Doug Carrick (Douglas A. Carrick)
Born: Sep 6, 1956 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
When Canadian Golf Magazine presented its rankings in 2015, Doug Carrick had nine courses in the top 50. Only one designer had more, Stanley Thompson with 11.
This was no minor coincidence as Carrick has a direct line to the Canadian legend. Carrick learned the craft from Robbie Robinson, a longtime disciple of Thompson.
Carrick grew up a competitive golfer, then studied at Georgia and the University of Toronto before going to work for Robinson. He founded Doug Carrick Design in 1985 and completed King Valley five years later, a dazzling throwback design in southern Ontario that helped catapult his career.
His best works span the width of Canada, from Huber Valley’s River Course in Newfoundland to Greywolf in the mountains of British Columbia. Many of his best courses are in his native Ontario, including Osprey Valley, Cobble Beach and Muskoka Bay.
In the Toronto area, Eagles Nest is an inspired dunescape built on a sand and gravel pit, and upscale public Angus Glen, which hosted the 2002 Canadian Open, does a booming business on its 36 holes.
Carrick has stayed true to his Canadian roots, never designing a course in America and doing only a few overseas. Still, he has made his mark in Europe with the Carrick Course at Loch Lomond in Scotland and Fontana, which hosted the European Tour’s Austrian Open for seven years.
Carrick’s most photographed hole might be the "Cliffhanger" par 3 at Greywolf, where the green is perched precariously on the edge of a cliff.
Carrick has a particular fondness for par-3 holes. At some of his sites, he mapped out par 3s first and designed the layout around them.
Carrick's most distinctive course may be Bigwin Island in northern Ontario, which is only accessible by boat and has two of the best finishing holes in Canada.
Bigwin is the best example of Carrick's preference for wide fairways.
"Wide fairways offer two desirable qualities, playability for less skilled golfers and optional lines of play for skilled golfers," Carrick said.
Creating golf courses for the masses long been Carrick's goal, a lesson ingrained by years under Robinson.
"Mostly he taught me the importance of designing a course that's playable for golfers of every level," Carrick said. "Young architects too often think the way to make their reputation is by building really difficult golf courses."