Discussion with: Forrest Richardson

Posted on May 13, 2021

Forrest Richardson is a noted golf course architect and author of five books on golf course architecture.

He recently spoke to CGI+ on the importance of vision in the design of a project.

Whether it’s designing a golf course, commercial project, or multifamily development, the most important element is vision and understanding the x-, y- and z-axes of the land. When we get to know the land, it then becomes a matter of developing a story of how people will use it. In golf courses we call this “routing,” which is the path one travels from hole-to-hole. In reality that applies to any piece of land — routing is the experience of arriving, entering, using, enjoying, leaving and returning. All of these are essential questions to consider when looking at any size parcel.

I also learned long ago that we really don’t “plan” land. After all, the land is already there. What we do is to listen to the topography, study all of the constraints and then look at the possibilities that will get our clients the best ROI — while also creating the best experience. A parcel of land is much more than what is contained within its meets and bounds. We look at the vistas, the way light comes into the property, wind, drainage and also a host of aspects you may not ordinarily realize — the culture of the area, how people will navigate and what changes will evolve over time. Trees and vegetation, for example, are not static. They change and eventually die. Properties also change because the people who work, live or visit there will continue to change as well. Finding authenticity and enhancing that is one of the greatest ways to bring excitement to any planning project. When solved with care and thought, it’s a puzzle that increases value long before we put a shovel in the ground.

Forrest Richardson
President of Richardson|Danner Golf Course Architects

More CGI+ News & Press