Gil Hanse has been quietly doing excellent work for 20 years, the last 16 of them as principal architect of Philadelphia-based Hanse Golf Course Design.
Although he has scored critical success with his work on courses like Rustic Canyon, Boston Golf Club, and TPC Boston, he's hardly a household name, but make no mistake: Castle Stuart will change that, and should catapult him into the limelight and out of the shadows of Tom Doak.
Hanse followed Doak to Cornell, and then later joined Doak's firm, Renaissance Golf Design. While Doak has grabbed much well deserved glory, Hanse has since racked up an enviable string of original designs and restoration/renovation consultations. His first effort in Scotland, the Craighead Links at Crail Golfing Society, opened 11 years ago to enthusiastic reviews.
But Castle Stuart has blown everyone away. Hanse is quick to credit design partner Jim Wagner and co-designer Mark Parsinen, but for the quality of his work and for giving course junkies something to cheer about in an otherwise miserable year Hanse deserves his due, the spotlight, and our award as architect of the year.