How We Work

Over the past 30 years, we have developed a method of working that offers clients an excellent level of service. Tom and Martin have always had complete responsibility for their own designs, so clients know exactly with whom they are dealing from start to finish.

We have mastered the art of drawing detailed scaled plans that contractors can build to accurately first time around with rarely any need for major adjustment in the field. This allows us to produce accurate and comprehensive construction documentation. It has also contributed to a reputation for completing projects within budget and on time.

In the office, Chris Huggett has become skilled in producing photo visualisations of our design proposals and these have become extremely useful in convincing clients and committees at the conceptual design stage and they are also proving to be very useful at the construction stage to give the construction team a real feel for what is required.

Time on site is all important and we are meticulous about checking all elements of the course at every stage. This is especially true for the putting surfaces where small variations make a huge difference with today's green speeds.

Royal Troon

Royal Troon

New Courses

Feasibility Study

The feasibility study will discuss the suitability of the land for golf, the possible clubhouse locations the landform, the soil, the drainage and an estimate of the cost.

Preparation of Layout Plans

The next stage is to draw up the initial golf course layout plan. This gives a good indication of the overall length and standard of the course, which is achievable on the site. It also provides a good basis for negotiations with planning authorities.


Planning consents are becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to obtain. Most new golf course planning applications involve more and more detailed work, including soil surveys, environmental appraisals, historic landscape research and archaeological investigation. Our experience in bringing more than 30 courses through planning as part of a broad planning team of a size adapted to the scale of the project gives us an intimate understanding of what is needed and the likely costs. On simple projects where the issues are straightforward and predominantly related to golf, we can handle applications ourselves. On more complex projects, we can head a team of specialists such as planning consultants, ecologists and archaeologists.

Detailed Design

Once the layout has been finalized, all of the detailed design will be carried out. This is prepared from a topographical survey, which we can obtain or the client can supply. Increasingly we are using drone (or UAV) surveying techniques. We use AutoCAD to carry out the detailed design phase allowing easy transmission of plans over the internet and the calculation of all volumes of earth movement and materials.

Drafting of Specification

The specification details the materials to be used, the method of construction and all other information essential for both the construction of the course and the accurate tendering or negotiation of the contract price with experienced contractors. We incorporate the input of the project agronomist within this documentation.

Tendering of Contract

We have used many golf course contractors around the world and will draw up a tender list of experienced firms, capable of handling the contract. We will then carry out detailed examination of tenders and recommend the appointment of the contractor.

Construction Period

We make regular and frequent visits to the site throughout the entire construction of the course and authorize payment to the contractor as the contract progresses.

Pre-opening Period

The period up until the opening of the course is crucial and our services can include assistance with the appointment of the greenkeeping staff and specific agronomic advice to help bring the course into optimum condition as smoothly as possible.

Existing Course Work

A very important part of our work involves providing advice to existing golf clubs. All clubs have different needs and problems and we relish our advisory work on established courses. It is amongst the most challenging work but is often the most rewarding and leads to inspiration for new course designs.

During their careers, Tom and Martin have advised over 50 of the top 100 courses in Great Britain and Ireland, as ranked by Golf Monthly Top 100 UK & Ireland Rankings 2021 / 2022 and Mackenzie & Ebert currently advise 49 of them. The company also currently advises 16 of the top 100 courses in the world as ranked by

Royal Portrush

Royal Portrush



The majority, but not all, of these are historic courses. Our first step with clubs which enjoy a significant heritage is to study the evolution of their courses using old aerial photography, old photographs, history books and press cuttings. This assists us and the clubs to focus upon the evolution of the course and, in general, helps the membership understand that their course has not been the same since the day it was created. There is nearly always a fascinating discovery to be made whether relating to the layout, the bunker sizes and shapes or the landscape in general.

The game has been experiencing considerable changes in recent years. The most obvious one is the revolution in the distances that elite or low handicap players hit the ball most of the time.So many of our courses from the most humble to the very best are on a finite area of land and the impact of the new clubs and balls is far from good. Bunker placement must, therefore, be reviewed and altered to maintain the test of the course for the better players whilst leaving the less able more room to enjoy themselves. Green design and construction is tied in with this as well.

There is little doubt that courses with cunningly angled and shaped greens are better protected against the longer players. For courses with greens that are nearing a century old, reconstruction may be considered on agronomic grounds alone but, with creative design, greens can be the making of even the shortest course.

A factor regularly being encountered on older courses is where sections of greens are no longer usable in a modern game with increasing green speeds. Some fantastically contoured greens no longer have the exciting flag positions of yesteryear due to faster green speeds, making areas unusable. This causes great debate about whether a green should remain as it was originally shaped, or whether the original strategy of the hole should be restored through thoughful and careful adjustment. The character of the green would remain but, through minor reshaping, original flag positions can be restored. It is unlikely the general golfing public would entertain the idea of significantly slower green speeds so this adjustment seems perfectly acceptable as an alternative.

Hirono 7th green