Bechtol Keeps Making Them Great

Austin-Based Golf Course Designer’s Name is on the Short List of Breakthrough Architects

Golf architect Roy Bechtol is in no way an overnight success story, but the recent groundswell of acclaim for his myriad golf courses seems to have come out of left field – a place fitting for someone who used to man the outfield as a member of the University of Texas baseball team. If you don’t know Bechtol’s name firsthand, you surely have played some of the courses he has designed, influenced or said grace over.

Among the Texas courses on the Austin-based Bechtol’s resume are the newly rebranded Grey Rock Golf Club in southwest Austin, ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor, The Golf Club at Star Ranch in Hutto, The University of Texas Golf Club at Steiner Ranch, Austin Country Club, Barton Creek Resort, Great Hills Country Club, RiverPlace Country Club and The Hills of Lakeway. 

Bechtol has also designed tracks in Oklahoma, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado.

Bechtol Golf Design was founded in 1998 as an independent golf course architecture and design practice. During its first decade of work, Bechtol Golf Design has designed, built or collaborated in the building of more than 50 golf courses, no less than 20 of which have been recognized for their challenge, their beauty and their playability.

“We try to build courses that reward a broad range of play levels and integrates seamlessly into the community and the environment,” Bechtol said. “As simple as it seems, Bechtol Golf Design fashions and designs golf courses that are beautiful and fun to play.”

Bechtol’s involvement with golf course design began at the Austin Country Club with Pete Dye in the late 1970s. Since then he has worked on numerous projects with Tom Fazio and was associated with Tom Weiskopf and Jay and Carter Morrish & Associates for 14 years.

Five of Bechtol’s courses have been honored with prestigious Golf Digest “Best of” awards in the past seven years. In 2007, Bechtol Golf Design’s Black Bear Golf Club in Delhi, Louisiana – which was designed in collaboration with former partner Randy Russell – won such kudos.

Black Bear Golf Course, after just a year of play, is already the home course of Louisiana’s renowned Audubon Golf Trail.

Expect the roll of honors to continue this year, thanks to the sublimely good and sneaky difficult track at The Club at ConCan, which is located in the Frio River Valley of southwest Texas. And the future looks even brighter and more productive, with as many as 50 courses under consideration at all times.

“Living here in the People’s Republic of Austin, our team has been able to build golf courses and their communities under the highest degree of scrutiny and the strictest of environmental regulations,” Bechtol said. “Our company is like a paraphrase of the old Barbara Mandel country song, ‘we were green when green wasn’t cool.’”

Unique among golf course design firms, Bechtol Golf Design has access to expertise extending across the entire land planning, environmental, landscape architecture and development process. The firm shares space with Planned Environments, Inc., Bechtol’s associated company that, since 1974, has specialized in land planning and landscape architecture.

Ever the innovator, Bechtol has recently agreed to collaborate with the principals of Southern Golf Properties, Inc. to form a “cradleto-running” management team. Details on that partnership were still being determined at press time, but the new company should be in place by the fourth quarter of 2008.

 

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