Canadian Golf Architecture Review: Kevin Holmes (MBTW)

The latest installment investigating Canadian golf designers.

Sault' Crimson Ridge

Holmes' terrific Crimson Ridge

Architect: Kevin Holmes (MBTW)

Associate: Jonathan Joyce)

Years in industry: 13

Best courses: Crimson Ridge (Sault. St. Marie); Heron Landing (Fort Frances, Ont.); Watson’s Glen (Ajax, Ont.)

Current Projects: Expansion at Tillsonburg Golf & CC; renovations at Huron Oaks GC in Sarnia, Ont.; New course at Cardinal near Newmarket, Ont.


  • Works well with smaller budgets, creating courses that are economic successes for owners.
  • Strong use of natural landscape at places like Crimson Ridge.
  • Willing to try some ambitious concepts, even if they don’t always work out ( like the fall away green on the 4th hole at Watson’s Glen


  • His courses are often built in areas removed from large urban centers, meaning few industry people ever get to play them.
  • Smaller budget projects (see Watson’s Glen) often show a lack of a coherent thematic approach
  • Attempts at more elaborate design features have occasionally been unsuccessful (like the awful pot bunkers t Watson’s Glen, which were the result of pressure from the owner), or the

Overview: Holmes’ name is not immediately recognizable to many as he works under the MBTW banner. But he’s shown the ability to pull off some top grade projects in recent years, including the occasionally spectacular Crimson Ridge in Sault St. Marie. Holmes has not had the opportunity to work in high profile markets or with larger budgets that might better display and determine his talent.

What’s possible?: With a bigger budget project in the right market, Holmes could draw some attention to his abilities.

Overall: B

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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

  • Alan,

    For your information, the Heron Landing Golf Course that Kevin designed is located in Fort Frances, Ontario, not the golf course located in the Peterborough area. Hope this clears this misunderstanding up!

  • Fort Frances is the one.I have been told that they are going to try to make it more user friendly.Beautiful property ruined by a piss poor golf course design.

  • again alan, WHY? “piss poor” is pretty strong… please back up your claim. i’m not saying you’re wrong, i just want to know WHAT makes it so poor.

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