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Mike Strantz

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Mike Strantz

Luckily, the young artist loved golf. 

In 1973, a talented Michael Strantz enrolled in the Miami (Ohio) University studio art program, but the game of golf had other plans for him.  Five years later, he had graduated from the Michigan State Turf Grass Management School, with aspirations of being a golf course superintendent, and then the Inverness Club called.  The Toledo, Ohio club was preparing for the 1978 U.S. Open.  Strantz, a former Inverness turf grass intern, was needed to help the Tom Fazio crew remodel some classic golf holes for the U.S. Open.

It did not take long for the Tom Fazio team to realize that a hard-working, visually perceptive, perfectionist name Mike Strantz was someone they needed in their growing golf course design business.  Two days after Hale Irwin won the U.S. Open, Mike Strantz was on a plane to Hilton Headís Devilís Elbow North, a new Fazio course under construction.

Under the tutelage of Tom Fazio, Mike Strantz helped create many famous Fazio courses:  Wild Dunes, Wachesaw, Golden Eagle, Wade Hampton, Osprey Point, Lake Nona, Black Diamond.  But after eight successful years on the Fazio team, two small daughters, and six days a week of travel, Mike Strantz stepped away from the competitive golf course construction business and picked up a brush and palette again and settled in Charleston, South Carolina.

And yet, the golf industry kept knocking.  The most critical call came after Hurricane Hugo leveled the Isle of Palms and Wild Dunesí Ocean Course in South Carolina.  Strantz helped load huge equipment on barges and then, for six months, single-handedly, shaped most of the reconstruction and remodeling work at Wild Dunes, with the blessings of Tom Fazio.

Larry Young called next.  The Myrtle Beach entrepreneur and golf course developer was not happy with the bunkers on his new Legends course, could Mike Strantz take a look at them?  Strantz hesitated, but climbed in the family station wagon, and drove to Myrtle Beach, only to realize he could not ignore his talent or desire to create something beautiful and majestic out of an ordinary swatch of land.

In the end, Strantz, Larry Young, and son Danny Young created a strong team that launched Michael Strantz as a golf course designer in his own right.  Their first project created history: a charming Carolina course, complete with pristine natural vistas and Spanish moss hanging from the live oaks.  Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Pawleys Island, South Carolina opened in 1994 and is still one of the golf industryís top courses.

Then came Strantzís elegant Stonehouse in Virginia, ranked the number one new golf course by GOLF DIGEST in 1996, followed by the highlands of Royal New Kent in Virginia also ranked number one new upscale golf course in 1997.  Mike Strantz was on his way to becoming a legend himself.  No golf course designer had ever had two courses selected for the number one GOLF DIGEST position two years in a row.

Next came Strantzís wild True Blue Golf Club, Pawleys Island, SC (1998) and visually striking Tobacco Road (1999), Sanford, NC.  Both courses were ranked in the top five GOLF DIGEST new golf course picks.  But the greatest honor came when GOLF WORLD looked at the young designerís incredible work and named him the number one golf course designer.  GOLF DIGEST followed suit, listing the top ten greatest designers of all time.  Mike Strantz was on this short list, along with Alister Mackenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Pete Dye, and Tom Fazio.

Three years ago, Strantz finished the hillside-sculpted Tot Hill Farm Golf Club (2000) in Asheboro, NC.  The course features striking red-clay hazards carved out of the hills, setting off the brilliant greens.  Then, last year work completed on the breath-taking Bulls Bay Golf Club (2002) on the Intracoastal Waterway in Awendaw, SC.  Bulls Bay bends and sweeps like the bold open curves of Scotland.  The vistas will stop a golferís heart in his throat and the winds carrying the ocean air over the marshes will bring him back over and over.  Bulls Bay sets a golf-standard for the Charleston, SC area and is destined for critical acclaim. 

Most recently, Strantz has re-designed a private course in San Jose, CA (2002).  Silver Creek Valley Country Club features Strantzís striking bunkers, along with a strong layout that the members are enjoying immensely.  Upcoming, Mike Strantz has been given the honor to re-design the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Club in Monterey, CA (2003).  His sketches promise one of the most exciting and beautiful golf courses on the coast.  And after the Strantz magic paintbrush is finished, the Shore Course will be ready to compete with Cypress Point and Pebble Beach.

But in the end, Mike Strantz still does one project at a time.

Luckily, the artist loves golf.