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Insights from Bobby Jones Links

The Two Golden Rules of Construction and Renovation

Whitney Crouse

Our company and leadership team has overseen the development of at least $350 million of golf course and clubhouse construction and renovation. We have worked with many of the most notable golf course and clubhouse architects and contractors.

New course and clubhouse construction and renewal is always a very exciting time. Seeing 150 +/- acres or so come to life as a golf course or a new clubhouse come out of the ground is fun. Visions become reality one cubic yard, one bushel of Bermuda grass sprigs, and one brick at a time. In fact, we recently finished the $32 million rebirth of the historic Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, a revolutionary new reversible golf course.

Yet, despite all our success and experience in this arena, we also occasionally bump into the same two problems every time -  the same two everyone else does as well:

1. It always takes longer than you think

2. It always costs more than you think

You might say this is poor planning. But, in course and clubhouse development, there are many variables and unknowns out of one’s control, particularly when the work is spread across 150 to 200 acres. Adverse weather, uncovered artifacts, unexpected rock, erosion control issues, approval delays, arbitrary inspectors, washouts, design changes, and turf diseases are some classic offenders. And, of course, the Hall of Fame budget and time killer, the change order.

The solution is to be aware of these and plan for them from the start. It begins with a very generous budget contingency – at least 10% of the total cost. It also includes planning for delays, interruptions, and surprises.

The good news is that construction and renovation are always exciting and always worth navigating the unknowns that come your way. What could be more fun than building or renovating a golf course or clubhouse?

Minimizing these risks also includes hiring experienced professionals who have done this many times. Like Bobby Jones Links.

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