Tom Doak

Full Name
Thomas Harry Doak
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Year of Birth
Place Born
New York, USA

“It’s not unusual that some of the deepest thinkers about golf architecture have played relatively few courses… others are so busy putting new notches in their belts that they never have time to think.” Tom Doak

Tom Doak was born in New York and was raised in Stamford, Connecticut. He played junior golf at Sterling Farms Golf Course, a five-minute stroll away from his front door. As a youngster Doak accompanied his father on business trips, visiting Harbour Town, Pinehurst No.2 and Pebble Beach whereby he became fascinated by the architectural variation between golf courses. He began reading dusty old golf course architecture library books unearthed by his mother. His obsession had well and truly begun.

Doak went on to study Landscape Architecture at Cornell University where he won a scholarship to travel to the British Isles to research the classic links courses. After graduation he literally lived on the links, first caddying at St Andrews and then spending the next seven months on the road, playing and examining every notable golf course he could find.

In his 1992 book, The Anatomy of a Golf Course, Doak acknowledged: “Those travels left me with a love of good golf courses, and a fair grasp of the principles of sound design; yet I never would have been able to make the leap from student to architect without the guidance of Pete Dye and Alice Dye and their sons, Perry Dye and P. B. Dye. After I had bugged them by constantly writing letters for a couple of years, they let me come to work for them, in the most menial capacity, on the construction of Long Cove Club in the summer of 1981. For four years afterward I followed along from Plum Creek to PGA West to Riverdale Dunes and Piping Rock, gradually becoming more involved in the construction of their courses, and occasionally getting to contribute my own two cents worth to the final design. Of all the things I learned from P...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Tom Doak

Aetna Springs

Gem USA - Best in Area

In 2007, Tom Doak and Jim Urbina completed the redesign of an old E. F. Hutton layout at Aetna Springs Golf Course. Unfortunately the historic Pope Valley course closed in 2018. However, in September 2018 we learned that there is still a chance that the course could be saved. Only time will tell.


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Apache Stronghold

35th Arizona - Best in Area

Apache Stronghold Golf Club at the Apache Gold Casino Resort is Tom Doak’s first attempt at desert golf design dating back to the late 1990s. Lightly bunkered and with no water hazards in play, the layout relies on arroyos and other natural features to help protect par.

Atlantic City

15th New Jersey - Best in Area

This venerable course has hosted national championships on several occasions over the years and Atlantic City Country Club claim to have coined the golfing term “birdie”.


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1st Colorado - Best in Area 26th USA Ranking 27th North America Ranking 55th World Ranking

Ballyneal sounds Irish so it’s fitting that this is a links course albeit an inland links. The dream of Rupert and Jim O’Neal is located in the middle of a huge Colorado dunescape, and even the address – Holyoke – echoes that of a current Open Championship links venue.


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Ballyneal (Mulligan)

44th Colorado - Best in Area

Named after Charlie Mulligan, the first caddie at Ballyneal Golf Club, the Mulligan course is a 12-hole par-three layout constructed in 2016 by Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf Design as an entertaining short game option for members.


12th California - Best in Area

Bel-Air Country Club is a throwback to The Roaring Twenties and the course here is one of the finest layouts that came from the remarkable George C. Thomas design stable. Tom Doak reckons Bel-Air may well be the most spectacular routing ever conceived.


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1st Ohio - Best in Area 23rd USA Ranking 24th North America Ranking 49th World Ranking

The Camargo Club is set amidst undulating countryside on the edge of Cincinnati in the State of Ohio. It’s a Seth Raynor jewel which opened for play in 1925.


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