Foreign Course Designers Invade British Columbia

While flipping through a revamped version of David McLay Kidd’s website, I encountered a course list as “in design,” for Fernie, B.C. that will apparently be credited as a Kidd course. Kidd is the young Scottish architect behind Bandon Dunes, and the new Castle Course at St. Andrews.

Kidd’s news reminded me that Kyle Phillips, the creator of the excellent Kingsbarns in Scotland, is now on the books to develop a course in Summerland, B.C.

Lastly, Gil Hanse (who is working with Ian Andrew at Scarboro G & CC) is expected to work alongside blogger/writer/designer Geoff Shackelford in creating yet another course in B.C., this time on Vancouver Island.

Add to this list courses by Nicklaus (Bear Mountain 2, Wyndansea), Gary Player, Greg Norman and Hurdzan/Fry, and you’ve got a massive influx of foreign course creators in B.C. Why? Maybe because there have simply been too many Cooke/Carleton or Thomas McBroom courses in the area? I’m interested in why G4G readers think developers are turning to non-Canadian designers. Is it marketing value? If that’s the case, do Canadians even know who McLay Kidd is?

That said, I’m quite excited to see designs by architects I really admire — like Hanse, Kidd and Phillips. In my mind it will make Canadian golf better.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I think developers want something different, and these guys fit the bill. Kingsbarns is amazing, as well as Bandon Dunes. The Bandon Dunes developer took a chance on an unknown and look at the result. Its not hard to pick put the McBroom courses or the Carrick courses, but Kidd and Philips bring something different, I just hope the sight is good so they can shine. The only designer that hasn’t done a course up here that I would like to see is Pete Dye before he retires. I would have loved to have seen Strantz do a course in Canada, but unfortunately we have to go to NC or SC to play his tracks. Maybe Pete Dye could sculpt out a course on some scrubland on the way to Delhi near Simcoe, big dunes, tall pines. HMMM.

  • Robert
    that’s interesting news. I’m not sure what is happening there, but I’d guess that the modern day ‘ease of travel’ and ‘information highway’ means that a newish kind of developer is emerging, one who can more easily read about designers/courses (on blogs like yours, and other websites) and can more easily get to Kingsbarn or Bandon etc. I don’t think they are choosing these designers for ‘marketing purposes’ in the traditional sense; I think they are simply seeing and choosing from what they like best from around the world (and maybe more importantly, seeing and baseing their decisions on golfers’ reactions to these great courses) and deciding to try to capture lightening in a bottle again.


  • Does anyone know anything about the Hanse-Shackelford project at Union Bay? I am excited about that one as it won’t be too far from me.

    It is nice to see some changeup in designers. We are heavy on Les Furber in these parts, including my home course.

  • Tighthead,

    I’m sending an email out to Gil to find out more about this project. A couple of days ago someone mentioned that he was doing a course in Union Bay which had been talked about for over 12 years. I grew up there and agree, the area needs a change from Les Furber’s 3 teired greens and predicatble dogleg left par 4’s!.

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