As the son of a golf course superintendent born and raised in Scotland, David McLay Kidd grew up immersed in the game golf at some of the oldest and finest facilities in the world. His father’s passion rubbed off on David at an early age; as a teenager he worked at his father’s courses helping with daily maintenance as well as a few renovation projects.
His informal education gave Kidd a head start for his formal education at Writtle College on the outskirts of London where he studied Horticulture and Landscape Design. He then interned with Southern Golf Construction, Europe’s largest golf construction company, before gaining more real-world experience at a small design and construction management firm in England. There he developed his ideas for golf course design as well as the construction process.
Kidd’s breakthrough came with the launch of Bandon Dunes in 1999.
“I was 27 years old when I first set foot on the property, and I knew in an instant I was looking at the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Kidd. “My task was to create the first genuine Scottish-style links course in America, and I believe there are few places outside the sand dunes along the Oregon coast where this would be possible.”
Kidd’s success at Bandon led to several acclaimed projects such as Nanea Golf Club in 2003; TPC of San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae in 2007; Tetherow Golf Course in 2008; and Gamble Sands in 2014, to name a few.
The mission at Gamble Sands was to build a golf course that was just as playable as Bandon Dunes. Kidd wanted good golfers to stand on the tee with confidence and see opportunity, all the while ensuring the average player never lost a ball. The fairways are huge, and the views are even bigger.
“This is the once in a lifetime site every golf designer dreams of, rolling sand dunes overlooking a large body of water, a developer willing to build golf just for the love of the game,” said Kidd. “It’s just golf on sand, golf as it was truly meant to be.”
The course invites aggressive play with 115 acres of grass that is visually stunning, yet not intimidating. The Sands course more than any other exemplifies David’s early work at Bandon Dunes.
As Kidd puts it: “This is sneaky good.”