Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Full Name
William Ernest Coore and Ben Daniel Crenshaw
Website:
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Year of Birth
1946 and 1952
Place Born
North Carolina and Texas, USA

World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 2002: As part of the Coore & Crenshaw golf course architecture team, Crenshaw has helped design a slew of highly ranked courses. Tom Doak: “Working alongside Bill at Streamsong was one of my most fun experiences in design.”

Bill Coore grew up in the Sandhills area of Carolina and played golf for Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. After graduating in 1968 he started his career in golf architecture working on course construction for Pete Dye in the South Atlantic region.

“In the mid-Seventies, Coore helped build Waterwood National GC in Texas (a Roy Dye design) and then worked as an assistant to its course superintendent Gary Grandstaff.” Wrote Geoffrey Cornish and Ron Whitten in The Golf Course. “When Grandstaff joined Dye on a Mexican project, Coore took over as superintendent, and over the next several years rebuilt and modified most holes at Waterwood [now closed]. In the early 1980s Bill Coore spent two years designing and building his first solo layout. The result, Rockport (Texas) CC, so impressed popular PGA Tour golfer (and avid course design historian) Ben Crenshaw that Crenshaw asked Coore to join him in a golf design partnership.”

Prior to the 1986 establishment of the firm of Coore and Crenshaw Inc., Coore’s most prominent solo design lies to the north of Bordeaux at Golf du Médoc. Opened in 1989, the Châteaux course was Coore’s third solo design and his first and only European project.

Ben Crenshaw grew up in Austin and was first introduced to golf by his father, Charlie, at Austin Country Club where – as a six-year-old – he rode in a cart alongside his dad. He became fascinated by golf course architecture at age sixteen after seeing The Country Club in Brookline. He played golf at Austin High School and the University of Texas where he went on to win three NCAA collegiate championships before turning professional in 1973.

After a number of years refining his technique under the tutelage of Harvey Penick, “Gentle Ben” soon became one of the world’s best putters. His smooth stoke served him well, claiming his first of two Green Jackets on the slippery greens of Augusta National in 1984. Crenshaw managed to avoid taking a three-putt during the 1995 Masters tournament, which he won by one stroke from David Love III.

Crenshaw’s nineteen PGA Tour wins over three decades helped him to gain a deep appreciation of golf’s nuances. The Tour also took him on a journey around the world’s best golf courses where he analysed design and construction techniques. In 1982, he put his skills into practice as player consultant at TPC Las Colinas working with Byron Nelson and architect Jay Morrish. Ben Crenshaw was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002, presented by President George H.W. Bush.

Coore and Crenshaw Inc. was established in 1986, “based upon the shared philosophy that traditional, strategic golf is the most rewarding”. But it would take another five years before the partnership made a significant architectural impact when the Plantation course at Kapalua burst onto the scene in 1991.

"Their early years were spent handling a few remodeling jobs and planning several designs on select sites that, for a variety of reasons, stopped during one stage of construction or another," wrote Geoffrey Cornish and Ron Whitten in The Architects of Golf. “Undaunted, Coore and Crenshaw persisted in doing it the old-fashioned way, keeping a team of personally trained graders and shapers on call, designing in the field with very few formal drawings, and emulating the early American "bump-and-roll" designs of Seth Raynor and C. B. Macdonald. At the close of the decade of the eighties, Coore and Crenshaw's work had attracted both admiration and debate."

Since then, the design partnership has built a small but impressive portfolio of highly ranked courses, including: Sand Hills (1995), Friar’s Head (2002), Old Sandwich (2004), Colorado (2006), Streamsong Red (2013) and Cabot Cliffs (2016). Their shared love of classical architecture and their inspirational creations has created demand on their services both in terms of new designs and restorations. Recent projects at Sand Valley and Ozarks National continue to prove the old-fashioned “Golden Age” of golf architecture is still alive and well.

Q & A with Bill Coore

Rimba Irian “We’re in the pot”

Snippets

In The Evolution of Golf Course Design by Keith Cutten, the author sums up the Coore and Crenshaw partnership thus: “Through their approach, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, along with architect Tom Doak, are credited with founding the current ‘minimalist’ movement in golf course architecture. Before their partnership, Bill Coore completed eight projects and Ben Crenshaw completed one solo work. However, their best efforts have emerged when projects are completed together."

Books by Ben Crenshaw

Classic Instruction by Bobby Jones and Ben Crenshaw published in 1998.

A Feel For the Game: To Brookline and Back by Ben Crenshaw and Melanie Hauser published in 2001.

Two Roads to Augusta by Ben Crenshaw and Carl Jackson published in 2013.

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Courses designed by and courses remodelled and added to by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Austin Golf Club

6th Texas - Best in Area

Occupying gently rolling, lightly wooded terrain to the south east of Spicewood, the eighteen holes at Austin Golf Club were draped onto the landscape by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2001.

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Bandon Dunes (Bandon Preserve)

11th Oregon - Best in Area

Opened in 2012, Bandon Preserve features a double green at the 4th and 7th holes, a dramatic drop in elevation at the 5th, with Cut Creek threatening the tee shot at the 11th.

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Opened in 2012, Bandon Preserve features a double green at the 4th and 7th holes, a dramatic drop in elevation at the 5th, with Cut Creek threatening the tee shot at the 11th. Rating: 5.3 out of 6

Bandon Dunes (Bandon Trails)

4th Oregon - Best in Area 51st USA Ranking 57th North America Ranking

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed Bandon Trails, the third of four 18-hole courses at the magnificent Bandon Dunes Resort.

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Description: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed Bandon Trails, the third of four 18-hole courses at the magnificent Bandon Dunes Resort. Rating: 5.7 out of 6

Barnbougle Lost Farm

3rd Tasmania - Best in Area 6th Australia Ranking 8th Oceania Ranking 66th World Ranking

The 20-hole Barnbougle Lost Farm links opened for play in December 2010 and commentators already think this new golf course is equal to its world-beating neighbour.

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Description: The 20-hole Barnbougle Lost Farm links opened for play in December 2010 and commentators already think this new golf course is equal to its world-beating neighbour. Rating: 5.5 out of 6

Brook Hollow

5th Texas - Best in Area

Built on what was at that time open, rolling farmland, the lush acres of Brook Hollow Golf Club have unfortunately become surrounded by housing...

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Cabot Cliffs

1st Nova Scotia - Best in Area 1st Canada Ranking 23rd North America Ranking 46th World Ranking

Situated half a mile away from Cabot Links, the Cliffs golf course occupies a more diverse landscape than its predecessor, sitting atop the bluffs that overlook the Gulf of St Lawrence...

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Description: Situated half a mile away from Cabot Links, the Cliffs golf course occupies a more diverse landscape than its predecessor, sitting atop the bluffs that overlook the Gulf of St Lawrence... Rating: 5.9 out of 6

Chechessee Creek

7th South Carolina - Best in Area

Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the golf course at Chechessee Creek Club sits amidst towering oaks and pines to the north of Callawassie Island.

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Description: Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the golf course at Chechessee Creek Club sits amidst towering oaks and pines to the north of Callawassie Island. Rating: 4.3 out of 6

Clear Creek

2nd Nevada - Best in Area

Built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2009, the sandy-soiled fairways of the Clear Creek Tahoe course weave through towering pine trees, veering past a number of prominent rocky outcrops along the way.

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Description: Built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2009, the sandy-soiled fairways of the Clear Creek Tahoe course weave through towering pine trees, veering past a number of prominent rocky outcrops along the way. Rating: 6 out of 6

Colorado

2nd Colorado - Best in Area 79th USA Ranking 92nd North America Ranking

Colorado Golf Club only opened its tees for play in 2007 but it’s already a nationwide hit. Designed by the famous Bill and Ben duo – Coore and Crenshaw – whose design philosophy is to respect the classic golf courses of the "Golden Age of Architecture", Colorado was destined for success…

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Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Colorado Golf Club only opened its tees for play in 2007 but it’s already a nationwide hit. Designed by the famous Bill and Ben duo – Coore and Crenshaw – whose design philosophy is to respect the classic golf courses of the "Golden Age of Architecture", Colorado was destined for success… Rating: 4.5 out of 6

Cuscowilla

3rd Georgia - Best in Area

Set on the shore of Lake Oconee, the course at the Golf Club at Cuscowilla is a dramatic but harmonious Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw design.

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Description: Set on the shore of Lake Oconee, the course at the Golf Club at Cuscowilla is a dramatic but harmonious Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw design. Rating: 5.3 out of 6