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Mike Strantz

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Mike Strantz - In His Own Words

Golf:  what an incredible and exciting game! Amazingly, it is enjoyed equally by players of varying abilities and ages. And the game’s parameters? The beautiful theatre of nature, which is always ready to test a player’s eye, determination, and wits. Nothing in golf is more exciting than pulling off a shot you thought was beyond your capabilities, a shot you will remember the rest of your life.

 My goal is to give golfers the opportunity to experience such exhilaration on each and every hole by creating dramatic and imaginative designs. When a course does not force players to think, the game becomes dull and monotonous—a walk in a well-landscaped park.

 As I walk around the land, I try and let the character of the property dictate my design. First an artist and second a golfer, I hand draw each hole from many angles. My philosophy has been highly influenced by the work and words of the great Allister MacKenzie, who wrote that “It is an important thing in golf to make holes look much more difficult than they really are. People get more pleasure out of [playing] a hole which looks almost impossible and yet is not so difficult as it appears.”

 Our dedicated crew works on only one course at a time, and we live on site during the creation of each course. By dedicating our lives and energy to the development of each project, we have the time and energy to create truly unique and beautiful courses.

 Designing courses is my passion and I want every hole to exude the spirit of the game.

Mike has also received inspiration from the great architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie.  There is no hesitation in his response when asked which architect has influenced him the most.  “Dr. Alister MacKenzie, without question”, Mike states.  Mike’s response to his design philosophies has always been given in the form of several excerpts from a book entitled The Spirit of St. Andrews by Dr. MacKenzie.      The quotes are as follows:

‘A first class hole must have the subtleties and strategic problems which are difficult to understand, and are therefore extremely likely to be condemned at first sight even by the best of players.’

‘I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that beauty means a great deal on a golf course; even a man who emphatically states that he does not care a hang for beauty is subconsciously influenced by his surroundings.’

‘A good golf course is like good music or anything else: it is not necessarily a course which appeals the first time one plays over it; but one which grows on a player the more frequently he visits it.’

‘It is an important thing in golf to make holes look much more difficult that they really are.  People get more pleasure out of doing a hole which looks almost impossible and yet is not so difficult as it appears.’

‘It frequently happens the best holes give rise the most bitter controversy.  It is largely a question of the spirit in which the problem is approached, depending on the player.  Whether he looks at it from the ‘card and pencil’ point of view and condemns anything that disturbs his steady series of 3’s and 4’s, or whether he approaches it in the ‘spirit of adventure.’ 

‘The difficulties that make a hole really interesting are usually those in which a great advantage can be gained in successfully accomplishing heroic carries over hazards of an impressive appearance, or in taking great risks to place a shot so as to gain a big advantage for the next.  Successfully carrying a or skirting a bunker of an alarming or impressive appearance is always a source of satisfaction to the golfer, and yet it is hazards of this description which so often give rise to criticism by the unsuccessful player.  At first sight he looks upon it as grossly unfair that two shots within a few inches of each, the one shall be hopelessly buried in a bunker and the other should be in an ideal position.  If, however, he will give it further consideration he will realize that this is the chief consideration of all good golf holes.’

 Mike Strantz and his design team bring a needed freshness to the game.  His designs have been created solely for the experience.  It’s these experiences that leave lasting images with all who play them.  Based on the many accolades his courses have received, those who were once critics are now becoming raving fans.