Sure everyone has heard of Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, and Arnold Palmer, but have you heard of Ron Garl? Second only to Tom Fazio, Garl, designer of Glen Lakes championship golf course, has racked up a historic amount of awards for his golf course designs across the globe. Nationally and internationally, his courses have garnered awards from Golf Digest, the Audubon Society, Golf Magazine, Links Magazine and Southern Living, among others.
If ever there was a personification of the tireless golf course designer, its Garl. A pilot since the tender age of 14, Garl globetrots to exotic locations in search of the perfect golf course layout, and the perfect fish. From 1962, when he was awarded the first annual scholarship from the Florida State Golf Association, it was clear that Ron Garl showed great promise.
Garl has delivered on that promise as a golf course designer, building a resume of more than 250 courses with a heavy concentration in Florida. Of the 131 public courses listed under his name on Golf Advisor, 103 are in the Sunshine State.
Perhaps his best known work in Florida is Golden Ocala, host of the LPGA’s Coates Golf Championship, and the first course in the world to include tribute holes. Garl’s recreation of holes from Augusta, St. Andrew, Royal Troon and Baltustrol was so successful it led to a new discipline within the business, “replica design.”
Other Florida gems include, Glen Lakes in Weeki Wachee, University Park in Sarasota, Indian River in Vero Beach, Victoria Hills in Deland, and Fiddlesticks in Fort Myers, a private course with two of the most photographed holes in the state, the twin, island-green ninth and 18th.
In Myrtle Beach, S.C., Garl’s Tradition Golf Club was the South Carolina course of the year in 2000 and Golf Digest’s best new course of 1996. In Canada, two Garl-designed courses rank in the nation’s top 100, Taboo in Ontario and Heritage Point in Calgary.
Garl turned his full-ride scholarship at Florida into a degree in turf grass science. After working on the construction crew of Robert Trent Jones, Garl spent nearly five years under legendary Florida designer Joe Lee, learning how to build memorable courses from flat, featureless land, using dramatic bunkering and water hazards.
Over the years, as the market has shrunk, Garl has continued to thrive with a practical, business-like approach. Many of his clients appreciate his perspective as Garl himself is an owner of four Florida courses.
Garl also has become an eloquent spokesman and outside-the-box thinker on the future of golf, arguing that growth-of-the-game efforts need to focus on the Baby Boom generation with their early retirements, disposable income and good health.
Garl has designed Glen Lakes championship course to perfection for Baby Boomers to enjoy. The private course is challenging, beautiful and impeccably maintained. Mature stands of oak and pine, water features, undulating hills and sand traps provide endless variations of play. Golf Club members can take advantage of a full calendar of special events, scrambles and select tournaments, as well as instruction from the GlenLakes pro. Complementing the course is an Aqua driving range and, maybe most importantly, after every game enjoy camaraderie at “The 19th Hole”, the main bar & lounge at the clubhouse. For more information, click here.