Forrest L. Richardson
Golf Course Architect
Forrest L. Richardson aims for sustainability, playability and fun with his golf course designs. He sees big potential in small-footprint golf for both existing and new golfers. “The Lake Tahoe Golf Course is a point of pride for the State and Lake Tahoe Community,” says Richardson. “Not only do we have expansive open space with habitat weaving in and out of the golf uses, but we are providing a place for people to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time.” Indeed, with its goal of 50,000 annual rounds, the total recreation time spent at the facility surpasses a quarter million hours, far more than many other recreation sites and parks.
Richardson has observed that infrastructure — irrigation, drainage, paths and rootzones — at this 60-year old course are well past their useful life cycle. “When a golf course reaches certain points in its age you begin to see decline in many areas,” notes Richardson. “While the State has taken good care of the facility, the simple reality of replacing certain things needs to catch up with the times. While golf courses wear out at different stages, it’s much like any building — you simply need to renovate at some point in time in order to get the same use out of the asset.”
Notable renovation efforts by Richardson include Olivas Links in Ventura, where Richardson turned a poor-draining 27-hole original layout into a 10-hole routing praised by golfers. He also transformed Baylands Golf Links in Palo Alto to be integrated within a larger natural preserve area that golfers enjoy and the $12 million project also established a short course aimed at youth golfer development. Another successful project is the golf course at Mountain Shadows resort in Phoenix where he reduced a rigourous play executive course designed in the 1960’s by his mentor Jack Snyder to an 18-hole par-3 course that emphasizes quick play and fun. Richardson is also well-known for original designs The Hideout in Utah and the Links at Las Palomas in Mexico.
Richardson has authored five books on golf course architecture including the book, Of Course. In 2020, he began a year-long term as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Richardson is about making the game fun and less intimidating. “Anything we can do to bring people into the game and keep them involved with the game…let people experience the fun of the game.”
“Anything we can do to bring people into the game and keep them involved with the game…let people experience the fun of the game.” Forrest L. Richardson