John Sanford and David Ferris establish new design partnership

  • Sanford Ferris
    Sanford Ferris Golf Course Design

    John Sanford (right) and David Ferris have formed a new partnership called Sanford Ferris Golf Course Design

  • Sanford Ferris
    Art Cicconi

    Sanford and Ferris created a reversible nine-hole layout for Sailfish Sands golf course in 2021

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

John Sanford and his long-time design associate at Sanford Golf Design, David Ferris, have formed a new partnership called Sanford Ferris Golf Course Design.

Sanford Golf Design was established in 1987 and has completed more than 100 golf course projects around the world, mainly in the United States, but also in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

Ferris joined the firm in 1997, having earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture at Cornell University, where he studied under Tom Doak, and received the Donald Ross Society Internship Award. He was also on site for the construction of Michael Hurdzan’s Widow’s Walk Golf Course, dubbed “America’s first environmental demonstration project” in which limited water, fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides were used as part of ongoing course management.

From 2006 to 2019, Ferris served on the executive committee at the American Society of Landscape Architects – Florida Chapter. He would go on to become a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 2020, which Sanford was president of in 2017/2018.

In their 25 years together, Sanford and Ferris have worked on many projects, including Madinat Makadi, Taba Heights and Hacienda Bay, all in Egypt, Caguas Real in Puerto Rico, and Granite Links Golf Club, Pointe West and Juliette Falls, all in North America. Their renovation work has seen them work across the US, although they have been most active in Florida, where the firm is based, completing projects at Hunters Run, Vero Beach, Spring Run, Wilderness and Eastpointe.

“Designing golf courses has been a ‘labour of love’ and being alongside and learning from John for nearly 25 years has been a truly amazing experience,” said Ferris. “To now become partners with my mentor and begin this next chapter of our careers taking our architecture knowledge and philosophies to design and reimagine golf facilities in the 21st century is very exciting.”

Ferris has also recently authored a book on Sanford, titled ‘No Risk, No Reward’, which delves into the golf course design process, his multiple projects and various stories from Sanford’s career.

“For the past 25 years, David has been part of the fabric of Sanford Golf Design and a true professional in our business,” said Sanford. “His dedication and passion for course design has made it possible for Sanford Golf Design to remain relevant through the ups and downs of our competitive industry. I could not be happier to partner with David, and very much look forward to the next 25 years.”

The pair’s recent work has included the reversible nine-hole course at Sailfish Sands in Florida, with the Sands 9 Black arrangement playing clockwise at 3,368 yards, while Sands 9 Gold plays anticlockwise at 2,868 yards.

Sanford Ferris Golf Course Design’s upcoming work includes renovation projects at Water Oak Country Club and The Great Outdoors Golf Resort in Florida and The Cavalry Club and Indian Hills CC in New York.