Golf has long been the preferred sport for a large portion of active adults. So much so that many 55+ and active lifestyle communities are planned around golf courses big and small. While some communities like to keep it simple with par three courses or a short nine-hole course, others attempt to appeal to the most diehard of golf players with championship courses.
Many of these go beyond what you’d expect to find at your local 18-hole course. Some have even hosted PGA and LPGA Tour events. Even better, some courses in age-restricted and active lifestyle communities were designed by the world’s most famous golf course architects.
Here are some of the most notable designers out there as well as a list of their courses in communities on 55places.com.
Hall-of-fame golfer Arnold Palmer has designed the most golf courses among communities on 55places.com. Many legendary golfers have tried their hands at designing but Palmer is one of the most notable and successful. Over the course of his design career, Palmer was the lead designer or provided design input on over 300 golf courses worldwide. Palmer was even known to tweak courses in order to keep them modern and challenging over the decades.
Regency at Monroe - Monroe, NJ
Mizner Country Club - Delray Beach, FL
The Greens at Gillette Ridge - Bloomfield, CT
The Villages at West Neck - Virginia Beach, VA
Wildcat Run Golf and Country Club - Estero, FL
Another giant of the game that has tried his hand at designing to great success, Jack Nicklaus actually faced criticism early on in his design career for how difficult his courses were. It’s no surprise that someone so good at the game would find it difficult to make it easy for others. Despite that, among his almost 300 courses across the world, several have received widespread acclaim.
Tom Lehman got his start on course design a little later than the previous two, creating his first in 1996. Since then he has worked on over two dozen designs and renovations. One of Lehman’s most notable designs is The Prairie Club Dunes course in Nebraska, which has been listed as one of the 100 best courses in the country. There’s no doubt that Lehman’s young design career will continue for years to come.
Trilogy at Ocala Preserve - Ocala, FL
Rio Verde - Rio Verde, AZ (renovated)
Trilogy at Encanterra - Queen Creek, AZ
The Shark spent most of the 1980s and 1990s as the top-ranked golfer in the world. These days he's known for so much more, including interior design, real estate, and of course, golf course design. Norman is responsible for designing over 100 courses across the world. Several of Norman’s courses have been used for professional golf tournaments, including PGA Tour events.
Tennessee National - Loudon, TN
The Fairways at Savannah Quarters - Pooler, GA
Westbrook Villas at Savannah Quarters - Pooler, GA
The only non-professional golfer to make the cut is Tom Fazio. For decades, Fazio has designed courses to great acclaim. He’s known for designing championship courses that have hosted some of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, and Ryder Cup. According to the American Society of Golf Course Architects, no living designer has had more courses included on Golf Digest’s Top 100 American Golf Courses and Golfweek’s collection of America’s Best.
Regency at The Glen - Glenview, IL
Cresswind at PGA - Port St. Lucie, FL
PGA Village Verano - Port St. Lucie, FL