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Clyde Johnson

With an insatiable desire to travel to and play the British Isles’ seaside links, my passion for golf course design exploded from an early age. It is golf’s incomparable relationship with landscape, the interaction with nature’s elements and a sense of adventure that most intrigued. Little did I know then that I would be following in the footsteps of many past and contemporary masters of the art of golf architecture!

The ideal golf course architect must ‘have the soul of an artist, the brain of an engineer and the heart of a golfer’. American golf writer Herbert Warren Wind’s infamous quote in the back of my mind, I headed off to the University of Sheffield to read Structural Engineering and Architecture. Promoting collaboration between creative and technical disciplines, this study introduced the daily challenges that face a field-based golf course architect whom tries to balance the call for inventive play and aesthetic interest with environmental and economical sensibility.

As the future of golf course construction remained clouded by economic uncertainty and dwindling playing demand, it seemed fitting that I should head overseas to understand the courses and golfing culture that have most influenced, for better and for worst, today's state of the game. While a postgraduate degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia provided a base to develop my understanding of modern trends in golf course development and design, it was an internship with Tom Doak that truly introduced me to the field. Time in the dirt, alongside the associates of Renaissance Golf Design, at Dismal River and Tara’ Iti has provided an invaluable apprenticeship in implicating the sophisticated yet restrained approach to design and construction that I so admire.

While many experienced architects may view it as a disconcerting time to operate within the business, it is my belief that an exciting period for golf course development presents itself, with the opportunity to guide a golfer-focused future for the game...

Cunning: adj.  Wrought with, or exhibiting, skill or ingenuityArtfulDisplaying keen insight

The Old Course’s much under-appreciated Fourth demonstrates how simple but timeless the strategy of golf can, and perhaps should, be for all. Defined by a single hump, 5 feet high, that ties into the centre of the green front, “Ginger Beer” is played over what was originally known as the Cunnin’ Links...