David McLay Kidd

Full Name
David McLay Kidd
Website:
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Year of Birth
1967
Place Born
Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland

The Castle course at St Andrews remains the most controversial design in David McLay Kidd’s burgeoning portfolio. Kidd later learned that harder isn’t better. Bandon Dunes is fun and playable whereas the Castle course is arguably not. Armed with a rediscovered approach, DMK built Gamble Sands in Brewster, Washington, to critical acclaim.

David McLay Kidd was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, ten miles to the west of Glasgow city centre. His father, Jimmy Kidd, was a greenkeeper at Glasgow (Killermont) Golf Club, and as a child he’d listen with enthusiasm to his father’s ramblings about golf course maintenance, while as a teenager he’d earn pocket money raking bunkers for his dad. Jimmy later moved to the Gleneagles estate where he became Director of Golf Courses.

Kidd’s upbringing was modest, but his golfing indoctrination started at an early age while hanging around with course maintenance staff. He headed south to England for formal education, obtaining a HND in Horticulture at Writtle College near Chelmsford in Essex. He completed his apprenticeship with Southern Golf, a well-respected golf course construction company, whose extensive portfolio consists of builds from the drawing boards of Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer among others.

David then joined the English firm, Swan Golf Designs, originally founded following collaboration between Sir Henry Cotton and Alex Swan. In 1991, Kidd returned to Scotland to work as Director of Design for Gleneagles Golf Developments (GGD), a role he retained until 1999. (GGD was set up by Gleneagles’ parent company, Guinness, to develop high-end golf resorts globally.)

In 1994, 27-year-old Kidd went to Oregon to survey a vast stretch of sandy coastline to the north of Bandon, Oregon. To his amazement, he was hired by Chicago billionaire Mike Keiser to design the first course at Bandon Dunes. “I’d never done anything of any note,” Kidd said. “I wasn’t a conventionally-trained architect in any regard. To this day, I’m still not...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by David McLay Kidd

Beaverbrook

30th Surrey - Best in Area

Co-designed by David McLay Kidd and Tom Watson, the Beaverbrook golf course at Cherkley Court quietly opened its tees for play in late September 2016.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Fancourt (Montagu)

2nd Western Cape - Best in Area 9th South Africa Ranking

The 18-hole Montagu parkland layout is the original course at Fancourt (from an initial 27-hole design), which was upgraded in 2005 when new 1st and 9th holes were introduced.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Gamble Sands

1st Washington - Best in Area 90th USA Ranking

David McLay Kidd was entrusted with the design of the course at Gamble Sands and his reputed budget of only two million dollars to construct and grass the holes...

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Gokarna Forest

1st Nepal Ranking 66th Asia Ranking

If you are lucky enough to visit Nepal and play here at Gokarna Forest, keep a look out for the mischievous monkeys as you wander through the forest...

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Guacalito de la Isla

1st Nicaragua Ranking

The low-density private beach community at Guacalito de la Isla on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast sits next to the stunning white sands of Playa Manzanillo and the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Huntsman Springs

2nd Idaho - Best in Area

When you see the finished, natural-looking course at Huntsman Springs, you would never believe that David McLay Kidd is reported to have shifted more than four million cubic yards of soil during its construction.

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Laucala Island

1st Fiji Ranking 23rd Oceania Ranking

Austrian Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz bought the 3,500-acre Fijian island in 2003 and then added a few new amenities, like a DeepFlight Super Falcon submarine and, of course, an 18-hole golf course.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Machrihanish Dunes

4th Argyll & Bute - Best in Area 24th Scotland Ranking 75th Britain & Ireland Ranking

Machrihanish Dunes was the vision of Australian tycoon Brian Keating. Only a small fraction of this 270-acre property was disturbed by architect David McLay Kidd and associate Paul Kimber when they laid out the golf course.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Nanea

1st Hawaii - Best in Area 60th USA Ranking 68th North America Ranking

Nanea Golf Club is so exclusive that it shuns publicity. The course was laid out on a thick lava mantle by David McLay Kidd with the heart of British seaside links at its roots.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade