Golf Inc. Magazine has announced their list of the “Most Innovative People In Golf,” a list of nine professionals covering the world of golf from management to agronomy. Among the prestigious list is golf course architect Forrest Richardson.
Richardson was selected for his forward thinking on such aspects of the game as the promotion of short courses and alternative course formats.
“Richardson’s career has followed a predictable architectural arc: he carved out backyard courses as a boy, studied the masters in Scotland and served an apprenticeship with an established designer. But, since he set out on his own in 1988, he’s challenged the conventional wisdom, evangelizing for values — affordability, playability, sustainability and especially enjoyability,” says Golf Inc’s Robert Vasilack.
Richardson has been a pioneer in pace-of-play consulting, working closely with the late Bill Yates of Pace Manager Systems. His passion for improving pace from an architectural perspective has included work with Yates to help quantify steps that can result in better course flow. In 2018 Richardson developed an innovative system of course adaption that can happen on a real-time basis. He has been active in bringing that concept to market with several GIS firms working within the golf industry.
Richardson serves as the current Treasurer of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and is an outspoken leader on training of up and coming golf architects. “The reality is that we need to do more to foster ideas and great thinking among designers,” he says. “Our role as the established group needs to focus on finding and embracing new golf course architects.”
He is also an active participant in numerous USGA initiatives and serves on the Museum Committee. Among his work with the USGA are helping to quantify the Distance Initiative from a design perspective, contributions to the New Rules of Golf, and being a presenter at all five of the Innovation Symposiums conducted by the USGA since 2014.
In terms of his own work, Richardson created a par-2 hole in 2017 at Mountain Shadows Resort. He has also designed innovative routings and holes, including his alternate greens at Baylands Golf Links in Palo Alto, California and interchangeable holes at the Links at Las Palomas in Sonora, Mexico where the par-5 finishing hole can be adjusted in set up to play to an alternate green that is normally used as a bonus hole.
“I’m not afraid to push the envelope,” he says. “Golf should be anything but static — it began as a game across open fields where players selected their own paths and devised their own ‘games,’ so to say we’ve done it all and there is only 18-holes or only one way to look a par or length, that simply goes against what the game stands for in its soul.”