(RELEASE) - "BoardRoom Magazine couldn’t have picked a more deserving architect for this prestigious award. There are a lot of really qualified golf course architects out there, but none more deserving than Rich." So says Kevin McCracken, longtime General Manager of Keowee Key Golf & Country Club. Kevin knows of what he speaks as he was in his current position way back in 2006 when Richard Mandell redesigned the greens complexes of the original George Cobb layout in Salem, South Carolina.
You see, Richard has been at it since 1992, but is still not a name which comes to mind with the general public. Yet as he makes his mark in the public arena (the past few years have seen him renovate some of the more iconic public tracks in the country such as Bacon Park Golf Course in Savannah, Georgia and Keller Golf Course in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also breaks ground this May on a bunker restoration of Robert Trent Jones' Tanglewood Golf Park's Championship course in collaboration with the office of RTJ II), he has also accumulated an impressive list of private clubs who consider him more than just their architect of record. One of those clubs is Keowee Key.
Kevin McCracken's position hasn't changed as Richard has returned to lead Keowee Key in a comprehensive tee complex and drainage project that broke ground during the first week of 2018. In the intervening years, Richard Mandell Golf Architecture also undertook a Tree Management Program and a Renovation Business Plan for the club, as well.
“Rich is a problem solver who has repeatedly exhibited an ability to tackle challenges out in the field. He doesn’t sit in the office after construction has started; He’s engaged and responsive, something every owner should be looking for in an architect,” says McCracken.
Richard's relationship with Keowee Key stretches back fourteen years, which isn't unusual for the ASGCA member from Pinehurst, North Carolina. Multiple clubs continue to work with Richard for many years, including Army Navy Country Club, a private fifty-four hole facility in the Washington D.C. suburbs (since 2005) and Beechmont Country Club outside Cleveland, Ohio (since 2010).
"I was really excited to share with our golf committee and staff Rich winning the BoardRoom Architect of the Year award, as he has been a big part of Beechmont’s long range planning of our golf course over the past eight years" notes Beechmont's General Manager and COO, Doug Foote. "As Rich has worked towards restoring our Stanley Thompson-designed course, he has worked closely with all levels of our golfing members and professional staff, developing a clear understanding of the desires of the membership."
BoardRoom Magazine is the official publication for the Association of Private Club Directors (APCD) and their Distinguished Clubs. “The BoardRoom Awards are the only awards in the private club industry that recognize private clubs’ business partners, and every year we see increasing innovation, achievement, a vision and dedication from BoardRoom Award recipients," said John Fornaro, publisher of BoardRoom Magazine. “And of course, private clubs are the beneficiary of outstanding work. Clearly each and every one of them is the leader in their respective field and we’re absolutely delighted to recognize their contributions.”
Richard Mandell Golf Architecture's workload isn't just limited to renovation and restoration work. He is currently wrapping up construction on one of only a handful of new construction projects in the United States for the City of Edina, Minnesota. "The City of Edina was excited to hear of this well-deserved accolade for Richard. Richard did a fantastic job in listening to the suggestions of our constituents, staff and patrons while designing a new golf course that will be enjoyable for all ages and abilities," said Joseph Abood, General Manager for Edina's new layout.
That layout Mr. Abood is referring to is the new Braemar Golf Course. Richard's creation will be unveiled to the Twin Cities in 2019 and early reviews are that the course is spectacular. In particular, it may just have the best set of par fives in the Midwest. Simply "Epic" is how local golf radio show host Craig Tekken, of ESPN 1500 Minneapolis, described Richard's efforts at Braemar.
Whereas Golf Course Architect of the Year is certainly a personal milestone for Richard, the past decade has been his busiest to date. He may be one of the few in the golf industry who bristles when others refer to how bad the industry has been for everyone in that timeframe. "We've worked very hard for a long time to establish Richard Mandell Golf Architecture as a leader in the design field," says Richard."Our record over the past ten years has shown that our efforts have made some headway."
Even though his work may not find its way onto the cover of the latest magazines, the challenges his firm have overcome are much more difficult to quantify than wandering an ocean-front bluff or prehistoric sand dunes seeking out God's best landforms. As a result, the recognition doesn't come as easily. From extreme wetland limitations at Braemar to decades-long perceptions among golfers at historic clubs such as Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota, Florida or Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richard has to consider not only how to impress with less-than-memorable field conditions, but how to adhere to strict budgets, as well.
For the past several years, Richard has worked with Myers Park as their Architect of Record but this past summer he led a sand bunker restoration of the Donald Ross club which also included a new practice facility and two new greens. CMAA Director and Myers Park General Manager Mark Bado considers the work Richard undertook for the club vital to an impending wait list for the near century-old club.
"Richard is the consummate professional and a great partner and advocate for the work that needed to be performed, offering a professional voice and opinion during times of debate that reassured the Membership and Club leadership that we were in completely capable hands," said Mr. Bado. This GM expects that Richard's 2017 BoardRoom Magazine recognition is a precursor for even greater things in the future. "He has done great work and will continue to do so. He should be very proud."
For additional information on Richard and his company, visit the Richard Mandell Golf Architecture website at www.golf-architecture.com or contact Richard directly at (910) 255-3111.