Had we initiated this award before 2008, Tom Doak would have already won it, likely more than once. Forget minimalismno modern designer has advanced the cause of classic virtues, with its emphasis on strategy, width and contouring more successfully than Doak.
"Undulating topography is the soul of great golf courses," says Doak, who has a skill for either finding it or creating it with reliably spectacular results. Pacific Dunes, Australia's Barnbougle Dunes and New Zealand's Cape Kidnappers are among his most effective expressions.
Sharing top honors with Doak is his longtime collaborator, Jim Urbina. Once described as a "practical genius (on a bulldozer), someone who could translate ideas into tangible shapes," Urbina first teamed with Doak on a Pete Dye-led crew in 1985, and he has served as Doak's righthand man on many of Doak's greatest layouts, including Pacific Dunes.
Old Macdonald marks the first time in Urbina's 27 years in the business that he's earned a design credit, and what a debut it is. The layout's rippling fairways and sprawling greens demonstrate a mindboggling attention to detail.