1. Why did you want to be a golf course architect?
I had always admired professionally designed and built golf courses. Then came a chance to design a golf course and to study MSc in Golf Course Architecture in Edinburgh, Scotland. First came interest, then chance and it gave birth to passion.
2. Which golf course architects do you admire and why?
I admire legends like Alistair MacKenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones. The courses they have designed have survived the test of time. The books, which tell about their design principles are valuable tools in every golf course architects bookshelf.
When you think about this generation, I admire the most famous Finnish golf course architect Lassi-Pekka Tilander. His development to become internationally successful designer has been steady. The courses like Pärnu Bay Golf Links show excellent skills in this profession.
3. What is your proudest design achievement?
My proudest design achievement has been done in Katinkulta Golf, Vuokatti. I designed 22 new holes in 18+9+9 holes golf centre and redesigned 14 holes, originally Jan Sederholm design. It is the best golf concept I’ve seen in the biggest holiday centre in Nordic Countries. It gives good playing opportunities to all kind of players. And it’s always fully booked during the summer holiday season.
4. What are your favourite three golf courses in the World from a design perspective, and why?
My three favourite golf courses from a design perspective (if not counting your own ones) are:
5. What are the greatest challenges you face as a golf course architect?
The greatest challenge to golf course architect is to find and get skilled golf course builders.
6. What environmental or sustainable initiatives have you incorporated into your designs?
During my studies in Edinburgh I learned SUDS (Sustainable Drainage System), which has been useful tool in designing. Another one is to use only local plant species. I also like to keep area for maintenance and irrigation small. Make your design to fit the landscape with minimal dirt movement.
7. How do you see the golf course design industry changing in the next 20 years?
Places for golf courses are selected more carefully. Game will change and so will the courses. Golf course design industry will be keeping the pace.
8. What makes a golf course great rather than just good?
Great design, great construction, great greenkeeping, great culture of the club.
9. What advice would you give to an aspiring golf course architect?
Study, work, study, work, study, work. Take the job, if you can be sure about the quality of constructor. Take the job, if you can guarantee that you can be on site at least weekly.
10. What do you enjoy about being a golf course architect?
Many stages of the work of golf course architect are enjoyable. Site visits, drawings, construction work in different stages and parts of the course – and seeing the course ready. And after that -how the course matures.
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