Ian Andrew Golf Design

Home Page


Original Designs

Master Plans

Client List

In the Media

Blog Writing

Contact Me




Restoration Philosophy

Restoration Projects

Computer Images












 “Ian had the best grasp of what we were looking for when selecting an architect to help us restore Onondaga to what Walter Travis intended and would be proud of. Ian’s knowledge of and interest in Walter Travis and his design philosophy were very important to our ultimate selection. Ian has been very easy to work with.  His demeanor and patience has been excellent. He listens to and understands comments and suggestions that our members make, but he is loyal to the fundamental philosophy of the design concepts.”


Ted Northrup

Chair of the Restoration Committee, Onondaga G&CC


“In choosing an architect to guide KnollwoodCountry Club through a historical restoration and Master Plan we were very particular in interviewing candidates.  We were seeking an individual that would be a source of sound judgment, well researched, thoughtful and an overall asset to the club.  After interviewing several candidates, Ian Andrew was our choice.  Ian has surpassed all of our expectations and has been an amazing resource for the club.

 We have all been impressed with Ian’s dedication in researching the clubs history/aerial photographs, interviewing members and repeatedly walking the course to truly understand our needs.  Ian has combined these efforts to produce a Master Plan that everyone at Knollwood is proud of and we look forward to a long and productive relationship.”


Jim Easton

Golf Course Superintendent

Knollwood Country Club












My Restoration Philosophy



The Architects Commitment


A restoration architect “must” have the time and interest to do the research. They must have the ability to recreate the architect's work in the field, and they must truly believe in the value of an accurate restoration. Research and accuracy is the key to a great restoration. When an architect claims to be a specialist of a particular architect, you should become wary, because often they do little research and restore to the "standard" style attached to that architect. That is not restoration, it represents architectural laziness. Our experience has taught us that some people will claim “expertise” or anything else necessary to get a job. Once that work is obtained, the work will then be passed down to a subordinate who may have little interest or knowledge in the project.


The Research Process


We begin the process of investigating a restoration by researching the work of the architect in question. Our favorite source is original photographs from around the opening date of the course, since they provide a three dimensional look at the property. While old construction drawings are wonderful for identifying lost features or changes made to the course, a researcher always knows that the finished product often differed from the plans. Aerial photos are also great for the location of features, in particular in re-establishing grass lines on greens and fairways, but are limiting in providing scale and detail for bunkers. Writings and sketches offer a terrific insight into the strategic or artistic intent, but offer little help in reproducing a built form. This is why thorough research is so important.  One source may be very limiting in understanding what was there, but multiple sources help to develop a comprehensive picture. When multiple sources are combined together with intact original features, an accurate restoration is achievable.


The First Step


We like to first produce a plan and report for the Greens’ Committee that shows the original configuration of the course with all known tees, greens, bunkers, fairway lines and clearing limits clearly defined. This is then overlaid onto the current course to identify all the changes. We call this first stage the “preservation stage.” From this information we identify all the features that are original and set out to protect them.


Grassing Lines


Grassing lines are the easiest place to begin. In order to re-establish and restore a course, greens can be expanded back to their original size to find lost pinning areas. Often this is achieved by changing the mowing patterns alone. Other courses may require seeding or sod work to enable this change. Similarly, fairways can be widened (or occasionally brought in) by changes to mowing patterns, as long as the irrigation has coverage and the proper grasses are still in place. Run-off areas, extended collars, chipping areas and even hollows can usually be returned with a combination of mowing changes and some re-grassing. Finally, many Golden Age architects used the contrast of native grasses to frame or accent the course. Often these grasses remain as maintained rough and can be left to return to their natural state. Otherwise, these areas can be re-grassed over to recapture the original character of the hole.


Tree Removal


Tree removal, while the most contentious work, is often the most important. Tree removal is done to improve playability, open up views, and to allow the required amount of sunlight for healthy turf grass.  Often, over-planting has impacted or altered the architect’s original vision. While tree removal can be controversial, the benefits are worth the debate.  The resulting views and the featured specimens typically make up for any trees that had to be removed.




The scale of necessary work usually begins to increase as soon as the restoration of bunkers becomes part of the plan. Where the bunkers are still intact, often a minor alteration to the sand lines will be sufficient to match old photos or plans. Most often work like this can be done by the superintendent and staff. There are times, however, where bunker restoration may require more work. A contractor may be required if mounding needs to be rebuilt or grading is required to recreate a bunker or bunker complex. Once the restoration has involved earth moving, the bunkers will have to be re-drained and have the sand and sod replaced. Often, all the bunkers are re-done at this time to ensure consistent detailing and technique. Restoration can involve even larger projects than these, but recovering an old hole is fairly rare.


Sympathetic Renovation


There are instances where there is no documentation on which to base a restoration plan. In such cases, we base our judgments on research in combination with the remaining existing features. Another common occurrence is that a club has made a fundamental change to the routing, like the sale of land or a re-routing for additional length, and these changes must remain as part of the design. It is in these instances where a restoration architect can renovate the altered holes to meet the style and technique of the original architecture. This is called sympathetic restoration.


Additional Length


Length is an issue of concern at all clubs.  However, there needs to be a balance between the opportunity to gain length, and the desire to protect the original vision.  Adding length to holes is fine as long as it doesn’t change the design intent of the hole. Too often a short par four with a clever and dangerous green is expanded into a long par four for the sole purpose of gaining yardage. Changes like this often occur without any consideration for shot values or the overall balance of the holes. When players begin to complain about the new “longer” hole being too difficult, the club then renovates the green to receive a longer iron and the original architect’s clever green is lost forever. When renovating a course, an architect’s job is to give the club the best architectural advice rather than trying to fulfill a wish list of ideas.


Details are the Key


For the past decade, we have focused our attention on the construction techniques of the Golden Age architects in order to learn how to recreate their work. We have tried to recreate many of these complicated techniques with modern machinery, only to discover that the key to great detailing was smaller machinery and, most importantly, hand work. A few years back, we experimented with alternate methods – including old-fashioned hand-edging and topsoil-filled sandbags – to finally discover the best technique to recreate Stanley Thompson’s bunkers. The result was the highly regarded bunker detailing and accurate restoration work at St. George’s Golf & Country Club.




Ian Andrew Golf Design Inc.  47 Dufferin Avenue,  Brantford,  Ontario,   N3T 4P6   (519)-752-8456