Canadian Architecture Review: Neil Haworth

The latest in an ongoing series investigating Canada’s top golf designers.

Neil Hawarth's Suzhou Sun Island Course in China

Neil Hawarth's Suzhou Sun Island Golf Course in China

Neil Haworth

Years in industry: 20

Key course: Bali Golf & Country Club, Indonesia


  • International appeal
  • Extensive work in markets like China, where golf is growing


  • Despite being Canadian and a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, he’s largely unknown in Canada
  • Unlikely to work in Canada anytime soon – company’s head office is in Singapore

Comment: Though many won’t recognize Haworth’s name given his limited scope of work in Canada, he’s been hugely prolific in other parts of the world, working with partner Robin Nelson to create courses in China and other parts of Asia. He launched his career in 1985 with Graham Cooke’s firm before moving overseas. I can’t actually speak to Haworth’s work as I’ve not played any of his overseas courses. He has two in Canada — Golf St. Raphael and Le Grand Portneuf — but I’ve not had the chance to see them. Photos on the firm’s excellent website demonstrate modern-looking designs, though Nelson’s Ravenwood near Rochester, which I’ve played, was an excellent attempt to create a Shinnecock-style layout.

What’s Expected: Don’t expect to see much Haworth in Canada, where the golf market is slowing. With almost no profile in Canada and with six courses in design in China, Haworth will continue to be successful away in area’s where there is more demand for his skills

Grade: N/A

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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.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Robert,
    Sun Island in Suzhou is a tough track, although playable. Perhaps guilty of overly shaping the land bording the holes. Has more fairway undulation than many other courses in the area (think Florida)which makes for some interesting approach shots.
    I played a few of their tracks in Asia. I cannot say I love any of them. Great at the postcard stuff or “signature” hole, but the developers usually demand it in Asia.
    A few good holes on every course.
    Not minimalist or big on multiple lines of play.
    The new public track they built in Hong Kong (Kau Sai Chau) is just not very good. A very difficult stretch of land to be sure, but none the less some of the designs just do not work. It would be hard to build a great course on the property under any circumstances. Although it appears they chose “spectacular” over playable on a few occassions. Playability reminded me of The Rock in Muskoka.

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