Your Location: Set change
Open in App

Vicki Martz

Vicki Martz, a renowned golf course designer, is a revolutionary figure in a male-dominated industry. With her innovative designs and influence on several prominent golf courses globally, Martz carved a path through an industry not often frequented by women.

Martz began her career in one of the world’s premier design firms, Arnold Palmer Course Design. She joined the team as a staff designer, but her keen sense of design, understanding of the game, and genuine respect for the environmental essence of the course ultimately led her to the position of Vice President and Senior Golf Course Architect. Her work has left an indelible mark on places like Ireland, China, Brazil, and the Bahamas, to name a few.

One thing that sets Martz apart from her contemporaries is her unwavering dedication to sustainable design. From the start of her career, Martz recognized golf courses’ potential to serve as green spaces that preserve and protect natural ecosystems. Under her guidance, golf courses became bridges between urban development and nature conservation, a unique concept that has significantly shaped contemporary golf course design.

A glance at one of Martz’s courses will reveal her careful touch. She was known for incorporating native plants, preserving wildlife habitats, and her astute commitment to making golf courses eco-friendly. For example, the King’s Walk Golf Course in North Dakota, designed by Martz, was predominantly built with indigenous prairie grass, making it a haven for local wildlife and a marvelous spectacle for golfers.

Moreover, Martz was not only concerned with the environmental aspects of her design. She prioritized making a viable golf course enjoyable for different classes of players. One of her signature design themes was to make courses playable for high-handicap golfers while providing a challenging enough course to test professional golfers’ skills. This thoughtful balance of sport and nature showcases her genius.

The beauty and utility of Martz’s designs have not gone unnoticed. Her contributions have earned her various accolades, such as the American Society of Golf Course Architects’ (ASGCA) Donald Ross Award in 2017. This honor is given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and the profession of course architecture.

However, what makes Martz truly unique in her field isn’t necessarily her designs or accolades. It is her trailblazing spirit. When she joined the ASGCA in 1988, she was the sole woman in a group of 105 members. She disregarded this disparity and instead chose to focus on her skills and the quality of her work, teaching us an invaluable lesson about breaking glass ceilings. With her decades-long career, she’s become an inspiration for aspiring female golf course designers and architects, encouraging them to follow their passion without being hindered by the biases of society.

Martz’s impressive body of work is indicative of the impact one forward-thinking, bold and conscientious individual can have on an entire industry. An architect, an environmentalist, a trailblazer – she wore multiple hats with dignity and grace, reshaping the golf landscape (literally and metaphorically) forever.

Her environmental advocacy, distinct design acumen, and trailblazing example serve as an inspiration to many in the industry, especially those who aim to make golf course design a more diverse and inclusive profession. Martz wasn’t just shaping the physical world of golf courses, she was reshaping the idea of who could be a golf course designer.

Sadly, Vicki Martz passed away in 2017, but her impact is lasting. As we continue to tread on the fairways, admire the beauty of the greens, and experience the challenges offered by the sand traps of the courses she designed, we relive Martz’s passion for the game. Her influence will continue to inspire generations of golfers and architects alike, instill a deep appreciation for nature within them, and remind us all of the potential for sustainability intertwining with sports.

Despite the undoubted challenges of forging a path in a male-dominated profession, Vicki Martz unquestionably left an enduring mark. Every golf course she designed stands as a testimony to her mastery, each fairway a testament to her creativity, and each sustainable feature an echo of her superb legacy. A legacy that will undoubtedly continue to shape the path for future golf course designers and architects.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Trip: No items added yet...
Your trip itinerary is added here...