Jim Nagle hired for NCR North course renovation and Eagles Mere masterplan

  • Nagle Design Works
    Nagle Design Works

    Jim Nagle has launched his own design firm, Nagle Design Works

  • Nagle Design Works
    Forse Golf Design

    Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, where Nagle has restored William Flynn’s design intent ahead of this year’s US Women’s Open

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Architect Jim Nagle has been hired to restore the Dick Wilson-designed North course at NCR Country Club in Dayton, Ohio, and to create a masterplan for Eagles Mere Country Club in northern Pennsylvania, which has a course designed by William Flynn in 1915.

Nagle’s work at NCR will begin in 2025. “The North has really not been touched very much since Wilson built it in 1954,” he said. “We will focus on peeling back 70 years of growth to revive the original shapes and strategies.

“Eagles Mere is a step back in time, the course is routed through a wooded landscape, with greens played as intended with tricky swells and knobs still being used for hole locations because of the slower speeds. Rock debris piles from the original construction remain untouched sitting between holes. Fairways are pockmarked with small humps and kettles from the cuts and clearing of the forest to build the holes.”

NCR and Eagles Mere are the first projects for Nagle’s new firm, Nagle Design Works, after an amicable split from long-time collaborator Ron Forse.

“We have had a fantastic run together over two and a half decades, and I am naturally saddened at that coming to an end,” said Forse. “But it is a natural evolution for both Jim and for me, and I am very excited about what the future holds for both of us.”

Nagle said: “My long experience with Forse Design has exposed me to an incredible variety of golf design challenges and helped me to grow my understanding of how the key Golden Age designers set up their course. I am hugely grateful to Ron for that opportunity. This has been an incredibly difficult decision: I was very happy where I was; I had a lot of flexibility within Forse Golf Design, including the ability to manage my own projects and run jobs from start to finish. But there is a strong desire in every golf course architect to run his own business, and now is the right time for me to do so. Ron and I remain the closest of friends and will certainly collaborate on a lot of projects in the future.”

One project is Davenport Country Club in Iowa, where the pair have worked on the Hugh Alison-designed course since 2014. “The club wants to have annual consulting visits to review the design and advise on further improvements to the golf course,” said Forse. “We have got into the habit of each making those visits in alternate years, because it gives fresh eyes on the course, and we will continue that.”

Forse Golf Design has also passed a project to Nagle Design Works: the renovation of Hugh Alison’s course at Westwood Country Club near Cleveland, Ohio.

“I, like many designers, entered the field with hopes of running my own shop,” said Nagle. “During my 25 years with Forse Golf Design, Ron and I have completed numerous great projects for many wonderful clients, and I have learned a tremendous amount about the sort of courses I want to design and work on in the rest of my career.

“I want to build courses that are steeped in risk and reward, and heroic design, intrigue and joy. Forse Golf Design enabled me to make a name as a restoration specialist, and the great designers of the past will always inform my work. I am excited to forge this opportunity to create new designs from scratch.”

Nagle’s NCR and Eagles Mere commissions come fresh off his work to restore another Flynn design, Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania – the venue for this year’s US Women’s Open. “Nagle has a gift for marrying the aesthetic and strategy of the Golden Age with the realities of the modern game,” said Lancaster greens chair Rory Connaughton. “His work on classic courses has ensured that they remain a challenge without compromising the strategic and aesthetic elements.”

This spring, Meridian Hills in Indianapolis will reopen its Bill Diddel course following a renovation by Nagle under the Forse Golf Design banner, and in the summer, he will wrap up the firm’s restoration of Flynn’s Spring Mill course at Philadelphia Country Club.

“The next few years are going to be very exciting,” said Nagle. “Ron Forse and I will continue to collaborate on projects. I am enthused and I look forward to taking on interesting new original design, renovation, and restoration projects. These are good times.”