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Architect Profile: John LaFoy Tells It Like It Is

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

GREENVILLE, S.C. – For all those ambitious golf course architects that have their sights set on remodeling a vintage, Donald Ross designed layout, Greenville-based designer John LaFoy says go for it.

No, LaFoy is not blasphemous – he’s written a number of scholarly articles on Ross’ work. Nor is he a revisionist – many of his own designs reflect the traditional influences of Alister Mackenzie and A.W. Tillinghast.

Rather, LaFoy is a realist, and realists have a penchant for saying exactly what’s on their mind.

“It took Ross 35 years to perfect Pinehurst No. 2, and here we get all reverential about even touching one of his golf courses,” LaFoy says. “Yet there are Ross aficionados that think if you find a Ross course, you should leave it the way you found it. It doesn’t make any sense to take one of his golf courses and not change it to make it better. Golf courses are not museums.”

If it sounds like LaFoy has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, it's because he does. LaFoy broke into the business after a tour of duty with the Marines in Vietnam. Upon his return, he was immediately contacted by George Cobb, a mainstay of golf course design in the Carolinas.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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