Life on the Links
Raised on the fairways of North Berwick West Links, classic architecture is in Benjamin’s blood. In his formative years the new golf courses he played were disappointing. Nothing compared favourably to the ancient links surrounding his hometown. But inspiration came to Scotland in the form of Tom Doak and his talented construction team. Their work at The Renaissance Club at Archerfield was a revelation. Benjamin joined the grounds crew to help with finish work. The seeds of his future career were sown.
In 2012 and 2013, Benjamin worked with the team that was painstakingly building Renaissance Golf Design’s cool and quirky Grand St. Émilionnais Golf Club in the wine country of South West France. He was running heavy machinery from day one, and critically, was introduced to the mimimalist construction philosophy.
In 2014 Benjamin joined the Hanse Golf Course Design team building the Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Brazil. He was tasked with finishing elegant Melbourne sand belt-inspired bunkers, shaping parts of the academy facilities, and transplanting large amounts of native vegetation around the site.
Benjamin graduated to fully-fledged shaping and consulting roles shortly thereafter, building greens and bunkers for J. H. Duncan Golf Course Architects, and working on bunker renovation projects for Goalby Golf Design. Lead architects James Duncan and Kye Goalby are world-class exponents of golf course design & build, and have worked extensively for leading architects.
In 2017, in a co-design arrangement with J.H. Duncan Golf Course Architects, Artisan Golf Design made its architectural debut with a redesign of the Parcours Vert at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.
Working with the Golf Environment Organization for five years, Benjamin helped to advise prestigious golf clubs, national federations and professional golf tours. He was introduced to the inner workings of the game and became convinced that the multi-disciplinary role of the golf architect is critical to building a sustainable golf industry.
The minimalist philosophy and design & build approach of today’s great designers is—as far as Benjamin is concerned—sustainable golf by another name.
The age of excess in golf course design and construction is not over, but the evidence that the very best golf courses are created using low-impact and low-resource construction methodologies is hard to ignore.