The fourth annual American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Recognition Program recipients have been named. Projects from nine courses in the United States have been cited for their work with ASGCA members in addressing unique design challenges.

Since its creation in 2012, the Design Excellence Recognition Program has shone a light on the innovation and problem-solving skills required of today’s golf course designs, whether the project is a small bunker renovation or a full-scale 18-hole layout.

The 2015 nominations were reviewed by a panel of golf industry leaders, including representatives of the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association.

The recognized courses are:

“I offer my heartiest congratulations to these tremendous golf facilities, as well as the golf course architects who provided their talent and expertise along the way,” said past ASGCA President Steve Smyers. “The Design Excellence Recognition Program continues to grow each year. And this year, the projects highlighted show the positive impact a well-designed facility continues to have for golfers and an entire community.”

  • Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Florida/Erik Larsen, ASGCA
    The famed Selva Marina Country Club had declined to near failure; golf course in terrible condition, and clubhouse, golf and tennis pro shops in disrepair. The land was bought and redeveloped, anchored by a master plan that developed 178 single-family lots on a 55-acre tract in the center of the former golf course, renamed Atlantic Beach Country Club (ABCC). A new golf course – reduced to 125 acres from 180 – was structured around the residential section, along with seven tennis courts, swimming pool and clubhouse. New golf practice facilities with full range, chipping and putting greens, cart barn and fitness center were added to the amenity package. New membership goals and cash flow projections have been reached.
  • Birnam Wood Golf Club, Santa Barbara, California/Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA Fellow
    The California drought caused a critical reduction in water allocation for Birnam Wood. Course management was looking for sustainable ways to address this ongoing concern. Birnam Wood took a highly scientific approach, called “Precision Turf Management,” to pinpoint areas for water conservation that were flexible and sustainable. The team conducted tests to ensure grasses used would best perform in Santa Barbara’s soil, climate, water quality and limited water sources. There was the added result of a 33 percent reduction in turfgrass and water usage.
  • Glenview Park Golf Club, Glenview, Illinois/Rick Jacobson, ASGCA
    Significant flooding in Glenview led to a Master Plan that featured utilizing Glenview Park Golf Club as a key flood mitigation resource. Collaborative efforts led to creating a storm water management system intricately woven into non-play areas of the golf course. It efficiently mitigates future flood potential by supplying an additional 5,000,000 gallons of additional storm water detention while reducing the discharge release rate for a 100-year storm by over 70 percent.
  • Griffith Park Golf Course, City of Los Angeles, California/Forrest Richardson, ASGCA
    To prepare for the 2015 Special Olympic World Games and future restoration, a Master Plan was created for the classic-era 36-hole municipal golf facility. Work for the Special Olympics involved five and a half miles of new paths, 74 rebuilt tees and 33 new forward tees, enabling access meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
  • Independence Golf Club, Midlothian, Virginia/Lester George, ASGCA
    A redesign was necessary based on several factors, including serious pace of play challenges, course playability that was too difficult for the average golfer, and water supply concerns. The solution included the removal of more than 600 trees and bushes, establishing mulched secondary rough areas, a decrease in turf maintenance areas,  rerouted cart paths and traffic patterns, elimination/relocation and reconstruction of bunkers – reducing total bunkers by 40 percent – repurposed land by creating open space for entertainment venues, and drilled wells for greater efficiency and sustainability. Results include average time per round cut by 20 percent, increased revenue and national recognition for the facility.
  • The Lochmoor Club, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan/Paul Albanese, ASGCA
    A renovation of the course originally designed nearly a century ago by Walter Travis restored course integrity while maintaining course playability for the modern golfer. The practice range and short game area were also enhanced. All of this was executed through a “hybrid” design solution, melding concepts from the “Golden Age” of designers with the needs, expectations and desires of the modern day golfer.
  • Oaks Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma/Bill Bergin, ASGCA

This 1921 A. W. Tillinghast-designed course was renovated to its original luster thanks to old aerial photographs, base contours of the original greens and the study of bunker styles at Tillinghast courses. Greens were rebuilt and bunkers restored. In a nod to today’s players, tee boxes are now spaced out; course length from the back tees increased by a total of 300 yards, and the course was shortened for forward tees by 500 yards. A six-hole Pitch & Putt and short game practice area were added as a “grow the game” feature.

  • The Preserve at Boulder Hills, Wyoming, Rhode Island/Robert McNeil, ASGCA
    A 60-acre, 18-hole par 3 championship course was designed and built on a course which had been closed and lay fallow for six years. As part of a four-season sporting lifestyle facility, all course construction was generated from materials on site; including 18 new green and tee complexes, 32 bunkers, and all shaping. Trees were removed and cart paths developed. Several green and tee locations were used from the plans of original course designer Tripp Davis, ASGCA.


  • Rockwind Community Links, Hobbs, New Mexico/Andy Staples, ASGCA
    By utilizing a “Community Links” design philosophy, a deteriorating city-owned course was turned into a community asset for all residents. Attractions include walking trails, picnic areas, expanded outdoor public-use space, revitalized beginner golf programs and a new First Tee facility. A new 9-hole par 3 course for children was added and the practice facility expanded. The new 27-hole facility promotes the efficient use of water, reduces annual maintenance costs and promotes the values of the game of golf.