Golf

Tiger Woods Reveals a Future in Golf Course Design and His Childhood Inspiration

To say Tiger Woods is passionate about golf is a huge understatement. Despite a downturn, the legend’s commitment to the game has never been doubted. This commitment, however, might be more profound than the casual fan realizes. When he isn’t on the course, Woods has a passion for course design that dates back years before he first made it onto the tour.

Tiger Woods loves golf course design 

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In 1987, Golf Digest held its first Armchair Architect contest. The contest, which was technically for adults, allowed people to design any golf course. At the time, Woods, who was 11 years old, submitted a design through his father to bypass the age requirement. It was a u-shaped, double-dogleg 5-par curse with a creek, a water hazard, and lots of trees. 

Woods didn’t win and had he not become who he was. The submission would have likely been just another failed submission by a golf fan. Looking back, however, Woods always thought about golf in ways most of us couldn’t imagine. He didn’t just want to become the best golfer of all time, which he might have been at his peak. He wanted to have control over the entire game. 

The sketch is fascinating when looking at it through the eyes of an 11-year-old. However, it wasn’t just a cute story about one of the all-time greats as a kid. Woods followed this passion to his own design business, which he launched in 2015. 

Woods goes pro (in a different way)

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In 2015, Woods launched his own design firm, TGR Design. At face value, this isn’t anything strange. Athletes often get involved in companies that directly impact their sport. However, many of these side projects include little more than investments — the athlete does not personally engage. This is not the case with Woods.

He is hands-on with his design company, and in 2015, his first domestic design opened at Bluejack National. Golf pro Dave Stockton Jr. gave one of the first clinics at the course, and he praised Woods and his team for making one that was worth playing on. 

“He did a helluva job with this design,” Stockton said (per The Loop). “It did have the feel of Augusta National with the pine trees and elevation changes and the slopes. There were a limited number of bunkers, and it’s not crazy with the bunkers around the greens … There’s no rough. The only way you’re losing a ball is if you hit it in the water. You’re not going to be searching or hunting for balls, so rounds will go quicker. It’s got a heckuva buzz and I can see why.”

The course, located outside Houston, Texas, impressed golfers across the world with its elegance and thoughtful design. Five years later, Woods is about to take on an even bigger project, however. 

Woods on design 

For the last few months, the famously secretive Woods has opened up his home to Golf Digest, who released the web series At Home with Tiger Woods. In one of the recent episodes, he showed the audience his original design for a course — the same one that he gave to Golf Digest as a child. Woods half-jokingly lamented the fact that he didn’t win. However, with ambitious projects on the way, he might have the last laugh. 

TGR Design has been tasked with redesigning Pebble Beach’s seventh hole, and Woods is at the forefront of the operation. Pebble Beach’s director of golf, John Sawin, spoke about Woods’ commitment to design and how excited he was to see the new seventh hole. 

“From our standpoint, it was a natural fit,” Sawin told Golf Digest. “They have experience building these fun, dynamic playable short courses that are interesting and challenging for avid golfers, but still fun and playable for beginners. And maintaining that family-oriented, welcoming environment for junior golfers and beginners will be a great fit for how we see Peter Hay continuing to play a role in our community within the golf resort.”

Woods is likely approaching the twilight of his career. However, as he looks forward to life after golf, his career as a designer may just be getting started.