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Canadian Golf Architecture Review: Jason Miller

blackdiamond An ongoing series investigating the top Canadian golf architects.

Jason Miller

Years in industry: 12

Key courses: Black Diamond GC, Pontypool, Ont. (with Jack Lally); Oslerbrook GC, Collingwood, Ont. (with Graham Cooke)

Strengths:

  • With a background in course construction, Miller has been active as a co-designer in recent years, building with Jack Lally and Graham Cooke.
  • Has worked on the construction side of the business.

Weaknesses:

  • Has yet to demonstrate his ability to handle a significant design on his own.
  • Recent work at Mill Run in Uxbridge has received mixed reviews.
  • Oslerbrook is regarded as having one strong nine and one weak one. Hard to discern Miller’s involvement.

What’s possible?: Miller’s recent work at Mill Run GC in Uxbridge, with its strange routing, is not particularly impressive, and with a shrinking market for new courses, he may not get the opportunity to show whether he has potential.

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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.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • My understanding of the Mill Run project is that there was close involvement by the Board of Directors …where have I heard this problem before?
    Granite Ridge in Muskoka is one of Miller’s courses that I have played and considering the property is quite well done. Another project is Stonetree in Owen Sound. Using the original design and creating a challenge venue, this was one of his better works.
    Being from the industry, reviews need to relate the price points of many of the projects various architects. ANYONE can build a panoramic course when price is not an issue(ala Carrick, McBroom design)

  • king: QUOTE ANYONE can build a panoramic course when price is not an issue(ala Carrick, McBroom design)

    Your dead wrong. Money in the wrong hands can make it worst. Many designers/builders wouldn’t know what to do with a ultra high end budget. Things are done that are totally above their heads.

  • Most “economical designers” (can’t think of a better term) believe they can do what he higher end designers do. They honestly believe they can do it all.
    They are typically not experienced or academically experienced enough to handle properties that have panoramic view as they are usually environmentally sensitive and/or “a tough build” (unstable banks, unsuitable soils, rock, etc.)
    One good example is the use of an airdry system utilized in greens and tees or designing with an internal self contained drainage system for the whole property. Their heads would spin. They know of these two concepts but implementing them would be a nightmare. Before spending this kind of money, they had better get it right.
    Typically the first one would be an Agronomist’s call but a economical designer would figure he could “do it all” and the poor developer knows no better and goes along. As we all know designers typically are good talkers.
    Designers make that big mistake often. “Just to sell themselves”

    This should stir the pot.

  • economical designers????? hmmm how above less “well-known”
    panoramic more times than not involves using larger areas of property to allow use of those “natural” settings for greens,tees sites etc

    Academically experienced???? quite a stereotype without basis? lets not forget both examples you quoted as well as many other variables often involve consulting from outside resources – not many architects posses that background

    I guess Abe spoke for us all!

  • Played Piper’s Glen, the biarritz style green at #16 that Miller designed is a joke and an abortion. Needs to think and research a little bit. There is no puttable surface, the slopes are too severe, and the green is too narrow. What were you thinking Jason.

  • Being from the industry myself, and working with many designers/architects including Jason who is a great person and great to work for…..I really believe judging one architect versus another is impossible unless they both design the same sight. Honestly, all of our canadian architects have great designs or holes to remember….and just as many to forget. Work with Jason for one day and anyone would quickly learn that he could design a championship course with the right property and the proper resources..All of his courses make money and that is what matters.

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