance, therefore physically limiting their size has a direct impact on yearly maintenance costs by lowering the actual quantity of costly chemicals and sand topdressing while lessening the time spent on mowing and aerification. Additionally, with today's trend to go back to walking greens mowers due to their superior level of cut and less wear and tear on the turf, less undulation eliminates the scaling and puffiness that severe contours can lead to.

* Severe or large slopes with today's faster greens speeds can limit usable areas of the green since the ball may keep rolling off the green. Many of the old clubs on the north shore have had to modify portions of their greens to get back lost pin placements. While others, for fear of degrading a masterpiece, have greens with only one or two pin placements as they are down to under 1,000 sf of pinable surface. This leads to high traffic wear and limited variety in play.

* Large greens are the main cause of three putting. Not only is this unrewarding for the golfers who want to score well, it is frustrating to the other players in the group and those waiting behind them in the fairway. If it only takes one minute for each putt and if, on average, two members of a foursome three putt on each green, it would increase the playing time of a round by 36 minutes (the difference between a 4:20 and 5:00 hour round).

* With the USGA sand greens construction method prevalent, severe undulations can cause isolated dry areas which can require constant attention.



If the greens are the heart of a golf course then the bunkers are it's soul. The contrast of the tan sand nestled into the emerald green grass stands out to cause the golfer to contemplate his strategy for playing the upcoming hole. We believe that the bunkering on a course should appear to be random while each having a distinct reason for being in its location. Bunkers are used to direct play, as in the case of turning bunkers on the corner of a dogleg to produce a risk-reward situation depending on whether the golfer elects to play over them or around them, to save a shot from rolling into a water hazard or down a steep embankment, or to penalize a too bold of a tee shot or a misaligned shot to the green. We view a bunker as a half stoke penalty meaning the player should be able to advance his ball, but not necessarily to the degree of playing off the fairway.

Not every hole requires bunkers and the overuse of bunkers as a hazard can become redundant and tiresome. Additionally, not all bunkers require sand. Grass bunkers or hollows add a different element and require a different type of shot. Just as we believe that every hole should have an individual nature to it so should each bunker. It is our view that, with the naturalistic design of the course, the bunkers should not only conform to this, they should highlight it. Smooth, rounded bunker shapes do not have a place in this style of design. Rather, the edges should be more irregular in nature. To achieve this, we insist that the final sand line of the bunker be drawn on the bunker cavity in the field by us. As with the greens, this takes the final interpretation out of the hands of the contractor and leaves it with the designer.



Our philosophy on fairways is that they should have generous and fairly level landing areas. As the tee shot is the most difficult shot, the golfer should not necessarily be punished if the tee shot is slightly mis-hit. Even the touring pro don't hit every fairway so why should everyone be expected to. Rather we like to set up "A" and "B" spots in fairway which generate different successive shots. Once again, searching and hitting shots from the rough tends to slow down the speed of play. If you subscribe to the theory that golf is as mental as physical, having a wide target off the tee offers a more confident and thus relaxed player and landing in the fairway further builds on that confidence. Nothing brings back repeat golfers as a course that challenges but doesn't intimidate the golfer on every shot. If the hole is a long par four or a par five where the golfer is asked to hit the ball as far as possible the fairway should allow it. However, on a short par four where it is the intention of the design to take the driver out of the player's hand that a more demanding fairway configuration is required since finesse rather than length is required.



Although the five tee system is a relatively new concept, we have already built several courses including Ivanhoe, Green Bay, and Harborside International with five tee systems. At Ivanhoe and Green Bay, the five tees where used to allow the course to played at a more consistent level by the wide range of players. At Harborside, it is used to combat the changing wind direction to keep the hole "playing" the distance intended. While five tee locations are created, five individual tees aren't place on every hole. In addition to redundancy, individual tees increase maintenance time while decreasing actual teeing surface as it relates to actual square footage of tee surface due to the unusable perimeter. Therefore in our designs, we may have as few as two larger tees up to five smaller tees. The existing terrain and angle to the fairway are the two main factors determining the size and number of tees. We do believe that the tees should be large enough to be mowed with riding tri-plex mowers to keep maintenance costs down and this size, in turn, allows for adequate flexibilty in tee box location to allow for the recovery of the turf.



Nugent Golf takes pride in offering the most state-of-the-art interactive computer technology available to support the design and engineering excellence required in all phases of great golf course design. We are committed to the idea that talented people, interacting with highly integrated technology, consistently produce the best design solutions.

Automating the Golf Course Design Work Flow

Computer technology provides an excellent and productive tool for every step of the design process. Several automated methods are available to capture survey data of all types, allowing early computer modeling of the existing site. By first being able to closely examine the three dimensional model of the existing topography, we are able to rapidly generate routing plan options which best fit the natural shape of the land, minimizing expensive and artificial earthwork.

After routing, design of golf course topography is accomplished using sophisticated civil engineering software. Using the three dimensional model, engineering analysis such as cut and fill calculations, topsoil stripping and replacement, cross sections and profiles can quickly and accurately be produced. In later phases of design, many aspects of construction plans are automatically generated from the model. Finally, the use of cutting edge, 3-D computer visualization enhances communication among the design team, the client and even the bulldozer operator implementing the construction documentation.

Site Data Acquisition

New golf course projects usually start with a topographic map generated from an aerial survey. These maps are available in 2-D and 3-D digital format, both of which may be easily imported into our computer. If a 3-D digital map is not available, the contours may be scanned into the computer for quick analysis..

Golf Course Routing

When developing a golf course routing strategy, our designers can work directly on the screen using the computer model, contour lines and site analysis information to best route the direction of play. Powerful computer drafting software provides all the tools required for producing high quality routing plans.

Individual Hole Design

After the routing plan is determined, we can then model and shape the design of each hole individually. Computer models of proposed grading for a new golf hole is a straight-forward task. The system displays the existing contours and the designer then digitizes in proposed contours and golf hole elements such as tee boxes, fairway, bunker and greens. At any time during this process, a new 3-D model can be produced and viewed from any elevation or angle allowing real time analysis of aesthetics and playability. Refer to the images on our home page for an example.

Design Detail Modification

Because design is a process of constant change, the ability to easily modify surface models is essential to efficient, sound design. Precision horizontal and vertical editing tools allow us to fine tune the details of each hole in a highly efficient way.

Engineering Analysis

The automatic calculation of earthwork cut and fill compares existing and proposed surfaces. The results can be displayed either as a table or as a colored 3-D model. This provides us with accurate data on material movement in alternative designs. Automated cut and fill calculation enhances communication with owners and contractors and enables constant adherence to the project budget.

Construction Documents

Throughout the design process, all of the elements need to produce a full set of construction documents have been input into our system. Upon completion and approval of the design, we have the ability to produce the construction documentation directly from the computer system. The high powered drafting and plotting software allows us to produce plans at any desired scale which are clear, concise and represent the full design intent.

Golf Course Presentation

An additional service offered by Nugent Golf is a 3-D "fly-through" animation of your golf course. Using a technique called key-frame animation, we can walk you through the course. This can be produced in photo or video form including a full action 3-D animation. We can also produce high quality photo realistic presentaions of signature holes on the course.