About Creative Golf Design

The Company

Creative Golf Design was established in 1998 by Ken Moodie, Director and Principal Architect of the practice and Past President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects. Since then, the company has worked on over 70 golf course projects in many different countries ranging from small-scale remodelling of established golf courses, improvement to practice facilities and new pitch and putt courses, to large scale championship golf developments. We have won a number of awards for our work including the Golf Inc Renovation of the Year 2014 award for our design work at the historic Moortown Golf Club.

Our company has state of the art computer aided design and earthmovement calculation software, using Autocad Civil 3D, and photo-imaging software to provide high quality plans and graphics. We have developed a network of consultants to offer complimentary specialist expertise in areas such as real estate masterplanning, ecology, agronomy, aboriculture and irrigation engineering and so we can help the client to select a highly skilled design team to meet the special needs of the project.

Ken Brown, 5 times Ryder Cup player and BBC TV commentator, works closely with us to offer his expertise as a Tour Professional with a wide golfing knowledge which is particularly useful when advising existing and future championship golf venues.

Ken Brown – PGA Pro & BBC Commentator

Golf Course Architect

Ken Moodie

Principal Architect

Ken Moodie, Director of CGD Senior Member & Past President of EIGCA

Born in Scotland in 1965, Ken Moodie developed a love of golf and started playing at an early age. He studied at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and gained a BA Honours degree in Landscape Architecture in 1988. Following a period of research with the University he joined the golf course architectural practice of Hawtree & Son in 1989 and established his own firm, Creative Golf Design, in 1998. Ken is a Senior Member and Past President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects.

During a period of over 25 years in golf course architecture Ken has been involved with a wide variety of projects throughout Europe in countries such as Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Spain. He has worked on over 20 new golf course developments and advised more than 60 golf clubs on course improvement work, including two Open Championship venues and a number of Open qualifying courses. New course developments he has designed include the Millennium Golf Course in Vilamoura, Portugal; a PGA European Tour standard course at Wychwood Park, Crewe, in the UK; and the creation of a new 18-hole championship links course for the Marine Golf Club on the island of Sylt, in Germany.

Ken has been involved in teaching prospective golf course architects via the EIGCA’s Professional Diploma course which he helped to establish and run between 1997-2002. He also lectured to golf design students at Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, over a number of years and has spoken on the subject of golf course design and development in many countries including the UK, Turkey, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Portugal.

A Personal Commitment
Ken likes to have a hands-on involvement in all the projects we work on and has made a policy decision to limit the work the company undertakes in order to provide a personal commitment and ensure a high level of service. In larger design companies the lead name is often not involved in the detailed realisation of the project and this lack of continuity can be detrimental to the quality of the end product. By having control of all elements of the project from the initial design phase, through the planning and detailed design stages to making inspection visits during the construction phase, Ken is able to maintain a high level of quality control.

Sam Moodie

Drone Pilot

Sam Moodie joined the business in April 2015 to provide new services of aerial video, photography and surveying using cameras fitted to drones.

Sam has a background in greenkeeping and construction and recently achieved his BNUC-S International Unmanned Aircraft System Pilots’ License to fly drones commercially. His greenkeeping experience, which was gained at Vicars Cross Golf Club, has given him an insight into the operation of a golf facility and the requirements of working in a safe manner while golfers are playing nearby. He also has some limited experience as a player and understands the etiquette required on a golf course.

The Technology
Sam operates a Phantom 2 Vision Plus quadcopter which carries a HD video camera capable of producing 1080p images and 14 Mega Pixel photographs. In addition to video and still images, topographic surveys can be produced using photogrammetry techniques to provide an accurate 3D model of greens bunkers and tees which require to be remodelled or purely for record purposes.

John Nicholson


John Nicholson is a Fellow of the Arboricultural Association and provides CGD with an expert source of specialist advice in the areas of tree planting, woodland management and ecology. Qualifying with an HND in Aboriculture & Urban Woodland Management, John worked with Eamonn Wall & Co between 1995-1998 as a woodland consultant, progressing to Co-Director before setting up his current company, John Nicholson Associates. Since then, he has worked on over 400 golf courses, giving advice on trees and woodlands, conservation management and habitat restoration. He has recruited the help of ecologists Mike Edwards & Barry Anderson to assist in habitat creation and management.

John has written articles on arboriculture and woodland management for magazines such as Golf Management Europe, Greenkeeper International, The Golf Club Secretary, Bunkered Golf Magazine, Golf Club Management and Golf News International, and spoken at conferences at BTME, The London Tree Forum, The English Golf Union Road Show and for County Golf Unions and associations.

During his career John has undertaken the design, planting and maintenance of over 500,000 trees in golfing landscape and has successfully gained grants for over 200 clients for both the establishment and management of woodland. John has been involved in a large number of habitat restoration projects which has involved removing trees from inappropriate sites such as heathland and links, including work for The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in preparation for the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes. He has worked with English Nature and the RSPB on numerous sites where the land has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest or Special Area of Conservation, and restored habitats including projects at Trevose in Cornwall, Seacroft, Lincolnshire, Southport & Ainsdale, The Seafton Coast Project and Wimbledon Common.

John is a registered consultant with ADAS, The National Forest, and is a Member of the Forestry Commission Liaison Group and Houghall College’s Arboricultural Industry Liaison Group.

John’s philosophy is simple:-
‘On established layouts, it is essential to maintain the ‘genius loci’ of the landscape and our management prescriptions always reflect this. The character of a course can often be changed unintentionally through lack of management, i.e. regeneration blocking scenic views, infringing on play or by woodland encroaching onto an inappropriate site such as a heathland or links course, where the natural ecology which attracted golf in the first instance will be destroyed.

Woodland management and conservation are often the bottom of the list of priorities for golf club committees as it is often mistakenly thought that the environment will manage itself. Unfortunately this is not the case and it should be noted that there is a great difference between conservation and preservation. You cannot preserve a landscape or golf course as it is a living entity and will naturally change over time. You can however conserve it in a desirable state by management’.