PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN

  • The goal of Gary Panks Associates is to design unique high quality golf courses which create value and are a pleasure to experience.
  • Great care is taken in planning golf strategy and shot values that allow many options to the golfer. The result is a golf course that is fair, challenging, and truly enjoyable.
  • A GPA course will enhance and truly showcase the natural beauty of the terrain. Our experienced design team takes full advantage of existing features to create a harmonious design, never appearing forced or contrived.
  • Gary Panks is committed to meeting the goals and desires of his clients. To achieve the high standards demanded on every GPA course, each project receives his personal attention, never leaving anything to chance.

Balance


South Mountain Golf Course
Hole 5, 428 Yards

A golf hole may be basically symmetrical or asymmetrical. A creative designer uses plenty of asymmetrical balance in the arrangement of hazards and features. One example of this is a hole which is bunkered heavily on the left side of the fairway landing zone and bunkered on the right side of the green.

Harmony


Sedona Golf Resort
Hole 14, Par 5, 490 Yards

Harmony is the way design elements relate in a pleasing manner and how they relate, both individually and as a whole, to the surrounding environment. If this is done properly, a feeling of well-being or serenity is achieved. For example, if the background is a hill or mountain with a gently sloping skyline, one harmonious design would include mounds and slopes of the same gentle nature.

Contrast


Talon Course at Grayhawk
Hole 5, Par 3, 150 Yards

Contrast is the opposite of harmony. One example of contrast is a flat tee top compared to an undulating fairway. Another example is bright, white bunker sand next to the lush green turf around it. Contrasts can be very dramatic and are important to the success of every design.

Variety


Raven Golf Club
Hole 18, Par 4, 428 Yards

Variety in design makes for memorable scenes. A golfer remembers holes with character and varied environs. Water features can leave a lasting impression, but so can a hole free of hazards situated on a beautiful rolling terrain framed by trees.

Unity


Tonto Verde Golf Club
Hole 18, Par 4, 397 Yards

Unity occurs when all the elements in a design combine to form a consistent whole. There are many ways to achieve unity in a golf course. One important method is a natural blending of contours throughout the course. Using the same grasses over the entire course in a consistent manner adds unity. And a well-thought-out tree planting plan can also add to the feeling that each hole is an integral part of the course.

Difficulty vs. Fairness


Raven Golf Club
Hole 8, Par 4, 421 Yards

"Let's design more courses with reasonably sloped putting surfaces, broad enough fairway landing areas and hazards that give us half a chance of escaping."

- Gary Panks

Environment


Talon Course at Grayhawk
Hole 8, Par 3, 234 Yards

"I feel we've learned how to work with the environmentalists and vice-versa. The environmentalists have come around and have begun to accept the idea that golf courses can be an attribute to the environment, and architects realize the value of nature. That's been a blessing in building a good spirit of cooperation."

- Gary Panks

Playability


Grandover Resort
Hole 1, Par 4, 405 Yards

The "art" of designing a golf course is to make it playable for a diverse set of golfers. The course must be enjoyable by high caliber players, members, higher handicappers, shorter hitters, men and women. The objective is to design four or five courses in one. The course must be flexible in terms of setup. Multiple tees (four or five sets per hole) are the first step toward this flexibility. The speed of the greens and the pin positions should also be variable to allow easier and tougher setups. Finally, the rough should be adaptable to a variety of course setups.

Signature Holes


Tonte Verde Golf Club
Hole 18, Par 4, 397 Yards

Gary Panks Associates believe a signature hole is created by taking advantage of site opportunities and adding dramatic design ideas. The goal of the architect should be 18 unique and excellent golf holes. A signature hole simply happens when certain dramatic elements combine with an excellent hole design to produce something much more memorable for the golfer.