How might the world’s No. 1 golfer fare as an architect? Though characteristically close to the vest about his plans, Tiger Woods recently hinted that “player-designer” soon could be part of his resume.
“I am going to start probably within the next three four years,” Woods said in a recent interview with The Golf Channel.
Acknowledging that an architect is “bound to what the client wants,” Woods hopes for “a chance to design a championship course.” He paused, then added, “I’ll make it tough.”
Other young tour talents, including Luke Donald, Joe Ogilvie and Arron Oberholser, have expressed interest in the subject. Oberholser, who has become one of the tour’s most passionate students of design, is a big fan of A.W. Tillinghast’s San Francisco Golf Club and Alister Mackenzie’s redesign of California Golf Club, as well as the work of Tom Weiskopf.
Oberholser’s observations have led to some defined opinions. “Some architects today stray away from the basic concepts of shotmaking and fun,” Oberholser says. “I don’t know if it’s because they aren’t on site much or if it’s because they see the game going in one direction of players hitting high, long draws. I would ask, ‘Is a hole going to fit the 18-handicapper, and is it also going to fit my game?’ Give people space to run the ball up on the greens—don’t put all this stuff in front of the green if a guy has a 4-iron.”
Woods already has a head start on his contemporaries. He was among 22,000 entrants in Golf Digest’s 1987 “Armchair Architect” contest. Then 11, he submitted his design under his father’s name because entrants had to be 18 or older.His design, a horseshoe shaped par 5 with an island tee, island green and a bunker within the green, even included contour lines. Woods’ entry failed to get past the first round of consideration, which recently led Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten to suggest it was “one of the few cuts Tiger has failed to make.”
How might the world’s No. 1 golfer fare as a golf course architect?