Behind The Design

Todd Eckenrode – Origins Golf Design was founded in 1999 by Todd Eckenrode and Charlie Davison, based on their love for the game, its history and tradition.

Golf is a game that has grown over the hundreds of years that it has been played, yet in many ways remains unchanged. Our deep respect for the game and traditional, classic architecture is what drives us to deliver golf course designs of the highest caliber.



Todd Eckenrode-Origins Golf Design is a comprehensive Golf Course Design firm, offering a multitude of services. Origins’ blends practical knowledge with specialized expertise to partner with our Clients, from the initial “vision” through all design phases and construction to the moment the first putt is holed.

New Golf Course Design

No other sport can elevate the spirit, teach life’s lessons and reward the soul as golf can. Truly great courses will tempt you to take tough shots, encourage you to think, grasp their strategies and inspire greatness…for these are the elements of design in tune with the game of golf. We set out on every new design with these principles in mind.

The only shared characteristic of every great golf course in the world is that they each exude a sense of place that is uniquely their own. Cypress Point is undoubtedly Cypress Point. Pine Valley is inimitably its own. And The Old Course is unlike any other. The Origin’s team strives on every new design to uncover a true essence of identity and allows it to shine through in the finished work. Most often, it’s in the land or the ground that initiates this. Retaining and showcasing these natural features offers character and authenticity that cannot be replicated.

Designing a new course is a journey, from the initial moments of these natural discoveries to working out intricate details, such as bunker edges or greens contours. We take great pride in our work, and feel confident this ultimately shines through in the end, producing a phenomenal golf course that we and our clients’ can be proud of.

Golf Course Renovations

Golf Course features are organic by nature, and deteriorate over time, losing their functionality and architectural intent. Eventually, the need to renovate these features becomes apparent and obvious. In addition, some clubs simply want to improve an otherwise underwhelming design, be more competitive in their marketplace, or offer their members a better playing experience. Regardless of the reason, we strive to maximize a course’s potential in every renovation.

Golf Course Restorations

Researching the history, discovering lost or archived images, understanding the original design strategies…these are the crucial first steps in any successful restoration. Embracing this history, and understanding its inherent value is equally important.

Having learned the game at one of the world’s great original designs, Pasatiempo Golf Club, designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, ingrained in Eckenrode is a deep reverence for courses built during the Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture and a never-ending curiosity for what makes courses of that era so special.

Yet often historic courses such as these can lose their way, and the unique character and design traits that made them great need to be restored. We cherish these opportunities and treat each project with the  high level of respect with which they deserve.

Golf Course Master Planning

An overall vision is often needed to pull together multiple viewpoints, agendas and goals, and ultimately lead a club in a positive, focused direction. This can be accomplished through the creation of what you might call a “road map” for future generations, or a Master Plan.

Master planning is an important first step in providing quality architectural consulting to our clients. It allows us to properly guide each club, based on vision, budget, ambition, critical need, course disruption, etc., into the proposed improvements and the optimal phasing.

Our graphics presentation of the Master Plan is also highly effective in communicating our ideas. We strive to “tell the story” in our plan, utilizing renderings, sketches, photo simulations, and other means to allow the viewer to understand the general vision of the plan as well as the critical details.

Water & Turf Reduction Planning

There is an increased awareness throughout the world to minimize water use on golf courses, and particularly here in the West. We have developed sustainability standards, carefully modifying design elements on many existing courses to reflect a more responsible use of this limited resource.

On some courses, this has involved conversion of various water-thirsty grass types to a more drought-tolerant turf, such as Bermudagrass. One other courses, we have converted out-of-play turf areas to drought-tolerant landscapes, such as natural fescue grasses and native or “Drought-Friendly” landscapes. On new courses, we have taken a hard look at minimizing turf acreage and utilizing the landscapes that are natural or drought tolerant by nature. In many cases, we’ve found these solutions to improve the aesthetics and sense of naturalness dramatically.

These seemingly “new” concepts actually reflect an older, original style of design in many ways. Regardless if we are in a drought or not, , we believe this shift towards a higher level of sustainability is here to stay and will be good for golf too.

Golf Course Renderings

We believe strongly in the artistic side of  golf course architecture, and remain committed to “sketch” visioning. From initial concepts to client presentations to providing direction to our shapers in the field, our ability to artistically represent our ideas is an important part of our skill set. This can vary from “old school” techniques of pencil on paper to modern techniques of digital penwork and photo simulations. We customize our artistic approach so it can help our goals in  our goals in any given design project.  We place immense value in this tool that is rapidly becoming a treasured, yet lost art.

Site Evaluations

There is no greater rush in course designthan viewing a new site that holds great potential for a golf course. Be it covered in sandy dunes, majestic trees, or rich with natural streams or arroyos, each site is unique in its own way. Our initial site evaluation will focus on important critical factors, such as useable land size, elevation change, water availability, environmental constraints, etc.  In recognizing these distinctive site characteristics, we believe they are ultimately the most critical factors in creating a unique and compelling golf course.

There is no site that we can’t reach.  The Origins design team has toured inaccessible sites by helicopter, outer banks by boat and many a site by ATV, but nothing beats walking a site, with boots on the ground. If you have an interesting site that could transform into a great golf course, we look forward to viewing it with you.

“In working with Todd Eckenrode, we were able to integrate sustainable design and management into a natural landscape through judicious land planning, protection of existing features, and restoration of historically significant habitats. Barona Creek is an example of how development can be guided by sustainable principles in a way that provides long-lasting benefits for people and for the environment.” Nancy Richardson, Program Director Audubon International