Design Philosophy

David Johnson Golf Design LLC


It is simple to design a difficult golf hole. My design objective is to create holes that provide reasonable challenges for players of all abilities. While the layout of the hole may encourage risks and rewards, it always offers a more conservative, safer line of play. I do not want golfers to finish their round, having lost a dozen balls, feeling beat up and frustrated that the course was too difficult or unfair. These people do not return. A truly great course challenges fairly and rewards well thought out and executed shots.


Strategy is the essence of golf course design. The creative and proper placement of hazards, shapes and slopes provides visual interest and allows golfers to see the test ahead and plan their line of attack. Designs based on strategic principles result in a course that offers variety, balance and challenge, testing players both mentally and physically.

Working with the Environment

One of the hallmarks of my design work is the ability to route golf holes to make best use of the natural flow and features of the land, minimizing impact on the environment. The best courses are those that look like they have been there forever.

Risk versus Reward Theory

Golf is essentially a game of negotiating through a course of hazards such as sand bunkers, tall grass, slopes, mounds and water features. Hazards should be located to draw play toward them, enticing the player to play as near to them as they dare. The player who successfully plays near or over the hazard is rewarded with an easier next shot. Great golf courses are full of risk versus reward opportunities.

Scope of Services

My goal is to take your from the early planning stages all the way to opening day.....and beyond. My comprehensive five step program of services includes Planning, Design, Bid/Negotiation, Construction Consultation ad Grow-In Consultation.


There are many keys to minimizing the cost to develop or renovate a golf course. Perhaps most important, the routing of the course must utilize the natural lay of the land and lessen the amount of earth-moving. Creative design solutions and construction methods are also integral to reigning in costs. I spend a great deal of time on site, ensuring that the course is built properly, on schedule and on budget.

Attention to Detail

I am a stickler for details. Seemingly minute things, such as altering the slope of a putting surface by 1% can be the difference between a fair green and one that is unplayable. It is this attention to detail that sets David Johnson Golf Design apart.