Michael Hurdzan, PhD
Dr. Hurdzan is an internationally recognized authority on golf course environmental issues. He was selected the winner of the 2007 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and the 2002 Donald A. Rossi Award from the Golf Course Builders Association of America. He was also Golf World Magazine’s 1997 "Architect of the Year" and The Board Room Magazine’s 2001 and 1999 selection for the same honor.
Some of golf’s most famous courses were designed by Dr. Hurdzan, including Devil’s Pulpit and Devil’s Paintbrush in Caledon, Ontario. Golf Digest named these two masterpieces the Best New Course in Canada in 1991 and 1992. Other award winners are Naples National in Florida, ranked among the Top 100 modern courses by GolfWeek, and Lassing Point, rated by Golf Digest as the number one public course in Kentucky.
An instructor as well as a designer, Dr. Hurdzan formerly taught "Environmental Impacts of Golf Courses" for the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and has authored six books and over 100 articles on golf course related topics. His 400-page book on golf course architecture has been called "the modern bible of golf course design."
Explaining his philosophy of design, Dr. Hurdzan says, "Besides its sporting requirements, I believe that a truly great golf course must either enhance the natural habitat or create a new environmentally sound one. The more we harmonize natural surroundings into a golf course, the more aesthetic and memorable it will be."
Dana Fry has worked with Dr. Michael Hurdzan since 1988, and became a full partner in 1997. He is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and a past president of its Board of Directors. GolfWeek magazine selected Mr. Fry among the Top Five in their 2001 "40 under 40" list of people in leadership positions within the golf industry who are likely to shape the business for years to come.
Mr. Fry learned his craft working as a field designer for Tom Fazio, and was instrumental in the creation of several award-winning courses for the Fazio organization. Included in his portfolio are the Wade Hampton Golf Club in North Carolina, selected by Golf Digest as America’s Best New Private Course in 1988; Barton Creek in Austin, Texas; Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando; and Black Diamond in Lecanto, Florida.
Mr. Fry has been lead designer on most of the firm’s Canadian projects, including the highly acclaimed Devil’s Pulpit and Devil’s Paintbrush near Toronto; Westwood Plateau in Vancouver, B.C.; Le Diable at Mont Tremblant, Quebec; and Dundarave GC on Prince Edward Island.
Perhaps the most passionate person in the firm about the game, Mr. Fry is also the best player. He was a junior golf champion in the Kansas City area before going to the University of Arizona to play golf, where he set several course records.
His talent for visualizing a design and his relentless pursuit of realizing the vision elevate him above his colleagues. Ohio golf legend Jack Kidwell says, "Dana has a rare genius for producing consistently dramatic golf holes, on widely varying sites, with each one having a distinct character. He is always pushing the limits of design and construction, but he never steps over the line into absurdity."
Ron Whitten is the world’s foremost golf course critic. A lawyer by trade, he was a prosecutor in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, while also serving as a contributing editor on architecture for Golf Digest from 1985 to 1989. The author of more than 300 articles on course architecture since 1982, Mr. Whitten left the practice of law in 1990 to work full-time for the magazine as architecture editor.
He has managed all of Golf Digest’s features relating to architecture, including the biennial survey of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses,” the annual "Best New Courses" survey, previews of major championships, plus Golf World’s annual "Architect of the Year" feature. Mr. Whittenb initiated the magazine’s first "Armchair Architect" contest in 1987.
Ron has several books on golf course architecture to his name. He co-authored the first definitive book on the subject, "The Course Course", with Geoffrey Cornish in 1981; in 1993, a totally revamped version was published as "The Architects of Golf." In 1996, he compiled, ghost-authored, edited and illustrated the book, "Golf Has Never Failed Me", based on an old Donald Ross manuscript. Dr. Whitten’s book on the designs of golf architect Joe Lee was published in 2001.
An extremely hands-on critic, Mr. Whitten has spent time with every major golf course architect in America inspecting potential sites, accompanying them on site visits during construction and playing finished courses with them. As a natural progression of his career, Mr. Whitten has collaborated on full-size golf course design projects. The first of those was The Architects Golf Club in Phillipsburg, N.J., with golf architect Stephen Kay. The second course is Erin Hills, a collaboration with Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry.
In 1996, Ron was presented with the prestigious Donald Ross Award by the American Society of Golf course Architects, a year after the award was presented to Pete Dye, and a year before the award was presented to Gene Sarazen. "A stranger threesome cannot be found in golf," says Ron.
Hurdzan and Fry website