The School of Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot Watt University has launched a unique Masters degree in golf course architecture.
The School has an international reputation for landscape architecture education and it is hoped that the prestigious new course will contribute to its profile, affirming Scotland’s place at the centre of good design for golf. “There is already evidence of strong market demand for a postgraduate course in golf course architecture, “ says Professor Catharine Ward Thompson, head of school. “A study commissioned in 1997 identified potential world-wide demand and primary markets in Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the People’s Republic of China, south-east Asia, South America and the USA.”
The MSc course, the first of its kind, has been developed in conjunction with the new European Institute of Golf Course Architects (the amalgamation of the British, European and French associations) and is fully endorsed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The aim is to provide an education and qualification which sets the benchmark for world-wide professional recognition in this field. The course will place emphasis on reconciling the ideals of the School of Landscape Architecture’s philosophy in creative and environmentally sensitive landscape design with the professional demands of the game of golf.
The idea was conceived four years ago and developed by tutor and landscape ecologist Nigel Rudd in response to the varying levels of competence evident in golf course design to date. He says, “There is no reason why being able to play golf should automatically confer on somebody the capacity to design a course. Today we recognise that specialist knowledge of many key aspects is necessary: from design history, planning regulations and business economics to ecosystem ecology and turf culture techniques. The School of Landscape Architecture is ideally placed to make a vital contribution to this specialist area of professional expertise.”
The course will include modules on habitat creation, soil science and course management and will focus on examples of best – and worst – practice from around the world. The emphasis will be on how to design attractive and challenging courses in harmony with existing landscape processes; an ecological and sustainable approach that reflects the traditional origins of golf course design. Rudd says, “In recent years, with the increased sophistication of machinery, drainage, irrigation and grassland management, many designers have ceased to work in harmony with the landscape and increasingly imposed their will upon it, very often with disastrous or environmentally damaging results. The challenge in educating golf course architects is to enable students to acquire the necessary range of expertise and to provide a foundation for the development of best practice.”
The course is underpinned by collaborative partnerships in golf education between Edinburgh College of Art/Heriot-Watt University, Elmwood College in Fife and Merrist Wood College in Surrey. These bring together professional expertise in golf education, including the contributions of a number of graduates of the School’s Landscape Architecture programme who are now leading golf course architects.
Candidates will normally be expected to have a first degree in landscape architecture or similar discipline but applications may be considered, on an individual basis, from experienced golf course managers, greenkeepers or professionals who have an adequate level of expertise. The course is modular and flexible to allow concentration of studies in particular areas, depending on the prior qualifications of individual candidates. Extensive market research indicates that there will be no difficulty for graduates to achieve employment in the profession and that the opportunities are world-wide.
For further information and to apply for the course which commences in September 2000 contact Margaret Dingsdale Tel +44 (131) 221 6091 Fax +44 (131) 221 6005