Top 100 Architects

Top 100 Golf Course Architects Not just any Old Tom, Dick or Harry has made our collection of Top 100 Golf Course Architects. Instead, if you thought Old Tom Morris, Dick Wilson and Harry Colt might make an appearance then you won't be disappointed as they all make the cut.

When comparing Donald Ross and Perry Maxwell, Tom Doak was very clear: “Saying one was better than the other seems pointless to me. Both were great talents, and I’ve always said I prefer to rate courses, not architects.”

However, we’ve been ranking and rating golf courses now for more than fifteen years and by doing so we subconsciously evaluate the architecture involved and therefore the architect or architects who fashioned each course.

We’re passionate about rating golf courses, so we decided to do the unthinkable – something that’s never been done before – and define a scoring system such that we could reasonably identify the Top 100 Architects.

We have enough golf courses rating data to sink a small battleship. All we had to do was to add up the points and at first we thought the task would be relatively simple. But, as always, the devil was in the detail.

For instance, Pete Dye designed the Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo; so allocating those points was easy. However, we found it trickier to work out how to allocate the architectural points for collaborations and for courses that have been altered down the years through restoration, renovation or extending an old nine-hole course to eighteen holes.

We decided that we’d allocate most points to the original architect or architects and fewer points to restoration architects and fewer points still to renovation architects. Some course renovations have been “re-renovated” by undoing the original renovation work, which may have been poorly implemented. In these instances we didn’t award any points to the original renovation architect.

It’s not exactly rocket science, but what we were able to do was to identify the world’s best architects by awarding the most points for courses ranked in the World Top 100 and fewer points for courses ranked in our other tiers of continental, national and regional ranking tables.

We’ve stopped short of actually ranking the architects, as we felt that might be a step too far. But we’ve loosely sequenced the order in which the architects appear within our ten paginated pages of ten architects.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not we’ve arranged these undoubtedly talented designers in the right order, or whether we’ve included – or not included – the right architects. Click to read the full story: Top 100 Golf Course Architects

Top 100 Golf Courses - Top 100 Architects

Harry Colt

Harry Colt studied law at Clare College, Cambridge. Twelve months after his 1887 enrolment, he joined the committee of the Cambridge University Golf Club and in 1889 became the club's first captain.


Alister MacKenzie

Alister MacKenzie was born in England, but his parents were Scottish and the family holidayed every year close to where his father was raised in the traditional Clan MacKenzie lands of Sutherland.


Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus will forever be associated with greatness on the golf course, but it’s his design work that should also be remembered in equal measure to his magnificent competitive achievements on the links.


Coore & Crenshaw

Coore and Crenshaw Inc. was established in 1986, but five years passed before the partnership made a real architectural impact when the Plantation course at Kapalua burst onto the scene in 1991.


Tom Doak

Tom Doak studied Landscape Architecture at Cornell University where he won a scholarship to travel to the British Isles, he then spent seven months on the road, literally living on the links.


Robert Trent Jones Jr.

As a teenager, RTJ2 worked for his father, learning how to run a bulldozer. His dad paid him the union rate for the job and he used the money for flying lessons, obtaining his pilot’s license aged sixteen.


Pete Dye

Pete Dye captained the college team in his youth before going on to qualify for the US Open in 1957. He won the Indiana State Amateur, took part in The Amateur in 1963 and played in five US Amateurs.


Tom Fazio

Born in the northwestern suburbs of Philadelphia, Tom Fazio entered the business of golf course architecture as a teenager in 1962, assisting his uncle George in course construction.


A. W. Tillinghast

A.W. Tillinghast’s father took him to St Andrews in 1896 and introduced him to Old Tom Morris. His golfing passion developed rapidly following lessons from the old master and four-time Open Champion.


Donald Ross

Donald Ross worked with Old Tom Morris at St Andrews in 1893 then spent part of the following season at Carnoustie before returning to serve under the Dornoch club secretary John Sutherland.