American golf course architect Gil Hanse is known for his minimalist and strategic designs. After working with legendary designer Tom Doak, Hanse formed his own company, Hanse Golf Course Design, in 1993. He has since become one of the world’s most influential golf course architects.
All Square takes a look at some of his greatest designs.
Castle Stuart Golf Links
Rated as the 21st best course in the UK by All Square, Castle Stuart, along the Moray Firth in northern Scotland, opened in 2009 to great acclaim. A beautiful modern links, it has already hosted the Scottish Open four times. The course is set over a fabulous stretch of coastline with many of the most striking holes played right along the edge of the North Sea. The par 72 course has wide fairways with huge undulations, bordered by fescue, gorse and heather. Hanse is known for designing layouts that require strategy and thought, and this is no different. The views of the rugged Scottish coastline ate stunning.
Venue for the golf competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won by Great Britain’s Justin Rose. Hanse was presented with a links-like plot, prone to wind with no tress or rough. So he added 79 bunkers to his design and a few doglegs to add variety and stop it simply becoming a big-hitters course. Hanse said his Castle Stuart design was one of his inspirations, as were the Sandbelt courses outside of Melbourne, Australia. The course won rave reviews after it opened. Justin Rose said: “It’s very strategic from the way you’ve got to use angles to get close to some pins. It requires a lot of thinking. I think Gil has done a great job.” Rated as the 2nd best course in Brazil by All Square.
Hanse transformed over 500 acres of flat, barren desert into one of the UAE’s finest courses. Opened in early 2017, the course has the feel of a classic British links. Hanse incorporated a huge canyon that winds its way through the heart of the course, causing elevation changes and spectacular views throughout. The undulating fairways here are inspired by the natural contours of the desert. A mix of formidable hazards including several lakes demand thoughtful, strategic play. This property features a 30,000 square foot clubhouse, which is the largest of its kind in Dubai.
One of the best new courses in the world, Streamsong Black is a fantastic championship layout offering breathtaking views of a vast landscape of rolling elevations and sand ridges similar to the Sandbelt region of Melbourne. The par-73, 7,331-yard course has five par 5s with considerable differences in length. Highlights include the huge punchbowl green on the 9th, dual greens on the 13th, and an infinity green on the par-three 17th. Hanse’s team also added The Roundabout, a free-flowing practice facility which features several green complexes and practice holes.