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David McLay Kidd

Closely linked with some of the most celebrated golf courses across the globe, the name David McLay Kidd is synonymous with excellence and innovation in golf course design. His contribution to the game extends far beyond shaping bunkers and teeing grounds; it contributes to making golf a rewarding and pleasurable experience for players of all abilities.

Originally from Scotland, Kidd’s bond with golf traces back to his formative years. Son of a top course superintendent at Gleneagles, Kidd tagged along with his father on the greens. This exposure to golf course management at an early age ignited his respect and passion for the sport. Upon graduating from Writtle Agricultural College in England with a degree in Landscape Design, Kidd was perfectly positioned to bring his knowledge and appreciation for the outdoor world to golf course design.

Kidd’s career took off when he designed the iconic Bandon Dunes on the rugged Oregon coast. The opening of Bandon Dunes in 1999 established Kidd as the enfant terrible of golf course design. The combination of artistic designer and educated greenskeeper became evident – Kidd had produced the synergistic masterpiece of Bandon Dunes, which heralded a new era of golf course design.

Deftly blending elements of traditional Scottish links-style courses with the modern game’s demands, Kidd’s design philosophy emphasizes an interactive player environment that caters to all proficiency levels. His courses are known for their strategic design, creating a delicate balance between challenge and reward. Canadian architect Ron Garl once proudly noted, “David Kidd brings the old and the new together to make his own style.”

Post Bandon Dunes, Kidd continued to garner critical acclaim for his work. His high-profile projects include Tetherow in Bend, Oregon, Huntsman Springs in Driggs, Idaho, and Machrihanish Dunes in Argyll, Scotland, to name a few. Each course exhibits Kidd’s design hallmark – a brilliant amalgamation of geography, local fauna, and strategic gameplay, impressing both amateur and professional golfers.

One standout design by Kidd is the Gamble Sands course in Central Washington. Offering panoramic views of the Columbia River and Cascade Mountains, this course is described as an ‘inland links.’ Kidd skillfully utilized the natural undulations of the land, pairing the dramatic landscape with wide fairways and enumerable playing options that cater to a broad range of golfers.

In a departure from the trend of increasingly difficult golf courses, Kidd adopted a different design approach with Mammoth Dunes, the second course at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Wisconsin. Concentrating less on punishing difficulties for missed shots, the course focuses on playability and fun and features broad fairways and oversized greens. It’s a testament to Kidd’s philosophy that a golf course should be a thrilling journey through the landscape, tinged with strategy and risk, but always rewarding courage and audacity.

David McLay Kidd’s narrative in golf design continues dynamically. As a committed environmental custodian, Kidd articulates the importance of sculpting courses that barely disturb the ground and adopting environmentally friendly maintenance practices. With this, he clarifies the future direction that thoughtful golf course design can take in the face of environmental concerns.

Behind Kidd’s charisma, creativity, and talent lies an earthy golf course designer committed to shaping varying terrains into outstanding golf courses that echo the game’s intoxicating challenge and charm. Kidd warmly invites golfers to embark upon an adventurous journey with every project he breeds, instilling a profound sense of satisfaction and joy.

Recognized as one of the most innovative golf course designers of his generation, Kidd’s projects serve as a riveting illustration of his design prowess. His ability to please a range of golfing preferences while respecting the diversity of location is an ode to his originality and foresight. David McLay Kidd is truly an architect who captures not just the visual splendor of a golf course but the spirit of the game itself.

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