Oct 26, 1929
Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Oct 25, 2016


Jack Nicklaus (left) and Arnold Palmer celebrate during the 2014 Masters Par 3 Contest.

While other players of his era dabbled in golf course design, Arnold Palmer jumped into the business with the same gusto with which he swung a golf club.

In 1971, while still winning on the PGA Tour and competing gamely in major championships, he founded the Arnold Palmer Design Company. More than four decades later, Palmer's name is on more than 300 courses in 37 states, 25 countries and five continents.

While longtime partner Ed Seay did much of the design work until his death in 2007, Palmer provided the broad brushstrokes, creating courses that "are not characteristic in any way," he said. "They are individually designed."

Palmer courses do not figure prominently on the top 100 lists of Golf Digest or Golf Magazine. But his resume is full of acclaimed gems that golf fans recognize.

Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu has hosted Champions and LPGA Tour events. The K Club in Ireland was the venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup. Three Palmer courses -- the Classic Club, SilverRock Resort, and the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West -- took turns hosting the Bob Hope Classic (now the CareerBuilder Challenge). Sawgrass Country Club was the site of the Players Championship from 1977-81. Hiddenbrooke in Northern California hosted the LPGA World Championship invitational from 2000-2002. And Morgan Pressel's first LPGA win came at Palmer's Bay Course at Kapalua, a player-friendly complement to Kapalua's rugged Plantation Course, which hosts the PGA's Tournament of Champions.

Some consider Palmer's greatest course to be Tralee Golf Club in Ireland, his first design in Europe, in a spectacular seaside setting. Typically, Palmer deflected the credit. "I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the second nine," he said.

Other Palmer standouts include the Stonewall Resort in West Virginia; Bay Creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia; The Bog in Wisconsin; Oasis Golf Club in Mesquite, Nev.; Teton Pines in Wyoming; Running Y Ranch in Oregon; California beauties Half Moon Bay and Aviara; and a course named for his golf-pro father: Deacon's Lodge in Brainerd, Minn.

Senior architects Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson still draw inspiration from their time with the King.
Though he passed away in 2016, his influence on golf course design continues on through the work of architects Brandon Johnson and Thad Layton, who continue operate the Arnold Palmer Design Company. To adapt to the changing golf course design industry, they have adopted more of the design/build methodology for which contemporaries like Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are lauded.

This more hand-crafted turn has also come along with an updated aesthetic and strategic approach. An embrace of firm turf, open green complexes, rugged bunkering and adventuresome putting surface contours makes Johnson and Layton a formidable duo in their field, with an enthusiasm and flair that would make the King proud.

Lakewood National represents the latest step in the evolution of the Arnold Palmer Design Company.

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Arnold Palmer Designed Courses Map

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