A golfplayer since 1967, I have played many golf courses. Always interested in design and on my way to becoming a buildingarchitect in the eighties, and because of the training to always have an opinion of the shapes and designed features that surround us, I became aware of how many of the golf courses I played that had bad design. Many of them were manicured and in excellent shape, but during the round, I lost interest. After the opening holes, each of them more or less of the same character, i just teed my ball and slammed it down the fairway. None of the bunkers were in play for the good players, they were shapeless and featureless and not corporated into the landscape.
Stavanger, Norway, my home town, is only one hour by plane from Aberdeen, Scotland, and it became natural to go to Scotland, the home of golf, in the spring and autumn every year.
Eureka! So this is the way golf is supposed to play; on links courses in strong winds, on undulating fairways, on firm and fast greens, surrounded by deep bunkers. The first golf course I played in Scotland was Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, founded in 1780. I played in rain and howling wind, and never had so much fun in my life.
“Fun to play”, my guiding line since I started to design golf courses in the early nineties. It is very easy to design a difficult golf course; just make it 7000 meters, plant a lot of trees close to the fairway, grow heavy rough and add a few water hazards. But to design a strategic, challenging golf course that golf players of all levels like to play, that is another task.
From Scotland golf moved to USA, and it was here that golf architecture developed in the first part of last century thanks to the talented architects like Donald Ross, Alister Mackenzie and George C. Thomas. It was during this period called the Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture that we got the courses we now call “classic”, like Pine Valley,Pebble Beach, Riviera, Pinehurst, Cypress Point and many others.
All the architects from this period were very keen writers, so their thoughts, philosophies and construction methods are well documented in books that are in every serious golf course architect´s library.
I have always been a keen student of litterature on golf course architecture and golf course maintenance, and my personal library, the books from the Golden Age included, now contains about 170 titles. The books are used daily as an inspiration to remind me of the basics in the golf architecture I beleive in; naturalism, minimalism, strategy, variety and common sense.
Most of my projects have been in Norway, but projects in Brazil and Portugal have given me the taste to work abroad.
EIGCA SENIOR MEMBER
As a Senior Member and Council Member of European Institute of Golf Course Architects- EIGCA, it gives me great pleasure to attend the Annual General Meetings and our study trips to the classic courses and the new projects.
Besides designing golf courses, I have been a partner in a buildingarchitect office, designing houses houses, office buildings and club houses for golf clubs among others.