Architect of the Year: David McLay Kidd

Wednesday March 25th, 2009
David McLay Kidd.
Mike Houska/Dogleg Studios

It has been almost a decade since David McLay Kidd announced himself to the golf world with the stunning layout at Bandon Dunes. Back then he really was a kid. Now he's 40, but even if the architect is hitting middle age, you can rest assured that his designs are not middle-of-the-road. Kidd has compiled an impressive portfolio since Bandon Dunes opened, but his accomplishments in 2008 are what have earned the son of a Scottish superintendent our inaugural Architect of the Year award.

His two high-profile course openings — the Castle Course in St. Andrews and Tetherow in Bend, Oregon — are distinctive and compelling statements in marketplaces already overflowing with acclaimed layouts.

Kidd remains a genuine minimalist — he believes that a golf hole should fit as seamlessly as possible into the natural landscape — but he's equally adamant that his courses be anything but plain vanilla. To Kidd, a lush and manicured playing field equals "bland, uninspiring and cookie-cutter." While his designs often provoke polar reactions, his spirit of adventure and willingness to break with convention — both evident in spades at the Castle Course and Tetherow — are to be saluted.

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