Ask Travelin' Joe: How to get started for a St. Andrews trip


Nice mention of the Duke's golf Course in St Andrews. Joe Passov's Ask Traveling Joe column in "The Duke's fortunes changed dramatically in 2005 when Herb Kohler bought the Old Course Hotel as well as the Duke's and invested in new drainage and a redesign by former Pete Dye protégé Tim Liddy. The Duke's isn't links golf, yet its gorgeous, lacy-edged bunkers and thoughtful design make it worth the diversion from seaside play."

Thanks Joe.

Golf Hole #3

Golf Hole #3

December in the Low Country

Another great photo taken this week of golf hole #17 at Colleton River Club by Jake Williams, the golf course superintendent. The color contrast of the different grasses framed by the darker live oaks this time of year is stunning. We remodeled the golf course last year, restoring bunkers throughout the Pete Dye design. The work received an American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Recognition Award. 


Colleton River Club, Bluffton, South Carolina

Great photo taken this week of golf hole #9 at Colleton River illustrating the contrast between the green fairway Bermuda and golden centipede grass surrounding the bunkers. The photo was taken by Jake Williams, the golf course superintendent. We remodeled the golf course last year, restoring bunkers throughout the Pete Dye design. The work received an American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Recognition Award. 


Master planning successes: Hyde Park Golf and Country Club


Tim Liddy, ASGCA, describes how a Cincinnati club preserved its Donald Ross heritage and charm.

How long can a master plan guide a club? Two, five, 10 years? In this example, the master plan completed in 2002 still guides a club today – 15 years later.

In 1999, Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, like other well-established Donald Ross courses, was struggling with the concept sweeping most private clubs at the time: give in to current fads of golf course design or re-establish the exemplary design by Mr. Donald Ross that held true for over 80 years? The majority of members did not understand or appreciate the distinct heritage of Donald Ross, what it afforded Hyde Park, and the importance of this historical golf course in Cincinnati and the country.  

The catalyst to ensure Ross’s classical masterpiece began with Art Fischer, a longtime member.  Realizing the historical importance of Ross as the designer of Hyde Park, he quietly began a campaign to educate the club on Ross’s significant design accomplishments and the importance of restoring and preserving his design for the future of Hyde Park.

Gradually, the education surrounding the history of Donald Ross and Hyde Park, captured a new and enthusiastic group of members. They respected the creativity of Donald Ross and his wonderful design at Hyde Park. This need was followed by an invitation to architect Tim Liddy and historian Brad Klein to provide a presentation to the membership on Ross and his design of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club. Together, they gave a detailed synopsis about Donald Ross and the importance of preserving Hyde Park’s classic golf course. By 2002, the club hired Liddy to research Ross’s work at Hyde Park and develop a master plan that would honor and showcase Donald Ross’s initial design.

Liddy, working with committee members from Hyde Park, developed a master plan to restore many of the features changed from its original construction of 1921. The plan included recapturing greens that had reduced in size over time from typical maintenance practice, tree management, restoring bunkers to Ross’s drawings and restoring the golf course from changes made by other architects over time. The master plan outlined every Ross feature and delineating the distinct character of this classical golf course.  

Eventually, after years of discussion, green committee meetings, board meetings, club townhall meetings, the members agreed to invest their money towards the critical renovation of Hyde Park’s course to mirror much of the its original design by Ross. It began with the remodeling hole No. 1 back to its original Ross character. This was followed in 2004 and ’05 by a more extensive restoration of the greenside bunkers and fairway bunkers. Then, in 2013, further improvements were made to one of the course’s sentinel holes, No. 13, remodeling it in character with Ross’s original concepts. 

Over the past 15 years and today, the master plan is frequently utilized as a reference for ongoing projects preserving the Ross heritage and design, redirecting misguided board members or green committee members back to Ross ideals, and the importance of Ross and the character of Hyde Park Golf Course. 

Today, Hyde Park emulates all that a classical Donald Ross Golf course offers. Members are proud of its heritage, the enduring value it brings to their club, and appreciate the investment and trust they have placed in the master plan.


The evolution of a bunker on the Duke's St Andrews, 13th Golf Hole

Many times it is the small details we do that gives us the most pleasure. Dan Proctor and I spent many days finalizing the bunker on this special fairway, the Duke's St Andrews 13th golf hole. Not only did it guard the future best approach angle into the green, it accented the wonderful view out over the North Sea and the town of St Andrews. Here is a photo after it was recently constructed. You can see the small heather we planted along the top, blending it into the perimeter fescues. You will also notice the green had not yet been remodeled nor has new planting been added to screen the large home in the background.

Dukes 13.jpg

Here is a photo taken this summer. Notice how well the heather has taken root, softening the bunker edge and transitioning into the adjacent fescue. The bunker adds a foreground to the long view out to the North Sea and at the same time takes the golfers eye to the green. Also see how the adjoining residence is now screened out of view. The green now has been remodeled, bringing this bunker strategic significance. A bunker ten years later and the small details and joys of a golf course architect.


TPC 12th Golf Hole Remodel

Alice Dye rips TPC Sawgrass' new drivable par 4, says "it's not a Pete Dye design"


Alex Myers

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Stan Badz

The new drivable par-4 12th hole at TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course was supposed to add excitement down the stretch at this year's Players Championship. Instead, for the most part, it was a parade of layups off the tee. And now the most drama surrounding the hole has come after the tournament.

Alice Dye, Pete Dye's wife and frequent collaborator, recently weighed in on the big change to arguably her husband's most famous golf course.

"It’s an awkward hole," Alice Dye told Matt Ginella for a article. "It doesn’t fit the course. He OK’d it, but it’s not a Pete Dye design."

OK then. It's not an "Alice Dye design," either. And we say that because it was Alice who is actually credited with coming up with the concept of the famed island-green 17th.

But while the legendary architect was swayed by that suggestion, it sounds like he wasn't a fan of reachable par 4s. No matter how they were built.

"Pete has never believed in drivable par 4s," Alice added. "If a player is supposed to reach the green from the tee and you’re always allowed two putts, well, that’s a par 3."

December 2016 - Year in Review

2016 was a busy year for my small firm. As it comes to a close I thought I would share a few examples of my work completed this year. My thanks go out to the great contractors I worked with: MacCurrach Golf, LaBar Golf Renovations, Glase Golf, Frontier Golf and Landscapes Unlimited. 

I also cannot say enough about the hard-working superintendents who nurtured my designs to fruition:

Alan Fike and Greg Iverson at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania 

David Hardesty at Chatham Hills in Westfield, Indiana

Bill Hirchert and Jake Williams at Colleton River Plantation

Rick Tegtmeier at Des Moines Golf and Country Club


(last but not least) David Pagel at Grey Oaks in Naples, Florida.

Thanks to all, and Happy Holidays.

Here is a small photo essay of 2016:

It was a pleasure completing the last phase of a four year improvement plan for Des Moines Golf and County Club as they prepare for next year’s Solheim Cup. Here is the 15th hole.

The par 4, fifteenth hole at Des Moines Golf and County Club

The par 4, fifteenth hole at Des Moines Golf and County Club

I was the project architect for Pete Dye, living on-site for 3 months, on the new 18 hole golf course at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Here is the par-4 second hole at Shepherd’s Rock which will open next July.

The par 4 second golf hole of Shepard's Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

The par 4 second golf hole of Shepard's Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

The work at the Dye Course at Colleton River in Bluffton, South Carolina was interesting as I was updating a project I originally worked on 18 years ago. Much of the work was of an archeological nature as we restored many of the bunkers back to their original state. The photo below illustrates the fairway bunkers on hole number two before and after the restoration.

Before (top) and After (bottom) restoration of the bunkers at the Dye Course, Colleton River Plantation

Before (top) and After (bottom) restoration of the bunkers at the Dye Course, Colleton River Plantation

I had the pleasure of completing a new 18 hole golf course in Westfield, Indiana with Mr. Dye. Chatham Hills is the centerpiece of a new housing development. I liked it so much I purchased a lot! 

Sunrise on the par 5 seventeenth golf hole at Chatham Hills

Sunrise on the par 5 seventeenth golf hole at Chatham Hills

And finally The Palm Course at Grey Oaks in Naples, Florida opens this week after my summer remodel. 

Remodeled #14 green and and new bunker at The Palm Course at Grey Oaks

Remodeled #14 green and and new bunker at The Palm Course at Grey Oaks

Every course should copy these awesome features

David Owen wrote a nice article about Wintonbury Hills, a golf course I designed with Pete Dye.

Every course should copy these awesome features

By David Owen

On Saturday, Addison, Todd, Hacker (real name), and I took a field trip to Wintonbury Hills, a muny that's roughly an hour and fifteen minutes from where we live. The course, which opened in 2005, was designed by Pete Dye and Tim Liddy.

There are four sets of tees, at 6,700, 6,300, 5,700, and 5,000 yards. As is seldom the case at golf courses of any kind, though, the scorecard at Wintonbury lists ratings and slopes for both men and women from all four sets:

Furthermore, neither the scorecard nor any of the course signage mentions "women's tees," or "senior tees," or "regular men's tees," or "championship tees," or anything else. There are just four different sets, at four different yardages, and the scorecard contains enough information to enable players of both sexes, at all levels, to calculate handicaps for matches of all kinds, in all conceivable combinations.

Every course should do this.

Addison and Todd played from the black tees, I played from the greens, and Hacker played from the whites, and we were able to adjust our handicaps accordingly. (The USGA actually makes doing this much, much harder than it needs to be -- but that's a semi-complicated issue, which I'll explore in a couple of future posts.) We played threematches, switching partners every six holes, and everything came out virtually even. (Todd and I each lost a dollar.) And if Michelle Wie and my mother had joined us we would have been able to work them into the game, too.

Another awesome Wintonbury feature -- and one that should be copied by public courses everywhere -- is generous fairways accompanied by challenging green complexes. This is a feature that Wintonbury shares with Muirfield Village and Augusta National, to name two member-friendly golf courses that great players don't dismiss as too easy. Wide fairways keep play moving. None of the four of us lost a ball.

Another awesome thing about Wintonbury: the Bag of Beer, available in the grillroom (which is called the Tap Inn):

That's what the guy in the photo below was picking up. Weirdly, though, he had ordered just two beers -- both Budweisers. What was he planning to drink when he got to the third hole?

The only thing I didn't like about Wintonbury: they charge you extra if you walk. (They don't think of it as a walking penalty -- in their view, they give away carts, since carts are included in the greens fees -- but a walking penalty is what it is, since you don't pay less if you don't take a cart.) As far as I could see, though, we were the only walkers, so they probably don't get a lot of complaints.

Still, it's a terrific course. We're definitely going back.

15 Great Golf Course Architects You've Never Heard Of

It is nice to be mentioned about with this group of great golf course architects.

15 Great Golf Course Architects You’ve Never Heard Of

By Tim Gavrich

March 8, 2016

Donald Ross. A.W. Tillinghast. C.B. Macdonald. Seth Raynor.

Robert Trent Jones. Pete Dye. Tom Fazio. Arnold Palmer. Jack Nicklaus. Tom Doak. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Gil Hanse.

These are the luminaries of golf course architecture. If you keep a list of your favorite golf courses, chances are most of them will have been designed by one of the names above.

But if you truly care about getting an education in golf course architecture, these are far from the only names you need to be aware of.

Given the cachet associated with the biggest names, it can be easy to overlook certain courses by architects whom you’ve never heard of, but in many cases, this would be a mistake.

Those name-brand architects are often active across the country, while the work of the ones you may not have heard of tends to stay mostly in one region. This is not universally the case, as you’ll see with our list, but if you are planning a trip to a new-to-you destination and balk at certain course designer names, you may end up missing out on some great courses.

So, here are some names whose work you should seek out in addition to the “big boys.”

Mike Strantz

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is the jewel of the portfolio of the late Mike Strantz. (Brian Oar – Fairways Photography)

Sadly, Strantz only enjoyed about a decade-long career, from his first solo design, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., in 1994, to his death in 2005. But his output was of amazing quality, and every single one of his courses is memorable. His Tobacco Road Golf Club, near Pinehurst, truly must be seen to be believed.

Other notable work: Tot Hill Farm – Asheboro, N.C.; True Blue Golf Club – Pawleys Island, S.C.; Royal New Kent Golf Club – Providence Forge (near Williamsburg), Va.; Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (private; renovation) – Pebble Beach, Calif.

Todd Eckenrode

Eckenrode’s Country Club of the Golden Nugget has an odd name, but an engaging, fun design. (Origins Golf Design)

With Tom Doak, Coore and Crenshaw and Gil Hanse earning recent acclaim for their minimalistic and rustic aesthetics, Eckenrode and his Origins Golf Design firm may be the next to join that pantheon. His highest-ranked course to date is the terrific Barona Creek Golf Club east of San Diego, and his Country Club of the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which opened last year, has received rave reviews as well.

Other notable work: Links at Terranea (9-hole par-3 course) – Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; Quail Lodge Golf Club (renovation) – Carmel, Calif.

Paul Albanese & Chris Lutzke

Tatanka is the latest effort by Albanese & Lutzke. (Tatanka Golf Club)

Albanese & Lutzke have been most active in the Midwest, gaining recent notoriety for their designs at a couple of that region’s casino resorts: Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Michigan; and Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara, Nebraska.

Other notable work: Mill Creek Golf Club – Rochester, N.Y.; Eagle Eye Golf Club – Lansing, Mich.; Timberstone Golf Course – Iron Mountain, Mich.

Lee Schmidt & Brian Curley

Stoneforest International has one of the world’s unique settings for golf, and Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley to thank for its design. (Ryan Farrow)

Schmidt and Curley might be the most prolific golf course architects you’ve never heard of, as they have built dozens of golf courses around the world. In fact, the greatest concentration of their work can be found in China – at its two massive Mission Hills complexes, in particular. But they have been active in the Western Hemisphere as well, having worked with Pete Dye on his designs at Casa De Campo, Kiawah Island and PGA WEST, and with Jack Nicklaus at some of his own designs in Asia. Their own output in the United States is impressive as well – Marriott’s Desert Ridge in Scottsdale, Arizona; Marriott’s Shadow Ridge in Palm Springs, California; and Ak-Chin Southern Dunes in Phoenix, Arizona among them.

Other notable work: Rancho Bernardo Inn (renovation) – San Diego, Calif.; Bali Hai Golf Club – Las Vegas, Nev.; Stoneforest International Golf Club (three courses) – Kunming, China

Lester George

The par-3 eighth at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC is a phenomenal example of the Redan template.

George is perhaps best known for two private golf club designs in Virginia – the outstanding Kinloch Golf Club in suburban Richmond, and the wild, wonderful Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke. But his public designs and redesigns are what earn him a place on this list. His original course at Rock Manor in Wilmington, Delaware is known as one of the First State’s best courses, his restoration of C.B. Macdonald’s famed Old White TPC at the Greenbrier is phenomenal and fun, and he recently breathed new life into Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Virginia, taking a Tom Fazio design that tended to brutally punish less-skilled players and make it into a more enjoyable test for all.

Other notable work: Providence Golf Club – Richmond, Va.; Country Club of Florida (private; renovation) – Village of Golf, Fla.; The First Tee of Chesterfield – Chesterfield, Va.

Tim Liddy

Tim Liddy’s years of working with Pete Dye have influenced his own solo designs, such as the Trophy Club. (

Liddy has long been one of Pete Dye’s most trusted associates, having served as the construction manager and lead architect on many of Dye’s best original courses and redesigns, including Bulle Rock in Maryland, Heron Point at Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina and the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Virginia. But Liddy has his own standalone design firm as well, and has generated some excellent courses in his own right: the Trophy Club in Lebanon, Indiana; Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru, Indiana; and redesigns of the Duke’s Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and Princess Anne Country Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Other notable work: Wintonbury Hills Golf Course (with Pete Dye) – Bloomfield, Conn.; Big Fish Golf Club (with Pete Dye) – Hayward, Wisc.; Caesarea Golf Club – Caesarea, Israel

JMP Golf Design

North River Golf Club in Beaufort, N.C. is a Bob Moore design. (North River Golf Club)

As part of the JMP Golf Design group, Bob Moore and his associates Brian Costello and Mark Hollinger have flown under the radar somewhat, but their courses tend to strike a nice balance of quality and affordability. We mentioned Cutter Creek in North Carolina a few weeks ago as such a course. Other JMP designs you should be aware of include Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona; Callippe Preserve in Pleasanton, California; and Whiskey Creek Golf Club in Maryland, in collaboration with Ernie Els.

Other notable work: Golf Club at Chapel Ridge (with Fred Couples) – Pittsboro, N.C.; North River Golf Club – Beaufort, N.C.; Santa Lucia Preserve (private; with Tom Fazio) – Carmel, Calif.; Beijing Golf Club – Beijing, China; Manila Golf Club (renovation) – Manila, Philippines

Mike DeVries


Remote, spectacular King Island is the setting for Cape Wickham, one of the most exciting new golf courses to be built in recent years. (Cape Wickham Golf Club)

DeVries joins Todd Eckenrode on this list as “Architects Most Likely To Become Household Names Soon.” His Greywalls course in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been known for a while, and his design at the private Kingsley Club in Traverse City has come to be known as the centerpiece of one of the best national golf clubs in the U.S., but it’s his course at Cape Wickham on the remote King Island off Tasmania, Australia that will likely vault him up alongside the likes of Doak, Hanse and Coore & Crenshaw. With spellbinding ocean scenery and cliff-hanging holes, Cape Wickham occupies one of the most spectacular pieces of land for golf in the world, and has been ranked the 24th best course in the world by Golf Digest in just its first year of operation.

Other notable work: Mines Golf Course – Grand Rapids, Mich.; Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club – Pierson, Mich.; Diamond Springs Golf Club – Hamilton, Mich.; Meadow Club (private; renovation) – Fairfax, Calif.

Tad King & Rob Collins

Sweetens Cove has the aesthetics and variety to make for a nine-hole course players are thrilled to play over and over. (Sweetens Cove Golf Club)

Does the King-Collins Design team deserve a spot on this list even though they have only designed one new nine-hole layout and renovated two holes on a second course? Given the high praise their Sweetens Cove Golf Club outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee has garnered – people are throwing the phrase “best nine-hole course in the country” around liberally – we have to believe that this duo will be getting more chances to apply their rustic aesthetic to existing courses and perhaps a new tract or two in the near future.

Other notable work: none (yet)