Here's a look at five of golf's biggest names now making their mark in course design-and their latest projects.
Jack Nicklaus The "Golden Bear," who was tabbed the "Golfer of the Century" by Golf magazine, has won an unprecedented 20 major championships: six Masters, five PGAs, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, and two U.S. Amateurs.
What does the 57-year-old Nicklaus do for an encore? He is making an impact in equipment design and manufacturing, clothing, real estate, sports promotion, turf grass consulting, and, his second love, golf course design and construction.
Nicklaus first took an interest in golf course design early in his professional career, while still in his 20s. He worked first with designer Pete Dye and later with Desmond Muirhead. By the mid-1970s, Nicklaus presided over his own design company, which is based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
A stickler for high design and maintenance standards, Nicklaus personally inspects his course projects before, during, and after construction.
Nicklaus's courses are known for being creative and demanding. High-profile resort layouts include PGA West in La Quinta, CA; Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, FL; and Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI. Other highly rated Nicklaus courses include Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH; Shoal Creek in Birmingham, AL; Castle Pines in Castle Rock, CO; and Great Waters in Greensboro, GA.
Among the numerous projects recently opened or soon to open are The Golf Club at Indigo Run, Hilton Head Island, SC; Hualalai Golf Club on the Big Island of Hawaii; Grand Haven in Palm Coast, FL (fall 1997); and the second of two courses at La Campanas in Santa Fe, NM (1998).
Greg Norman One of the modern era's most prolific golfers, Greg Norman, known as "the great white shark," is bringing the same aggressive attitude to golf course design that has produced wins in 75 professional tournaments around the world, including two British Open Championships.
The 42-year-old Norman began his design career under the tutelage of long-time architect Ted Robinson, with whom he collaborated on Royal Melbourne in Chicago and The Experience at Koele on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai. Three years ago, he started his own design company, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, in Jupiter, FL, along with several other business endeavors that include the Greg Norman Turf Company and Norman Yachts International.
Most of Norman's designs are in Asia, where he has more than a dozen courses either completed or under construc-
tion. His most notable domestic work is The Medalist Club in Hobe Sound, FL, which he codesigned with Pete Dye. Open since 1994, the private Scottish- and Australian-style layout, which encourages bump-and-run shots, has rapidly taken its place as one of South Florida's finest courses.
Other projects in various stages of design and construction, set to open within the next couple of years, are The Club at Wente Brothers (1997), a daily-fee course 40 miles east of San Francisco; St. George's Resort in the Bahamas (1998); and Elk's Run (late 1997) in Cincinnati. Greg Norman Golf Course Design also plans to expand into Mexico and South America.
Norman's architectural philosophies are patterned after legendary designers A.W. Tillinghast and Alister Mackenzie. "My courses are more about strategy than length," says Norman, who is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour. "Three of my favorite courses are Augusta National, St. Andrews, and Royal Melbourne. They represent the type of timeless strategy requirements I strive for every time I design a course."
Arnold Palmer While phenomenon Tiger Woods may be the newly anointed prince of professional golf, Palmer is indisputably the king. At 67, Palmer, who has won 92 tournaments worldwide (including the Masters four times), is one of the world's most-recognized sports stars. Known affectionately as "Arnie" by his fans, Palmer has parlayed his four decades of popularity into a global business empire that includes equipment design and manufacturing, clothing, endorsements, and golf course design. The Palmer Course Design Company, headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, is one of the most productive in the industry and currently is working on 44 separate course projects, predominantly in Florida, California, and Arizona.
Palmer started his architectural career in 1964 when he and his father, a pro/greens keeper, designed the back nine at Latrobe Country Club in Latrobe, PA, where the elder Palmer worked and Arnold learned to play the game. In the late 1960s he purchased Bay Hill Club in Orlando, FL and redesigned several holes. He teamed with veteran architect Ed Seay in 1971, and the two have been together ever since.
"We've designed many courses, but I wouldn't say we have a trademark," says Seay, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Palmer Course Design Company. "We want each one of our courses to be a separate and distinct creative endeavor."
According to Seay, Palmer's expertise is during the construction phase, when he walks a course to analyze shot angles and strategies. "Arnold understands the game of golf on so many different levels, and he's able to use that knowledge to design courses everyone finds challenging, yet enjoyable," explains Seay.
Palmer and Seay's extensive course resume features several widely acclaimed resort layouts, including ones at PGA West in La Quinta, CA; PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, SC; Myrtle Beach National in Myrtle Beach, SC; and Geneva National Resort in Lake Geneva, WI.
New courses set to open in the next two years are the Mountain Reserve Golf Club in Palm Springs, CA (1998); The Palms in Melbourne, FL (1998); and The Legacy in Sarasota, FL (spring 1997).
Gary Player He calls himself golf's most well-traveled player. Indeed, the 62-year-old native South African has spent 40 years spanning the globe playing in golf tournaments and designing courses. Player has won three British Opens, three Masters, two PGA Championships, and one U.S. Open, and is one of only four men to complete golf's Grand Slam.
A dedicated student of golf history and design, Player has worked with more than half a dozen architects throughout his design career. He has consulted on or designed more than 150 courses located worldwide. His design firm, Gary Player Design Company, headquartered in Palm Beach, FL, also has offices in Johannesburg, South Africa; Singapore; and London.
Player's courses are known for their playability and for greens that are interesting, yet without great undulations. "We don't design courses for Gary and his friends," says Tim Freeland, senior designer/vice president for Gary Player Design Company. "Our courses are for low- to mid-handicappers who enjoy golf and want to score well if they play up to their capabilities."
Some of Player's more intriguing resort layouts include Hawthorne Valley at Snowshoe Resort in Pocahontas County, WV; Mission Hills in Palm Springs, CA; Blackmoor in Myrtle Beach, SC; and Hilton Head National on Hilton Head Island, SC.
Player courses slated to open in the near future are Raspberry Falls (mid-1997) in Leesburg, VA; TPC of Princeton (1998) in Princeton, NJ; and Northern Knight (1998) at Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI.
Lee Trevino Long before Lee Trevino made his name on the PGA Tour by winning the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, and dozens of other tournaments, and later many tournaments on the Senior PGA Tour circuit, he had earned a reputation as one of the greatest match players ever in his native state of Texas.
Trevino still believes match play is the most exciting style of competitive golf, and he designs courses to maximize enjoyment in that format. "Your average amateur golfer on a typical weekend or business outing generally plays match play with a little wager on the side for individual holes or nine holes," says Arnold Salinas, president of Lee Trevino-Wm. Graves, Inc., Trevino's golf course design firm in Dallas. "Consequently, we design our courses for the average match play golfer-not for the pros who compete in medal play.
"On a medal play course the hardest holes are generally nine and 18," he continues. "We stay away from that theory and try to have the toughest holes in the middle of the nine."
Salinas says Trevino believes that every green, when possible, should have an opening where a ball can run up. Trevino also detests blind shots and forced carries.
"It's easy to design a difficult course," says Salinas. "Our goal is always to create a course enjoyable for everyone-not just the better golfers hitting from the back tees."
Trevino's firm has designed 18 golf courses. The most notable resort layouts include one located at Geneva National Resort in Lake Geneva, WI and a 36-hole complex at Swaneset Bay Resort in Vancouver, British Columbia. Upcoming resort projects include 18-hole championship courses at Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, MI and Lely Resort in Naples, FL.