Architect's Week Recap: Morning Drive interviews top golf course designers

During the first week of February, Golf Channel's Morning Drive hosted its second edition of Architect's Week. A collection of the game's finest course architects stopped by to offer their insights on some of their most recent work as well as look at recent trends in design.

The more I learn about golf architecture, the more I want to know. And the more I know, the more I appreciate the game for something other than just chasing a score. Which is why I was so excited for Architect's Week II on Morning Drive. Producers gave me the freedom to invite architects who had relevant projects they had just finished, or are in progress.

From Gil Hanse on dealing with the pressures of his own success (Olympic Course in Rio, Castle Stuart, Boston Golf Club and the renovation of Doral's Blue Monster), to the underrated Mike DeVries, who just completed Cape Wickham in Tasmania, each architect was able to share plans and/or pictures of places the avid amateur is anxious to see and play.

It's hard to believe that after 65 years of marriage and both pressing 90 years old, Pete and Alice Dye are currently working on 13 new projects, including three new courses, one of which is north of Toronto. (Alice Dye, soon to be 88, just renewed her passport.)

The original list of invites included Bill Coore, just one of Pete Dye’s successful protégés, but due to a scheduling conflict, Coore had to pass this time. I’m looking forward to spending time at Sand Valley in Rome, Wisc., this summer, where Coore and Ben Crenshaw will be simultaneously building next to David McLay Kidd, who was thoughtful, insightful and downright humble about lessons learned since building Bandon Dunes in 1999.

I also appreciated Geoff Shackelford’s insight and information, who helped preview Architect's Week with me. The author and designer included a list of suggested books to read if you’re interested in learning more about golf architecture.

Here are complete highlights from the weeklong discussion with some of the game's greatest minds:

Tom Doak

Tom Doak walked us through his plans for his innovative reversible course at Forest Dunes, one of the most anticipated designs in recent golf history.

Shackelford called the Forest Dunes concept "phenomenal" and hopes visitors embrace the concept when it opens. Doak also shed some light on the latest architecture trends, including Pinehurst No. 2 before and after the restoration.


Pete and Alice Dye

In this multi-part series, Morning Drive paid a visit to the first couple of golf course architecture. First, the couple reminisced about how they met at Rollins College, while Alice shed some light on Pete's wilder college days.

Both stellar amateur players in their hay day, they've gone on to become the king and queen of golf course architecture. They described the early days and how they decided to change careers from selling insurance to golf course design.

The Morning Drive team discussed the legacy the Dyes have left on golf course architecture, as well as their design philosophy that has led to the creation of some of the world's most difficult golf courses like Whistling Straits and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.


Gil Hanse

Few names in golf course design have been hotter than Gil Hanse in recent years. After earning the winning bid for the hotly contested Olympic Course in Rio, he has also become a go-to designer for Donald Trump.

In this first clip, Hanse described the pros and cons of building such a hotly anticipated (and at times contested) project in Brazil.

In a follow-up clip, Hanse spoke about what it's like working with Trump, and also offered some details on his upcoming design, Streamsong Black.


David McLay Kidd

In this first clip, Kidd discussed his design at Bandon Dunes, which helped spawn what has become one of the world's most popular destinations.

Kidd then offered a frank assessment of his career and design style following Bandon Dunes, which included some controversial designs at the Castle Course in St. Andrews and Tetherow Golf Club. Most recently, his style has gone back to fun and playable, including the new Gamble Sands, which then led to the winning bid for the second course at Sand Valley, Mike Keiser's latest golf resort in Wisconsin.


Robert Trent Jones Jr.

The 2015 U.S. Open will look unlike any previous tournament, held at Chambers Bay in the Pacific Northwest. The modern course, designed in the style of a links course by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is molded out of an old quarry overlooking the Puget Sound. Jones discussed how the course has taken shape since it opened in 2007 and how the USGA will set it up for the nation's open.

Jones Jr. also shed some background on growing up with his father, the famed Robert Trent Jones Sr. and how he learned the business by working on the site of many of his father's designs.


Mike Devries

Though less prolific than the above architects, Mike Devries has a relatively small-but-strong resume, which includes The Kingsley Club in Traverse City, Mich. He discussed growing up and working at Crystal Downs in Northern Michigan as well as his new course in Australia, built in the same area as Lost Farm and Barnbougle Dunes.

Matt Ginella is Golf Advisor's Editor-at-Large and host of Golf Advisor Round Trip travel series on Golf Channel. Matt serves as resident buddy trip expert and captains a collection of VIP trips called Golf Advisor Getaways.
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Architect's Week Recap: Morning Drive interviews top golf course designers