Donald Steel

Full Name
Donald MacLennan Arklay Steel
Website:
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Year of Birth
1937
Place Born
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England

When asked to share a ‘famous golf celebrities’ anecdote, Donald answered: “The only one I will relate concerns my participation in the Open [at St Andrews in 1970] when, on the 16th hole in the second round, I played so well left that I encountered Arnold Palmer going the other way on the 3rd. Understandably aghast, he asked, ‘what are you doing here, Donald?’ ‘Oh, downgrading the championship you came to save,’ I replied.”

Donald Steel grew up as a young boy in Hillingdon on the outskirts of London during a time of bombing raids and air raid shelters. His father was a surgeon, physician and Medical Director of a large hospital and his mother was a nursing sister.

He learned to play the game as a junior at Denham, his father’s club, where John Sheridan was appointed professional in 1946. John was the son of Jimmy Sheridan, the Sunningdale caddie master, and both men served their respective clubs for more than half a century.

Cricket was Donald’s first sporting love and he played for Fettes College, Edinburgh for four years, becoming the first person from a Scottish school to play in the Public Schools XI against the Combined Services at Lord’s in his final year, 1956.

He then enrolled at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a Batchelor of Arts degree in Agriculture in 1960.

Donald knew Leonard Crawley at the Daily Telegraph from his university days and the journalist invited him to help out when the Sunday Telegraph started up in February 1961. He began as golf correspondent for the weekly newspaper on a 6-month trial period, making him the youngest specialist writer in Fleet Street at the age of 23.

His involvement in golf course design began with a story he was writing about Ken Cotton, who was building two layouts at St Pierre and Ross-on-Wye. They kept in touch and a couple of years later, Ken invited Donald to work with him in his design practice in 1965.

Donald takes up the story, in an extract from his own website: “He became a partner of Cotton, Frank Pennink and Charles Lawrie. All three were fine golfers and men of gre...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Donald Steel

Abaco Club

1st Bahamas Ranking 5th Caribbean Ranking

The Abaco Club has been laid out on predominantly low lying sandy ground next to the turquoise Atlantic Ocean with hard and fast-running tee to green surfaces.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Amarilla

13th Canary Islands - Best in Area

Constructed in the late 1980s, just after the neighbouring Golf del Sur complex was opened, Amarilla offers fine, no frills holiday golf in the south of Tenerife...

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Aquiraz Riviera

20th Brazil Ranking

The course at Clube de Golfe Aquiraz Riviera is a Donald Steel design which features two contrasting nine-hole loops, Dunes and Ocean. The Dunes is the pick of the two halves, playing in a tropical links-like style.

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TaylorMade

Aroeira 2

9th Lisbon & Centre - Best in Area 29th Portugal Ranking

Situated within a preservation area, on the Setubal Peninsula, lies Aroeira Golf Resort. A 900-acre paradise for golfers and non-golfers alike.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Barsebäck (Donald Steel)

41st Sweden Ranking

The Masters course attracts all the golfing accolades at Barsebäck Golf & Country Club because of its national and international tournament history but the shorter Donald Steel course, which debuted in 1989, really doesn’t deserve to be overlooked at this wonderful golf complex on the Oresund Strait.

Bom Sucesso

12th Lisbon & Centre - Best in Area 41st Portugal Ranking

Set within a substantial residential development that lies close to Portugal’s Silver Coast, many of the elements of the Bom Sucesso design were fashioned with a nod towards the old classic layouts...

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Bovey Castle

5th Devon - Best in Area

Bovey Castle golf course is set magically in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. It's an English treasure originally laid out by J.F. Abercromby.

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Brocket Hall (Palmerston)

9th Hertfordshire - Best in Area

Without doubt, Brocket Hall Golf Club is a classy and stylish place to play golf and the Palmerston course is a delightful contrast to the Melbourne.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Brunston Castle

19th Ayrshire & Arran - Best in Area

Brunston Castle is a 6,662-yard parkland golf course, designed by Donald Steel in the mid 1990s, located in Ayrshire's rolling South Carrick Hills. Sadly, the club was forced into closure in 2019 “due to unforeseen circumstances” according to social media.

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Byneset (Nord)

12th Norway Ranking

Within the Trondheim municipality you will find Byneset Golf Club, the only course in Norway designed by the firm of Donald Steel.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade