In 1916, there were about 750 golf courses in the United States. By 1930, it had grown to nearly 6,000 over just that small period of time.
Today, in 2013, there are 34,000 golf courses in the world.
PBS calls that the “Golden Age” of golf course architecture, the period between the end of World War I and before the Great Depression. Golf course architects designed creative and bold golf courses, and for many of those architects, their work has survived the test of time. Here are some of the best.
Not only are these designers, architects, they generally have had a professional golf career. Often, many of the celebrated Golf Course Architects of the world, work for private and elite design firms.
These firms are very hard to get into, but also require minimum testing, such as Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, state licensure, graduation from an accredited program and 3 years of internship under a registered landscape architect.
A golf course architect’s salary is dependent on many factors. Some courses are commissioned and investors will supply over $1 million per course. So this amount plays into the salary level. According to Education Portal, each salary also depends on the state where the course is being designed. In high traffic golfing areas, such as California, architects will earn a much higher salary.
A couple of the world renowned architects that shaped the golf course world:
Oakmont Country Club – 1903
Golf Digest rated this course #5 in the Top 100 Golf Courses of 2013-2014. The green chairman, William C. Fownes, staked out new bunkers every time he saw a player hit an offline shot, and the course now has the reputation for notorious bunkers and bottomless drainage ditches. Oakmont Country Club’s course is the site for the 2016 U.S. Open.
Douglas Grant & Jack Neville
Pebble Beach Golf Links – 1918
Pebble Beach, California
Ranked 7th of Digest’s Top 100 Golf Courses 2013-2014, Pebble Beach has holes poised above the crashing waves of the Pacific. It will be the site for the U.S. Amateur competition in 2018 and U.S. Open in 2019.
Pine Valley Golf Club – 1918
Pine Valley, New Jersey
Golf Digest rated this course #1 of the Top 100 Golf Courses 2013-2014, saying, “Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design — penal, heroic and strategic — throughout the course, often on a single hole.”
Seth Raynor & Charles Banks
Fishers Island Club – 1926
Fishers Island, New York
Considered to be the best work by Seth Raynor, this was his last architectural golf course design, with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island. This course is rated #2 in Digest’s Most Fun Private Courses, behind California’s Cypress Point Club.
Pocantico Hills Golf Club – 1932
Tarrytown, New York
Shinnecock Hills G.C. – 1931
Southampton, New York
- Shinnecock is ranked 4th of the Top 100 Golf Courses from 2013-2014. It was architecturally designed in the early 1900s by C.B. Macdonald then replaced by Flynn. This will be the site for the 2018 U.S. Open.
Bobby Jones & Alister MacKenzie
Augusta National Golf Club – 1933
Ranked 2nd of the Top 100 Golf Courses, 2013-2014, Augusta is the site of the annual Masters Tournament and has had numerous makeovers, additions and recently, rebunkering.