Best resources on Golf Course Architecture


Thought we should start a thread here where we could post links for those interested in learning more about golf course architecture or even good golf travel writing.

On course architecture is always a fun place to hang out with some lively debate on relative merit and demerits of courses and architects. Some great pics and interviews as well.

On golf travel writing anyone coming over the the UK & Eire shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to read James Finnegans books:

Where Golf is Great is a coffee table bonanza on Ireland and scotlands best courses:

The best of Scotland -

The best of Ireland -

The best of England and Wales -

I once played Finnegan through at Royal Aberdeen but didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him. A missed opportunity that I will always regret as he is a wonderful writer with a true love for the game as it should be played. His abiding rule, I think borrowed from Bernard Darwin, is great golf courses can be measured by how much “pleasurable excitement” they provide. I think its a great reference point to look at what various courses provide.

Cheers, Arnie

Hey Arnie,

Nice idea for a topic…Ironically I was thinking about this issue too earlier and ordered a book the other day by Donald Ross. I grew up playing his designs and will be nice to read his thoughts since I’ve played a bunch of them.


My Donald Ross book just showed up…Thought I pass this on to you right away…

Many Long Courses are Uninteresting

“Bear in mind it is quality not quantity that counts…The shoter ones (courses) are well thought-out and skillfully constructed… There should be two ways to play a hole, one for the physically strong and one for the man not so strong. The holes should be trapped so that par golf depends upon skill rather than physical strength.”


I had the pleasure of crossing the Atlantic with my dad last year about this time and played a number of the Scottish courses mentioned in Finnegan’s Blasted Heaths. It was an experience I will never forget – just spectacular. Royal Aberdeen was right up there among the top for me asthetically, but really required some precision to survive, which was a huge problem for me. If only I had Lag’s instruction to fall back on – oh well – next time, I will make a better showing.


There is a now a good free resource on some good UK courses called Virtual Caddy. It used to be a paid for site but they have now changed there business model and its free to register:

It has a number of the Open venues including Turnberry and you can take a good walk around approx 100 courses.

Does anyone here own the book: “Creating Classics, the golf courses of Harry Colt” by Peter Pugh, ISBN 1848310250?

Harry S. Colt is responsible for the design of most of the best known courses in the Netherlands (Noordwijk, Kennemer, Kon. Kaagsche, De Pan, Eindhovensche). I’m thinking about purchasing the book, but was wondering if anyone was familiar with it allready.

More info on Colt:

Some more info on Colt’s designs in the Netherlands and info on Colt’s design principles. … n%20NL.pdf

The Links, by MacKenzie protege Rob’t Hunter (1926) is a definitive work, as is MacKenzie’s Golf Architecture - pretty much the entire set of books at are worth having, imo