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Andy Staples

The role of a golf course architect is comparable to a grandmaster who meticulously sets his chess pieces, strategizing each movement to achieve a calculated outcome. Among the many architects who have left indelible marks on the world of golf, one name resonates strongly with the current trends in the industry, that being Andy Staples. Hailing from a town in Michigan which reverberates with golfing history, Andy has been integral in propelling the game forward while respecting its root principles.

Andy Staples is not your typical designer. he possesses an eye for environmental sustainability and a passion for breathing new life into older courses while simultaneously honoring their historic features. Over the course of his career, he has progressed from emulating the work of others to producing designs that speak uniquely to his style, demonstrating his understanding that for a course to stand the test of time, it must adapt and evolve.

While he initially sought to pursue a career in the meteorological industry, Staples steered towards the passion he acquired at an early age, and chose a path within the golf industry. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University, Staples widened his horizons by maneuvering through various roles within the golf industry, including construction, maintenance, and finally, golf course architecture.

Andy Staples commenced his career under the tutelage of renowned architects, most notably under the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame inductee, Richard Phelps. Working closely with Phelps significantly influenced Staples’ design philosophy, offering him a perspective on layering strategies within a golf course design while respecting the natural dynamics of the land. Even at the start of his career, his thoughtfulness for maintenance and overall sustainability started to shape his vision for golf course design.

As he honed his craft, Staples’ design philosophy matured, and eventually, he founded his own company, Staples Golf Designs. Committed to the principle of “Community Links”, Staples Golf unites community involvement and environmental stewardship paramount to their designs. The firm became an industry trendsetter, championing the integration of a golf course into the larger community as a multifunctional environmentally friendly hub.

One of Staples’ most exemplary projects is Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville, Michigan. Here, he showcased his expertise in renovating an old classic with a sustainable approach. His redesign not only conserved the heritage of the Willie Park Jr. course design, but also introduced new-age eco-friendly aspects with artistic signature bunkers, the use of indigenous grass, and more extensive natural no-mow areas.

A hallmark of Staples’ designs is nestled in Arizona, at Rockwind Community Links. This project is a perfect portrayal of his Community Links philosophy, integrating the golf course seamlessly within the community, providing hiking and biking trails intertwined with green spaces for non-golf community activities. The genius of his design reflects in the course’s broad appeal, not just to golfers, but to the entire community as a leisure and recreation hub.

Staples’ work is also visible at the Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, Utah, where he designed the Links Course. Rather than transplanting a foreign design, he used the dramatic, windswept dunes and craggy ravines of the high desert environment to dictate the course.

The commitment to sustainability, embraced in each of Andy Staples’ course designs, is a nod towards the future of golf architecture. Staples has successfully managed to seamlessly marry two concepts often seen at odds with each other: golf course design and mindfulness for our environment. His vision and pioneering approach are not only reshaping golf landscapes but also transforming community perceptions about the game.

In addition to his awe-inspiring designs, Staples is also a prolific writer and speaker in the industry. He authored the book “Sand and Water,” which gives industry insiders a valuable perspective on managing golf course resources. As a speaker on sustainability in design, he has put his incisive thoughts into several discussions and interviews.

Andy Staples’ designs reflect his ambition and passion for golf. His approach signifies his deep understanding of the game, its history, and the need to sustain it futuristically. Staples has ensured that his work doesn’t merely serve as a testament to splendid designs, but also as an encouragement for the industry to propagate environmentally friendly practices in golf course architecture.

From starting as a young man brimming with passion for golf in Michigan to becoming an industry-leading architect, Staples’ journey surmises a story of innovation and evolution. His designs, vision, and determination will likely continue to form the framework for the future of golf-course design, with an obvious nod to its noble past. Andy Staples symbolizes the continuous evolution in the tradition-rich sport of golf: respecting the past, thriving in the present, but never losing sight of the future.

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