Ben Crenshaw: Putting and Course Design Artist

Ben Crenshaw has long been known as one of the best putters in the game. The pace and flow of his stroke was mesmerizing. And the results were tantalizing; everybody wanted to putt like Ben.

He had a putting video out when he was at his most successful and on it, he memorialized many of his great putts. There was one on the 10th green at Augusta — I dunno, maybe 60 feet with a big, sweeping, right to left break — that was so smoothly delivered to the hole, it seemed to take forever to get there. But it was so obvious that it was going to go in from the very beginning, you couldn’t take your eyes off it. 

But now he is most known — after his two Masters wins — for his critically acclaimed golf course design talents. The same artistry that he brought to reading those long putts, he now brings to reading the lay of the land of a golf property.

He and his partner, Bill Coore, let the property tell them where the holes should be and then they bring them into existence with a natural, minimalist approach. Their most famous collaboration is Sand Hills in Mullen, Nebraska. By the time they got done with their thoughtful, two-year survey, they had identified over 130 holes from which they selected the final 18.

“Gentle Ben” was also famous for his captaincy of the 1999 Ryder Cup comeback team, where he prophetically announced Saturday night that he “had a good feeling” about the team’s chances on Sunday.

Crenshaw is one of the good guys in the game, a gentleman’s gentleman. Cameron Morfit, Senior Writer, at Golf Magazine has coaxed a great interview out of Ben in, “Ben Crenshaw Interview on Augusta National, the 1999 Ryder Cup, golf-course design and his favorite courses.” It’s a great look into the world of golf course design and one of the fine minds in that creative business.

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