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Canadian Golf Architecture Review: Les Furber

The latest in an ongoing investigation of golf designers working in Canada.

Canmore's Les Furber Continues to Get Work in Western Canada

Canmore's Les Furber continues to get work in Western Canada and abroad.

Les Furber (Golf Design Services)

Years in industry: 38

Key course: Predator Ridge, Vernon, B.C.

Recent work: A 27-hole project in Lithuania

Strengths:

  • Works well with lower budgets, and has experience throughout the world.
  • Regarded by some as being more experiences at working in mountain settings than other designers
  • His thoughtful personality makes him well liked by his clients and those who know him.
  • No pretension about his work — he seems aware that he’s not building the best courses in the world

Weaknesses:

  • His renovation work often appears to be contemporary and follows trends at the time. Some of it — like the work at Royal Mayfair in Edmonton — ruined good to great courses by modernizing them.
  • His courses often have 16 good holes, and two that are barely functional.
  • He’s dominated Western Canada, but has few great courses to show for it.
  • Strategies are one-dimensional. Seems to fall into the RTJ camp of pinching fairways and adding water hazards.

Overview: Well liked, and with a background that includes time working with Robert Trent Jones, Furber has been designing courses for almost three decades, largely in Western Canada. Many of his courses are workman-like but affordable, though some of his most notable, like Predator Ridge, achieve a slightly loftier standard. Far too often he appears to lose focus in his planning, creating awkward holes and convoluted routings.

What’s possible?: Furber, who is relatively near retirement, will likely continue to find work throughout the world, but don’t expect a world-class course.

Overall: C+

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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.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I think we can all say the same about you. You …….”will likely continue to find work throughout the world, but don’t expect a world-class golf journalist to develop”…….just a wannabe

  • Very fair review of Furber, although perhaps his grade should be higher to reflect the fact that his budget puts him in the middle of the pack.

    My home course is a Furber, and it has some of the weaknesses you point out. One or two goofy holes, little variety in the par threes, and all four of the par fives are dog legs. Still, it is a decent enough course, quite challenging and, of course, affordable.

    I would also suggest he seriously damaged Predator with the third nine there – it has never been as good. He added lots of bad holes, and pushed the course from eclectic to goofy.

  • I would rank him higher, B+. How many people have built a course in Cuba? and it’s a good layout too, better than Crowbush!

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