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Mike Strantz

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 Mike Strantz - The Biography                   - More Bio Information & Awards

Luckily, the young artist loved golf.   

In 1973, a talented Michael Strantz enrolled in the Miami University (OH) studio art program, but the game of golf had other plans for him.  Five years later, he graduated from the Michigan State Turf Grass Management School, with aspirations of becoming a golf course superintendent.  Then the Inverness Club called.  The Toledo, Ohio club was preparing for the 1979 U.S. Open.  Strantz, a former Inverness turf grass intern, was needed to help the Tom Fazio crew remodel some classic golf holes for the U.S. Open.

 It did not take long for the Tom Fazio team to realize that a hard-working, perceptive, perfectionist name Mike Strantz was someone they needed in their growing golf course design business.  Two days after Hale Irwin won the U.S. Open, Mike Strantz was on a plane to Hilton Headís Devilís Elbow North, a new Fazio course under construction.

Under the tutelage of Tom Fazio, Mike Strantz helped create many famous Fazio courses:  Wild Dunes, Wachesaw, Golden Eagle, Wade Hampton, Osprey Point, Lake Nona, Black Diamond.  But after eight successful years on the Fazio team, two small daughters, and six days a week of travel, Mike stepped away from the competitive golf course construction business and picked up a brush and palette again and settled in Charleston, South Carolina. 

And yet, the golf industry kept knocking.  The most critical call came after Hurricane Hugo leveled the Isle of Palms and Wild Dunesí Ocean Course in South Carolina.  Strantz helped load huge equipment on barges and then, for six months, single-handedly, shaped most of the reconstruction and remodeling work at Wild Dunes, with the blessings of Tom Fazio.

 Larry Young called next.  The Myrtle Beach entrepreneur and golf course developer was not happy with the bunkers on his new Legends course, could Mike Strantz take a look at them?  Strantz hesitated, but climbed in the family station wagon, and drove to Myrtle Beach, only to realize he could not ignore his desire to create something beautiful and majestic out of an ordinary swatch of land.

In the end, Strantz, Larry Young, and son Danny Young created a strong team that launched Michael Strantz as a golf course designer in his own right.  Their first project created history: a charming Carolina course, complete with pristine natural vistas and Spanish moss hanging from the live oaks.  Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Pawleys Island, South Carolina opened in 1994 and is still one of the golf industryís top courses.

Then came Strantzís elegant Stonehouse in Virginia, ranked the number one new golf course by GOLF DIGEST in 1996, followed by the highlands of Royal New Kent in Virginia also ranked number one new upscale golf course in 1997.  Mike Strantz was on his way to becoming a legend himself.  No golf course designer had ever had two courses selected for the number one GOLF DIGEST position two years in a row.

Next came Strantzís wild True Blue Golf Club, Pawleys Island, SC (1998) and visually striking Tobacco Road (1999), Sanford, NC.  Both courses were ranked in the top five GOLF DIGEST new golf course picks.  But the greatest honor came when GOLF WORLD looked at the young designerís incredible work and named him the number one golf course designer.  GOLF DIGEST followed suit, listing the top ten greatest designers of all time.  Mike Strantz was on this short list, along with Alister Mackenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Pete Dye, and Tom Fazio. 

In the year 2000, Strantz finished the hillside-sculpted Tot Hill Farm Golf Club in Asheboro, NC.  The course featured striking red-clay hazards carved out of the hills, setting off the brilliant greens.  Then, work began on the breath-taking Bulls Bay Golf Club (2001) on the Intracoastal Waterway in Awendaw, SC, near Charleston.  Strantz used the wide expanse of property to recreate the bold, open curves of Scotland, but he also tapped into the feel of the Charleston Lowcountry with holes set amid live oaks and Spanish moss.  Winds off the ocean made it a unique golf setting.

Soon Strantz was tapped to re-design a private course in San Jose, CA (2002).  Silver Creek Valley Country Club soon featured Mike Strantzís striking bunkers, along with a strong layout that the members were proud to call their own. 

After a lengthy search for the right golf course designer, the members at Monterey Peninsula Club chose Mike Strantz to re-design the Shore Course in Pebble Beach, CA (2004).  The brilliant reworking of the course layout captured the rough beauty of ocean, rock, and vista on every hole and has astounded members and golf designers alike. Mikeís final work is one of the most exciting and beautiful golf courses on the west coast. 

Luckily, the artist loves golf.

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