Could you design a golf course? For $20,000, you can find out

Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin.

U.S. Open site Erin Hills will play host to a four-day Design Boot Camp.

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Inside every avid golfer is a golf-course architect.

Or at least a little voice that says, “I could so build a cool par-3 on that empty parcel.”

But daydreaming is not the same as doing. A new program aims to bridge the gap between the two.

Enrollment is now open for Design Boot Camp, a four-day workshop that doubles as fantasy camp for anyone with designs on getting into golf-course design — and is willing to lay out some dough to do it.

Sponsored by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), and held at Erin Hills Golf Course, the Wisconsin host of the 2017 U.S. Open, the program will give 16 participants the chance to learn from — and collaborate with — established architects, including the trio behind Erin Hills: Mike Hurdzan, Ron Whitten and Dana Fry. Past ASGCA presidents Jeff Blume, Tom Marzolf, Steve Forrest, Damian Pascuzzo, Jason Straka, Jan Bel Jan, Bruce Charlton and Jeff Brauer also will serve as instructors.

As part of the curriculum, students will get a crash course on the theoretical and technical foundations of the field, such as design philosophy, routing, hazard placement and green design. They’ll also be asked to put those learnings into practice on a property adjacent to the championship course, where students will be split into four “foursomes.” After walking the site and taking stock of the natural features, each group will be asked to design four- to five-hole routings, under the supervision of two architect instructors, and draw up a detailed plan for them. At a “grand unveiling,” students will then stitch their routings together into a dream 18 at Erin Hills. Alas, the finished product will not come to life as an actual golf course, but each student will receive a color print of the work as a memento.

To enhance the collegial spirit, pupils and architects will stay in golf cottages at Erin Hills, and play a round of golf on both the original 18-hole course and the 5-hole Kettle Loop. There also will be a friendly competition on the Drumlin putting course.

The cost of the program is $20,000 per person, with $15,000 qualifying for a charitable tax deduction to the ASGCA Foundation, in support of several golf-related nonprofit organizations. The chief beneficiary is the Clearview Legacy Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the legacy and facilities at Clearview Golf Club, in Ohio, the only course in the country built, owned and operated by an African-American.

The enrollment fee covers all boot camp materials and supplies; lodging; food and beverages; golf; caddies; special gifts and mementos. 

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