A new Scottish-American alliance promises to shake up the global golf design industry. Named for the ancient supercontinent that included all of Earth’s landmass and a reflection of the principals’ philosophy ‘One world – better together’, Pangaea Golf Architecture is a strategic partnership between Jeffrey Danner and Stuart Rennie, who met while studying on the European Institute of Golf Course Architects’ (EIGCA’s) diploma course in 2007, and have been close friends ever since.
Danner says: “When I first me Stuart, his talent was obvious, and I could sense his ambition. We bonded over our shared aspirations. Even back then, we joked about taking over the golf world together, and now is the time for us to take a leadership role in our quickly evolving industry.” Rennie adds: “We have spent the years since our first meeting making our own ways in the golf design industry, but for both of us, we have always been interested in pooling our abilities to create great golf courses, and I think we have both reached the stage in our careers where it is time for us to pursue that interest.”
Stuart Rennie grew up near Dornoch, the home of legendary architect Donald Ross, and has been a member of the Royal Dornoch club since the age of twelve. After the EIGCA Diploma, he worked for the firm of Thomson, Perrett and Lobb in Melbourne, Australia, working closely with five-times Open champion Peter Thomson, and also in London, before forming his own firm, Rennie Design, in 2011. His highest profile project was the design of the acclaimed new Highland Council King’s Golf Course in Inverness, which opened in 2019. Besides completing many renovation and masterplanning projects, he also served as construction project manager on the Royal & Ancient’s Golf It! development in Glasgow.
Rennie says: “Growing up and learning my golf in the Highlands, I have an obvious connection with the work of Donald Ross. For years it has been a major career goal for me to follow in his footsteps and work in North America, perhaps even working on one of his courses. Creating Pangaea Golf Architecture sets the stage to fulfill that ambition!”
Jeff Danner is one of only four golf architects to be members of both the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) and the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). His career has seen him working with firms such as Golfplan and Lohmann Golf Designs, and a significant spell with Greg Norman Golf Course Design. He founded his own firm, Danner Design, recently, but has been interested in forming a long-term partnership for some years.
Jeff was in a lead designer role for numerous projects for Greg Norman Golf Course Design, including projects in Vietnam, Japan and Saudi Arabia. More recently, Jeff oversaw the renovation of Anchorage Golf Course in preparation for 2022 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur and has been leading the transformation of Hyderabad Golf Club in India, on behalf of his previous affiliation with Richardson|Danner Golf Course Architects.
“In recent years, the golf design market has been focused on design – or at least shape – and build projects,” says Danner. “And there are an increasing number of shaper-designers practising in this way, but there are limitations on the sort of project you can take on using that approach. In fact, I’ve fielded several calls in the past few years from shaper-designers who are trying to pair with someone who has strong planning and design experience, in order to be competitive in the wider market. Flexibility in construction is a must, but most projects, especially in developing parts of the world, require professional planning and documentation, and a shaping background doesn’t in itself equip you to do that. Our experience means that we are very comfortable with both design and build and more traditional projects, which we believe is an excellent reason for clients to work with us.”
Stuart Rennie agrees. “My Inverness project required a balance of precise planning and the flexibility to adapt to various opportunities in the field. My professional background as a landscape architect provided me with the training to deliver high level contract construction documentation, while allowing for some improvisation which was key for Inverness. We both very much enjoy working in the field and believe that we can provide the best of both worlds where we create good quality drawings and spend valuable time on site,” he says. “Between the two of us, we have a deep understanding of the role of both art and science in golf design, and I think that will be a real source of competitive advantage for us in the years to come. With offices on both sides of the Atlantic, we are in a great position to provide round the clock services to clients in any part of the world – it is an exciting prospect for both of us.”