It might be difficult for some of us to fathom, but in the 1990s new golf courses were blooming across the country like wildflowers in summer. Favorable lending, the continuing expansion of the suburbs and exurbs and an unrealistic expectation of the game’s growth convinced developers there was money to be made in golf. Capital poured in and thousands of courses opened during the decade, a majority as part of real-estate developments. As a result, golf course architects were never busier.
Chris Wilczynski joined one of the era’s most active golf design firms—Arthur Hills (now known as Hills & Forrest)—as an associate in 1997. From then until he left to open his own business in 2010, Wilczynski oversaw, coast-to-coast, numerous design projects each year, most tied to large developments and resorts, nursing the new construction operations from inception to ribbon-cutting.
Golf design in 2020 couldn’t be more different. Perhaps a