Archived Articles
20 Apr
2017
Shark Waters – Eastern Golf Club announces name of its new Par 3 course
In honour of the signature design company responsible for its creation, as well as the abundant lakes and ponds, the new par three course at Melbourne's Eastern Golf Club will be known as Shark Waters when it opens later this year.
Read more

01 Jun
2017
Mornington Golf Club to open stunning new par three in the spring
There is exciting news for golf on the Mornington Peninsula, with the historic Mornington Golf Club set to unveil a spectacular new clifftop par three this coming spring. Initially used as a spare hole when works are carried out elsewhere on the golf course, the new par three will eventually become part of the 18-hole course proper.
Read more

10 Apr
2017
Gil Hanse Royal Sydney Redesign Plans Revealed
Late last year, American golf course designer Gil Hanse presented the Royal Sydney Golf Club with his plans for the redesign of their golf course. Sure to generate much heated debate, the plan involves a radical rearrangement of the existing holes with few remaining in their current form. Most interestingly, the 18th is converted from a dogleg par four to a long, straightaway par three played to the west and into a green site that remains beneath the club’s imposing clubhouse.
Read more

01 May
2017
Yarra Yarra Golf Club appoints Renaissance Golf Design
Sandbelt classic Yarra Yarra has appointed Tom Doak's design company, Renaissance Golf Design, as its consulting architects. Doak and associate Brian Slawnik will be responsible for restoring and reviving what was once regarded as one of Australia's finest golf courses.
Read more

14 Jun
2017
National Golf Club members vote to let Tom Doak loose on The Ocean Course
Last weekend a Special General Meeting was held at The National Golf Club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, where a radical plan by American golf course designer Tom Doak was approved by the membership for the redesign of its Ocean Course.
Read more

23 Jun
2017
Spectacular new project approved for Kangaroo Island
From King Island to Kangaroo, the Cape Wickham team are set to build another coastal gem on pristine Kangaroo Island after the South Australian Government granted Development Authorisation for a new golf resort. Known as The Cliffs, Kangaroo Island the course will be constructed on a premium 600-acre parcel of ocean front land in Pelican Lagoon and takes full advantage of the areas rolling sand dunes and sweeping coastal views. A number of holes are set atop 25-metre high cliffs and played directly adjacent the Southern Ocean.
Read more

14 Nov
2012
Golf Monthly releases its 2012 ranking of the Top 100 golf courses in the British Isles
Read more

17 Jul
2012
Canada’s Top 100 Golf Courses – SCOREGolf Magazine releases its 2012 list.
Read more

29 Feb
2012
New Nicklaus course in the Hunter Valley to become a ‘major international tourist destination.’
Read more

27 Sep
2011
Is Rees Jones really that bad – and will Phil Mickelson be any better?
Read more

02 Aug
2016
Planet Golf Modern Masterpieces Released for Father’s Day
The third installment in the Planet Golf series – Planet Golf Modern Masterpieces – has been released in Australia and New Zealand in time for Father’s Day. Written and published by Darius Oliver of the Global Golf Group, the book focuses on the greatest golf courses of the modern era. It features in excess of 100 course reviews, a detailed ratings and rankings section and foreword by master golf developer Mike Keiser, the owner of a number of acclaimed layouts reviewed in the book.
Read more

14 Jan
2016
Masters Champion Bubba Watson to play Shenzhen International event in China
The Shenzhen International golf tournament – the first stop of the European Tour in China in 2016 – will light up the award-winning Shenzhen Genzon Golf Club from April 21-24. Among the star attractions announced today (Jan 8) will be Bubba Watson, the two-time former Masters champion and world No.4, who made such an impact in the inaugural event last year.
Read more

21 Sep
2015
Vale Peter Dawson
While away recently I missed the news that Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A, had passed away. Catching up over the weekend I noted several, “Golf to Farewell Dawson” type headlines, which gave pause. Now nobody likes to speak ill of the dead but while Dawson’s family will no doubt grieve, the game of golf will not miss him.
Read more

18 Mar
2015
CAPE WICKHAM OPENS FOR SNEAK PREVIEW
The spectacular new Cape Wickham Links in Australia has opened for a sneak preview. From earlier this month, a series of preview groups have been sampling this exciting new golf course on the northwestern coast of Tasmania’s King Island.
Read more

16 Mar
2015
Cape Wickham - The Background Story, Part I
Later this year the Cape Wickham golf course will open on King Island in Tasmania, the culmination of several years toil for a small but dedicated group of passionate individuals. While there is still much work to do in preparation of the November opening, and grass left to mature, for those involved in the project the divots can’t come soon enough.
Read more

18 Aug
2014
Cape Wickham Golf Course – August Construction Update
The countdown is on, with the opening of the Cape Wickham golf course only months away now that the final holes have been finished and the all-important grow-in phase of development is underway. Winter weather prevented the 15th fairway from being completely grassed, but the rest of the course has been and it’s expected that the outstanding fairway will be grassed in October when the weather warms up.
Read more

16 May
2014
Cape Wickham Golf Course – May Construction Update
Glorious weather on King Island right through summer and autumn has allowed progress on the exciting new coastal course at Cape Wickham to continue on schedule. Currently there are 14 holes completed and grassed, with the remaining four holes in various stages of development. The spectacular drivable par four 12th has been roughed-in and will be grassed before the end of May, as will the long par five 13th. The final holes, 15 and 16, require some additional earthworks but should be ready for grassing by the end of June. The course remains on track for a 2015 opening.
Read more

04 Apr
2014
Planet Golf - Our Backyard ProGrass Putting Green
Ever since I can remember I wanted a backyard putting green. Not just any green, but one with contour and slope that would allow for all sorts of putts, of both decent length and decent break. With the arrival of the synthetic putting green the dream got closer, but also more confusing. The last thing I wanted was a pancake flat green, or worse, something with a funky shape that nobody used because it was impossible to putt on. The balance is more difficult to get right with synthetic grass than real grass, because you can’t adjust mowing heights or change maintenance practices. That’s the appeal of maintenance free lawn, but it’s also the problem. The grass you install is the grass that you live with – so get your green wrong and you live with the mistake every single day.
Read more

21 Mar
2014
Cape Wickham Golf Course – Construction Update
As was announced back in July last year, a new golf development at Cape Wickham on King Island is underway and due for completion sometime in mid-2014. The golf course currently has 10 holes grassed, with another 4 rough shaped and ready for grassing in the next few weeks. The outstanding holes will be completed in May and June, once the nesting shearwater birds have left the site and migrated to the northern hemisphere. The course will be ready for play in 2015.
Read more

07 Jan
2014
Golf Digest World 100 Greatest Courses
According to the accompanying editorial, the very first Golf Digest World Top 100 ranking was produced via ballots completed by the magazine’s USA based judges and those associated with its 27 international affiliates.
Read more

08 Nov
2013
Dye Designs to design London's first Dye (replica?) course
We loved this press release announcing the UK's first Dye Designs golf course so much that we decided to republish it here on Planet Golf in full. Conspicuous by its absence, was the name Pete in any of this ‘bringing Dye golf to England’ spin. No designer or architect was named on the press release, one presumes in order to cultivate the myth that this might actually be a genuine Pete ‘50 championships on my courses’ Dye deal.
Read more

18 Sep
2013
Peninsula and Kingswood members vote to merge
Exciting news for members of the Peninsula and Kingswood Golf Clubs in Melbourne, with both sets of members voting to support a merger of the two clubs. In voting undertaken in recent days, 98% of Peninsula members supported the merger along with 63% of Kingswood members, enough for the amalgamation to proceed. Over the coming weeks and months steps will be put in place to eventually move the Kingswood members to Peninsula’s Frankston base, which has 36 holes and space to accommodate the additional golfers.
Read more

28 Aug
2013
Lonsdale Golf Club redevelopment finally set to proceed
According to a news release from Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, the redevelopment of the Lonsdale Golf Club is set to proceed after approval was given to rezone the existing site. The club has pursued the redevelopment for more than 10 years, and has been working with Ogilvy Clayton Golf Design on extending the golf course, maintenance facility and water storage facility into an adjoining rural property. Permission to subdivide part of the existing golf course site to create a residential subdivision was given after detailed discussions with the community and state planners. The designers at Ogilvy Clayton have spoken highly of the potential for the new Lonsdale course, and hope to begin work on the redesign in the near future.
Read more

23 Aug
2013
Eastern Golf Club prepares for relocation…and the prospects of a more expensive Yering Meadows
With approvals finally in place and a contractor engaged, the Eastern Golf Club will shortly begin work on their new facility at Windsor Park, which is adjacent to the Yering Meadows golf course in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Time will tell, whether this relocation will be judged a masterstroke that saved a struggling club, or one of the most expensive mistakes in Australian golf. We hope for the former, but fear for the latter.
Read more

08 Aug
2013
Golf Course Renovation in Asia – Is it time? Yes it’s time
Nothing the publishers of the Asian Golf Monthly Magazine try to peddle should surprise anymore, but the latest announcements regarding the 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit, taking place later this year in Indonesia, do warrant some sort of analysis. Regarding one of the main themes for the Summit, Golf Course Development, they have started promoting one of their guest speakers by asking what would appear to be a rhetorical question – Renovation, Is It Time? The guest speaker in question is Paul Stringer, head of Nicklaus Design in the Asia-Pacific region. And the answer, certainly if you ask Nicklaus Design, is that yes it is time to renovate.
Read more

31 Jul
2013
Architects' Choice - World's Top 100 Golf Courses
Compiled by the Golf Course Architecture Magazine, the Architects' Top 100 golf courses in the world ranking was published in July and voted on by more than 240 active golf course designers. These designers were each asked to list their best ten courses in the world, with the collated results naturally making for some intriguing reading.
Read more

30 Jul
2013
Jones Golf Bags - an icon reborn
It was a cause of great delight to discover recently that the iconic JONES golf bags from the 1970s & 80s were back in production, having been reborn following the 2011 acquisition of the Jones Sports Company by a local Oregon golfing family. The purchase was completed with the aim of bringing the traditional, minimalistic carry bags that JONES was famous for back to life. Pleasingly, the functional, vintage designs have married beautifully with modern technology and the new carry and stand bags now available from JONES are perfect for those who prefer to walk when they play.
Read more

09 Jul
2013
New golf course begins construction at Cape Wickham, King Island
Construction began this month on an exciting new golf course in Tasmania, this time at Cape Wickham on the northern coast of King Island. The course is being designed by American golf architect Mike DeVries and will be built by Victorian golf course builders TURNPOINT.
Read more

10 Jun
2013
The great length debate - Donald v Poulter, Merion v Kingston Heath
This weeks US Open is being held on the East Course at the Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia. Designed predominantly by Hugh Wilson, the course opened in 1912 and remains one of America’s most treasured golfing jewels. It’s sad, therefore, that the golfing elite assembled to fight out this major championship won’t get to experience Merion in all her architectural glory. Not that many of the players will notice.
Read more

04 Jun
2013
Ipswich Golf Club in financial ruin, Wayne Grady designed golf course for sale
Media reports have emerged in Queensland, that the Ipswich Golf Club has collapsed into administration and is now on the market for sale. The member owned club, founded way back in 1897, first appointed an administrator in April but has been unable to trade its way out of financial stress. The club’s freehold golf course land, its clubhouse, gaming machines, green keeping equipment and golfing membership were advertised for sale this week in the Australian Financial Review. The fall from grace for this once storied golf club has been swift and dramatic. Only six years ago the club’s annual turnover was $20 million, now there are only 400 members remaining and some of those golfers pay less than $200 per year in membership subs. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
Read more

04 Jun
2013
Masters Champ Adam Scott confirmed to defend his Aussie Masters title at Royal Melbourne
IMG today announced that defending champion and current Masters Champion, Adam Scott, will return to Melbourne to defend his Australian Masters title in November. In April, Scott recorded one of the greatest triumphs in our rich history of sporting achievements as the first Australian to win The Masters Tournament at Augusta National. This year will mark the 35th staging of the Australian Masters and the first time it has been played at the famed Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Read more

30 May
2013
Sour ending for the St Andrews Private Golf Club
Billed as Australia’s most prestigious golf facility, yet built on arguably its shakiest premise, the much hyped St Andrews Private golf course project on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula appears to have fallen over. Planet Golf was informed that as of last week all staff had been retrenched or let go and that machinery and equipment, including pumps, irrigation pipes, sprinklers and tractors, were being offered for sale to local superintendents and golf courses.
Read more

30 May
2013
Stage 2 of Bonnie Doon Redevelopment set to proceed
After a lengthy delay at council, the Development Approval required to continue with the Bonnie Doon golf course redevelopment has finally been obtained with works to begin over winter. Stage 1 of the Ogilvy Clayton redevelopment was completed in 2012, and member response has been overwhelmingly positive. Further, around 260 new members have joined the club since the works began, which has encouraged the board to continue the project without delay.
Read more

28 May
2013
Graham Marsh Golf Design to redesign RACV Royal Pines Resort
Queensland design company Graham Marsh Golf Design has been appointed to redevelop the championship course at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast. The $5 Million project attracted submissions from more than 20 golf course design companies globally, with Marsh selected after a short-list was drawn up that included fellow ‘signature’ company Thomson Perrett (with Karrie Webb) along with Bob Harrison, Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (Golf Strategies) and Turner MacPherson.
Read more

15 Apr
2013
Adam Scott makes history at The Masters
Queenslander Adam Scott has broken Australia’s hoodoo at Augusta, making sporting history by becoming the first Aussie to claim the green jacket in the tournament’s illustrious history.
Read more

17 Apr
2013
Golf (in) Australia – it’s time to grow up and act like a mainstream sport
Finally, after decades of near misses Australia has itself a Masters champion, and a fine one at that. As a proud nation basks in the glory of yet another bucket-list sporting triumph, an industry gleefully accepts the overdue press and attention that has come its way. Column inches and mainstream news mentions are up, and even non-golfers are now familiar with Adam Scott, and aware of just how good he really is. Despite these very real and obvious green shoots, and contrary to popular logic, the challenges faced by our great game just got harder.
Read more

09 Apr
2013
China welcomes its first World 100 Golf Course
It wasn’t the limousine hotel pick up, the guard of honor upon my arrival or even the caddie for my clubs and the caddie for my camera. It wasn’t the ridiculously high service standards or the delicious ‘halfway house’ dumplings, which are actually served twice during the round. It wasn’t even the free polo shirt that’s apparently on the way. Last month Shanqin Bay became the first Chinese course in the Planet Golf World 100, purely and simply because it belongs there. Period.
Read more

26 Mar
2013
Date change follows venue change for Aussie PGA
Following recent news that the Australian PGA Championship would be leaving its former Sunshine Coast home at the Palmer Coolum Resort, comes today's announcement that the tournament is moving to an early November date. According to the media release, the aim is to capitalise on the availability of premier players that time of year. The 2013 Australian PGA will start November 7 at the RACV Resort at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast. Royal Pines has hosted the Ladies Masters tournament for many years.
Read more

25 Mar
2013
Monty help(ing) build buzz for his new golf course in China
A recent press release from China caught my eye. It appeared on Colin Montgomerie’s own web site, and was picked up by a number of ‘respected’ news agencies across Asia, all of whom regurgitated the article verbatim. The article covers the story of Montgomerie traveling to China earlier this month to officially open his course at Imperial Springs Golf Club, in Guangdong Province. This is the same Imperial Springs Golf Club that created headlines in 2011 when it pulled out of hosting an LPGA event at the last moment. We understand that members have been golfing on the course for more than 18 months. Regardless of when the course was actually finished and open for play, what’s telling about the recent Montgomerie visit was the generosity, and originality, of some of the language used by the ‘designer’ to celebrate the occasion.
Read more

14 Mar
2013
Royal Melbourne to host the 2013 Aussie Masters
The Royal Melbourne Golf Club has been named as the host venue for the 2013 Australian Masters Tournament, to be played November 14-17 over the club's famed Composite Course. This is the first time Royal Melbourne has hosted the Masters Tournament, in its 35 year history. Previously the event was staged at Huntingdale Golf Club on the Melbourne Sandbelt and in more recent times at Kingston Heath and Victoria Golf Clubs.
Read more

20 Feb
2013
Norman’s Port Hughes golf course looks set for closure
According to reports in the Adelaide Now newspaper, Greg Norman’s 9-hole course at Port Hughes on the Yorke Peninsula is in danger of being shut-down. The project was placed into receivership last July, with debts totally more than $13 million. Receivers have tried to move the remaining residential allotments, and keep the golf course operating, but sales have been almost nonexistent and golf course patronage has halved, from an already dangerously low base.
Read more

19 Feb
2013
Geoff Ogilvy on Augusta, the anchoring ban and those ‘disgusting’ changes at St Andrews
This month’s Hong Kong Golfer features a fascinating interview with Aussie star Geoff Ogilvy, who sat down with reporter Paul Prendergast to discuss a range of issues from the state of the game, the state of his own recent form and those ‘disgusting’ changes being made at St Andrews. Selected highlights are featured here on Planet Golf.
Read more

15 Feb
2013
Doak opens up on Sebonack, St Andrews, Bifurcation and his best holes
GOLF.com had an interesting live chat with architect Tom Doak today, with topics ranging from his work in Florida, Oregon, Colorado, New York and New Zealand to his views on maintenance budgets, bifurcation and the changes at St Andrews. Doak’s most telling observations included this on Sebonack, “I don't love the course as much as I love some of the other projects I've done. I felt like I spent more time than I wanted to on politics, and not enough on being creative. And that's just not as fun for me as collaborating with my own team.”
Read more

11 Feb
2013
Palmer Resort Coolum dumped as venue for Australian PGA
Following months of speculation the PGA of Australia has confirmed the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola is headed to a new home in 2013, sending a fond farewell to the Sunshine Coast which has hosted the tournament for the last 11 years.
Read more

11 Feb
2013
The Eastern Golf Club one step closer to relocation…and 27 Greg Norman golf holes
According to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, there has been uproar in the city over state Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s decision to approve the relocation of the 99-year old Eastern Golf Club. The decision will allow the club to move from its present land-locked home in Doncaster to a new 600-acre site at Yering in the Yarra Ranges.
Read more

12 Feb
2013
Graeme Grant looking for investors to help him build a seaside course on King Island
Industry veteran Graeme Grant has made public his plans for the Ocean Dunes golf course on King Island, in Tasmania. Grant and his development partner, course builder Bernie McMahon, have for some time held an option over a beautiful piece of ground at Three Rivers close to the Currie airport, which they have now exercised. The pair has been granted council approval for their development, and last year received approval from Parks Tasmania to place some holes on crown reserve land right alongside the coastline. They are now trying to secure project funding, via private investment and through government grants.
Read more

11 Feb
2013
15-year old Lydia Ko makes more history in New Zealand
Kiwi Amateur sensation Lydia Ko creates more history, winning the ISPS Handa New zealand Women's Open, becoming both the first local winner of the event and the youngest player ever to win a Ladies European Tour event
Read more

14 Jan
2013
Raising the Bar – a report card on select Australian golf clubs
Recently American golf architect Gil Hanse visited the Melbourne Sandbelt, chiefly to study our leading courses and find inspiration for his 2016 Olympic layout in Rio, Brazil. While in the city Hanse and his design partner Jim Wagner took in ten courses in total, and at the conclusion of their trip gave a frank assessment of where they felt each course stood. It led to further conversations about old golf courses in Australia, how far some had slipped in recent times and how difficult it would be to improve them. On the back of these discussions Planet Golf decided to compile a report card on some of our under-performing golf clubs, focusing on those we believe are either most desperately in need of design assistance, or those that would benefit most from sensible change.
Read more

11 Jan
2013
Construction starts on the new St Andrews Private golf course
Planet Golf can report that work started earlier this month on the new St Andrews Private Golf Club down at St Andrews Beach on the Mornington Peninsula. Designed by Ross Perrett and Peter Thomson, St Andrews Private will be an invitation only club limited to just 281 people deemed, by the developer, to be ‘Sophisticated Investors or Certified High Net Worth individuals.’
Read more

11 Jan
2013
Become an Australian Golf Digest Top 100 Judge
Read more

11 Jan
2013
Ipswich Golf Club trading ‘under financial stress’
That the Ipswich Golf Club finds itself in financial trouble will surprise few, especially those familiar with the club’s recently ‘upgraded’ Wayne Grady golf course. Golf clubs across southeast Queensland have been struggling in recent times due to the economic downturn in the state, and it seems there are a number in strife around the Ipswich area. While sad to hear they are in trouble, you have to give club chairman Paul Morris credit for thinking outside the box and suggesting they need to offer an alternative ‘night sport’ in order to succeed.
Read more

16 Dec
2012
Fairytale finish for Popovic
26-year-old Victorian Daniel Popovic has won the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The Tour Rookie showed composure throughout the day to finish with a tournament total of 16-under 272 winning by four shots from his more experienced counterparts.
Read more

14 Dec
2012
St Andrews Stink – Dawson claims ‘over-reaction’ to Old Course changes
With tractors on the ground and the sacred turf at St Andrews under the knife as we speak, we take one last look at the Martin Hawtree-Peter Dawson inspired changes to The Old Course, and the ‘hysterical’ reaction from opponents of the project.
Read more

09 Dec
2012
Senior not too old to claim Emirates Australian Open
53-year-old Peter Senior has claimed the 2012 Emirates Australian Open from his younger counterparts. In gale force conditions that forced the suspension of play, Peter Senior’s experience shone through to see him shoot even par in the final round winning with a 4-under 284 tournament total.
Read more

07 Dec
2012
Doak replaces Clayton as design consultant at Royal Adelaide
The Royal Adelaide Golf Club has announced that American golf course designer Tom Doak will replace Mike Clayton as the club's consulting course architect. Clayton's previous company was responsible for the redesign of the 17th hole at Royal Adelaide, which divided opinions within the club and ultimately led to him being replaced in the role. As an interesting aside, Doak and Clayton have worked closely in the past on projects like Barnbougle Dunes and St Andrews Beach. As outlined in the club's media release, Doak's first task will be to redesign Clayton's contentious 17th hole.
Read more

07 Dec
2012
Bonnie Doon Golf Club - the Ogilvy Clayton Redevelopment
This week the Australian Open is being played at The Lakes Golf Club, a course that was redesigned by Michael Clayton prior to the formation of his design company with Geoff Ogilvy. Literally a driver / wedge from the back nine at The Lakes lies Bonnie Doon, another old historic Sydney club built on sand, and the first anywhere in Australia to have engaged the Ogilvy Clayton team as their course consultants. With Stage One of the redevelopment project now complete, we review the new holes at Bonnie Doon and look at where the course might rank once the full 18 are complete.
Read more

29 Nov
2012
The R&A and USGA announce plans to ban anchored putting
The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, have announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that would prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke.
Read more

02 Dec
2012
Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2013
Golf Digest Magazine in Ireland has released its 2013 ranking of the Top 100 golf courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite little change at the top of the list, the make-up of the magazine's best 10 is sure to cause controversy with Portmarnock above Royal Portrush and Waterville topping both Lahinch and Ballybunion. The full list can be viewed here.
Read more

01 Dec
2012
Thomson Perrett to build a new private golf course at St Andrews Beach
According to reliable industry sources plans have been confirmed for the new private St Andrews Beach golf course on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Named St Andrews Private Golf Club, the layout will be designed by veteran architect Ross Perrett and sit alongside the existing Tom Doak-designed St Andrews Beach golf course. The club will have a limited membership cap of just 281, and cost more than $90,000 to join. Given that Victorian golfers can join the nearby 54-hole National Golf Club for less than $10,000, this seems a high-risk venture.
Read more

30 Nov
2012
Old Course at St Andrews – The Martin Hawtree Modifications
With the defacing of The Old Course at St Andrews causing controversy around the world, we take a closer look at precisely what has been proposed by architect Martin Hawtree and how it will affect golf in the old town. The most controversial changes are sure to be those to the 11th and 17th holes, but there are red flags all over this outrageous project.
Read more

27 Nov
2012
Outrage on The Old Course - structural changes planned at St Andrews
For centuries the entire town of St Andrews has been a golfing shrine and the Old Course a beacon of architectural oddity. Until the reign of current R&A Secretary Peter Dawson, when standing on the 1st tee at St Andrews all men were equal. Sadly this is no longer the case. Having presided over the outrageous lengthening of holes on the Old Course, Dawson has announced plans to deface the Old Lady further, by allowing Martin Hawtree to modify the very canvas upon which golf’s most celebrated holes are constructed. Naturally the proposed modifications have outraged many, including us here at Planet Golf.
Read more

25 Nov
2012
New South Wales amateur wins NZ Open
Australian amateur Jake Higginbottom has won the BMW NZ Open hosted by Christchurch played at the Clearwater Golf Course. Higginbottom became the first amateur since 1956 to win the event.
Read more

18 Nov
2012
Adam Scott claims Talisker Masters at Kingston Heath
Adam Scott has claimed the 2012 Talisker Masters title, overcoming defending champion Ian Poulter at Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne to take his 19th international victory. Scott entertained the strong crowds with a near flawless round to claim his second PGA Tour of Australasia title.
Read more

16 Nov
2012
The Lakes Golf Club investigated for chemical breach
Reports this week have emerged in the Sydney media, that The Australian Open host venue The Lakes Golf Club is under investigation by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) over its use of a chemical treatment in its greens.
Read more

15 Nov
2012
The Derrick Club in Canada approves comprehensive Jeff Mingay redesign
Good news this month from Canada, that promising young architect Jeff Mingay has been given the green light to redesign the golf course at The Derrick Club in Edmonton, Alberta. Mingay is one of the most passionate and talented designers in the business today, and the project scope here allows for significant enhancements to be made to the golf course.
Read more

01 Nov
2012
Tiger Woods Design adds first course to design portfolio
It was recently announced that Tiger Woods Design is currently overseeing construction of a new golf course at the Diamante resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The course, to be known as ‘El Cardonal’, will be the first in the Tiger Woods portfolio, joining his only other completed project – a private backyard practice facility at his Jupiter Island home – when finally completed in 2014.
Read more

11 Sep
2012
Design Déjà vu – Organizers of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit make up yet another award to plug Nicklaus Design
In news that will hardly shock observers of the Asian golf industry, it was announced this week that organizers of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit will yet again honor Jack Nicklaus at their annual talkfest. This will be the fourth Summit in a row that has feted the Golden Bear, this time with the great man receiving the newly formed Global Legacy Award. For those with short memories, his previous accolades include the inaugural Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement Award as well as induction into the inaugural class of the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame. While thinking up new and creative ways of celebrating Nicklaus is part of the business of the Asia Pacific Golf Group, disclosing conflicts of interest clearly isn’t. It should come as no surprise to learn that Nicklaus Design is a business partner of this year’s Summit.
Read more

20 Aug
2012
McIlroy stops long putter streak…but the 460cc era streak approaches 40
A collective sigh of relief was issued earlier this month when young gun Rory McIlroy ran away with the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, and in the process halted the major championship run of players using anchored putters. In the days and weeks since McIlroy’s win the calls for action to be taken on long putters have grown louder and louder, with some insiders under the impression that both the R&A and the USGA are on the brink of issuing a ban on anchoring. While such a move would be welcome, it’s important to also note that young Rory’s win was at least the 35th in succession by a player in a major championship using a 400+ cubic centimeter driver head. The argument that anchoring a putter is against the spirit and traditions of the game are equally, if not more vigorously, made by those who view enormous driver heads as an abomination on our sport.
Read more

16 Aug
2012
Golf Management Asia - Finally an Asian golf conference to focus on course design and the primary reason people play this game.
Good news for those intimately involved in the golf business in Asia, and passionate about the direction the game is headed. The inaugural Golf Management Asia Conference, taking place in Mission Hills from 6th to 8th of November, has announced that course design and playability will be a key part of its conference schedule. Unlike rival forums that pay lip service to the real issues in golf course design, Golf Management Asia promises to deliver value to every stakeholder within the Asian golf industry by providing a balanced view on the business of golf.
Read more

13 Aug
2012
Bob Harrison discusses his new course project in Scotland
There are many dream jobs in golf but for Bob Harrison, the Australian designer of the new Ardfin course on Jura, this project must be close to pure fantasy. Harrison is the man charged with building a world-class golf course on a 14,000-acre estate at the southern tip of the sparsely populated Scottish island. Harrison has described the site as the most beautiful he has ever seen during his time in golf, which is quite an endorsement given some of the projects he worked on whilst in charge of Greg Norman’s Australasian design business.
Read more

03 Aug
2012
Hurdzan and Fry to split their design business
Interesting news in the golf course design industry, that long time partners Dr Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry have decided to split their business and operate independently of each other. Fry will team up with Jason Straka to form Fry/Straka Global Golf Design while Hurdzan has partnered with his son Chris to create Hurdzan & Son, Inc.
Read more

08 Aug
2012
BOB HARRISON UNVEILS PLANS FOR A NEW GOLF COURSE ON THE SCOTTISH ISLAND OF JURA
In exciting news for the Scottish golf industry, Australian architect Bob Harrison has unveiled plans to build a world-class 18-hole golf course on the small Hebridean island of Jura. The course will become part of the 14,000-acre Ardfin Estate, which occupies the southern tip of an island best known for its single malt scotch whiskey and with a current population of just 180. In announcing the new development Harrison described the Ardfin site as the “most beautiful I have ever seen in my time in golf”.
Read more

09 Jul
2012
The Battle at Barnbougle – The Federal Court of Australia enters the Barnbougle Dunes vs Lost Farm debate
One of Australian golf’s longest and costliest legal disputes was finally resolved last month, with Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm developer Richard Sattler successfully defending himself in the Federal Court of Australia against charges of fiduciary and conflict of interest breaches brought against him by his minority shareholders at Barnbougle Dunes. Sattler had been sued by Links Golf Tasmania, a company that operates the Barnbougle Dunes golf course under lease and is majority owned by Sattler himself. The case, which lasted more than a year, centered on the belief of the minority shareholders in LGT that Sattler had no legal right to build Lost Farm, and had used expertise gained while operating Barnbougle Dunes to set up a competing business.
Read more

30 May
2012
European Golf Design announces it’s latest design accolade...from leading Russian Real Estate magazine!
Last week European Golf Design announced its new PGA National Russia course was preparing to open later this summer. In making the announcement the company described PGA National Russia as their latest ‘award-winning’ golf course and detailed its winning of the prestigious ‘Best New Design in Russia 2011’ award, which was handed out by Moscow’s leading real estate magazine, Magazin. While it’s not clear how many new Russian golf courses were designed in 2011 (we could find just one), winning an award like this a full year before the course was even finished is quite an achievement, though it probably speaks to both the state of the Russian golf industry as much as the competition from other new projects.
Read more

18 Apr
2012
Organizers confirm that the 2012 Asian Pacific Golf Summit will be the samest ever
A few months after calling for seismic changes to the golf industry in Asia, the organizers of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit have proven their dedication to the cause by…..inviting yet another signature ‘designer’ to spruik for work at the 2012 event. They are also trumpeting the news that Jon Scott, head agronomist at Nicklaus Design, will speak at the summit as well.
Read more

16 Mar
2012
Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course Preview
Given the fact that ground won’t even break in Brazil for several months, we can’t review Gil Hanse’s golf course for the Rio Games in 2016 just yet, but we can certainly preview the project and speculate on how good the layout might end up being. Analysis below was based on the preliminary routing plan produced by Hanse’s team for the judges’ consideration
Read more

16 Mar
2012
Gil Hanse appointed to design the golf course for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Earlier this month the most wonderful announcement was made in Brazil, regarding the design of the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro. American Gil Hanse was selected from a short-list of eight candidates to design a course that will host the Olympic golf competition, which returns in 2016 after an absence of more than 100 years. Following the Olympics the Hanse course, situated in the Barra da Tijuca district, will be used as a public facility, to hopefully encourage more Brazilians to take up golf and swap one beautiful game for another. Hanse beat Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Doak and Robert Trent Jones II among others to be awarded the contract to design and build this important new course. Among the golfing commentariat, much of the subsequent analysis has focused on what an upset it had been for the dark horse (Hanse) to beat out his better known ‘design’ rivals. There have also been endless ruminations on what the decision might mean for the future of golf course development. We share the enthusiasm of our peers when it comes to the message this verdict might send the wider golf industry, but wonder whether the choice of Hanse was really an upset at all.
Read more

05 Jan
2012
Robert Trent Jones II makes his ‘Public Golf Proclamation’
Just when you thought that Robert Trent Jones II’s design company had scraped the marketing barrel with its Green Proclamation of a few years back, an even fluffier and more pointless piece of spin was released this week – the Robert Trent Jones II Public Golf Proclamation.
Read more

20 Dec
2011
Royal Canberra announces the appointment of Ogilvy Clayton to prepare a master plan for future course works
One of the more hotly contested redesign jobs in Australia was awarded to the newly formed Ogilvy Clayton Design team last week, the company appointed by the Royal Canberra Golf Club to prepare a masterplan for major course works, post the 2013 Aussie Women’s Open.
Read more

08 Dec
2011
Robert Trent Jones II Interview – Part I
Immediately following the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, where ‘master architect’ Robert Trent Jones II appeared as an honourary observer, I was given an opportunity to sit down with the prolific designer to discuss his family, his career, the work of his associates and the content of his somewhat opportunistic Green Proclamation. I was promised an engaging chat with a charming adversary, and wasn’t disappointed – especially as discussions led us to castle building and why post-WWII, rather than pre-WWII, was really golf’s Golden Age.
Read more

08 Dec
2011
China GOLF Magazine - Lessons from Royal Melbourne and the 2011 Presidents Cup
As readers will be aware, in November the Presidents Cup was held at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, one of the world’s finest championship courses. Royal Melbourne is a special place to me, because I caddied on the West Course as a young kid and was able to play in the afternoons when the courses were free. In the summer I would sometimes play 36 or more holes from late afternoon until sunset. Playing such strategic, fun and interesting holes proved the ideal way for me to really learn the game of golf properly. The reason I am so passionate about great golf design, is because I believe that the virtues taught us by the great old courses are so worthwhile, and so easy to replicate. I’m not the only one who looks at Royal Melbourne and marvels; some of the American players at the Presidents Cup declared it the ‘best course they have ever played.’
Read more

30 Nov
2011
China Golf Magazine - Club Managers Conference 2011
Back in September I had the great pleasure of speaking at the 12th National Club Managers Conference in Haikou, where the themes of Health, Harmony and Development in the golf business were explored and discussed at length by more than 400 industry delegates. Given the current situation in China with regards government approvals and the future of golf development, it was a fantastic opportunity to speak to key decision makers in this business while also listening to other impassioned experts in this field. My presentation explored issues like water and land usage, accessibility, affordability and the lack of genuine world-class golf here. Much of my speech focused on how similar problems had been overcome in other parts of the world. Clearly the biggest threat to the golf business in China comes from current government policy and the attitudes of the mainstream media toward our game. Golf is viewed by some as an elitist bourgeois pursuit, that is neither respectful of the land it occupies nor of the natural resources used to maintain it. The game is also seen as being too expensive and not welcoming of new players. Those perceptions may be inaccurate but they do exist, and our task is not to ignore them but to try to change them.
Read more

07 Dec
2011
Essex County Country Club 125th Anniversary
On May 26th 1887 Essex County Country Club in West Orange NJ was incorporated. ECCC thus became the FIRST country club in the state of NJ and the sixth club in the United States. The club has been the home to a prestigious membership which include Frelinghuysen, Merck, Pfizer, Chubb, Colgate and of course for 41 years, Thomas Edison. It is currently home to former Governor Richard Codey as well as NJ Devil great Martin Brodeur. It has also been host to numerous NJ and MGA golf events, hosted numerous famous golf professionals as well as visits from three US presidents.
Read more

05 Dec
2011
Thomson Perrett mimic Nicklaus and Norman by adding LPGA star to their Olympic bid
The organizing committee for the 2016 Olympic games have announced that eight finalists have been selected for its golf course design contest. The creative commercial pairings of Greg Norman with Lorena Ochoa and Jack Nicklaus with Annika Sorrenstam have paid off, for now anyway, with both teams shortlisted. Also on the shortlist is the Australian signature design company Thomson Perrett, who have announced that 7 times LPGA major winner Karrie Webb will be part of their design team should the company win the Olympic contract. Despite no evidence at all that a design company teaming with an LPGA superstar can/will produce a quality golf course, it has clearly become fashionable to champion gender equality by tacking a famous female onto your design bid. Others in contention are fellow signature design companies, Gary Player Design and Robert Trent Jones II as well as golf course architects Martin Hawtree, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse.
Read more

23 Nov
2011
Golf Digest Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses for 2012
With our next Australian Golf Digest Top 100 due in a couple of months, it was interesting to see our sister publication in Ireland last week release their own Top 100 of the best Irish courses. Not surprisingly the list created quite a deal of controversy, with most debate centred on the make-up of the top quarter.
Read more

11 Nov
2011
Asian Golf Monthly Awards - Best New Course announced
The annual Asian Golf Monthly Awards were handed out earlier this month at a Gala Dinner in Pattaya, Thailand during the 2011 Asian Pacific Golf Summit. With special guest Jimmy Connors looking on, awards were handed out in 28 categories, including for Best Championship Course, Best Maintained Course, Best Renovation, Best Value for Money, Best Course on the Subcontinent and Asian Golf Personality of the Year.
Read more

11 Nov
2011
Geoff Ogilvy inspects progress of first major design project at Bonnie Doon
Earlier this week, the Bonnie Doon Golf Club welcomed defending Australian Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy back to the club to inspect the works being carried out by his design company Ogilvy Clayton Golf Design.
Read more

11 Nov
2011
The Asia Pacific Golf Summit champions the need for Seismic Changes to the golf industry…by inviting Nicklaus & Player to again deliver keynote addresses
In a startling display of absolute hypocrisy, the organizers of the 2011 Asia Pacific Golf Summit have called for ‘seismic changes’ to the golfing industry. CEO of the Asia Pacific Golf Group, Mike Sebastian, stated that it was time for the industry to, ‘cut out the lip service and embark on programmes that are designed to evoke change ... change for the better.’ To prove his sincerity Sebastian again wheeled out heavyweights Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin to accept awards and deliver speeches to the attending delegates. Feting the already feted and providing these guys with yet another opportunity to spruik for signature design work apparently shows how committed Sebastian and his organizing crew are for ‘genuine’ change to the game in Asia. Unfortunately it also shows how corrupt the business really is, with Mike Sebastian the Asian representative for Tony Jacklin's Signature Design company...
Read more

14 Oct
2011
China GOLF Magazine - Scotland, the origins of golf
Golf development in China is going through a turbulent period. Government and the mainstream media are not supportive of the sport, and the industry needs to address concerns over land and water usage if we are to ever reach a point where new course construction is permitted by the government I’m reminded of the beginnings of our beautiful game, and how golf established itself in Scotland as the national sport. What some readers may not realise, is that back in 1457 golf was so popular in Scotland that it was banned by King James II. The King was concerned that golf was distracting his servants from the archery practice needed to repel English invaders. In towns like St Andrews the ban was ineffective. Hitting a pebble with a stick around the sand dunes and into a hole had become part of daily life, so residents largely ignored the ban.
Read more

16 Sep
2011
The Truth about Signature Design
I have been coming to China regularly since 2005, and while there is no question that the quality of golf has improved in that time, the sad truth remains that there are still far too many mediocre courses being built in this great nation. I hope to help change this.
Read more

26 Sep
2011
China from the inside - The building of Shanqin Bay
The oldest cliché in architecture may be the promise to “give the client what the client wants”. It’s an admirable goal, but what if the client doesn’t really know what is wanted, or relies on the architect to determine what’s best? And what if that architect lacks an understanding of the circumstances in which he is working? Should he familiarize himself with those circumstances, rely on his own conditioned sense of what is good or do a little bit of both? Two years ago, the firm with which I am associated, Coore & Crenshaw, faced the prospect of designing a new golf course on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. We had never worked in China before. In fact, none of us had even been to China. Our client expressed a desire to create a special golf course. We wanted to accede to this request, of course, but we didn’t know what “special” meant, or indeed should mean, in China.
Read more

25 Sep
2011
China from the inside - Living and working the golf industry in China
The China I know is a fascinating test of patience, perseverance, adaptability, indignity, creativeness, integrity, humor, humility, and friendship.
 Before writing how business here sometimes feels like a never ending game of “Three Card Monte” where only the people holding the deck know the rules (and the rules change each hand, and always without notice), a fair article about current business life in China demands space for the other times when there is a profoundly exhilarating sense of making history, living on the front line of this modern day frontier expats fondly refer to as the “Wild Wild East.”
Read more

10 Aug
2011
10 Courses and 180 Holes in a Day
Back in late 2009 New Zealand corporate lawyer Michael Goldstein was stuck in a rut and looking for an adventure. Along with work colleague and good friend, Jamie Patton, he quit his job, left his girlfriend and embarked on the puregolf2010 odyssey, which involved travelling the world and playing a different golf course every single day of the year. Fast forward to July 2011 and the young golf adventurer again made global headlines, this time becoming the first person to play ten different 18-hole golf courses in a single day. The feat was achieved at the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island in southern China, in the midst of a particularly steamy, tropical summer.
Read more

14 Jun
2011
Sliding down that slippery Slope
Ever since Golf Australia announced changes to our local handicapping system, including the implementation of the United States slope rating system for golf courses, I have feared for what might happen to some of our great layouts once their slope numbers were computed and announced. It was during a recent conversation with the President of a prominent metropolitan golf club that I realised my fears about the introduction of the US slope rating system here were well founded.
Read more

06 Jun
2011
Breaking news from Gary Player Design last month - the legendary major champion is hoping to design a golf course somewhere in Australia.
It was announced recently that Gary Player Design has appointed a local marketing agency as its Australasian representative; in an effort to ‘explore new golf course design projects Down Under.’ Despite having built more than 300 courses across the globe, Player’s design company has yet to build any in Australia and the seven-time Aussie Open champion is now looking to rectify this by pushing for new work in the region.
Read more

08 Jun
2011
New world No. 1 Luke Donald announces plans for his first course 'design'.
Those who follow developments in Asia closely, will be aware that shortly after assuming the mantle of the World’s highest ranked professional golfer, England’s Luke Donald bowed to the inevitable and announced he was designing his first course, in Danang, Vietnam. The project is known as Ba Na Hills, and Donald will apparently ‘design’ the course in association with IMG Golf Course Services. Omitted from the announcement, was news that Ba Na Hills had already been designed and is currently under construction.
Read more

08 Jun
2011
The Australian PGA tries to increase the profile of golf... by putting together a boy band!
In what is claimed to be an attempt to shake a stuffy image of golf as a game for your Dad and his retired friends (does it really even have that image?), the Australian PGA recently embarked on a bold, new marketing campaign to give the game a youthful, fresher appearance. Glamour photography and exposed skin have worked in the past for the LPGA as well as niche sports like water polo and surfing, but the wisdom behind ‘sexing’ up the image of a group of male golf professionals to order to increase interest in the game is lost on us here at Planet Golf.
Read more

09 Jun
2011
China cracks down, once more, on golf course development
As many will be aware, earlier this year the Chinese Central Government issued the ‘2011 Notice on Starting the Comprehensive Nationwide Compliance and corrective Measures for Golf Courses’. The notice was issued following an explosion of golf course development across the country, despite a 2004 Notice, which effectively banned the development of any new courses in China. The 2004 Notice forbid local government from approving the construction of new golf courses, and also supposedly forced those projects that had been built without relevant approvals to be stopped. As visitors or observers of the local industry will attest, the 2004 Notice has been largely ignored in China as developers skirt anti-golf regulations by incorporating courses into housing estates and referring to their layouts as ‘green space’, ‘sports fields’ or ‘country clubs’.
Read more

16 Apr
2011
Brian Curley Interview - Part I, Mission Hills Haikou and the Lava Fields Course
Welcome to a new series of interviews with about the busiest man in golf, American course architect Brian Curley – one half of the Schmidt Curley golf course design team. Aside from the sheer number of clients Schmidt Curley has in China right now, what’s unique about this business is the unprecedented relationship they have with the Chu family of Mission Hills fame. Brian Curley has already been lead architect on 22 Mission Hills courses (10 in Shenzhen, 10 in Haikou, 2 in Kunming), with the promise of at least another 8 to come in the years ahead. Which begs the question, how does one extract 22 course design commissions from a single client, and how does an architect attempt to produce quality courses when they need to be completed so quickly?
Read more

11 Apr
2011
Aussies shine at Augusta during thrilling Masters finale
South African Charl Schwartzel won the 2011 Masters Tournament, but Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club this year was very nearly Australia Day....
Read more

30 Mar
2011
Tom Doak Interview - Part II
Last month I caught up with renowned American golf architect Tom Doak, while he was inspecting his new project in Haikou, on Hainan Island in China. We conducted a 90-minute interview for China Golf Channel, which covered a wide range of issues from his earliest golfing memories through to the success of key projects like Pacific Dunes and Barnbougle Dunes. In Part II of the interview, now posted on Planet Golf, Doak discusses his new projects in China, working with developer Mike Keiser and the problems with modern design worldwide. For those unfamiliar with Doak’s work, it’s worth noting that Golfweek Magazine recently ranked 5 of his golf courses among the Top 15 modern courses in America.
Read more

29 Mar
2011
China GOLF Magazine - Interview with Darius Oliver
Extracts of the following interview with author and golf consultant Darius Oliver were published in the April issue of GOLF Magazine in China.
Read more

23 Mar
2011
News Flash – Gary Player set to return to the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in 2011… as event organizers struggle to come up with a new accolade for 2012.
The organizers of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit announced yesterday that Gary Player was returning for the third straight year, this time to accept induction into the Asia Pacific Hall of Fame, which is administered by the group that runs the annual Summit. For Player this is yet ‘another distinguished honor to add to his list of international achievements.’ And, might we suggest, another opportunity to use his golfing celebrity to spruik for course design work in the Asia region.
Read more

15 Mar
2011
Tom Doak Interview - Part I
Last month I caught up with renowned American golf architect Tom Doak, while he was inspecting his new project in Haikou, on Hainan Island in China. We conducted a 90-minute interview for China Golf Channel, which covered a wide range of issues from his earliest golfing memories through to the success of key projects like Pacific Dunes and Barnbougle Dunes. In Part I of the interview, now posted on Planet Golf, Doak talks about his start in the design business, working for Pete Dye and the benefits of his best courses being publicly accessible. There are also views on signature designers, and why his style of design is so different to most of his architectural peers.
Read more

15 Mar
2011
Interview with Harley Kruse - on his new design business with Bob Harrison
Exciting news in the golf design business late last year, that long-time Greg Norman collaborators Bob Harrison and Harley Kruse are teaming up to form a new design partnership servicing the Asia region. As many readers will be aware, Harrison helped form Greg Norman Golf Course Design back in the late 1980s, and worked as head designer for the Asia/Pacific region for more than 20 years. During his tenure he designed such quality layouts as National Moonah, Ellerston, Nirwana Bali, The Glades, Pelican Waters, Brookwater and others. Harrison’s new partner is Harley Kruse, who spent ten years alongside Bob at Greg Norman Golf Course Design and another decade working with Peter Thomson and his design team. In this Planet Golf architect interview we talk to Harley Kruse about the new business, his ambitions in Asia and the difference between working for a big signature firm and now running a smaller independent business.
Read more

11 Mar
2011
Asian Golf Monthly turns its superlatives to Design Revolutionary…….Tony Jacklin!
News out of Asia this week, that the 2011 Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Pattaya will feature British legend Tony Jacklin as one of its keynote speakers. Following from the ‘love-fest’ of previous years, where the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Annika Sorenstam have been feted for their ‘services to golf’, this year it’s apparently Jacklin’s turn to be adulated as he spruiks for course design work. In making his announcement, publisher Mike Sebastian described Jacklin as a 'design revolutionary'.....
Read more

20 Jan
2011
Outrage at The Australian - If this was a new course Nicklaus wouldn’t put his name to it!
Long ago I accepted the fact that I was unlikely to be able to hit a golf ball like Jack Nicklaus, nor putt with his complete assuredness under the most extreme pressure. After studying more than 40 of his golf courses worldwide, I’d also assumed that we were unlikely to ever share the same views on architecture and the business of golf course design. Turns out I was wrong, for I recently discovered that, like me, Nicklaus apparently believes that Sydney’s revered Australian Golf Club is seriously flawed. The problem for Jack Nicklaus; he’s the guy who designed it.
Read more

21 Jan
2011
Planet Golf - 2010 Architect of the Year
Though it may surprise some, our Planet Golf Architect of the Year for 2010 is American Jim Urbina. Having started in the design business working for Pete Dye, Urbina joined forces with an unknown novice named Tom Doak in 1992 and worked successfully with him until midway through last year, when they parted ways. Urbina wins our Architect of the Year award for his efforts on the Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes, arguably the most charismatic course built in recent memory. Other candidates for the award included Doak, Bill Coore, Kyle Phillips and Brian Curley.
Read more

16 Dec
2010
Signature Architect or Signature Designer?
I’m continually bemused by reports of young PGA Tour stars, in the prime of their playing careers, being paid exorbitant sums of money to apparently collaborate on the design of a golf course. Across Asia this is a regular occurrence, with developers often trying to hoodwink us into believing the players are golf architects, rather than what they truly are - celebrity consultants. For the players in question, this is about easy money and few consider how poor design work might risk their longer-term reputation. Circulating the golf industry in China at the moment are rumours that England’s Paul Casey is to receive a seven figure sum for putting his name to an IMG course on Hainan Island.
Read more

15 Dec
2010
Calling all Armchair Architects – the Mission Hills Fantasy Hole Competition
The World’s largest golf club, Mission Hills in China, has announced plans to offer armchair architects the opportunity to design three holes on its forthcoming Icon Course, which will be built in 2011 at the incredible new 5-star Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island. Lead architect Brian Curley is arguably the most daring and inventive designer since Pete Dye, and he is asking contestants in the Fantasy Hole Competition to submit ideas for a par three, par four and par five hole. Curley wants the Icon Course to make a big visual impression, and is seeking entries that are as radical and ‘out there’ as possible.
Read more

09 Sep
2010
Into the eye of the Shark
Back in June I had the honor of interviewing my golfing idol, Greg Norman, one-on-one for a feature article in Australian Golf Digest magazine. It was my first direct meeting with the Great White Shark, despite him contributing the foreword to my 2007 publication Planet Golf. Although Norman’s schedule was crazy tight, and he spent the first few minutes dressing me down for suggesting Harrison’s departure from the GNGCD company was newsworthy, he was ultimately generous with his time and happy to talk about his business, his design philosophies and how employees of the company are publicly recognized.
Read more

09 Sep
2010
Course Comparison - Barnbougle Dunes vs Lost Farm
Last month we drew comparisons between heavily manufactured dunes courses in Scotland (Kingsbarns) and Wisconsin (Whistling Straits), with our poll respondents clearly of the view that Kingbarns (80% of votes) was superior to this year’s controversial PGA Championship venue, Whistling Straits. This month we look at some of the most natural dune country in all of golf, as we compare Tasmanian siblings Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm. Lost Farm opens later this year, but is already being hailed a masterpiece by those fortunate enough to play preview rounds. While Doak’s original links at Barnbougle Dunes has had several years to mature and continues to delight golfers, the great news for visitors to this charming destination is that Bill Coore’s new creation does not in any way suffer by comparison. They are both outstanding and, crucially, very different.
Read more

01 Aug
2010
Course Comparison - Kingsbarns v Whistling Straits
In August the final major championship for 2010 was played on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, designed by enigmatic 80+ year-old architect Pete Dye. Whistling Straits first opened for play in 1998, two years prior to Scotland’s Kingsbarns course, which is a similarly extravagant, and manufactured, big dune layout set close to the water. In this month’s ‘course comparison’ we look at these two modern greats, and ask readers to comment on which one is better – Whistling Straits or Kingsbarns?
Read more

01 Aug
2010
Upsetting the Architects
It all began with an apparently innocent request – for the members of the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects (SAGCA) to contribute to an Australian Golf Digest article by scoring (anonymously) our finest courses. The idea was to produce a collaborative Top 20 list, in order to see which courses the Architects felt were under or over appreciated by our regular ranking panel. While some thick-skinned soles gave the request thoughtful consideration, and sent in their scores, a vocal group within the SAGCA decided that the request was unreasonable and, therefore, should be ignored. The primary reason being that apparently members are required to respect others in the association, and that even if they had seen poor work, they were duty bound to remain silent. In other words, in the forum of golf course architecture they should have no voice.
Read more

01 Aug
2010
Darius Oliver Golf Course Design is launched
It is with unreserved hesitation that I announce plans to establish Darius Oliver Golf Course Design, a new golf design business aimed principally at golf clubs and developers who wish to build courses without genuine golf architects.
Read more

01 Mar
2010
The Pitfalls of Redesign
Accepting that appointing an appropriate golf architect is the first step to a successful course redesign, there are several factors to consider before determining who should carry out any work at your club. Aside from assessing the quality of the candidates, you also need a clear idea of the scope and nature of any intended work as well as an accurate understanding of what the club can afford. Some architect’s work better on inferior ground than others, some can handle big budget projects more ably while others are expert at working with natural and undulating terrain.
Read more

01 Apr
2010
Signature Design vs Co-Design
It’s often the first thing a golfer asks, who designed this course? Yet it’s also something that many golf course developers spend only a few hours deciding – in their minds, for whatever reason, they want a Nicklaus course or a Norman course and that’s precisely what they are going to get. The reality, of course, is that a Nicklaus course is not designed by Jack Nicklaus, and often not designed by a particularly senior or talented architect. While large signature companies occasionally build good courses, developers should be aware of the pitfalls of signature design and ask themselves the question - do I want a Nicklaus or a Norman or a Palmer or a Player or a Robert Trent Jones II Course - Or do I want a Great One?
Read more