Glasgow, Scotland


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Architect David McLay Kidd talks Bandon Dunes and his latest work

David McLay Kidd grew up in the golf business, surrounded by the history of Scottish golf -- and some of the world's greatest courses. When David was born, his father, Jimmy Kidd, was the greenkeeper at Glasgow Golf Club. In 1981, the elder Kidd was hired as the superintendent of the courses at Gleneagles Resort. Within a few short years, Gleneagles became the venue for the Scottish Open for eight straight years. Jimmy's boy had a front-row seat for all of it and decided early on that a life in the golf industry was to be his future.

At the tender age of 26, McLay Kidd first set foot on a large swath of ocean-front land in Oregon, and he would make a pitch to build what many consider to be the first true links course in the U.S. Two years later, he moved to Coos Bay to design and build Bandon Dunes, a masterpiece that would propel him to instant stardom in the world of golf course architecture.

Shortly after Bandon Dunes opened to universal praise in 1999, McLay Kidd founded DMK Golf Design, which expanded relatively quickly into an all-inclusive, full-service golf course design and construction firm. The firm's portfolio spans the globe, from the Pacific Northwest to Fiji, from South Africa to Scotland, from Nepal to Nicaragua. There may be no other golf course architect who has covered so much geography in so little time.

After Bandon Dunes, McLay Kidd's firm pulled a real plum assignment with the seventh course at St. Andrews Links, the Castle Course. It opened in 2008 to mixed reviews. Although the site is stunning, on a cliff top with views of the sea and St. Andrews, criticisms were leveled at the course's crazily undulating greens and numerous "hummocks" of long fescue that dotted nearly every fairway. (The greens were later softened, and many of the penal hummocks were removed.)

Other high-profile McLay Kidd designs include Gamble Sands Golf Club in Brewster, Wash., Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Ore., Guacalito Golf Course in Rivas, Nicaragua, and Nanea Golf Club in Hawaii. Aside from Bandon Dunes, the most highly decorated McLay Kidd design may be Machrihanish Dunes in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, which some critics have called one of the best modern layouts in Scotland, on some of the last available linksland.

Still at the height of his career, David McLay Kidd has the rare opportunity to add his own chapter to the centuries of golf history that his father before him worked to preserve, and into which he was born.

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Architect McLay Kidd on Gamble Sands short course, current design trends

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