Golf Course Renovation

Harmony Links Golf Value-Add Services:
What They Mean To You


By Jeff Hartson

Recently, we completed our first 9-hole renovation to the Harmony Links Commercial System.  The transformation of the Lamoine Valley Golf Club was a well-run project due to my partner's expertise as a golf course architect and a certified golf course builder.  In order to examine the set of services that were provided to the City of La Harpe, lets break down the comments from the press release and discuss them in-line.  I'll put my comments in red:

Barry Wright, President of the City of La Harpe's Parks and Recreation Department had the following comments: "What Harmony Links Golf has done for our golf course is simply amazing.  They delivered on every promise as they were on budget, on time and were terrific to work with.  They were a one-stop shop for our renovation."

Having worked with Terry for over two years, including building the personal golf complex at my home on the Gulf of Mexico, it is comforting to see that we share the same commitment to customer satisfaction in our projects.  Terry goes over and above in his efforts to meet customer expectations.  Harmony Links' project management and construction skills are a result of over 20 years experience with 75+ completed golf course projects as a golf course architect and certified golf course builder, working with architects like Tom Fazio to build the world-famous Black Diamond Ranch. 

            We provided one face to the customer while providing all services to the customer from the preliminary green designs to the project management, construction/renovation, synthetic turf ordering and installation (with Harmony Links Commercial as a sub-contractor).  From the time the customer gave us the order, to the time we turned the project over to the customer after the walk-through it was 6 weeks!  "Terry LaGree, who just won national recognition for one of the "Best New Courses in America" for his design of Jack Frost National, redesigned our greens and created signature holes, such as #4, that now define our golf course. He really nailed it for us!"  We are excited that GolfWeek recognized Terry’s design on Jack Frost National.  It is validation that customers who choose Harmony Links Golf will receive quality design at their course.  On our home page and on the Lamoine Valley page, you can watch the transformation.  The finished green is transformed into a dynamic, challenging green!  While you are at it, check out the rest of the transformations we put up for your viewing.

"Our greens receive shots from 200 yards and putt so true it’s unbelievable.  Everyone in the area is excited to play our new course! We expect to spend 35 to 40 man/hours a week maintaining our new 1st class 9-hole golf facility and most of that is mowing the fairways and rough. These synthetic turf greens simply need to be brushed and rolled once a week for the first couple of months.  After that, the hours/week for maintenance drop considerably."  These comments speak to the incredible playability of The Harmony Links Commercial System.  If you look at our videos page, you can see a homeowner and his son hitting shots from greenside to 200 yards and watch how great the ball reacts.  You can also see Chris DiMarco and his guests Fulton Allem, Jim Thorpe, Donnie Hammond from the Champions Tour in a shootout on Chris' greens that we designed with Harmony Links Commercial.  This system is designed to withstand the rigors of commercial golf and will last much longer with better results than your backyard putting green.  Call us to schedule a Webex or conference call to go over your project.  You will see the professionalism, commitment and results we can bring to your project!

Back to menu 


The Value of Design in Any Golf Facility


A proper and well thought out design of any golf complex, whether it be an 18 hole championship course or a simple practice facility is very critical in the financial success of any project. After all, it comes down to the conceived value that the ultimate customer receives as to whether he or she will enjoy the experience and spread the word.

With a degree in landscape architecture and having practiced that discipline, along with master planning and golf course architecture, and having been involved with the planning and construction of many great golf projects, both large and small, over the years, the one element that I have learned and remains a constant is that a well thought out design process is critical to the success of any project. One of the key elements to the success of any project is that it fits into its surrounding environment. The balance of great design and aesthetic appeal goes hand in hand. Only the best facilities have both.

I would like to discuss two particular projects of many that I have been involved with over the years, one large scale and one small scale, and discuss the importance of the design process.

I was fortunate enough to be involved with the design and management of a project called Black Diamond Ranch in West Central Florida. I was given the task by the owner of the property to convert over 1,200 acres of rolling shrub oak and sand hills that contain a pair of active limestone quarries into a high end, low density residential golf and country club community. Once topographic information was obtained we developed a master plan and put a great thought into recreating those harsh quarries into one of the key features of the site. The ultimate design decision was to create golf holes around the quarry. In master planning the property I worked closely with the Fazio Organization to achieve a balance of great golf and aesthetic appeal for the property. Every facet in the design process was explored. Large corridors were granted for the golf holes so that the golf experience would not be compromised. The layout of the entrance to the community was designed to take in the view of the now spectacular quarries along with the design of a beautiful streetscape, a hilltop clubhouse with magnificent views and the planting of thousands of Oaks, Magnolias and Azaleas. The property was quickly recognized as one of the top residential communities in the country and it’s Quarry Course in the top 100 courses. Thus success and value was achieved with great design and aesthetic appeal.

The same philosophy holds true on a smaller scale with the design of the “Marsh Course” a synthetic turf Par 3 course at the Hartson residence located on the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Hartson had three of his 5 lots that were unusable for building homes and thus he decided to build a short game complex to enjoy and improve his golf game as well as increase the value of his property. The design approach to the layout of the complex was to make sure first that the design quality of the greens and synthetic materials used would reflect as closely as possible the experience of a real grass green to ultimate help him improve his short game; secondly, that the setting would be aesthetically appealing and fit into the sensitive environment that surrounds his property; and thirdly that the greens would be properly built to stand up to the tidal and storm surges that are a regular occurrence.

Thus a Par 3 course was planned and laid out with two greens that have multi-able pin locations and a variety of teeing locations to give a range of shots from 15 to 93 yards.

Let’s discuss the design approach, and walk though the thought process of how the course design evolved. Mr. Hartson had already had an Environmental Engineer survey the site to determine the areas (uplands) where the greens could be placed. It was determined that there were two locations that could be used and it was decided that these two locations would be where the greens would fit best. The next decision was to locate the teeing area. His entrance drive and garden area provide numerous opportunities for these locations. Once the tee locations where determined the next step was to get into the detail of designing the greens and the placement of bunker. The greens needed to be elevated and protected to preserve them from storm surge conditions, so concrete retaining walls were built to support the greens. This element turned into a spectacular aesthetic feature because it made the greens appear that they are floating in the sea of sawgrass from the view entering his property.

The next element of the design was to insure the green when laid out to receive the shots from the various tee locations and bunkers. Contouring of an artificial green is very much like a regular golf green only at a much reduced scale. The greens were designed to maintain a one to one and a half percentage slope for good putting surfaces. Slopes, backdrops and soft berming areas were also calculated to insure good reception of wedge shots from the various teeing ground and chipping locations. The various pin placements were then assigned to create an array of putts and wedge shot alternatives. The final touch to the property was the recreation of the marshland area that had been slightly disturbed (with permission from DEP and county) during the construction. When said and done the new greens fit into the already beautiful aesthetic setting that surrounded Mr. Hartson’s home.

The goal that he set out to accomplish was to create a great short game area that he and his friends could enjoy and progress in pursuit of perfecting their short game. The fact that the complex was well thought out and designed properly has added tremendous value to his properties.

I have witnessed a number of artificial putting green installations over the years and am amazed on how little thought is put into the design and functionality of the area. If someone is going to invest thousands of dollars in the installation of a green the very least one should expect is that it will provide a good practice experience, be aesthetically appealing, and help increase the value of one’s property and home setting. Additionally, being part of the design process and knowing what will be delivered is essential.

So if you have a portion of your property that is under utilized and you are looking to improve your golf game, a short course or practice facility could be the answer to help increase the value of your property.




Terry LaGree
Golf Course Architect
Barbaron, Inc.

April 16, 2008 12:05 PM

Back to menu 

Thursday, January 23, 2009

Why you should attend the
“Introduction of the Next Generation Golf Course.”

-Are you thinking about: -Renovating your golf course? Building a next generation golf amenity?

-Saving more than $100,000+ annually?

-Having perfect greens everyday? Even in drought conditions?

-Your customers frustrated with poor playing condition due to aerification for 3 times over 5 months every year?

-Are trees causing too much shade to grow grass on your greens?

-Want to cut your fertilizer and pesticide cost by 20% - 30%?

-Want to reduce your labor by 25%? Capital expenditures by 15% – 20%?

-Are you building a new golf course? Golf amenity? Want to make it next generation? Cut your construction costs? Save space?

Would you like to have:

-Bent grass quality greens everyday?

-Speeds from 8 to 13 on the Stimpmeter depending upon the level of players on your course that day?

-Renovation done by a certified golf course builder and golf course architect on time, on budget?

-Replica holes designed and built or custom holes built to your specs?

Then join us for an invitation-only breakfast at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando to find out about “The Renovation Advantage” and “The Design Series.”

- See videos of the unmatched playability of Harmony Links Commercial Greens including 3-time PGA Tour winner, Chris DiMarco’s Shootout with his PGA buddies

- Line item analysis of savings realized and the ROI when renovating your course using “The Renovation Advantage”

- Overview of “The Design Series” and its themes with costs to build and maintain (Lake Series, Desert Series, Marsh Series, Scottish Links Series and more)

- Learn how to eliminate the environmental issues that constantly affect golf negatively including watering, fertilizers, pesticides on your greens

- How to increase your revenues through improved marketing through affiliation with PGA Tour/Teaching Professionals associated with Harmony Links

- Overview of Harmony Links Commercial’s unique technology and why putts roll so true and why Harmony Links Commercial accepts shots so well

- Win a free Renovation Advantage analysis worth $3,500. Must be present to win.

Contact jeff@harmonylinksgolf.com or terry@harmonylinksgolf.com
or call Jeff 352-302-8048 Terry 352-302-6319
to receive your invitation. See you there!

 

Back to menu

 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Harmony Pointe Phase II Completed
Improved Example of The Marsh Series

We recently completed Phase II of Harmony Pointe, The Marsh Course.  It is significantly better and shows the thoughtful use of space, use of different turfs, visual impact of coquina, and the addition of 6 new tees for a total of 13 tees.  Of course, shots can be hit from anywhere on the turf fairways.

This phase added an additional 2,200 sq ft. of a variety of SofGrass turfs, including:
- “Turfing” one of the driveways, adding 66’ in length and 15’ in width with SuperLawn 65. This was done to both show a fairway effect, but also to showcase what lawn replacement would look like using the evergreen color turf. It requires no water or mowing and looks perfect everyday.
- Inserting a strip 3’ wide of SofGrass Play down the middle of the turfed driveway to enhance the fairway look. Since it has a lower pile height than SuperLawn 65, it gives a great effect.
- Adding two elevated 5’ X 5’ Fairway Mat fixed tees and lengthening the sand trap next to the fairway by 20’.
- Replacing Rye Blend product in areas where the slopes coming off the green were the more severe with the premium product, SuperLawn 65. The plusher product will work better in those areas.
- Along the water, between the pool and the seawall, adding 450 sq ft of SofGrass Play with two fixed tees and one portable tee.
- Replacing existing mulch around the pool and waterfront with coquina.
- Covering the drainage retention area and walkway to the smaller green on The Pointe with coquina.
- Continued replanting native Spartina grasses in the wetlands to regain the native look.

The additions show what homeowners can do to improve their yard’s appearance as well as demonstrating what golfers can do to add interesting shots to their greens.

Here are the yardages I shot with a laser to each pin location on both greens from all tee positions.  Since these greens are encased in 3’ concrete walls for storm surge as Harmony Pointe is on the edge of the Gulf, the phrase “to front” means to the front wall, just as it would be at #17, the island green at TPC at Sawgrass.   The shots from the Private Rd to the large green are most interesting as the greens are fronted and backed by water…you are on the green or you re-tee.  And any shot to the small green is the same…you are on, or you are hitting 3.  J

 

The coquina is stunning.  When I mentioned it to Terry LaGree, the architect, he reminded me it was in his original design, which I had deviated from.  J

Harmony Pointe Yardages

Tee #1

Tee under Porch to large green

 

18 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

not in play

 

Pin position #2:

 

not in play

 

Pin position #3:

 

not in play

 

Pin position #4:

 

37 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

30 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

26 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

21 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee # 2:

Tee at entrance to dock to large green

 

11 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

not in play

 

Pin position #2:

 

not in play

 

Pin position #3:

 

28 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

30 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

23 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

19 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

14 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee # 3:

Tee by corner of pool to large green

 

6 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

16 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

20 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

23 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

25 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

18 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

14 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

  9 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #4:

Mid Tee to small green

 

25 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

27 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

30 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

33 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #4:

Portable tee past mid tee to small green

 

12 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

14 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

17 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

20 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #5:

Portable tee past mid tee to large green

 

26 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

42 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

35 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

33 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

29 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

35 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

38 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

42 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #6:

Back of small green to large green

 

47 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

58 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

51 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

49 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

51 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

55 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

58 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

62 yds

Tee #7:

Mid Tee to large green

 

13 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

29 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

22 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

20 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

16 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

22 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

25 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

29 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #8:

Driveway Tee #1

 

18 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

21 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

27 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

32 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

36 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

30 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

27 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

25 yds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tee #9:

Driveway Tee #2

 

25 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

28 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

34 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

39 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

43 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

37 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

35 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

32 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #10:

Tee around corner of driveway to large green

 

50 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

53 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

60 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

63 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

66 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

63 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

61 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

58 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #11:

Private Rd Tee #1

 

58 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

59 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

59 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

64 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

68 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

68 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

67 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

67 yds

 

 

 

 

Tee #12:

Private Rd Tee #2

 

67 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

70 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

68 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

70 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

72 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

75 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

76 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

77 yds

Tee #13:

Private Rd Tee #3

 

76 yds to front

 

Pin position #1:

 

77 yds

 

Pin position #2:

 

75 yds

 

Pin position #3:

 

77 yds

 

Pin position #4:

 

79 yds

 

Pin position #5:

 

82 yds

 

Pin position #6:

 

83 yds

 

Pin position #7:

 

84 yds


You can see how many interesting shots are available to a player.  Hopefully, my short game improves in ’09!  J

 

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I never realized how much fun having friends over to compete would be.  I’ll be hosting the ’09 Invitational in the next week… it promises to be a great event.   I have the greens rolling at 11 but they still hold shots great!!  Check out the new playability video that will be added to the Shootout at Chris DiMarco’s with Fulton Allem winning.    These greens enable Harmony Links Golf to offer “The Next Generation Course.”  www.harmonylinksgolf.com .


Back to menu

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Discussion of How Harmony Links Golf “Next Generation” Offerings Solve Industry Issues

Welcome to our blog.  In this blog, we’ll address industry issues and how our offerings solve these problems.  Last week’s press release on Harmony Links Golf’s “Renovation Advantage” (see the Press section on our website) represents a game-changing offering.

As you’ll see below costs, watering and environmental issues are increasingly threatening to all golf courses’ futures.

The St Pete Times recently reported the Southwest Water Management District in West Central Florida “says old sod can't be replaced until summer.”  Robyn Felix, a spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud said, "Anything that causes you to need more water is unacceptable.'' Tampa Water Chief Brad Beard added, “For us, it's critical that we have enough for essential uses,'' he said, estimating that up to half the city's water goes to irrigation. "This is serious, and we're running out of choices,'' Swiftmud asked cities and counties to enforce the restrictions.” (This affected Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties in FL)  Marlene Sokol, Times Staff Writer, In print: Saturday, Nov 22, 2008  http://tampabay.com/news/environment/water/article913007.ece

At Harmony Links Golf, we believe it will eventually come down to golf courses being denied water in favor of residential needs.  That’s one reason we say our solutions are next-generation golf.  We refer to another reason later in this blog.

Additionally, in the last 3 months, every major golf industry publication that targets golf course owners, operators and superintendents has written feature articles that address:

The rising costs of providing a quality product and decreased profits

The Budget Crunch              Golfdom, Sept ‘08
In The Flow     Golf Business, Aug ‘08
Surviving the Cost Crunch  Golf Inc., Oct ‘08
Rethinking your operation  Golf Course Industry Magazine, Dec ‘08
  Course Management  
State of the Industry  Golf Inc. Magazine, Aug ‘08

The availability and cost of using sufficient water to maintain quality greens

e “Water Wise,”               Golfdom, Sept ‘08
d “Waste not, Want not”      Golf Business, Aug ‘08
c “Less is More”  Golf Inc., Oct ‘08
  Smart Irrigation Supplement   
“Golf’s looming crisis:     Golf Inc, Nov/Dec ‘08
  How to keep the water flowing”  

The environmental impact of using required herbicides and fertilizers

e Environmental Excellence            Golf Inc., Sept ‘08
d Pesticides and Democrats Golfdom Dec ‘08
c All Natural Pays Off      Golf Inc., Aug ‘08

The “Renovation Advantage” (for existing golf courses) and “The Design Series” (for new design and construction) address every one of these issues. 

e Up to 70% reduction in annual maintenance costs of your greens.        
d Designs that virtually eliminate watering your greens and tees and saves millions of gallons annually.
c Elimination of fertilizing and pesticides on your greens and tees
c Elimination of capital equipment and top dressing sand required to maintain your greens.
c Bent grass quality greens 365 days/yr. No aerification, over-seeding or pests.  

So… what is the number one question regarding adoption of synthetic turf, given those issues are addressed by our “Design Series and Renovation Advantage” offerings based on Harmony Links Commercial Greens’ product?  It is certainly playability

Playability turns out to be the key that enabled Harmony Links Golf to enter the commercial and upscale residential markets.   Having built Harmony Pointe, The Marsh Course, which was the genesis for “The Marsh Series” see the Gallery section of our website, and designed and built DiMarco Pointe for Chris DiMarco, in collaboration with Harmony Links Commercial, we’ve seen how realistically these greens receive shots and putt true.  In a meeting we recently had with Chris DiMarco he said, “My last green from another vendor was nothing like my Harmony Links Commercial Greens.  These greens putt and receive shots so much better.” 

Fulton Allem, after spending a morning on the DiMarco Pointe Greens was asked about the reception of the greens to shots, “This turf responds excellent. It’s hard to believe they can get synthetic turf to react as good as turf can, if not better.  If you spin it, it stops, if you don’t it releases so it’s just as honest as it gets.”  (He’s quoted from the video on our site).   Harmony Links Commercial Greens are the “next-generation” greens that enable that to happen.

Click here: http://www.harmonylinksgolf.com/DiMarco-Video.html to watch the Chris DiMarco Shootout video at his personal golf complex on Harmony Links Commercial Greens see the playability! This is on our homepage.   Chris hosted Champion’s Tour players Fulton Allem, Jim Thorpe and Donnie Hammond and Fred Gibson for a 6 hole tournament that Harmony Links Golf provided the $2,000 1st prize.  It was exciting!  It came down to a sudden-death shootout between Chris and Fulton.  Check the video to see who won.

Our newest video of the DiMarco Shootout with more footage of putts rolling and shots being received by the green will be up on the website in a few days.  My partner, Terry LaGree, golf course architect and certified golf course builder, while on-camera, made (4) 20+ footers in a row on a downhill slider from left to right on Chris’ fastest green.  I had to see it to believe it.  During a recent Bay News 9 shoot at Harmony Pointe at my home, they video’d Terry again making (5) 15 footers in a row from the same spot and even keyed on this consistency in the segment.  Glad he doesn’t do that too often in our “one-downers.”  J   This is another reason say “next generation golf.”  The playability of Harmony Links Commercial Greens is so much better than other synthetic turf brands.   For more information visit their website at www.softrakgreens.com.   You’ll see Harmony Links Golf is on their homepage.

There are several key differentiators that make Harmony Links Commercial different and significantly better: 

e The Harmony Links Commercial fiber is 36% more dense which provides a more true putting surface.    
d The Harmony Links Commercial fiber is softer, so it doesn’t permanently bend over like other fibers. Other fibers do this almost immediately, similar to a piece of cardboard when it gets bent. This is important when you want to brush the green to slow it down. The fibers need to be able to stand up.
c The proprietary RQS 2000 in-fill is very different and better. It is made from a specially formulated blend cleaned and size graded round quartz and is designed to keep the putting surface soft.

Playability problems:

e “Oscillation:” In the synthetic turf industry, oscillation or “snaking” is a term that is used to describe what happens when a ball is putted and as it slows, it randomly wanders, with no rhyme or reason. When it is putted again from the same spot with the same speed, it wanders in a completely different direction. For golf courses, golfers who are working on their short game and want to host competitions with family and friends, or just practice seriously, this is unacceptable. Harmony Links Commercial Greens simply don’t snake or oscillate. Period. They have a consistently true roll. Every time. Golf course owners / operators and residential golfers using Harmony Links Commercial Greens can putt on bent quality greens 365 days / yr.   
d Receiving shots is a key when discussing golf courses and personal golf complexes. So often you see the ball act like it landed on a trampoline and bound into the air and off the green. You’ll see in the new video that shots stop, spin back and also release when the pros and even Chris’ family hit them into the greens.

Harmony Links Golf and Harmony Links Commercial provide the design, construction and performance needed to solve your playability concerns.  Don’t take our word on this, visit one of our golf complexes and you will see!  

Jeff Hartson   jeff@harmonylinksgolf.com               352-795-3195

Synthetic Turf Solutions, trends, issues discussed by industry Professionals

Synthetic Turf Solutions, trends, issues discussed by industry Professionals
By Jeff Hartson, Principal, Harmony Pointe Greens


Welcome to Harmony Pointe Green’s blog. Our goal with this blog is to discuss current trends and issues that customers and synthetic turf vendors face in today’s market. In order to do that, lets first look at what Harmony Pointe is, how it translated into Harmony Pointe Greens, and why that matters to prospects looking at installing a golf short game complex, putting green, playground or other turf solution.


Harmony Pointe; The Marsh Course
Harmony Pointe was a vision almost 3 years ago when I was looking at the 5 waterfront lots I was planning to purchase just off the Gulf of Mexico in Central FL. The house and pool were on 2 of the lots and the western 3 lots were not able to be built upon due to their proximity to adjacent wetlands. I realized that the key to improving their usability and return on investment (ROI) was key to enjoying the property more, and ensuring a higher profit and should I ever sell the property. At the same time, my short game was falling through the floor with bottom of the swing issues. I began to think about how I could turn those 3 lots into a scenic golf complex for a practice facility.

At Harmony Pointe there are 9 tee locations to 2 greens with 9 hole locations (6 on the 2200 sq ft green and 3 on the 520 sq ft green). This provides an interesting alternative for every hole. Each tee brings a different degree of difficulty to each hole location especially with changing winds. Shots are available from chips to bunker shots, all the way up to 93 yards. Each green at Harmony Pointe is surrounded by wetlands and water. It took 7 months to permit these with the DEP and the County. Coupled with the ever-present sea breeze and 2 sand traps it makes for a challenging game.

Short Game / Par 3 Complexes
The concept that resonated the best was a short game, or Par 3 complex. My definition of that is multiple greens with multiple cup locations that accept shots from multiple tees. This is slightly different than a par 3 golf course in which there is a defined “next hole. A “complex” can be more clustered, using less space than a course, a key for many of us. By changing the pin based on the next tee you are going to hit from, you change the look, degree of difficulty and bring different hazards into play
There are 4 key components of a successful implementation of this concept:
1. The relationship of the tees to the greens, the slopes within the green and the associated cup locations:
These are intertwined whether you are implementing a backyard putting green with fringe to chip from or a “Complex.” In my travels around the state to look at synthetic turf greens during 2007, I found that in most every instance, the poor design in the relationship of these components limited the playability of the green due to poor planning and therefore lessened the user experience. At a minimum, they were less interesting than they could have been.

2. Playability:
The green couldn’t accept and hold a shot due to the dimension of the green vs the distance from the tee and where the cups were located. Sometimes this was as a result of the choice of putting surface (turf, in-fill etc) and sometimes this was poor design. This can be resolved with the use of a golf course designer / builder such as Barbaron (http://www.barbaron.com/) . “Design by Barbaron” is used for Harmony Pointe golf facilities from backyard putting greens to short game / Par 3 complexes.

o When putting, the ball sometimes rolled completely off the green uncontrollably. This again, goes back to design, choice of turf manufacturers and sometimes, maintenance.

o “Oscillation:” In the synthetic green industry, oscillation is a term that is used to describe what happens when a ball is putted and as it slows, it randomly wanders, with no rhyme or reason. When it is putted again from the same spot with the same speed, it wanders in a completely different direction. For golfers who are working on their short game and want to host competitions with family and friends, or just practice seriously, this is unacceptable. I found Harmony Links Commercial greens to be far and away the best for a true roll. CLICK HERE for more information on the Harmony Links Commercial System and why it provides the truest roll. Or better yet, visit one of our green installations to experience it yourself.

3. Material: The choice of the putting surface, infill and top dressing had a significant impact on the performance as well. The choices between nylon, polyethylene and polypropylene are important as nylon will not accept shots from off the green in a realistic fashion. Polypropylene materials will hold shots whether they are pitch shots or full shots. Harmony Links Commercial Greens have a unique turf, sand in-fill and top dressing and I found them to be the best. CLICK HERE for more information on the Harmony Links Commercial System and why it provides the truest roll.
However, regardless of anyone’s claim, it is always better to experience it in person.

4. Use of Space; This concept is a key even in the implementation of a backyard putting green. By evaluating the space, angles and risk from shots that are skulled (I know about these :>) ) you can maximize your playable space and have many more interesting shot opportunities even from the fringe.


Why Do I Care About All of This?
If you are thinking of a backyard putting green or think you have the space/budget to have a short game complex, there are several differentiators that the Harmony Pointe Methodology can provide for you. We exclusively use Harmony Links Commercial Greens for our customers.
1. We listen to your goals so we Understand.
2. We Define and design your vision through a scaled diagram from Barbaron.
3. We Refine that vision together through revisions of the diagram.
4. We Agree on what you want, based upon the design revisions; it becomes part of our agreement. This is important to set both our expectations.
5. We Deliver on our agreement.

Let me hear from you regarding your questions, comments and thoughts. We’ll address them in future blog entries. Thanks for reading!
Jeff Hartson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, Oct 7, 2008

The Value of Design in Any Golf Facility

By Terry LaGree

A proper and well thought out design of any golf complex, whether it be an 18 hole championship course or a simple practice facility is very critical in the financial success of any project. After all, it comes down to the conceived value that the ultimate customer receives as to whether he or she will enjoy the experience and spread the word. 

With a degree in landscape architecture and having practiced that discipline, along with master planning and golf course architecture, and having been involved with the planning and construction of many great golf projects, both large and small, over the years, the one element that I have learned and remains a constant is that a well thought out design process is critical to the success of any project. One of the key elements to the success of any project is that it fits into its surrounding environment. The balance of great design and aesthetic appeal goes hand in hand. Only the best facilities have both.

I would like to discuss two particular projects of many that I have been involved with over the years, one large scale and one small scale, and discuss the importance of the design process.

I was fortunate enough to be involved with the design and management of a project called Black Diamond Ranch in West Central Florida. I was given the task by the owner of the property to convert over 1,200 acres of rolling shrub oak and sand hills that contain a pair of active limestone quarries into a high end, low density residential golf and country club community. Once topographic information was obtained we developed a master plan and put a great thought into recreating those harsh quarries into one of the key features of the site. The ultimate design decision was to create golf holes around the quarry. In master planning the property I worked closely with the Fazio Organization to achieve a balance of great golf and aesthetic appeal for the property. Every facet in the design process was explored. Large corridors were granted for the golf holes so that the golf experience would not be compromised. The layout of the entrance to the community was designed to take in the view of the now spectacular quarries along with the design of a beautiful streetscape, a hilltop clubhouse with magnificent views and the planting of thousands of Oaks, Magnolias and Azaleas. The property was quickly recognized as one of the top residential communities in the country and it’s Quarry Course in the top 100 courses. Thus success and value was achieved with great design and aesthetic appeal.

The same philosophy holds true on a smaller scale with the design of the “Marsh Course” a synthetic turf Par 3 course at the Hartson residence located on the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Hartson had three of his 5 lots that were unusable for building homes and thus he decided to build a short game complex to enjoy and improve his golf game as well as increase the value of his property. The design approach to the layout of the complex was to make sure first that the design quality of the greens and synthetic materials used would reflect as closely as possible the experience of a real grass green to ultimate help him improve his short game; secondly, that the setting would be aesthetically appealing and fit into the sensitive environment that surrounds his property; and thirdly that the greens would be properly built to stand up to the tidal and storm surges that are a regular occurrence.

Thus a Par 3 course was planned and laid out with two greens that have multi-able pin locations and a variety of teeing locations to give a range of shots from 15 to 93 yards.

Let’s discuss the design approach, and walk though the thought process of how the course design evolved. Mr. Hartson had already had an Environmental Engineer survey the site to determine the areas (uplands) where the greens could be placed. It was determined that there were two locations that could be used and it was decided that these two locations would be where the greens would fit best. The next decision was to locate the teeing area. His entrance drive and garden area provide numerous opportunities for these locations. Once the tee locations where determined the next step was to get into the detail of designing the greens and the placement of bunker. The greens needed to be elevated and protected to preserve them from storm surge conditions, so concrete retaining walls were built to support the greens. This element turned into a spectacular aesthetic feature because it made the greens appear that they are floating in the sea of sawgrass from the view entering his property.

The next element of the design was to insure the green when laid out to receive the shots from the various tee locations and bunkers. Contouring of an artificial green is very much like a regular golf green only at a much reduced scale. The greens were designed to maintain a one to one and a half percentage slope for good putting surfaces. Slopes, backdrops and soft berming areas were also calculated to insure good reception of wedge shots from the various teeing ground and chipping locations. The various pin placements were then assigned to create an array of putts and wedge shot alternatives. The final touch to the property was the recreation of the marshland area that had been slightly disturbed (with permission from DEP and county) during the construction. When said and done the new greens fit into the already beautiful aesthetic setting that surrounded Mr. Hartson’s home.

The goal that he set out to accomplish was to create a great short game area that he and his friends could enjoy and progress in pursuit of perfecting their short game. The fact that the complex was well thought out and designed properly has added tremendous value to his properties.

I have witnessed a number of artificial putting green installations over the years and am amazed on how little thought is put into the design and functionality of the area. If someone is going to invest thousands of dollars in the installation of a green the very least one should expect is that it will provide a good practice experience, be aesthetically appealing, and help increase the value of one’s property and home setting. Additionally, being part of the design process and knowing what will be delivered is essential. 

So if you have a portion of your property that is under utilized and you are looking to improve your golf game, a short course or practice facility could be the answer to help increase the value of your property.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
Golf Course Renovation
Harmony Link Design partners Press