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How a golf-course design up-and-comer, Tyler Rae, started his own firm

March 07, 2020
Barton Hills Country Club Ann Arbor Mich.jpg

Courtesy of Tyler Rae

Among golf-course-architecture circles we often fall into a cliché of talking about a contemporary youth movement of up-and-coming designers training and working for the likes of Bill Coore, Tom Doak and Gil Hanse. Many of the talented shapers and artists we lump into this group are in their 30s, or older—golf design is one of the few professions where late 30s is considered young.

In reality, it’s a more a matter of these up-and-comers waiting for the opportunity to get their own name out. Tyler Rae, 34, trained under Ron Prichard, one of the first practitioners of golf course restoration, for nearly a decade. Now Rae has opened his own firm and is establishing himself as one of the most talented—and busy—restoration specialists in his own right, working with an impressive roster of historic clubs (many with, or previously with, Prichard) like Skokie and Beverly Country Club in Chicago, Richmond Country Club in New York, Mountain Lake Golf Club in Florida and Wampanoag in Connecticut, as well as with several modern properties.

On this episode of “Feed the Ball,” Rae talks about falling in love with the work of Mike Strantz, whether or not there’s a “Philadelphia School” of design, old-time design-build practices, the logistics of Donald Ross having 30 projects on the board, William Flynn’s architectural ascension, Dick Wilson’s appropriation of Flynn, the Desmond Muirhead connection and pivoting between the styles of Ross, Alex Findlay, Herbert Strong, Robert Trent Jones and others.

Click to listen below: