Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club, Haines City, FL-Hole #3
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Design Philosophy

Steve Smyers Golf Course Architects’ classical design philosophy has evolved through years of travel to study and play great golf courses of the world. Our well-conceived philosophy is deeply rooted in the strategic, risk-reward design principles of the celebrated architects of the Golden Era of Architecture during the 1920s and 1930s.  Among these classical architects are Donald Ross, Alister Mackenzie and A.W. Tillinghast.  

Design features are the means by which an architect expresses his design philosophy within the courses he designs. They show the golfer the ideal way to play each hole and often offer the player alternative routes of play. The features built into each course can direct the route and style of play and will either assist or be hazardous to the player. 

At Steve Smyers Golf Course Architects, we firmly believe that each golf course property has a unique setting and terrain.  We enhance each site by combining the natural and man-made features to create the most spectacular test of golf possible.  Our designs utilize the topography of the site while taking full advantage of the movement of the terrain.  Every element of the land is taken under careful consideration including elements such as water and predominant wind patterns.  Our team works diligently to properly position greens and tees as closely as possible to encourage walking and maintain an acceptable pace of play. Our consistency to analyze all of these elements and operational aspects also reduces the cost of construction.

Our designs are largely strategic rather than penal while challenging players to be creative and to manage their games.  This philosophy not only delivers an exceptional course layout, but one that is functional and manageable by all players regardless of their skill levels.

When appropriate, heroic carries from the tee are included in the design, however alternate routes of play are always planned for the less-skilled players. Penal design elements are introduced occasionally—to make the best use of the natural terrain.

In order to create ideal shot values and balance there must be a large portion of good two shot holes, one or two drive and pitch holes, at least four one-shot holes, and a variety of three shot holes.  It’s our belief to present a wide variety of shots to the golfer requiring the use of every club and the execution of a full range of shots.

Our courses are designed to stimulate players to improve their games by learning new shots.  We build courses to play firm and fast so the golf ball will bounce and roll. This puts more creativity and shot making skill in the game as well as the elements of imagination and chance.  By incorporating this methodology into our design, it also reduces the long term costs of maintenance.

Whenever possible we eliminate the need for players to search for lost balls.  Our golf courses are designed so all golfers can enjoy them and complete a round in four hours or less

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