Golf architect Dr Michael Hurdzan has been selected to receive the 2013 Old Tom Morris Award by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. The award will be presented during the GCSAA conference in San Diego next February.
GCSAA's most prestigious honour, the award is presented each year to an individual who 'through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris.'
Hurdzan points to Devil’s Paintbrush in Canada, and Erin Hills in Wisconsin, which will pay host to the 2017 US Open as his favourite projects. He began his career in golf as a course superintendent.
“Mike is most deserving of this honour,” said GCSAA president Sandy Queen. “His contributions to the game have had a significant and lasting impact. He has given so much of his time for the benefit of the greater good.”
Born in 1943 in West Virgina, Hurdzan moved to Columbus, Ohio, as a young child. His exposure to golf began at an early age as his father, Michael, a golf professional, taught him the game in the early 1950s. There he was taken under the wing of Jack Kidwell, a golf professional, superintendent, architect and owner. Kidwell would eventually name Hurdzan assistant superintendent and then superintendent of Beacon Light. The two would ultimately form a partnership in a golf course design firm.
“I think I spent almost every day of my life between 1952 and 1966 at Beacon Light,” Hurdzan said of the course, which has since been redeveloped for housing. “I loved being on the golf course, and that is why this award means so much to me. It is given by an organisation for which I have the ultimate respect and by a group of individuals I consider to be my peers.” After Kidwell retired from the firm, Hurdzan partnered with Dana Fry to form Hurdzan-Fry Design.
Ron Whitten, senior architecture editor for Golf Digest, worked with Hurdzan and Fry in designing Erin Hills. He says Hurdzan’s knowledge and work ethic distinguish him as an architect.
“No one is going to outwork Mike,” Whitten said. “His thirst for knowledge is incredible. And that leads to him being attentive to every detail. His name may not be as big with golfers or the media, but believe me the industry knows just how good he is.”