First Things First: Nick Mazzella’s Five Keys to a Successful Renovation

Golf course renovations can be a challenging task for any club, and without a holistic perspective and approach, any number of factors can derail even the best-intentioned plans before ever beginning.  

Today, let’s say you’re a decision maker at  a golf club. You’re an expert — someone who knows everything about operating a successful club because you’ve lived and breathed it for years. Someone with a career in construction stepping in to do your job with little to no experience is virtually impossible. The work experience simply doesn’t translate. 

In that same breath, we can assume that experience operating a golf course may not fully translate to experience renovating one. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. That industry has its own niche, battle-tested experts. Keep reading to hear about the five boxes professionals specialized in course renovation are checking before ever breaking ground on a project. 

Box One: Identifying Your Project Goals and Challenges

These professionals emphasize the need to identify the goals of your project before ever contacting a single contractor, vendor or consultant. What’s driving your project? Are you addressing an infrastructure issue, looking to enhance the aesthetics of your course or adapting to physical changes on the property ? 

After defining your project driver(s),Clubs should evaluate the impacts in short and long term perspectives. Will the course need to be closed? Will it require temporary adjustments to membership and offerings? If you must close, can anything be adjusted to offset a potential  loss? A project management specialist brings valuable perspective and experience to help you address these challenges. They’ll help you weigh all possible options so you can make informed decisions.

Box Two: Mapping Out a Budget

When planning your budget for a project, it’s extremely important to be realistic. Everything from pre-construction costs to materials, equipment and labor fees must be defined early to eliminate costly surprises. An effective budget will also make allowances for the unknowns and TBD’s.

This is where the value of a specialist becomes abundantly clear. They’ve navigated countless projects and know how to avoid the common pitfalls that could negatively affect your budget.

Box Three: Developing a Schedule

A golf course renovation has many moving parts — contractors, engineers, architects, agronomists, irrigation consultants , and more. Once you’ve defined your project goals and estimated how much they will cost, the schedule is the next most important thing in maintaining your budget and ultimately accomplishing your goals. 

Understanding which phases depend on the successful completion of another (or can be run in parallel) is an intricate puzzle.One piece missing or out of place can adversely impact the duration and cost. 

As the head coach of your renovation, a project manager understands that you can have as many star players as you want, but they must be executing the right game plan for the team as a whole.

Box Four: Assembling Your Team

So, now you know what you need and when you need it. You’ve established a budget and are developing a carefully constructed plan. Now it’s time to build out your team. If you’re working with a project manager, odds are they’ve made connections and have a solid roster of reliable and talented contractors. But, if not, it’s important to do your research. 

In the golf industry, it’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of taking your time on this process. A Club must thoughtfully vet every person and facet of an upcoming renovation. Again, overlooking one critical piece of the puzzle could derail the entire project. You’ll encounter several entities that can perform the work, but you must find the right players for the team.

Box Five: Developing a Pre-Construction Plan

Now that your goals are clear, the budget is defined, the team is built, and the schedule and timeline are confirmed, it’s time to begin work on the tangible pieces that will carry you to groundbreaking. 

It’s imperative at this point to establish a clear and concise communication plan. This will often start with immersion and kick-off meetings with all team members. Being able to set expectations and procedures is a project manager’s speciality and this is the beginning of holding team members accountable for their responsibilities to the project.

A successful renovation hinges on careful planning and expert guidance. The above preliminary tasks are only the beginning of a successful project. Teaming with a seasoned expert and advocate in the course renovation space is a small investment a Club can’t afford not to make.


Established in 2018, Mazzella Golf Renovations collaborates with golf courses and industry leaders nationwide, guiding them through the intricate process of golf course renovations. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, the firm is under the leadership of industry veteran Nick Mazzella. Through invaluable experience and a commitment to the details, Mazzella Golf Renovations acts as an advocate for golf facilities to help deliver timely and efficient golf course renovation projects.