Part of an ongoing series…
Years in industry: 29
Key courses: Crowbush Cove (Prince Edward Island); Oviinbyrd (Port Carling, Ont.)
Recent Projects: Tobiano Golf Club (Kamloops, B.C.); MemphrÃƒ©magog Golf Club (MemphrÃƒ©magog, Quebec); Tower Ranch (Kelowna, BC)
Quote: “It is all about the experience and keeping golfers within that experience. I’m tired of playing golf courses where you head out for two hours, grab a hot dog at the clubhouse and then head back out.”
- Arguably the most articulate of Canada’s golf architects
- Undoubtedly the most successful Canadian architect since Stanley Thompson
- Carefully watches emerging design trends
- Business connections to key power brokers in Canada (re: Desmarais family)
- Typically has great relationships with course owners and is a strong networker
- Not willing to take big risks on a singular project in order to create something truly unique and perhaps world-class. His courses are always good, but one sometimes wonders if he stuck his neck out a bit more, could they be great…
Until recently his work on lackluster sights has been plain and uninspired (see Rattlesnake GC in Milton, Ont.)
- Renovation and restoration work is heavy handed and often been poorly received until recently. Work at Green Gables in Prince Edward Island looked more true to the Thompson original.
- Through no fault of his own, some courses he has built for clubs (see Ridge at Manitou near Parry Sound, Ont. and Wildfire GC near Peterborough, Ont.) have struggled financially.
Comments: There are distinct design periods to McBroom’s 25 year career. His earliest work, including courses like Deerhurst Highlands collaboration with Bob Cupp), Hockley Valley, National Pines and Oakridge, often are punctuated by wild, rolling greens that McBroom jokingly calls “my drug period.” However, it is the courses he designed in the years following 2000 that have garnered the most attention. These include Rocky Crest, Timberwolf, and Bell Bay – courses that tempered McBroom’s early excesses. Most recently, with work at Firerock Golf Club in London, Ont., Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, and The Raven at Lora Bay (with Tom Lehman), McBroom has shown the willingness to ape new natural bunker styles that have been popularized by the likes of Bill Coore in the U.S. But is he a trendsetter or band wagon jumper? His latest two courses – Tobiano in BC and Memphremagog in Quebec — have won fans and polarized the opinions of others who find McBroom’s detail work lacking. I thought Memphremagog was one of the few places where McBroom has taken real risks — in this case with his greens.
What’s possible: While there are as many detractors as supporters of McBroom, his latest work is the best of his career. While his strategies may not have the subtle grace that is found among Carrick’s best, his attention to detail on his most recent courses ranks him tops in the business in Canada. He’s getting better with time. It would still be nice to see him truly hit it out of the park…
Overall rating: New work: A; Renovation work: C+