The Architects of Erin Hills
Dr. Michael Hurdzan
Dr. Col. (R-USAR Special Forces) Michael J. Hurdzan is an internationally sought after authority on golf course design, renovation and the environment. On February 2013, joined Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. as the fifth man in the history of golf to hold the non-playing equivalent of golf’s major championship “grand slam” – as recipient of the highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (Donald Ross award), the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (Old Tom Morris Award) and the Golf Course Builder’s Association of America (Don A. Rossi award).
In a career spanning 55+ years, which began as an apprentice to the late American Society of Golf Course Architects Past President and fellow Ohio Golf Hall of Fame inductee Jack Kidwell, Dr. Hurdzan is the author of 100+ popular articles and 6 books, including, Golf Course Architecture: Evolutions in Design, Construction, and Restoration Technology, regarded by Golf Digest magazine Senior Architectural Editor Ron Whitten as “the modern bible of golf course design.” Projects bearing the Hurdzan name can be found on 5 continents, including numerous “Top 100” designs in both the United States and Canada. He is credited with the design of the first Environmental Demonstration Golf Course in the United States (Widows Walk) and the first Environmental Education Golf Course (Farm Links).
Dr. Hurdzan currently practices golf course architecture with his son, 18-year associate and now business partner Dr. Christopher M. Hurdzan, from their 5,000 sq. ft. office in Columbus OH, which serves to display one the largest private collections of golf antiquities in the Americas.
After competing at the junior and collegiate levels, Dana Fry had his first taste of golf course construction with Tom Fazio’s project at Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club in 1983, eventually accepting a full-time position as a shaper at Fazio Golf Course Designers, Inc. After establishing a strong background in earthmoving and shaping during his time with Tom Fazio, Fry extended the arc of his career by developing a keen understanding of the environmental aspects of golf-course design during his years working with Dr. Michael Hurdzan, where he began in 1988, became a partner in 1997 and continued to hone his craft.
The many projects to which Fry has dedicated his design expertise have attracted renown and accolades, including such venues as Devil’s Pulpit, Devil’s Paintbrush, Calusa Pines Golf Club, Naples National Golf Club, Desert Willow Golf Resort, Keystone Resort (River Course), Raven at Three Peaks Golf Club, Glenmaura National, Hamilton Farm Golf Club, Shelter Harbor Golf Club, Philadelphia Cricket Club, Ironhorse Golf Club, Tycoon Golf Club, The Ledges of Huntsville Mountain, FarmLinks Golf Club, Willow Point Golf Course, Le Diable Golf Course and Westwood Plateau Golf Course. Fry’s rich and varied experience, both as an accomplished golfer and as a passionate artistic golf-course designer, has resulted in his philosophy of a personalized, active hands-on approach to every project he undertakes.
Now, as he turns his attention to global design opportunities, Fry amplifies his imprint and legacy in the world of golf-course architecture. He is now a principal of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design.
Ron Whitten has served as the Senior Editor on Architecture for Golf Digest magazine since 1985. A graduate of the University of Nebraska and Washburn Law School, he practiced law for 12 years, primarily as a prosecutor, before joining the Golf Digest staff full time in 1990.
He is the author of five books on golf design, including the first history of golf course architecture ever published, THE GOLF COURSE (1981), and its updated version, THE ARCHITECTS OF GOLF (1993). He has twice won First Place in annual feature writing contests conducted by the Golf Writers Association of America, most recently in 2014. For his efforts in popularizing course design to mass audiences, in 1996 Whitten was presented the Donald Ross Award, the highest honor given by the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
In 2010 he was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame. Whitten has been a golf course owner and has been involved in the design of five courses, including The Architects Golf Club in Phillipsburg, N.J., in collaboration with his friend Stephen Kay, and Erin Hills Golf Course in Wis., a collaboration with his friends Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry. Site of the 2011 U.S. Amateur, Erin Hills hosted the 2017 U.S. Open. Whitten lives with his wife, Lynn, in Lenexa, Kansas.
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