Listen to this rare 60-minute interview with Mike Strantz!


Humble. Grounded. Visionary. Renegade. Artist. Pieces of a man often described as larger than life. Mike Strantz, a native of Toledo, Ohio built a career centered on his two passions, art and golf. Strantz graduated with a degree in Turfgrass Management from Michigan State University before joining Tom Fazio’s course construction crew in 1978. Weary from the road, Strantz walked away as an on-site designer and shaper on Fazio’s construction crew and left the world of golf course architecture to refocus on his art. His brief departure led him to Charleston, South Carolina where his family would settle; however, the golf world sorely needed his rejuvenating designs. When he was approached for his first solo design at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Strantz found his niche.

Strantz cultivated what he referred to as “functional artwork” by studying the writings and work of Dr. Alistair MacKenzie, one of the most celebrated golf course architects in history. Strantz modeled his design process in the ways of MacKenzie and other Golden Age architects whose work pioneered the field of golf course architecture while unapologetically incorporating his own artistic flair and spirit of adventure into the design. When he was awarded “Architect of the Year” in 1998 by Golf World Magazine, Mike Strantz was building what he called, “simply the best project I’ve worked on,” at Tobacco Road.

At Tobacco Road Golf Club, his fifth solo design, Strantz began his process as he had the projects before; he rode on horseback, walked the site, and studied the topography all to learn and discover the site’s best features all before putting pencil to paper. At Tobacco Road, Strantz built a golf course that is as beautiful looking backward as it is along the line of charm. Meticulous detailing, shaping, and the preservation of sound golf course design principles allow all players an opportunity to experience the spirit of the game and adventure in nature’s most beautiful theatre. Beyond the mystique and complexity of the design lies a routing that reveals itself from the study of the holes, their angles of play, and the adventure of multiple rounds.