Vicki Martz, a Fellow of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), died April 13, 2017. She was 72.
Martz was president of Victoria Martz Golf Design in Jacksonville, Florida, “a golf architecture firm dedicated to enhancing the environment through sensitive land management and designs that creatively utilize the natural features of the landscape.”
After studying Landscape Architecture at the University of Kentucky, Martz began her golf course design career when she was hired for a drafting position with McCumber Golf in 1981 by Mark McCumber, ASGCA. She later took a similar position with Arnold Palmer Course Design Company, where she would work for 25 years.
Growing under the tutelage of Palmer, ASGCA, and ASGCA Past President Ed Seay, ASGCA, Martz would become Senior Golf Course Architect, Vice President, and the Director of Environmental Design. In 2010, she began Victoria Martz Golf Design.
“I think Ed (Seay) and Mr. Palmer were both gender blind,” Martz told Golf Digest in 2005. “I think Ed thought I would have some difficulty when I went out into the field, that people might intimidate me or not listen to me. And I found almost exactly the opposite to be true.”
In that same article, Palmer said, “She designs really good golf holes. In many instances, people are requesting her to do the work, which is about as great a compliment as you can get. When she works somewhere, they want her back.”
“Always ready with a smile, Vicki was gracious, encouraging and thoughtful,” ASGCA President Greg Martin said. “She made everyone feel like a friend. Vicki was a soft-spoken, pure-hearted pioneer. The twinkle in her eye and the smile on her face cannot be extinguished because we have been graced with her light. We will miss our friend, Vicki.”
With more than 35 years as a golf course architect, Martz’s course list included: The Legacy Course at Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Florida; King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, Conway, South Carolina; Bay Creek Golf Club, Cape Charles, Virginia; Eagle Ranch Golf Course, Eagle, Colorado; and TPC of the Twin Cities, Blaine, Minnesota.
Martz became an ASGCA member in 2000.
She is survived by her husband, Gary, and their two children, Christopher and Heidi.
Services will be held Saturday, April 29 at the Episcopal Church of our Saviour, Jacksonville, Florida.
Comments on the death of Vicki Martz, ASGCA Fellow:
ASGCA Past President Bill Amick, ASGCA Fellow
Vicki was always kind to everyone. This was her charm, and a key in her ability to get along well in what is mainly a man’s field (both other designers and clients). She was always thinking about the golfers she was designing courses for, both women and men. Most of us have not always been so gender equal in our design efforts.
Most of all, Vicki was always fun to be around, have lunch or dinner with or just get a big smile and “hello” from.
Mike Beebe, ASGCA
Vicki was a remarkable person. In her professional life she was unique in many ways….she was an early proponent for environmental sustainability, was one of only a handful of female golf architects in a male dominated profession and she worked for one of the iconic figures in golf, Arnold Palmer, for 25 years. She was serious about her craft. But more importantly she was one of the most kind and considerate individuals that I know. She genuinely cared about others success and well-being and always had an encouraging word regardless the situation. She made acquaintances easily which usually turned in to lasting friendships whether it was a client, another person in the golf industry or someone she played golf with. My heart goes out to her husband, Gary and her son and daughter in their loss. She will be missed.
Jan Bel Jan, ASGCA
Vicki was a gracious friend, always attentive, thoughtful and caring. Even when in ill-health, she cared about others and gave full attention to those with whom she spoke. She was a spirited woman, willing to counter traditional thinking. Vicki was a woman of serene courage.
It was that courage that led her to accept the challenge of being a golf course architect. I was proud to have been a sponsor when Vicki applied for ASGCA membership in 1999. She was welcomed in this traditionally male world because Vicki was knowledgeable and passionate about her clients, the environmental features of their properties and the functional, strategic and aesthetic aspects of courses she designed for them.
Her mentors, Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, schooled her on designing for the excellent male golfer. But Vicki looked beyond that and began to include in her courses design that acknowledged, understood and encouraged the typical female golfer. She considered herself to be one of them and she was adamant about keeping challenges and success for those like her.
We shared a number of fun and entertaining rounds of golf with “our two Garys” at ASGCA meetings. A cherished bond was formed when Vicki and I traveled together to Australia “in search of Alistair McKenzie” in 2009 – what a fun time! We will miss her bright smile and her sincere interest in each of us. Vicki’s example of grace and grit will be with us always.
ASGCA Past President Erik Larsen, ASGCA
Vicki was one of the kindest most caring people I have ever met. She was a talented golf course architect, but that pales in comparison to her character…an awesome lady. I love Vicki and wish her peace with our Lord.
Thad Layton, ASGCA Associate
Those in our industry fortunate enough to have worked with her recognized Vicki as a pioneer, a creative architect, and an advocate for the environment. Personally, it was an honor to work alongside Vicki on a number of noteworthy projects. She was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and will be dearly missed.
Harrison Minchew, ASGCA
I had the opportunity to work with Vicki for over 20 years and have had the pleasure to know her over 30 years. She has always not only been the sweetest, kindest woman in our profession, but I have never met anyone more sweet and positive.
While working with her I often said I would like to spend just one minute in the positive, happy way she spent each and every day! I know there are Angels in everyone’s lives and she truly was one in mine!
Founded in 1946 by 14 leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout the United States and Canada. Members have completed a rigorous two-year long application process that includes the peer review of at least four representative golf courses. ASGCA members are experienced golf course architects, able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling.