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Best Golf Course Architects

from the experts in Golf Holidays

Golf Architects

Top Golf Course Designers

Our team is passionate about golf and we often debate which golf courses are the best in doing so we also realised that some of us have a favourite golf course designer.

Our golf experts have travelled the globe playing the creations from the men below and in doing so have come to recognise a certain design style or trait that they like. This can develop into yet another of those lists you just have to tick off.

We all have a bucket list of courses we want to play but we have also compiled lists that include playing every Dye, Braid or MacKenzie golf course or taking a holiday to Alabama and completing the RTJ Trail.


Golf Architects from England

Augusta National 6

Alister MacKenzie


Regarded as one of the best golf course architects in golf, Alister MacKenzie's legacy is evident across many of the golf courses that feature within the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.

His artistic creativity is seen each year at Augusta National, the home of The Masters, where he combined his design flair with one of the game's most respected golfers, Bobby Jones, to create an enduring masterpiece that regularly features as the #1 golf course in the world.

Killarney Golf & Fishing Club 1

Donald Steel


Donald Steel may well have travelled the globe more than any other golf architect but he grew up just outside London and has left a superb collection of courses here.

Steel is the only architect to have advised every course to appear on The Open rota and his designs were not limited to the British Isles.

Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course

Harry Colt


Harry Colt was the first significant British architect not to come from the professional golfing ranks, he teamed up with Charles Alison, John Morrison, and Alister MacKenzie to create over 300 golf courses, 115 of which were his own design.

Harry Colt’s own designs are renowned to have pioneered golfing architecture across the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia, but it is the influence he had on other designers that propelled him into legendary status.

Golf Architects from the rest of the UK

Brora Golf Club 1

James Braid


James Braid has had a hand in many of the Championship layouts that the Pro Golfers to do combat on but he also designed many lesser known courses.

The majority of his courses are within his homeland of Scotland but as well as following the James Braid Trail north of the border you will find Braid designs all over the British Isles.

Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club 6

Harry Vardon


Harry Vardon is considered by many to be one of the greatest golfers to have ever played the game of golf. Hailing from Jersey, where a statue of the 6-time Open Champion greets you on the entrance to Royal Jersey Golf Club, Vardon went onto become one of the strongest golfers of his generation.

Vardon's golf course design philosophy of asking many questions of the golfer off the tee and into the greens are apparent in the layouts he created or assisted across the UK and Ireland.

Pinehurst Resort 12

Donald Ross


Responsible for over 400 projects around the world, Donald Ross is considered to be one of the very best golf course architects.

His career includes the likes of Old Tom Morris, Royal Dornoch and Pinehurst Resort and is one of the founding fathers of the game which saw him enter the World Golf Hall of Game in 1977.

The Brabazon course at The Belfry, Warwickshire

Dave Thomas


David Charles Thomas was born in Newcastle upon Tyne but there was never any doubt that he would take his father's Welsh nationality.

His goal when designing a course was to create world-class layouts that are not just visually stunning but also easy to walk so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort 5

David McLay-Kidd


David McLay-Kidd was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, just ten miles from Glasgow and his philosophy to golf design is that a golf course offers modern man the opportunity to explore his environment, experience nature first hand and interact with friends in a pursuit where competitors congratulate rather than berate one another.

Golf Architects from America

Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Jacksonville, Florida

Pete Dye


Pete Dye has created Ryder Cup golf courses at Kiawah Island (Ocean Course) and Whistling Straits (Straits Course), tournament layouts at TPC Sawgrass where The PLAYERS Championship is played every year and the scenic Teeth of The Dog at Casa de Campo.

The partnership of Pete and Alice Dye has seen their design genius spread thoughout the world. During his 94 years he designed over 100 golf courses across the globe including Guatemala, Israel, Honduras, Italy, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, China and America.

Spyglass Hill 1

Robert Trent Jones


Robert Trent Jones is one of the world's most acclaimed golf course designers, his work includes layouts at Celtic Manor in Wales and Ballybunion in Ireland.

Jones has left his mark in Europe with layouts in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy but some of his most spectacular designs are located in his adopted homeland of America.

Streamsong Resort 2

Tom Doak

New York

Tom Doak is a well respected golf course architect, with four of his designs currently ranked in the world’s top 100. Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Ballyneal in Colorado, Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania and one of the most visually stunning golf courses in the world, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand.

A student of the Hall of Fame golf architect Pete Dye, Doak would study his work and learn how to construct a golf course.

Green Monkey Golf Course, Sandy Lane, Barbados

Tom Fazio


Tom Fazio has been voted as one of the best modern day golf architects, his creations at PGA National, Pinehurst Resort and Kiawah Island are all ranked within the Top 100 Courses.

Tom has designed over 120 courses across North, Central and South America and the odd course overseas including Waterville Golf Links in Ireland.

Finca Cortesin Golf Resort 5* 2

Cabell Robinson


Cabell Robinson made his name designing layouts on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain but has gone on to deisgn golf courses throughout Europe.

He expanded his design work with layouts in Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus and on into North Africa designing a number of courses in Morocco.

Yas Links, Abu Dhabi

Kyle Phillips


Kyle Phillips has over 30 years of experience designing golf courses, his designs are influenced by the landforms and strategic qualities of the great links and heathland courses.

His courses are commonly ranked among the best in their respective regions, with many making their way into lists of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World published by leading golf publications such Golf Digest.

Golf Professionals turned Designer

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando

Arnold Palmer

Pennsylvania, USA

Arnold Palmer is simply one of the greats of golf. His incredible popularity generated by Arnie's Army was something that the game had never seen before.

Palmer's golf course designs are enjoyed across the globe from the breathtaking links golf course at Tralee Golf Club in Ireland, the PGA Tour venue at Bay Hill to the home of The Portugal Masters at The Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura.

PGA National Resort & Spa 7

Jack Nicklaus

Ohio, USA

Regarded by many as the greatest professional golfer of all time, the name of Jack Nicklaus is synonymous with golf.

The Golden Bear's design company, Nicklaus Design, has created over 425 courses in 45 countries worldwide, with 280 of these having been designed by the legend himself.

Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort 5

Gary Player

South Africa

The Black Knight has designed European Tour golf courses at Fancourt and Leopard Creek, two layouts at Sun City, the host of the Nedbank Challenge and the stunningly beautiful Thracian Cliffs.

Player has made his mark around the world with well-regarded golf courses in France at Chateau de Taulane, India's Delhi Golf Club and Morocco's Mazagan Beach.

Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Golf & Country Estate 1

Peter Alliss


Peter Alliss was one of golf's most memorable characters. His professional exploits were superb and his golf course designs will live long in the memory but it is his role as a commentator that resonate so well with golfers.

Alliss enjoyed a very busy career as a golf course architect, constructing more than 50 golf courses over 3 decades creating courses in Japan, France, Scotland, England, Mauritius and even The Ivory Coast.

Buenavista Golf 1

Seve Ballesteros


The five-time major champion and former world number one player was always known for his creative genius, unrivalled imagination and ability to conjure magic from the most impossible spots & turn certain bogeys into birdies is unparalleled in the history of golf.

The Spaniard also made his mark in creating golf courses showcasing his flair and sense of adventure. He excelled at turning his imagination and creative talent towards golf course design.

Emirates Golf Club, Faldo Course - Dubai, UAE

Nick Faldo


Sir Nick Faldo has been involved in more than 20 golf courses. These range from The Algarve to England to China and The USA. Faldo's designs have played host to different professional tournaments and are enjoyed by golfers of all handicaps.

With courses in Ireland, Portugal, China, Cyprus, Turkey, Germany, America, the Philippines, Denmark, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Egypt & Dubai his golf courses are now enjoyed by thousands of golfers each year.

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