Golf world mourns architect Nelson


Sean Dudley

Golf architect Robin Nelson, senior partner of design firm Nelson & Haworth died on 19 November, at the age of 61.

Nelson worked with fellow ASGCA member Neil Haworth, and Brett Mogg at Nelson & Haworth. The company operates from offices in Singapore, Shanghai and San Francisco.

Nelson was the lead architect on newly designed and remodeled courses around the world, including more than three dozen in Hawaii. His name also appears on projects in Australia, Canada, China, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nelson’s layouts included Mauna Lani in Hawaii; Bali Golf & Country Club; Shenzhen Golf Club in China; Ravenwood Golf Club in New York; and The Dragon at Gold Mountain, California.

An environmental design graduate from the University of California-Berkeley, Nelson began his career as a golf course architect in 1973. He worked with Robert Muir Graves and then Ron Fream.

Nelson described his design philosophy in a 2000 interview. “My main idea is to let the site speak for itself, to take whatever the site has and transform it into a golf course, if at all possible,” he said. “I hope to achieve the combination of variety, fairness, presentation and a challenge to the player.”