Mark McCumber, professional golfer and golf course architect, joined the PGA Tour in 1978. Among his ten PGA Tour victories were two wins at Doral, two Western Opens, the Tour Championship, and the 1988 Players Championship, in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He was also a member of the United State Ryder cup team. He now heads up Mark McCumber and Associates, the design arm of McCumber Golf, which he operates with his oldest brother, Jim. McCumber has designed Florida courses such as the Tournament Players Club at Heron Bay in Coral Springs, Ravines Golf and Country Club in Middleburg, The Golf Club of Amelia Island, and South Hampton Golf Club in St. Augustine. He’s also designed Hidden Cypress Golf Club in Bluffton, South Carolina, GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tennessee, and, in Georgia, Osprey Cove in St. Mary’s and The Brickyard at Riverside in Macon.
I have been very fortunate to work on many wonderful design projects for a lot of great owners throughout my career.
A project with great owners, a beautiful piece of land, and a healthy budget is truly the perfect combination, and we had that combination for our Macon, Georgia project.
A lifelong friend called me up to tell me about a project his employer was working on. His employer’s father was a tremendous amateur golfer. Whenever he traveled to a tournament he would take the family along with him. The result was that they all grew to love and appreciate the game of golf as much as he did.
A local hometown golf course was struggling under private membership, and the Sams family made a decision to buy it and renovate it into something special. This was their opportunity to honor their father’s love of the game of golf as well as to give something back to their hometown.
The day they closed on the property we began work. Their brick manufacturing business has been in the family for over a hundred years, and because they mined their own clay they owned lots of heavy machinery. They mined clay only six months out of the year, so we had equipment and operators at our disposal for the run of the golf course project.
Alfred, Jr. and Kenneth Sams went above and beyond the call of duty in every way. We told them eight-inch drainage pipe would work. The next morning we had stacks of twenty-four-inch pipe at the ready. We wanted to know the depth of the rock on the driving range. Fifteen minutes later Kenneth was on the backhoe digging a test hole.
Working with this wonderful family was a joy for us from start to finish. The unbeatable combination of great owners, beautiful land, and a healthy budget came together in Macon, Georgia. The course was a dream project for us, and The Brickyard at Riverside, in its first year of eligibility, was ranked by Golf Digest as the twelfth best course in the State of Georgia.