One hundred and thirty acres is sufficient to lay out a course on. Less than this should not be used, unless the peculiar character of the land permits, as the course is then apt to be confined and cramped, as well as dangerous. Anything in excess of 130 acres will permit the architect to work in landscape features. This is an item that cannot be overlooked, for the fascination of golf is not due solely to the science of the shots, but rather to the aesthetic effect of environment.
Lately there has been a reaction – and rightly so – against the artificiality and grotesqueness of certain architecture. Nature must always be the architect’s model. The lines of bunkers and greens must not be sharp or harsh, but easy and rolling. The development of the natural features and planning the artificial work to conform to them requires a great deal of care and forethought. In clearing fairways, it is good to have an eye to the beautiful. Often it is possible, by clearing away undesirable and unnecessary trees on the margin of fairways, to open up a view of some attractive picture and frame it with foliage.
Water not only makes good mental and actual hazards, but by the picture which can be created adds greatly to the effect of a course if treated in a natural way. Streams, ponds, and even open ditches, if properly made, give variety, not only to the play, but the aspect of the course, and through their steady motion or quiet permanence inspire a feeling of restful calm.
Open areas may be demarked by the judicious grouping of trees, which may define the fairways or act as a screen to hide some undesirable feature. Oftentimes the natural beauty of many a golf course, which the average player assumes was always present, has been created by the skill of the engineer who can see opportunities for beauty in the rough woods, swamps or fields that mean nothing to the unskilled eye. The absence or presence of the above features, among others will decide whether continuous play on a course becomes monotonous or otherwise.