Many times I have been asked "How does one become a Golf Course Architect?"...and equally as many times I fumble for an answer, primarily because there is no single or simple path for a designer to take. My own path begins with what I consider a course designers job description:
"A Golf Course Architect employs a wide variety of skills that he acquires over a life time of experience. It's not an occupation that is taught in college, but it does require a knowledge of Agronomy, Geology, Civil Engineering, Land Planning and Landscape Architecture. This knowledge...when combined with an artist's eye and a designers touch...allows for the creation of a natural arena and the ultimate outdoor play space...a golf course. It doesn't stop there though, as the building of a golf course is a major construction endeavor that requires the organizational skills of a project manager, and a foreman's field skills to put the various parts into a whole...all 18 of them...
...but probably the most important quality a Golf Course Architect must possess is the desire and ability to be physically present while working with the land, because the heart of what constitutes a golf course doesn't come from plans or an office... but from creating and designing while being in the field. I believe this is the only way one can take several hundred acres and make them into something special, and it is this design ability that separates the very BEST golf courses from the very average."
I have spent my lifetime working and travelling the world to acquire and refine these skills, and in the process I've learned it's a path and journey without end... I find that the most exciting thought of all.