Let's talk course designers
By - hankbaumbachjr
Coore and Crenshaw, but living in the sw us I've never played a Ross or strantz. Getting into designers and design concepts really helped me appreciate golf more, hopefully does the same for you.
>living in the sw us I've never played a Ross
[There's a couple Donald Ross' scattered in Colorado if you're up for a drive.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_golf_courses_designed_by_Donald_Ross#Colorado)
Honestly not a huge fan of the two I’ve played here.
Wellshire is not an interesting course at all. Maybe because it’s a poorly maintained muni, but it’s fairly straightforward and forgettable.
With the Broadmoor, he designed half of each the East & West course the way it’s laid out now. I felt his half was significantly worse than the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed half on both courses.
He designed something like 400 courses, so it shouldn't too hard to find one
Should have clarified, DEEP in the southwest here in az lol. I've played a good amount in co, usually the super picturesque Engh designs like arrowhead and fossil trace. Would love to get to broadmoor but gotta stay there iirc
They designed Cabot Cliffs and Links in Cape Breton which are both incredible course in the top 10 courses in the world.
the Links was not Coore Crenshaw but Rod Whitman.
You are correct.
Cabot and sheep ranch at Bandon are both very very high on my bucket list. We have talking stick here in az that has two c&c courses
We Ko Pa as well
Old Sandwich Golf Club (Coore and Crenshaw) is just down the hill from my house. Really nice course.
Heard great things.
Donald Ross (until you get to some hilariously difficult green that murders a round)
ehh, it depends a lot on the budget he was afforded
In upstate NY there are a few and they are inconsistent
There are a few Ross courses near me. I won’t say that they’re my favorite courses around but they’re consistently a good round of golf. My favorites tend to be the smaller weird courses dotted around my area, but I’m a sucker for a course with weird character holes.
Also depends on how much the club has kept or restored Ross' design features. Quite a few of the public courses only have the routing intact (if that).
Live in NC, so there are at least two Donald Ross courses in my regular rotation and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve uttered the words “fuck you Donald Ross” as a ball rolls back off the green toward my feet
I’m a big fan of flipping a coin for if my PW to the middle of the green is going to rip back and go off the front of the green or roll 30 yards out the back.
Local course has a 220 yard par 3. Uphill (and I mean a real hill) to a classic Ross turtleback green that’s always perfectly maintained to be fast as fuck. It might be one of the biggest “fuck you Donald Ross” holes ever
Yeah his courses were designed when you couldn't get the greens rolling past an 8
You ever played Tobacco Road? That's my second favorite course to my home course I grew up on.
Tobacco Road is a good one
The man was a genius. Tobacco Road is a must-play. Caledonia and True blue are incredible. Goal is to play all the strantz tracks over the next couple years.
Gotta start figuring out how to get on Bull's Bay...
What courses of his have you played??
Caledonia is one of the finest public courses in America.
Nice. Which one did you like more?
True blue surprisingly
Royal New Kent just had a ton of money spent to revitalize it. It’s a gorgeous course. Very excited to play True Blue and Caledonia in November.
Royal New Kent might be one of the most underrated public courses in the country pos-renovation. It’s stunning.
The price is also amazing. I payed $75 with a cart, range balls, and a cooler with ice and two bottled waters. The best golf deal I’ve ever gotten.
My understanding is they are also renovating/ renovated Stonehouse. I haven’t played it but I’m going to get over there as soon as I can.
It’s hard to describe what RNK was like when it first opened. It’s so incredibly dramatic. First played it pre-internet and had no idea what was in store - wow!! Massive contours, so much fun.
Strantz is the one designer where at least once a round you’ll laugh out loud arriving at the tee box and seeing what’s in store. Not for everybody but he was a genius and his courses are a blast.
Played there this past weekend and was blown away. What a gem.
This is the way. Tobacco Road is on my very soon to-do list.
Tot Hill Farm is an underrated Strantz course. Played there last year and loved it.
Coore / Crenshaw and Doak /Urbina. It looks like their courses were always there.
I’m with you. Add David McLay Kidd to the mix for a trifecta.
Somebody’s been to Brandon Dunes. And yes, they’re all incredible designers.
Yeah I’ve been to Bandon. But have seen their courses other places and still incredible.
Yep these guys are my jam. Will now seek out a C&C or a Doak course if I'm near one.
Hanse too? I'd say I appreciate his work over DMK.
I’m going with David McLay Kidd. My absolute favorite course is Gamble Sands and Bandon Dunes isn’t too far behind. I’ve played Tetherow and while it’s not great unless you are a low handicapper you can tell he learned after this design and see how they have become more playable since then. He wants people to enjoy golf. I want to play Sand Dunes and see how his design has evolved since Gamble.
Time to get up to mammoth dunes then!!
He designed my home course (TPC Stonebrae). I don't know a ton about course design but what really strikes me is how punishing it can be if you're not accurate a bit wild, but can also be super rewarding for good shots. I know that sounds like golf in general but the amount of hills, carries, etc really make it apparent.
For example, something he did on 2 of the par 5s is that if you don't have a good tee shot you're pretty much forced to lay-up then will have a long ways into the green.
The greens in general are fierce, have huge undulations (especially the short par 4s), and some are just downright confusing.
I'm very curious to play other courses of his to see the similarities.
I didn’t know he did Stonebrae. I haven’t played there, but that sounds like something I gotta add to my list.
Played Bandon several times and love it. Would love to compare the two. It’s funny looking at the course overviews and descriptions. Bandon says a first hole should ease you into the round. Stonebrae says it opens opens with a challenging hole…would be great to compare.
If you haven’t gotten to Pasatiempo, THAT is an experience.
I figure if I am playing a James Braid or Alistar MacKenzie course, I am pretty happy.
Having an article about the greatest course architects without harry colt is like having one about the greatest golfers and missing tiger
Can’t believe I had to scroll this far to see Colt mentioned. Having only one high profile course in the US probably hasn’t helped his cause though.
St George’s Hill and Aberdovy are among the best courses I’ve ever played.
Oooo tell me more!
Look at the Golf Club Atlas website
Great resources there!
I love how I have gotten about 20 replies in before I saw Pete Dye as an answer
To quote my dad, “Pete dye hates golfers”
I think Pete Dye just likes to punish bad golfers haha
Ps. Don’t tell your dad I said that!
No he just hates most golfers. His layouts are very well suited for my game. Keep driver in the bag and play the course on specific landing areas and his courses open up and lead to low scores. Accuracy is the key for Dye. If you don't play the game he wants you to play your screwed. He doesn't give golfers options.
I live in Indiana so dye courses are 95% of what I play. That man was mean. The courses are fantastic and challenging but man, the first hole is always easy to get your hopes up so that they get crushed by hole 5.
Donald Ross is my all time favorite. Haven’t played a course of his I didn’t enjoy. Love the large and subtle breaks he incorporates into the greens. Off the tee they are typically not overly difficult but you need to be in the proper spot to be able to attack the pin.
Jack Nicklaus is very hit or miss. I have worked at handful of his signature properties and some are great lay outs and very inspired designs. Others seem like he just didn’t care.
Least favorite for me is Greg Norman. I have only played a handful of them and they were all fairly the same design. Never had a hole where I was wowed.
Ross is my favorite too. He designed the course I’m a member at and I’ve loved every one I’ve played. Most of them have holes side by side, so you can hit a bad drive and not have a lost ball. It’s also an easier walk/short walk from green to the next tee box. Pretty easy to get to the greens, but the greens will eat you alive if you’re not careful.
Have you played Palma Ceia? I hate that course for that reason. The conditions are impeccable but even slightly errant shots are on the next hole! That said, I learned the game on UF’s course which is also a Ross so maybe Palma Ceia just didn’t have enough land for him to build on.
I played the UF course almost every day for 6 years. Before the renovation. Some of my best golf memories are from there.
Nicklaus is terrible. Just throw a few houses up it and he’ll throw a course around it.
People were pretty hyped for American Dunes here in Michigan. Benefits fold of honor so great cause. I paid the $150 and was highly disappointed in the design. It’s an unpopular opinion but people get caught up in the cause that they overlook the architecture of it
I was supposed to play it this year but the trip got cancelled. Really want to check out Michigan golf. Played a bunch in Wisco this year and was amazed. Mammoth/Sand Dunes and whistling are fantastic.
Get out next year. My buddy is the assistant super and he agrees it needs a year to grow in.
There are some old Ross courses in my area that are run down but you can see how they could be spectacular if brought back life and maintained properly.
There aren't bad Ross courses, there's just neglected Ross courses
French Lick Donald Ross course was like this for years, so glad they turned it around.
Used to vacation there and would love to go back and play the revamped course since they out the money in to get it back.
A hoooooosier! Haven’t played it yet but it’s on the list. Bear Slide and Purgatory 100%
I kinda get this weird sense of FOMO reading about it.
Like it was runnnn down and almost forgotten about it seemed before they put the money in literally the year after we stopped going there.
Its a straight up bucket list item to get back there.
One in my town got turned into a nature preserve. Before it was in horrible shape because it was poorly ran and maintained
Shennecossett is my home course Groton, CT. Donald Ross babyyyy!!
Great course. One of the only CT courses you can likely play in January or February!
Whats your take on Nickalus's course Owls Nest?
I'm another Donald Ross fan. My home course is a classic Ross design built in 1927.
Most of the courses have good change ups and if you are not in the right spot the birdies and pars can escape you. The greens vary quite a bit and I like that.
However the Ross course at the Grove Park in Asheville is terrible. It's really short and tight with small greens. However, I think any course crammed into too small an area will not turn out well.
The muni course in Asheville Is a Donny Ross and has a fucking excellent layout. It’s owned by the city but a golf management company out of Florida runs it. Neither entity really gives a shit about it but it would be an elite course with a little TLC.
Just played Asheville Muni this weekend. Such a shame how bad it’s been taken care of.
The maintenance staff consists of 4-5 people depending on the month so that should tell you all you need to know about the budget of that place
Greg's course at PGA West is my favorite PGA West course so sad to hear he sucks elsewhere.
I think Asheville Municipal would challenge your record of liking all of his courses. Pope Golf has done a terrible job maintaining the place and it’s so sad. Such a historic course being in such shambles is a crime.
I think there is a big difference in bad design and poorly maintained
Stanley Thompson, lots of undulation, complex greens and knowing where to miss. Love his course designs, try to make a trip to a new course at least once a season.
I like Devereux Emmet courses. Very walkable courses where the approach shots are usually pretty intimidating with tough greens.
Love Donald Ross courses because I like some tough greens and how he angles fairways.
Also really like Robert Trent Jones courses. Usually easy off the tee with some visual deception and small, undulating greens
Fazio ( I’ve liked 1 of 3 courses of his I’ve played) and I’m not a fan of Nicholas courses
Edit: I also have to Tillinghast in there. Only played Black, Blue and Red which are basically my home courses but love them. He has a bunch of private courses I haven’t been able to get on though
I'm lucky enough to have a Donald Ross design as part of my city's municipal courses but I don't play it enough.
Yeah DRoss courses are great. Usually courses that get better the more you play them
You in Detroit by any chance? I think we have 2 Donald Ross Muni courses here
Grew up playing on an Emmet course. Certainly spoiled.
Yes you are. In college, our golf team had unlimited access to a Emmet course so I’m in the same book as you
Gotcha. That’s funny, the local college here also had the same deal.
Yeah. Nothing beats free golf
Dr Alistair Mackenzie.
He designed a club near me called Cavendish which is a fun track to play and his greens can break your score if you wrong side yourself. Also Alwoodley not too far away which I quite enjoy. To be honest enjoyed all the courses he designed that I have had the pleasure of playing.
Always intrigued by his involvement with Augusta where he was supposed to be paid $10,000 for his course design fee but desperately resulted in the following:
“I am at the end of my tether, no-one has paid me a cent since last June, we have mortgaged everything. Can you possibly let me have five hundred dollars to keep us out of the poor house?”
It is thought that MacKenzie did eventually recover around $2,000 before he died but that doesn’t seem much when you consider the recognition that Augusta National receives today.
William or Bill Bell?
Haven’t seen any love of CB MacDonald or Raynor. So I’ll add them on this list.
Will add an upvote and a reply to that cause. I live in Chicago and they’re both pretty common around here.
Gotta make some friends in high places before I get on any of the Raynor tracks.
love me a Tillinghast
I LOVE Pete Dye tracks. Some of my favorite courses are Pete Dye tracks.
As some who feels like I might have wronged Pete Dye in a previous life and he has built all these courses as a personal vendetta against me to make me feel like shit about my game … What do you like about Pete Dye’s architecture?
I love that he makes you think your way around a course. All of his courses typically have holes you can be agressive on, if you can execute, and they screw you if you don't. For example 12 at TPC Sawgrass.
I also love his green designs with the run offs and illusions he creates with them. His bunkering layouts are also neat and different.
I also find it cool that his wife had a big impact and helped with the designs. For example she was the inspiration for the famed island green at Sawgrass.
Dude was just a genius with his layouts IMO
Railroad parts, NO!
Haha. Is this a reference to railroad ties lining bunkers? Like at PGA West? Where else did he do that?
Whistling straits too
It’s a signature element of Pete Dye courses. Virtually every Pete Dye course I’ve played has them. They’re at Sawgrass too.
He’s done it a few places I’ve seen, but I couldn’t name them off hand. Maybe someone else can.
Edit-. I'm an idiot and have my course's mixed up. He did not do this one lol
I love Pete Dye too. His book provides some great insight on how things are done behind the scenes in course construction.
I didn't realize he wrote a book. I will need to get me a copy of that and give it a read!
This is a great topic. Me and my guys were just discussing this the other day.
This is kinda of like asking “who’s the hottest person” guy or girl. Each person has their likes and good reasons for them.
Personally, I love the “classic rugged” style.
Classic long gone -
If I were building a course today, in order-
Don’t mind the Nicklaus stuff, would never hire Rees Jones 🤮
There’s a course by me that Rees Jones redesigned and he just guarded everything with deep bunkers. If you don’t have a dead on 170-200 approach shot or lay up you’re gonna hit out of the sand, not my favorite.
You’re spot on with your comparison. You listed all very solid architects…and I absolutely love Rees Jones. He designed 2 of my favorites, Baker Hill in NH and Quintero in AZ. Plus he’s a pretty nice guy in my experience. This is a fun post to read through!
That’s the challenge with this post. I haven’t played all of Rees Jones’s courses. I’m sure he’s built some awesome stuff. Big huge deep bunkers on his redesigns are just not exciting to me. That’s not imagination or using the terrain. Doesn’t mean it’s not hard.
I question the Donald Ross design number too. I’ve been to Pinehurst and l consider it hallowed ground. The concept and the town are superior. It’s extremely cool. Of the 400 courses credited to him, I’ve read somewhere he never set foot on site to many. As far as I know, he actually designed Pinehurst #2, which has amazing green complexes. I’m not so sure he had much involvement in many courses credited to him. Many of those courses are “renowned” solely due to being Ross courses and they are just “meh” but people freak out over them. Take the Ross name off and they don’t sniff the same respect.
Great golf is so subjective.
I’d love to spend an hour with Rees Jones to talk about his concepts and thought process. I’m sure he’d make me feel dumb.
Mike Devries is a nice name to see! Some great courses and a really nice guy! I got interested in pursuing a career in course architecture and he spent two hours talking to me about his experiences. No connections, no commitment… just responding to my email asking if he had time. He gave me a call when he was making a long drive to an event and just chatted me up.
Pete Dye makes a great golf course, but you have to be playing well or you suffer. Raised fairways and greens, and so many swales and hollows around the greens. If you score well on his designs, you’re playing great golf.
Ted Robinson designed both my home club and my #2 local course, and I love his use of water, and the risk/reward propositions he gives you. You can really score well if you know the lines, even if you’re not on your A game. You also aren’t penalized so hard for a small miss like a Pete Dye.
Lots of other courses I like, but those two are my favorites, they inspire very focused golf out of me.
"That bunker is like 5 square feet how did Pete know I'd hit it there what the fuck"
Every time I play one
Pete is a master of controlling your sight lines, and then deceiving you.
This is exactly why I don’t really like his courses. I don’t want to be deceived. I want to see the safe area and the high risk high reward area and make a decision. Maybe I would feel different if I played one a bunch of times to get a better understanding of the course but the times I’ve played I always played like shit and didn’t even know why.
I too feel like the only way I could enjoy a Pete dye course is if I played the course a bunch of times. I’ve played two dye courses, and both times felt cheated all round. I would hit shots exactly where I wanted to hit them and still end up fucked.
I’m sure I’d like it more if I could have turned around and played it again knowing what I learned. But as of right now, his courses make me hate golf and that’s just not fun.
Indeed. I dont like how you basically need a caddy to score on some holes the first couple of times you play. Even then, it’s just hard to trust them and launch one into what looks like the wilderness.
I used to really like Robinson Ranch but feel like since it changed to Sand Canyon it really hasn’t been maintained to the standard it deserves. What’s your favorite Robinson course?
And as another SoCal golfer I’d be remiss if George Thomas wasn’t on the list. So many of LA’s great courses were designed by him. Love how he subtly makes your next shot ever so slightly harder as you get more and more out of position.
I would agree with you about Sand Canyon until this past year. They got a new director of golf about a year ago, and have really turned it around. I remember the days of dirt fairways and burned out greens, which are long behind it. My only beef now is that the bunkers are still compacted sand, which I’ve gotten used to, but it’s such a different shot than the fluffy sand most courses use.
Which courses did George Thomas do? I’m sure I’ve played them, but I don’t recall off the top of my head.
Wilson & Harding,
Bel air CC,
Palos Verdes CC,
Ojai Valley Inn
How the hell are Wilson and Harding on the list with all the most exclusive courses in LA? (Can you get me on one of them, for research purposes?)
Haha. There was actually a great interview with Gil Hanse where he talked about how cool it would be to revive Wilson and Harding into championship caliber courses … kind of like they did with Harding Park.
And since I mentioned Hanse, Rustic Canyon is really the crown jewel of public courses in LA. Such a great course he designed. And if you haven’t played his restoration of Soule Park you’re really missing out. Such fun courses.
I played Soule last year, but I was struggling that day. I want to play it again now that my swing has been more reliable. Rustic would be more fun if it wasn’t always blowing 25+ mph… not sure that’s an option.
I live on a Pete Dye course, only reason I know the name of a designer, so I pick him.
Recently finally got around to playing some Mike Devries courses and I was an instant fan
I live in Marquette (Greywalls). Finally got good enough to play it and it's amazing. Going to be moving my membership over there for sure! What courses of his have you played?
Diamond Springs and Pilgrims Run, I hear he’s in talks for a redesign of the U of M course, which would be awesome
I'm not associated with them in any way but have learned a ton. Check out the fried egg architecture page and get ready to lose an hour: https://thefriedegg.com/category/architecture/golf-course-architecture-101/
Meanwhile everyone just stating their favorite designers but not why. I don’t know who Alister, Mcclay, David Ross and all them do differently from the other. What sets them apart??
To the top with you!
In the Midwest Langford and Moreau are really great. Awesome greens and green surrounds.
Tom doak has built some great courses lately too, accessible to everyone and can provide challenge to better players.
I’ve found Jack to build courses I didn’t enjoy, just hard for the sake of being hard
Grew up on a Langford course. Just beautiful.
Very nice. I just went down and played Spring Valley last week, love that course too
WI is a destination. Wish I still lived there sometimes.
I’ll get in on this Langford Love and suggest any fans head to northern Michigan and check out Marquette Golf Club. 9 original holes that are sensational and can hold their own compared to places like Lawsonia and West Bend.
^and don't pass up Greywalls at Marquette GC for an opposite experience
Perry maxwell was the best course designer ever IMO. it doesn’t get better.
Man, nobody has said Arnold Palmer?!
There is a Palmer near me that is really cool. Recently under new management, renamed Towhee. Previously Kings Creek. Was poorly maintained for years, but they’ve made dramatic improvements in just under 2 years. Layout is incredibly interesting, without being unreasonably difficult. Wide fairways, but greens typically oriented in way that it matters how you approach them.
Have also played The Palmer Course at La Cantera near San Antonio, which was awesome
Only one I've played is NC State's but I do love it
Personally love Lonnie and The Bog. Would like to get out to some other of his top end courses.
I have played 3 palmers and they are fine. I haven’t played any of his premier designs like bay hill but have played some nice clubs and they were eh
Yeah his designs depend on the era, but his top level courses are phenomenol.
Im a member of Mid South Club and it’s my favorite course in the area after Pinehurst No. 4. Incredible layout!
Doug Carrick in Ontario!
Have to tip the hat to Stanley Thompson as well, both are great.
Played Stanley Thompson's designed Highlands Links for the first time in July. It was a beautiful course.
Agreed in a big way. I learned to play on an Arthur Hills muni in Ohio. He put a lot of heart and effort into the routing of all his projects, even low budget muni’s. Delightful.
Oh man do I disagree with this, he’s all over southeast michigan and he stinks
We've got some excellent Arthur Hills tracks here in the Mid-Atlantic. Not sure how they compare to his work in Michigan.
I’ve only played a couple, small bumpy greens and super wide fairways, nothing mind blowing but I didn’t think it stinks.
One of the cool courses that I get to play living in upstate New York is the Robert Trent Jones golf course at Cornell University. Robert Trent Jones had a huge impact and influence on American course design. 9 holes on the course he designed when he was a grad student at Cornell. There's also quite a few Alistair McKenzie and Donald Ross courses in the area I tend to like the older courses especially ones that have preserved the original architecture. There's nothing like trying to make a ball sit on a Donald Ross screen.
Wow! A local on Reddit. Nice! I live in Ithaca but I’ve never gotten to play at Cornell but I use their range at least twice a week since you don’t have to be a member to use it. The course looks fun from what I can see from the range.
I’ve played the Ross course in Old Forge and enjoyed it a lot. I still haven’t played his Mark Twain course in Elmira which is crazy cause it’s only like a half hour away. I wasn’t even aware there was a McKenzie course in there area. Where can I find them?
SoCal native so Tom Fazio is a favorite, but now living in Indiana I’ve come to love (and hate) Pete Dye.
Robert Trent Jones. Classic old school design style. Tight fairways, small greens. Showed course doesn’t have to be 7,000+ yards to be hard.
And he designed the course at the club I grew up playing at so I’m a little biased.
The opposite of your question, but I really dislike Pete Dye's philosophy of designing a golf course. He knows how to design a pretty course for sure, but his ideas are sometimes too punishing to make a fair and appropriate course for everyone.
The common example is his classic raised greens/fairways. The problem is that not only is the fairway raised, but then it's rough or hazards below. As if hitting from below the fairway, to a raised green from the rough wasn't bad enough, now you're in a fairway bunker or in an awkward spot. There are some holes where he actually extends the fairway into a low spot, so you're still at a disadvantage for missing the spot on the fairway, but not a double whammy.
I feel like if you can find a track that he designed with his son P.B., he's a bit of a moderating influence and they're usually a little more reasonable for the player.
I’m with you on Dye - they look good, that’s all.
Mike Strantz. Only played Tobacco Road. But so much fun.
Oh man, I've been trying to go play Tot Hill Farm for years. I first played Tobacco Road I 07 when I was a freshman in high school. Shot 114. I've played there 5 times since and have gotten down to a 76. I just keep itching for more!
Tot Hill is a beast. It’s the wildest course I’ve ever played.
William Bell or Tom Fazio are my picks.
My favorites(out of the major designers I've played) have always been Peter Dye followed by Donald Ross. Dye just does such a good job at creating risk vs reward situations while still being fair. I've only played one Ross design that I know of but it's fantastic, particularly on/around the greens.
Wow. Great question, OP. Such an overlooked component of the game. Lots of great responses here, and I’m glad to have seen them all! Also, lots of hate on here for Jack, which I begrudgingly agree with. I don’t care for his designs at large, but he has the clout to throw out some cool concepts for the current game as we know it; he has planned or built some shorter courses of like 12 holes, with oversized cups to make the game fast and easy, but more importantly fun. I applaud him continuing to get as many people as possible interested in golf.
Crenshaw has been the best golfer (modern) to transition to design IMO. His tracks are really enjoyable and have good risk/reward holes, while keeping the property true to it’s nature, which I love.
Good old Alister MacKenzie is the GOAT for me. RTJ is great too. You guys should read up on “loop” designs too. Scott Campbell’s course design near Bend, OR is a trippy concept for a course and I’m happy to see the evolution of design slowly catch up to the modern era.
Martin Hawtree hated golfers. That is all.
Man the lack of William Flynn mentions here is a straight up travesty. Right up there with the other great golden age architects.
I’m a big Tom Doak fan. Tries to keep things pretty natural feeling
Tillinghast is my favorite. His courses are just absolutely so charming, yet so brutal in how they test your game. Essentially all of his stuff is masterpieces.
crenshaw and tillinghast!
greg norman has designed some of the worst golf courses ever as well.
Coore and Crenshaw. Tom Doak. Gil Hanse. DMK. Those are the modern architects that have elevated the course business and have created a second golden age.
Golden era. Seth Raynor. Donald Ross. CB Macdonald. Etc.
If you’re genuinely curious The Fried Egg website and podcasts are great for starting to get educated.
Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and Geoff Shackleford. I may be a little biased because I'm sitting right on top of Rustic Canyon and LACC. I have not had a chance to get out to Soule park yet but that will be happening soon.
Alister MacKenzie is my favorite OG designer. The guy is a purist in every sense of the word. Read “The Match.” His detail shaping the design at Cyprus Point is something to behold having played there.
I just got into golf this summer and I am certainly not very good, but 2 of my favorite courses are by Mike Devries, Diamond Springs and The Mines. Until I saw this thread I didn’t know he had helped design both until I looked it up. Now I am interested in seeing some of the other course designs others have mentioned here!
Edit: I see he also was a part of the Pilgrim’s Run design, a course I wanted to play but couldn’t make it out before school started. Gonna have to play that track some time!
I’m relatively new to the game compared to some of you, but there’s a lot of James Braid courses around me, and they’re mostly great. I’m a member at one and it’s lovely. The bunkers are a bit sadistic in places though.
I like Pete Dye. Haven’t played a bad one of his
No love for Pete Dye???
A.W. Tillinghast. a prolific architect back in the day. Some of his notable courses include:
I’m originally from KC where he also designed Swope Memorial, Indian Hills CC, and Kansas City CC (Have been fortunate enough to play all 3)
Currently live in Dallas where he designed:
Brook Hollow CC
Cedar Crest (hosted 1927 PGA championship)
Something about his courses just feel like very classic golf. Like the closest thing you’ll get to playing at Augusta or something.
Seth Rayner. Shore acres outside of Chicago. Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Both a freakin’ ridiculous. Classic courses built in the twenties.
Has to be Donald Ross. The course I work at has a course designed by him and another by Alister MacKenzie. Honestly, best designers!
I pretty much live in the middle of the Pete Dye trail with the nicer courses in the area being Pete Dye. I'm a decent player so they usually give a challenge.
So that said I'll give it a thumbs up. I do enjoy the short par 4 starting hole. I think it makes it fair to not take a breakfast ball.
Tom Morris, Donald Ross, and Jack Nicklaus are desigers of courses which I've enjoyed the design.
Pete Dye, I live in Indiana so I might be a bit of a homer.
So do I and can’t stand Pete Dye as a result. Or any of the knock off Dye company subdivision projects
Mike Strantz, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Pete Dye.
Strantz is basically the cult classic, did less than 10 (I believe?) courses before he died. Worked for Fazio (probably no coincidence that he and Fazio are #1&2 for me). Known for unorthodox and creative layouts that mold the land. Tobacco Road, Royal New Kent, Caledonia, True Blue - all gems.
Fazio is almost underrated imo, everything of his I have played has been epic. World Woods and Rams Hill are two that stand out to me that I’ve played and absolutely adore.
Had to throw in Rees Jones. Architect of my home club, Viniterra. RTJ’s son. Quintero and Cascata are two of my favorites on the west coast.
Pete Dye speaks for himself. The bunker guru. Bulle Rock, PGA West Stadium, La Quinta Mountain, Kiawah. His designs are just so pure and timeless.
Considering the architect and course layout has become one of my favorite aspects of golf.
Ross and Fazio. My home course is a Fazio and I just love the variety he brings. I love Ross for the back to front sloping greens and his ability to make you look at a hole one way, and then finish it up and realize you had no idea what you were getting into.
Donald Ross & Pete Dye *so far*. We’ll see as life goes on ![gif](emote|free_emotes_pack|heart_eyes)
My pet peeve? the designer aligns the tee box toward the rough trees/trouble
It is difficult to not set up parallel/perpendicular to the tee markers
Ross is getting a lot of love here and deservedly so, but you don’t hear much about Harry S Colt who Ross studied under. Much of what you see in Ross work was done earlier by Colt
Ross. The Crenshaw crew.
I’m intrigued by Arthur Hills. Enjoy his Waverly Woods design outside of Baltimore and would like try other of his courses.
There’s a pretty nice Couples design in Northern VA, Westfields.
But I play mostly munis and would love to hear about some designers known for their public courses.
Coors Crenshaw, Fazio, Norman, RTJ. I absolutely hate Gary Player courses. They’re the worst.
I like Tom Fazio courses and Pete dye. The Fazio obsession started with his first course the DI course now the Wynn course in Vegas it was our high schools home course got spoiled playing it nearly everyday for practice. Then over the years his courses I have always just loved to play his courses like Shadow Creek. The fairways are always lush and easy to take a divot from doesn't slow club or hurt to hit down into the ball. (Can't say the same about other Vegas courses)
Pete dye seems to come from a different school of thought about shaping the holes around natural features on the land he is given. Like the wolf course very little land moving was done to build that course in comparison to Fazio designs like Shadow Creek it's beautiful but also very out of place. It doesn't blend in with the natural land it is built on. It like a fantasyland golf course same with the Wynn course. Lots of man made elevation changes and unnaturally green and forest like in the middle of a desert.
Dye courses you know your in the desert it's part of the design. It feels like they just laid grass on top of the natural terrain. I know that's not the case but feels more based in reality that Fazio.
Coore and Crenshaw
The only Byron Nelson design is near me and such a treat.