The GOAT List: Top Golf Architects of All Time

The Golf Architects was started with a planned course database of 18 architects that I believe to be the very best. The TGA Architects List is based on their impact on the game (Old Tom Morris), renowned courses (Dr. Alister MacKenzie), the ability to break the mold (Mike Strantz), and a thousand other factors.

If you look at the list below, who am I missing? Should Robert Trent Jones II be included? Canada’s Stanley Thompson? Tom Simpson with Ballybunion on his resume? With A.W., H.S., and C.B., should C.H. Alison get in on his initials? What about Willie Park, Jr. or William Flynn?

Jack Neville & Douglas Grant did one course, but it was Pebble Beach. Same with George Crump, who only designed Pine Valley. They may be one-hit wonders but if your song is #1 on the charts year after year, does that earn you a spot on the list? Let me know what you think in the comments. 

Pebble Beach Golf Course, Par 3 7th hole

The TGA Top 18 Golf Architects, in no particular order:

  1. Old Tom Morris

  2. Tom Doak

  3. Dr. Alister MacKenzie

  4. Seth Raynor

  5. Eddie Hackett

  6. Pete Dye

  7. Gil Hanse

  8. David McClay Kidd

  9. Mike Strantz

  10. Charles Blair MacDonald 

  11. Perry Maxwell

  12. Tom Fazio

  13. A.W. Tillinghast

  14. Harry S. Colt

  15. Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

  16. George C. Thomas

  17. Robert Trent Jones

  18. Donald Ross

Note: There is no single set of criteria for the TGA Golf Architects list other than judging by original designs versus renovations or restorations. That drops designers like James Braid and Rees Jones off, whose best work has been improving upon or reclaiming acknowledged masterpieces.

– Chris Austin – Founder, Editor, Writer, Golfer

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