John F. Robinson
Years in industry: 39
Key Courses: Whistle Bear Golf Club (Cambridge, Ont.); Blue Heron GC (Michigan); Legends of Massillon (Ohio)
Recent projects: Created the 8,300 yard Bolingbrook Golf Club with John Daly in Illinois; Working on a course in Mexico with PGA Tour winner Charley Hoffman; Several courses in various stages of development in Canada.
Quote: “I’m the only architect working in Canada that hasn’t bankrupted a course.”
- Builds affordable golf in areas across North America. Has designed more than 80 to date.
- Works with the SFX Group sports marketing.
- Extensive work in the U.S. with some awards and accolades
- His bigger budget projects typically have at least one strange hole in the routing, leaving some golfers shaking their heads.
- Not particularly well known in any area of Canada given the widespread nature of his work and focus on the U.S.
- Despite have lots of projects, has not hit any home runs which would elevate him out of the mid-tier
Comment: After working for his brother, Bill, for several years, John went solo and began working on inexpensive designs that often cost less than $2-million to build. However, his workman-like courses – which are scattered across Canada and the U.S. -rarely garner attention from outside their immediate geographic region. When he has done higher profile projects, like Whistle Bear in Kitchener, it has been with mixed results. His Blue Heron GC in Ohio came in second in Golf Digest’s 2007 ranking of new affordable courses.
What’s possible?: More mid-tier golf built with value in mind. Or will be he the designer behind some very average layouts by PGA Tour stars who never appear on site?