Famous Golf Course Architects

PGA Fellow Professional

Famous Golf Course Architects

Famous Golf Course Architects

Famous Golf Course Architects is a short Golf blog post listing some of the most famous architects in Golf.

To pick out one golf course architect/designer is an almost impossible task without missing someone out.

How can you begin to compare an architect of today with an architect from the past?

Modern-day architects have huge budgets, monster machinery and the bonus of experience and hindsight.

The older architects of the past had little budget, little machinery and they built courses by hand and learning by doing.

So, where should I begin? Below is my list, in no particular order, of Famous Golf Course Architects.

Famous Golf Course Architects
James Braid

A great player, 5-time Open Championship Winner, that turned his hand to course design. James Braid is known for inventing the “Dogleg”. His most famous work is probably the “Kings Course” and the “Queens Course” at Gleneagles, Carnoustie & Dalmahoy.

Old Tom Morris

The first Golf Professional that turned to course architecture. He designed Muirfield, Prestwick, The Jubilee and one of the best links courses in Scotland, Machrihanish. His last course, Killermont, opened in 1904.

Alister MacKenzie

Famous for inventing the two-tier green and helped develop the army camouflage that we know today. His course designs include Moortown, Sandmoor, Alwoodly, Blairgowrie, Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne & my home course of Templenewsam.

Pete Dye

Most famous for his Stadium Course course design at the TPC Sawgrass Pete has designed many other amazing courses. The likes of La Quinta, PGA West, Trump National, Copper Creek, Harbour Town, Kiawah Island, Crooked Stick & Whistling Straits.

Dave Thomas

The Brabazon course at The Belfry is possibly the best example of Daves’ architectural genius. The Hunting Course at Slaley Hall is a close second. Abama Golf, La Manga and San Roque are also included in Dave Thomas’ list of excellent designs.

Peter Alliss

Peter was best known for his commentary with the BBC. His early career was as a well known Tour player but many people don’t realise that he also dabbled in course design. His most famous design is the risk-reward 10th hole at The Belfry. He also designed many other courses including the Seve Club, La Baule, Landsdowne at Blairgowrie to name but a few.

Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus Design is arguably the largest golf course design company in the world. There aren’t many courses that have not been through this company at some point or another. Shoal Creek, The Greenbrier, Grand Cypress, PGA West, St. Mellion, Valhalla, Oakmont, Mission Hills, Muirfield Village & of course The PGA National that includes the world-famous Bear Trap.

Tom Doak

Tom has worked with the best designers in the world and is now seen as one of the best of his trade. His courses include Pacific Dunes, The Legends, Pasatiempo, The Renaissance Club, Ballyneal and Cape Kidnappers. For me, his best work can be found in the books that he has written over the years including The Anatomy of a Golf Course.

Robert Trent Jones

Adare Manor, Atlanta Athletic Club, Ballybunion, Baltusrol, Celtic Manor, Chamonix, Firestone, Hazeltine, Moor Allerton, Sotogrande, Valderrama, Spyglass Hill and Vilamoura are just some of the most amazing layouts that Robert Trent Jones has designed over the years. Unfortunately, he is more famous for being mistaken with Robert Tyre Jones (Bobby Jones).

Donald Ross

His stunning use of the natural surroundings makes his designs simple but challenging. East Lake, Seminole, Oak Hill Country Club, Oakland Hills & the amazing Pinehurst No.2 are just a few of Donald Ross’ designs.

Donald Steel

Enniscrone, Formby, Forest of Arden, Gardagolf, Killarney, Royal County Down, Selby, Woburn, Woodhall Spa and the famous Royal Dornoch. The list of famous courses goes on and on.

Alice Dye

The lesser-known better half of Pete. She helped design the Stadium Course at Sawgrass, Crooked Stick, Whistling Straits, PGA West and Kiawah Island.

Tiger Woods

Bluejack National, Jack’s Bay, Payne’s Valley, The Hay, Trump World, The Legacy Club. Although the company is new, the courses are traditional and exciting. The future looks very bright for this company.


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Image by Malachi Witt from Pixabay