ASGCA President Forrest Richardson has announced Jeffrey A. Danner, ASGCA, MEIGCA, ASLA has joined his firm and will serve as Senior Golf Course Architect. Known for decades as Forrest Richardson & Associates, the firm will transition to Richardson | Danner Golf Course Architects. The firm will operate from two offices, in Phoenix, Arizona and in Northern California.
The new firm released the following information:
“It’s a goal we’ve had for several years, to bring the right person aboard,” says Richardson. “There’s strength in having two golf course architects coming together to build upon a shared passion that golf must be fun, inclusive and sustainable. It’s especially effective when one golf course architect is older and has ‘seen it all,’ and when the other is experienced, but younger, with a fresh perspective. Jeff fits the bill perfectly. He’s a young guy, but he has already done so much. We see great promise with Jeff and his abilities to create a bigger and better offering for our clients and the world of golf.”
Danner is similarly attuned. “Our personalities, skill sets and approach to things really complement each other, which provides a huge value to clients,” says Danner. “We offer a combination of rich and diverse experience. Certainly Forrest has seen just about everything, but I’ve seen a lot, too, in my 16 years in the business, especially with different cultures, climates and site conditions around the world. It gives a client the best bang for the buck when you have two people on the design team who can bounce ideas off each other. It’s a win-win to have that type of collaborative environment.”
Richardson comes from a perspective of having experienced every design trend, environmental movement and economic condition. He’s designed dozens of traditional, regulation golf courses, yet in recent years, he’s been renowned for his out-of-the-box solutions to complex issues. In 2019, a leading trade industry publication, Golf Inc. lauded Richardson as one of the nine most innovative figures in golf, stating that he “evangelized for values like affordability, sustainability, playability and enjoyability which challenged conventional wisdom.”
One of his most impactful projects saw Richardson wave his redesign wand at the Palo Alto, California, municipal layout in 2018, reconfiguring it into Baylands Golf Links. For its $12 million investment, the city received a golf course that’s much more enticing than its predecessor. It features imaginatively contoured greens, requires less water and incorporates new wetlands and natural habitat. What’s more, says Richardson, is that he redesigned the layout in such a way that he gave back ten acres of land to the city for use as soccer fields and other park uses.
Prior to joining Richardson | Danner, Jeff worked as an architect for Greg Norman Golf Design in Florida and held previous design positions for Lohmann Golf Designs and Golfplan, both based in the U.S. He has worked in or traveled to more than 30 countries and has contributed to many award-winning new construction and renovation projects. What resonates with him most, however, are the special projects that expand access to more golfers.
In Illinois, he assisted on taking an old driving range plot and transforming it into a five-hole pitch-and-putt practice range combo that was handicap-accessible to those in wheelchairs. “Those types of projects are exciting,” says Danner, “when you get to work with an organization that’s out to serve the greater good.”
On the Black Sea in Turkey, Danner helped create a course by diverting a lot of heavy fill material and muddy soil to reclaim the site, building an interesting, links-landish canvas in the process. The course would go on to host the Deaf Olympics. Richardson shares the passion for global design. He has spent quality time working to grow golf through planning projects in such places as El Salvador, Albania, Bulgaria and most recently, in Libya. “Golf has a powerful message of respect and social interaction,” he says. “We cannot forget that the game brings people together, and very often that lasts a lifetime.”
“I believe that golf needs to be more inclusive,” says Danner. “I’ve always been excited to be working on public access courses, probably because I grew up around public golf. Sustainable golf is more than environmental stewardship. Without inclusivity and golfer participation, golf isn’t a viable business. It all goes hand in hand.”
Together, Forrest Richardson and Jeff Danner—Richardson | Danner—plan on having a lot of fun crafting compelling, sustainable, occasionally outside-the-box courses that are a joy to play. As Richardson puts it, “The largest canvas in the world of art is golf design, and we want to be brave in our solutions because that is what will bring about change—change that makes a difference.”