Tom Doak

Last updated

Tom Doak is a golf course architect. He has 6 courses ranked among the top 100 in the world according to the "Top 100 Courses in the World" [1] March 2021 list compiled by Golf Magazine. These include Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Ballyneal in Colorado, [2] Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania [3] and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Doak lives in Michigan.


He was a student of golf course designer Pete Dye, although perhaps his greatest influence comes from Alister MacKenzie (whom Doak wrote a book about), designer of Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne, and consultant to Bobby Jones at Augusta National. In 2007, Doak restored Alister MacKenzie's home course, Pasatiempo, a Golf Magazine Top 100 course located in Santa Cruz, California.

Doak is the author of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses which is a guide to famous and obscure golf courses around the world. The original version of the book was intended for a select group of friends and golf course architects. The sanitized version became a coffee table book which also included Doak's photography. Despite being toned down, the book includes several extremely critical reviews of golf courses and alienated several well-regarded golf course architects. For example, in his entry for Talamore Golf Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, designed by Rees Jones, Doak wrote that the "dull layout" made him "want to spit."


Doak attended Cornell University after a semester at MIT where he studied Design and Landscape Architecture. [4] [5] After graduating Cornell, he won the Dreer Award from the Department of Floriculture and Horticulture. He used the Dreer Award to travel to Great Britain and Ireland, between 1982 and 1983, to study their best golf courses. He caddied at St. Andrews during the summer of 1982.


Doak is a "minimalist" designer. Minimalism is a school of golf design that focuses on concentrating the design of a golf hole (or routing) around the natural features of the land. His most successful courses have been built on sand dunes, taking advantage of the sandy soil for drainage and also allowing for the reuse of native elements.

Doak's first course, High Pointe Golf Club near Williamsburg, Michigan, opened in 1989. [6] The course closed in 2008 and is expected to reopen in 2024. [7]

Doak credits most of his accomplishments and success to golf course designer Pete Dye. Doak worked with Dye to learn how to construct golf courses during graduate school. Doak was exposed to several different schools of design on multiple continents in a variety of conditions. Jim Urbina taught him how to run a bulldozer allowing Doak to think in three dimensions and how to use the materials around him. [8]

In 2015 he announced he would spend a significant amount of time during the ensuing few years, researching for a new edition of his book, The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. [9]


Doak has written four books about Golf Course Design:


Public and resort courses

Private courses

Golf Course (Restoration/Renovation)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pinehurst Resort</span> Golf resort in North Carolina, United States

Pinehurst Resort is a golf resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina in the United States. It has hosted a number of prestigious golf tournaments including three U.S. Open Championships, one U.S. Women's Open, three U.S. Amateur Championships, one PGA Championship, and the Ryder Cup.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alister MacKenzie</span> Scottish golf course architect

Alister MacKenzie was a golf course architect whose course designs span four continents. Originally trained as a surgeon, MacKenzie served as a civilian physician with the British Army during the Boer War where he first became aware of the principles of camouflage. During the First World War, MacKenzie made his own significant contributions to military camouflage, which he saw as closely related to golf course design.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Donald Ross (golfer)</span> Scottish-American golf course designer (1872–1948)

Donald James Ross was a professional golfer and golf course designer. Ross was born and raised in Scotland but moved to the United States as a young man. Ross designed dozens of courses across North America and is generally regarded as one of the top golf course designers of all time.

Thomas Fazio, ASGCA is a golf course architect.

Paul Dye Jr., known as Pete Dye, was an American golf course designer and a member of a family of course designers. He was married to fellow designer and amateur champion Alice Dye.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a complex of five links and a par-3 golf course on the West Coast of the United States, located alongside the Pacific Ocean in southwest Oregon, just north of the city of Bandon. For a history of Bandon Dunes, see founder Mike Keiser's book, The Nature of the Game, written with Stephen Goodwin.

Barnbougle Dunes Golf Links is a golf course located near the seaside village of Bridport in Tasmania's North-East. The 18 hole championship layout was designed by course architects Tom Doak and Mike Clayton, and is set among sand dunes overlooking Bass Strait. The course has been highly rated since opening in 2005, recognised as Australia's number one public access course, and fifth best course of any sort in Australia. Barnbougle Dunes is the first new Australian course to enter the World's Top 100 courses since rankings began, coming in at 49 after its first appraisal. It has since improved to be ranked the 35th best course in the world, and is ranked the 12th best links course in the world.

Pasatiempo Golf Club is an 18-hole golf club on the West Coast of the United States, located in Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz County, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chandler Egan</span> American golfer

Henry Chandler Egan was an American amateur golfer and golf course architect of the early 20th century.

Pasatiempo is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, California, United States, located along State Route 17 between Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz. Bus service is provided by Santa Cruz Metro and the Highway 17 Express. Pasatiempo sits at an elevation of 394 feet (120 m). The 2020 United States census reported Pasatiempo's population was 1,093.

The Union League Golf and Country Club of San Francisco was constructed in 1929 in Millbrae, California, United States. It was one of the most ambitious golf and country club projects of its era in Northern California. It was conceived in the prosperous time that proceeded the Great Depression by a prominent group of San Francisco businessmen who would spare no expense during the design-phase of the project. The golf course was designed by Alister MacKenzie who considered it one of the top three courses on the West Coast. The unforeseen economic downturn of the Great Depression caused the club to become financially insolvent and in 1933 it was reorganized as Millbrae Country Club. In 1945 the club was named Green Hills Country Club.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marion Hollins</span> American golfer and golf course architect

Marion B. Hollins was an American amateur golfer. She is known as an athlete and as a golf course developer, one of the only known female golf course developers in history. She won the 1921 U.S. Women's Amateur and was runner-up in 1913. She also had many other amateur wins. She was the captain of the first U.S. Curtis Cup team in 1932.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mike Strantz</span>

Mike Strantz was an American golf course architect based out of South Carolina. In 2000, he was named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Golf Architects of All Time" by Golfweek magazine.

Cabot Links is a golf course located in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a full 18-hole true links course, but a 10-hole version of the course was opened in 2011. It was designed by Alberta native, Rod Whitman and is located on a former coal mine along the coast of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Curley</span> American golf course architect

Brian Curley is a golf course architect. He was raised in Pebble Beach, California where he played, caddied and worked at the area’s iconic courses. He currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. Curley is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and currently serves on its Board of Governors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Golf clubs and courses in Hawaii</span>

There are 75 golf courses in Hawaii.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gil Hanse</span> American architect

Gilbert Hanse is an American golf course designer. Hanse, along with his business partner Jim Wagner, was selected to design the Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course, the first Olympic venue to host golf since 1904.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julian P. Graham</span> American artist

Julian Pitzer Graham, nicknamed “Spike” was an American photographer. His legacy is over 40,000 photographs and negatives of many famous people that visited and lived on the Monterey Peninsula. Between 1924 and 1963, Graham, was an independent, official photographer for Del Monte Properties, which is known today as the Pebble Beach Company. His photographs appeared in magazines such as Life and National Geographic, national and international newspapers, books, fashion layouts, and promotional material used for advertising the Pebble Beach Company. Graham's photographs chronicle the history of the Monterey Peninsula which includes the creation of Cypress Point Golf Club, Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. His career lasted 39 years until his death at his home in Carmel Valley, California on March 13, 1963.


  1. "It's here! GOLF's 2020-21 ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S." Golf Magazine. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  2. "Ballyneal Offers a Private Authentic Inland Links Experience". Ballyneal Golf Club. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  3. "GetStarted Australia - Piecing together your web strategy". Archived from the original on July 27, 2001. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  4. "Tom Doak Interview Snippets on Sports, Leisure". January 2008. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013.
  5. "Golf Course Architect - Tom Doak". Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  6. Dojc, Mike. "High Pointe Golf Club's $24 Million Revival Speeding Along In Northern Michigan". Forbes. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  7. Froehlich, Bill; Monroe, Josh. "New Year Could Bring Groundbreaking for Revitalized Golf Course in Acme Township". 9&10 News. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  8. Doak, Tom (1992). The anatomy of a golf course. Short Hills, NJ: Burford Books. ISBN   1-58080-071-8. OCLC   42465808.
  9. "Pennard appoints Tom Doak to consult on bunker rebuilding work". Retrieved August 20, 2022.