Careers in golf – vocational qualification in golf course design

Careers in golf are rewarding and fulfilling, and for those with a passion for golf and a talent for design, the ultimate career is being a golf course architect.

Along with the many positives that come with careers in golf, working in golf course design can be unpredictable and will not always offer long-term security. If you are sure a career as a golf course architect is for you, gaining the only accredited qualification in golf course design will boost your chances of employment.

Careers in golf are rewarding and fulfilling

The EIGCA has a duty to educate and train golf course architects to achieve and maintain a high standard of design and professional expertise. The EIGCA vocational qualification in golf course design provides formal training in designing golf courses and an introduction to the profession which requires a wide range of skills and technical knowledge.

Why study for the vocational qualification in golf course design

  1. This is the only accredited qualification in golf course design
  2. The future development of golf facilities, and therefore the demands of practices employing golf course architects, will require well-qualified and skilled individuals
  3. Advances in scientific and technical innovations in golf course design and construction demand high-calibre individuals to take the golf course architecture profession forward
  4. International demand for skilled golf course architects has created opportunities for well-qualified and gifted individuals

Read how one of the previous students, Giulia Ferroni, is following her dream...

Format and content of the qualification

The curriculum is split across four terms and is delivered through a combination of online presentations and attendance at workshops. The online presentations are available on demand and can be viewed multiple times within the term which they relate to.

Term 1

  • History of Golf Course Architecture
  • Golf Course Layout Design (part 1)
  • Golfing Strategy
  • Drawing Skills

Term 2

  • Golf Course Layout Design (part 2)
  • Planning
  • Agronomy (part1)
  • Site Assessment
  • Detailed Design

Term 3

  • Agronomy (part 2) - selection of grasses
  • Drainage
  • Irrigation
  • Ecology and the Environment (part 1)
  • Contract Administration

Term 4

  • Construction Technology
  • Resort Masterplanning
  • Ecology and the Environment (part 2)
  • Golf Course Management

You must attend five workshops, held biannually, which alternate between the EIGCA Annual Meeting at a location in Europe, and the EIGCA headquarters in Surrey, England. The emphasis at each workshop is on practical design work to introduce an area of golf course layout or detailed design, as well as testing your understanding and progression.

Progression on the course is assessed through a series of assignments which you complete in your own time. These assignments are typically five design projects and seven essays.

On-the-job Training

A significant part of the course involves on-the-job training with an EIGCA mentor. EIGCA mentors are encouraged to provide complementary training experience in the following areas:

The future development of golf facilities will require well-qualified and skilled individuals

  • Drafting experience (hand-drawing or computer-aided)
  • Site appraisal & analysis techniques/site visits
  • Masterplanning (layout design, project phasing)
  • Planning application processes
  • Detailed design (greens, tees and bunkers)
  • Drainage design
  • Letter writing
  • Report writing
  • Measurement of quantities
  • Preparation of bill of quantities
  • Preparation of tender documents & specification
  • Inspection visits to construction sites
  • Contract management training

To succeed you need to structure and conduct your own background research to supplement the training and experience gained for working with your EIGCA mentor.

EIGCA’s Student Attachment Programme (SAP) - If you are not currently working in an EIGCA member’s practice, you may apply under the Student Attachment Programme. Before submitting your application you need to have found a placement with an EIGCA member’s practice and the member needs to be willing to mentor and support you throughout the duration of the course. The EIGCA office will try to help but it is your responsibility to secure a placement. As a SAP student you are required to work a minimum of three days per calendar month at your placement practice where you will assist your mentor in all aspects of golf course design. This practical hands-on experience normally includes visits to projects in construction so you can develop an in-depth understanding of the construction process.

Completion of the course

Before you can graduate you need to successfully complete and pass the course assignments and satisfy the work experience requirements.

Assignments – once you have successfully completed the assignments you will receive a certificate of attendance. You will also become a Candidate for Membership whilst you work towards getting enough experience to graduate.

Work experience – once you have at least two years’ experience of working in golf course design (and it must be design) you will pass the second part of the course and graduate from the programme. You will then remain a Candidate for Membership until you gain enough experience to become a Member of EIGCA.

Interested in studying for a vocational qualification in golf course design?

Contact Wendy Cooles at and take the next step in your career in golf.

Golf Course Design