Golf Inc - Spring 2011 - (Page 34)
Who are the architects who are making the greatest contributions to the game and business of golf? We’ve identiﬁed 15 U.S. architects whose voices currently speak the loudest.
BY ROBERT J. VASILAK
When was the last time you heard anyone in golf say, “Spare no expense” or “The sky’s the limit” or “I gave him an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it?” It wasn’t anytime recently, that’s for sure. Those phrases are relics of a bygone era, when golf developers were flush and good times rolled. The way nickels are being tossed around these days, you’d think they were manhole covers. We are now almost three years into the Great Recession. Hard times have squeezed the life out of golf construction in our country, led U.S. designers to seek out greener international pastures, and forced even some of the industry’s biggest spenders to start using the words affordable and sustainable. It’s not that the times, they are a-changing. They’ve changed. The change is evident in contemporary golf architecture. The Great Recession has created a new aesthetic, one that borrows liberally from the game’s most ancient, most treasured sources as it seeks to establish a new foundation for
34 Golf Inc. Spring 2011
an uncertain future. So who are the most influential architects in the Age of New Austerity? Whose voices speak loudest? And what are they saying? This list is an attempt to answer those questions. Not every designer we’ve named is famous. In fact, a few are barely known, even to other golf course architects. Nonetheless, in our opinion, today they’re all making valuable, noteworthy contributions to golf. Most of them speak to us primarily through their work, as the courses they’ve designed have made bold, unforgettable statements about the art of golf architecture and the game as it’s played in the early 21st century. But the business of golf architecture involves more than the mere shaping of dirt. Golf designers can also shape hearts and minds. They can alter perceptions, challenge the status quo and even change history. The way we see it, architects who can make an impact in these realms also
deserve consideration as “influential” designers. Our list doesn’t intend to measure career achievements or set anyone’s place in history. It’s more like a snapshot in time, designed to reflect changing tastes, shifting fortunes, fading and rising glory and the volatility that an art form experiences in a time of extreme economic stress. We aim to focus your attention on the architects who’ve indisputably made a mark on today’s golf business and who are in a position to shape tomorrow’s. Few readers will share our opinion of each and every designer on the list, and the rankings themselves will most certainly be fodder for debate. If we’ve said something that upsets your delicate sensibilities, challenges your preconceptions, or simply forces you to stop and think for a minute, we’ve succeeded. These are the contours of U.S. golf architecture right now, in the spring of 2011.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Golf Inc - Spring 2011
Golf Inc - Spring 2011
What to Make of the China Bubble?
Green Fees on Upswing?
People on the Move
Crazy Golf in China
Medium-Sized Management Companies Growing Fast
Troon Takes Over 3 Carl Freeman Courses, 2 Kapalua Resort Courses
It’s a Buyer’s Market
The Power of Partnership
How Technology is Changing Operations
Social Media: Is it Worth the Investment for Golf Courses?
Best Clubhouses for 2011
How Golf Course Design Limits Growth of Game
Most Influential Architects
There’s an Awful Lot of People in Brazil
Golf Inc - Spring 2011