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This is a work in progress.

I am new to OSM with an interest in golf related use, contribution and conversation. Where I would expect a different trend I am finding the evolution of "golf_course" related contributions retrograde, turning more focused toward particular segment of golf.

As an avid golfer, a software developer, a golf related application creator and an employee of two high quality golf courses I propose a restructuring of "golf_course" currently associated with section leisure="golf course". A golf course is not an activity, nor is the act of playing golf merely for leisure. A golf course is associated with leisure but is primarily a business with many other associations. When considering the golf course as an activity it is easy to begin from the perspective of the leisurely golfer. However, many interact with a golf course in professional and amateur capacities and look to utilize a golf course and its components more accurately and fully including golfers, event organizers, green superintendents, turf care specialists, environmental activists, and web site apps and operators among others. Reclassifying the section would acknowledge the more general purpose of the section to all interested parties and provide more credibility to the OSM community of users. As a business, the perspective of the holder/owner is concentrated on the accuracy of the data and its credibility can directly impact sales.

Note: While Heading, Area and Length may appear to be better calculated by an consuming application, once it is derived it is immutable data

best contained as a part of the data structure. Should an application employ more volatile features such as TeeShots and PinPlacements

it should then re-calculate Headings and Lengths based on those variable features.



        The GolfCourse is a Point represented by or representing the Center of an Area consisting of various nodes within and particularly relative to that Area.

    Feature: business="golf_course", place="golf_course"

    FeatureType:Point, Multi-Polygon, Polygon(derived)

    Administration : As Golf Courses are most often businesses, the quality of the data is reflective of the business holder and therefore would

    be better served if the holder's interest in that data was identified. Any and all changes should be connected to a User and the status of that User's

    connection to the business holder at the time of the change should be referencable. This servers multiple purposes: the credibility of the data can be

    better represented to its consumers and business holders are encouraged to take a more proactive interest in the OSM data for their business.

    It should be failrly easy to instruct business holders to use OSM notifications assuming a mechanism is already in place to react to data changes.  

    Characteristics - [RandA:*] signifies information *key contained in a Royal and Ancient golf course json structure for a golf course:


        Access (tag:golf=public, golf=private, golf=semi-private)

        Type or classification (golf=communitity, golf=resort, golf=military)

        Facility[RandA:FacilityName] (optional) many golf courses are part of a group facility

        Area: derived from self

        Tees: an ordered set of Tee

        Holes:an ordered set of Hole

        Fairways:a set of Fairway

        Hazards:a set of Hazard

        Indicators:a set of Indicator

        Structures:a set of Structure

        Elements:a set of Element

    References: Tees, Holes, Fairways, Hazards, Indicators, Structures, Elements


    Feature: none

    FeatureType: none

    Description:  A Tee is an indicator of the positions from which a golfer may begin their activity when playing each golf hole. A Golf Course Tee is an abstract entity referred to by a (Hole's) TeeBox.

    Name [RandA:TeeName]: White|Blue|other

    Order: derived from its index position

    Group [RandA:Gender]: Male|Female|Neutral|Junior|Senior|other

    Par [RandA:Par]: 72

    Rating [RandA:CourseRating]: 70.2

    Slope [RandA:SlopeRating]: 140

    Referenced by: GolfCourse


        Gender is an antiquated reference to a type of player. Group is less specific and provides for an evolving designation.

        Order is preferred and should be derived as Tees currently are most often ordered by Male, Female, Senior, Junior; slope-rating; par


    Feature: golf="hole"

    FeatureType: Point, Multi-Polygon, Polygon(derived)


        The Hole is a Point represented by or representing the Center of an Area consisting of various nodes within and particularly relative to that Area.

        Not all Holes have names but they are all referred to by a sequential integer beginning at 1 and limited to the number of Holes on the Course.

        Though rare, reassignment of Hole numbers typically due to seasonal variations does occur.


        Heading: derived from HolePath

        Area: derived from self

        Length: derived from HolePath

        Par: integer(3+), derived from TeeBox

        TeeAreas: a set of TeeArea

        Shots: a set of Shot

        Green: one of Green

    Contains: TeeAreas, Shots, Green

    References: Fairways, Hazards, Indicators, Structures, Elements


    Feature: golf="tee_area"

    FeatureType: Point, Polygon


        The TeeArea is a physical Area where a TeeBox may be situated.


        Heading: derived from HolePath

        Area: derived from self

    References: TeeBoxes, Hole, Courses Tees


    Feature: golf="green"

    FeatureType: Point, Polygon, Rectangle


        The Green is a Point represented by or representing the Center of an Area consisting of various nodes within and particularly relative to that Area.


        Heading: derived from HolePath

        Area: derived from self

    References: Hole,HolePath


    Feature: golf="shot"

    FeatureType: Point


        The Hole's Shot, exclude the Tee(1) and Putts(2), is a Point representing an average position from which a player is to have taken a shot.


        Heading: derived from HolePath

    References: Hole, HolePath


        A Hole's par is equal to the sum of a teebox, the number of Hole Shots and two putts on the green.

    References: Hole


    Feature: golf="hole_path"

    FeatureType: LineString, LineString(derived)


        The HolePath is represented by the succession of points from a TeeBox, through all the Hole's Shots and the Green(point).


        Heading: derived from self

        Length: derived from self

    References: Hole, TeeArea, TeeBox, Green


        Many of the current Golf Course representations inaccurately represent HolePath and currently provide little and even detrimental use.

The following are referenceable items are they are shared and/or non-Hole specific.



Hazard(Bunker, Lake, Creek, Environmental)

Indicator(OOB-Out of Bounds, Landing Area, Drop-Zone)

Structure(Club House, Restroom, Pro Shop)

Element(Driving Range, Putting Green, Parking Lot, Cart paths, etc)


The following Elements are volatile as they often vary on a daily basis. However, there is value in providing an historical reference to previous positions as well as forecasting references to future positions. It is advisable to initially identify each Hole's TeeBoxes for the establishment of the HolePath. On each Hole, there should be one TeeBox for each of the Course's Tees

TeeBox(highly variable)


        The TeeBox is a Point, often changed daily, represented by or representing the Center of an Area where a golfer may place their tee to make their first stroke of a Hole.

    Referenced by: Hole

    References: Tee,Shot,PinPosition

    Relevance: A TeeBox is of pre-determined size and is often restricted to the confines of one or more TeeAreas. Other limitations may be imposed by  a corresponding PinPosition.

As pins change every day, it is NEVER advisable to store a PinPosition along with the general data for a course Hole.

PinPosition(highly variable)


        The PinPosition is Point on the Green representing a position, often changed daily, where a cup is cut to receive the final stroke of a Hole by the golfer.

    Referenced by: Green, TeeBox, Shot

    Relevance: A Pin Position is restricted(unless temporarily positioned) to the confines of the Hole's Green. Other limitations and/or visual representations may be imposed by or indicate current, past or future PinPositions.