Michael Hurdzan, PhD
Dr. Hurdzan is an internationally recognized authority on golf course environmental issues. He was presented the prestigious Old Tom Morris Award in 2013 by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; he was also the recipient of the American Society of Golf Course Architects’ 2007 Donald Ross Award and the 2002 Golf Course Builders Association of America’s Don A. Rossi Award. He was also Golf World Magazine’s 1997 "Architect of the Year."
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 and Lassing Point 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 worked with Dr. Michael Hurdzan from 1988 – 2012 and was a full partner from 1997 – 2012. With Jason Straka, he has since formed Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design. 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 was the lead designer of Hurdzan/Fry’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.
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. Mr. 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 Mr. Whitten.
Hurdzan Golf Course Design Website
Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design Website