There are a well known architects in today’s golf design world that were professional golfers before. The first one that comes to my mind is Jack Nicklaus. He achieved a lot during his professional golf career, having a total of 18 major championship wins. He has been involved with designing over 294 courses, 70 of them being ranked by major golf publications including Golfweek and Golf Digest. For courses designed by Nicklaus around the bay area, Ruby Hill Golf Club and Coyote Creek Golf Course come to mind. Ruby Hill in located in Pleasanton, CA with Coyote Creek being located in South San Jose. Both of these courses are prone to wind, as they both sit in a valley where the wind tends to pick up in the afternoons. In the 2010 he was part of designing many courses overseas in locations like China, Spain and Mexico. The next would be Ben Crenshaw, who has two major championship wins and still plays competitively on the Champions Tour. Crenshaw works with Bill Coore having paired they have created Coore and Crenshaw— Timeless by Design establishing in 1986. They use ideas from architects like Mackenzie, Ross, Tillinghast and Macdonald and create their own designs. They are in charge of designing Bandon Preserve and Bandon Trails which is part of the Bandon Dunes resort in Bandon, Oregon. They also designed the Kapalua Plantation Course in Maui, which is home to the PGA Tour tournament of champions tournament every January. They’ve also designed Streamsong Resort in Fort Meade, Florida. Streamsong’s courses were ranked in Golf Digest’s first ranking of Florida’s 75 Best Public Courses. The red course ranked number one and the blue course ranking at number three. I recently read in a article in Golf Digest that suggested that some the holes on the Red course were actually designed by Tom Doak and some on the blue course are designed by Coore and Crenshaw. But no one will come out to say if it’s correct.
Finally the last architect that I’ll talk about who was professional and turned into a golf course designer is Sir Nick Faldo. He has 6 major championship wins on his resume. He only has six courses located in the United States. A few would include Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert California, Bella Collina in Orlando Florida and Wilderness Club in Eureka, Montana. Many of Faldo’s courses he has designed on located in the United Kingdom where he is originally from. He has a few current projects going on for example one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro International Golf Resort. As you can see all of these golf architects had a great career in golf which allowed them to be take on the design career afterwards. As all these architects are well known in the golfing world, it gives them the edge since they have the golf playing knowledge.