Anita Scotch asks, ‘How long should golf courses be when they are within housing?’

By: Jeffrey D. Brauer

not. While competition at the highest level now requires longer golf courses – now commonly using “championship” yardage of 7,400 yards or more – providing a golf course of sufficient length to attract golfers is important.

For a course built as a public facility, or for seniors retiring in Florida, there is probably little need for an 8,000-yard championship course. Studies show most seniors lose distance, and prefer playing a course of 6,000-6,300 yards. This allows them to play irons to most greens. There may be little need for even a 7,000-yard course, even assuming grandkids come to visit. Given it’s possible to build an enjoyable regulation golf course at lesser yardage, many of these courses could have a back tee yardage of approximately 6,600-6,800 yards.

If the developer has targeted younger players, or thinks it’s wise to for marketing purposes, or if it is in a development, then the course should probably exceed 7,000 yards from the back tees. Hopefully, they will be well hidden, so that they may be “only a rumor” for the vast majority of residents and guests who play the course.

The other factor in determining golf course length is the need for amenity lots and parcel size. Large parcels of 600 acres or more tend to lend themselves to very long golf courses, as the designer stretches the course out to the far ends of the property.

Jeffrey D. Brauer and his firm, GolfScapes, have designed 40 golf courses and remodeled 80. Canterberry Golf Course in Parker, Colo., and Giants Ridge are rated among the best affordable public courses in the United States, while his Avocet Course at Wild Wing Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was a Golf Digest best new course winner, Champions Country Club is rated 5th in Nebraska and TangleRidge Golf Club is 12th in Texas. President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects during its 50th anniversary year in 1995-96, Brauer also designed Colbert Hills Golf Club at Kansas State, which opened in June 2000 as the cornerstone golf course for The First Tee program as well as the first collaboration between the PGA of America and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. To contact Jeff, call him at 817-640-7275 or send him an email at