Alumnus designs golf course ranked #24 in the world
Mike DeVries grew up golfing with his family at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Michigan. Through those early experiences, DeVries developed a love for the game that extended beyond just playing. Today, DeVries owns and runs DeVries Designs, a golf course design firm based in Traverse City, Michigan. DeVries’s company is based on the philosophy that “successful design is directly related to sustainable ecosystem planning and management.”
Owing to DeVries’s excellent reputation, Australian golf writer Darius Oliver contacted him about the possibility of designing a new course. The course would be located at Cape Wickham on King Island, off the coast of Tasmania. “Cape Wickham has a unique combination of dunes, cliff, ocean, and beach, which posed a sensitive environment...to work with,” DeVries says. He accepted Oliver’s challenge.
DeVries designed the Cape Wickham course in response to the breathtaking landscape, starting along the rocks, moving inland, and then returning to the ocean’s edge to end along the beach. All 18 holes are completely integrated into the landscape. The course opened in October 2015 and has already landed the number 24 spot in the world for best golf courses by Golf Digest - an exceptional honor in the golfing world. Good design is “bigger than one great hole,” DeVries says. “You have to look at how to fit all 18 holes together. They have to have rhythm and flow and work amongst themselves like an ecosystem. If you strip an ecosystem of its parts, then you don’t have the system.”
Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht.