Gary Player

Born: Nov 1, 1935 (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Think of Gary Player and what comes to mind. A man dressed in black. A legendary devotion to physical fitness. A playing career that included nine major championships and six Senior Tour majors. One of only five golfers -- along with Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen -- to win all four majors.

But Player also has had a major impact on the game with Gary Player Design, which has built more than 300 courses around the globe. Player the architect has worked in the United States, the Philippines, South Africa, Bulgaria, Argentina and South Korea, among others.

Player was still in the throes of his playing career when he began consulting on several golf course designs. He started his company in the early 1980s with dual focuses: First, he wanted to make his courses playable for the average golfer and second, he wanted to protect the environment. He was influenced by his older brother, Dr. Ian Player, a conservationist who was credited with saving the white rhino from extinction. Player's concern is so notable many of his courses have been certified by the National Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to conserving and restoring natural ecosystems.

In a 2012 interview at The Masters, Player summed up his design philosophy: "I think that's what's hurting golf. The golf courses are too tough, they are too long, the experiences are so high, the water, the machinery, the oil, the labor, and that's what's hurting golf. They are making them longer and longer, and the costs keep going up and up and they levy members and they don't like that. So one has to build golf courses much softer and easier for members."

It's no wonder, then, that Player was an outspoken critic of Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open: "The man who designed this course had to have had one leg shorter than the other. It's hard to believe you see a man miss the green by one yard and the ball ends up 50 yards down in the rough."

Average Overall Rating

4.0 stars from 5

based on 4477 reviews.

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1-2 stars:
Avg. Course Layout: 4.2 stars from 5
Avg. Off-Course Amenities: 3.8 stars from 5
Avg. Value for the Money: 3.9 stars from 5
Avg. Pace of Play: 4.1 stars from 5
Avg. Staff Friendliness: 4.2 stars from 5
Avg. Course Conditions: 4.0 stars from 5

Gary Player-designed golf courses map