Ohioan promotes sustainable, proactive environmental approach to golf course design
BROOKFIELD, Wisconsin – Brit Stenson of Shaker Heights, Ohio was elected president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) at the organization’s recent 76th Annual Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.
A native of Winnetka, Illinois, Stenson graduated in 1973 from the University of Virginia, School of Architecture, where he was also captain of the golf team for two years. He worked as a land planner and landscape architect for a large Washington, D.C., firm and was responsible for the overall master plan for Avenel in Potomac, Maryland. In 1984 he joined the PGA Tour as project manager for the TPC at Avenel.
Two years later he became the Tour’s Director of Construction, and then Director of Design, overseeing the design of TPC courses in Las Vegas, Tampa, and Hartford, Connecticut. In 1991 he joined IMG as Director of Design, a position he held for 25 years.
Stenson has designed more than 70 courses around the world, often in partnership with one of IMG’s well-known clients, including Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Annika Sorenstam.
Stenson has a “least disturbance” design philosophy that takes a sustainable, pro-active environmental approach to the wide variety of sites that he encounters.
“I am a minimalist when it comes to golf course architecture, letting the site do the talking as much as possible,” he said. “I love finding that least disturbance routing on a property that is well-suited for golf, letting the unique natural features of the site help defend par. That’s what the Golden Age architects did so well. It is such an important part of the design process, and a big reason their designs stand the test of time.”
Stenson wants to make sustainability a central focus of his presidency.
“Sustainability – environmental, economic and social – is at the core of advances in golf course design in recent years and is essential to the future of the game,” he said. “We continue to move away from the wall-to-wall irrigated turf monoculture that requires massive amounts of water and chemicals. Minimalist design concepts and the creation of diverse landscapes and habitats using native plant materials, together with significant advances in agronomy and irrigation, will allow golf courses to thrive into the climate-challenged future, providing valuable green recreational ‘lungs’ for the planet.
“Look for ASGCA members and our affiliated partners to generate even more creative measures in sustainable design and maintenance going forward.”
The design portfolio for Stenson includes: Grandview, O’Meara Course, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada; The Rock (Faldo), Minett, Ontario, Canada; Tuhaye Ranch (O’Meara), Park City, Utah; Montgomerie Links, Danag, Vietnam; and Ile Aux Cerfs (Langer), Mauritius.
Stenson will serve as ASGCA President through fall of 2023.