Forrest Richardson and Jeff Danner Announce New Golf Design Firm

After 32 years, Forrest Richardson is bidding adieu to life as a sole practitioner, and joining forces with Jeffrey A. Danner, a fellow ASGCA member. Known for decades as Forrest Richardson & Associates, the firm will transition to Richardson | Danner Golf Course Architects, and operate from two offices, in Phoenix, Arizona and in Northern California. 

“It’s a goal we’ve had for several years, to bring the right person aboard,” Richardson said. “There’s strength in having two golf course architects coming together to build upon a shared passion that golf must be fun, inclusive and sustainable. It’s especially effective when one golf course architect is older and has ‘seen it all,’ and when the other is experienced, but younger, with a fresh perspective. Jeff fits the bill perfectly. He’s a young guy, but he has already done so much.”

Danner said their personalities, skill sets and approach complement 

“We offer a combination of rich and diverse experience,” he said. ‘Certainly Forrest has seen just about everything, but I’ve seen a lot, too, in my 16 years in the business, especially with different cultures, climates and site conditions around the world. It gives a client the best bang for the buck when you have two people on the design team who can bounce ideas off each other. It’s a win-win to have that type of collaborative environment.” 

Richardson has designed dozens of traditional, regulation golf courses. In recent years, he’s been known for his out-of-the-box solutions to complex issues. In 2019, Golf Inc. lauded Richardson as one of the nine most innovative figures in golf, stating that he “evangelized for values like affordability, sustainability, playability and enjoyability which challenged conventional wisdom.”

One of his most impactful projects saw Richardson wave his redesign wand at the Palo Alto, California municipal layout in 2018, reconfiguring it into Baylands Golf Links. For its $12 million investment, the city received a golf course that’s much more enticing than its predecessor. He redesigned the layout in such a way that he gave back ten acres of land to the city for use as soccer fields and other park uses.

“It would have cost $50 million dollars for the city to buy that much land,” Richardson said. “And that’s if ten acres of land were even available—which it wasn’t. Today they have that ten acres to use for something other than golf, and it is a point of pride in the community.”

Danner previoulsy worked as an architect for Greg Norman Golf Design in Florida and held previous design positions for Lohmann Golf Designs and Golfplan. He has worked in or traveled to more than 30 countries and has contributed to many award-winning new construction and renovation projects. 

In Illinois, he assisted on taking an old driving range plot and transforming it into a five-hole pitch-and-putt practice range combo that was handicap-accessible to those in wheelchairs. “Those types of projects are exciting,” Danner said. “When you get to work with an organization that’s out to serve the greater good.”

For Richardson, the new arrangement brings about a welcoming déjà vu. When he first hung his shingle in 1988, the firm he founded evolved from a longtime association with the late Arthur Jack Snyder, himself a past president of the ASGCA. 

“From the time I first met ‘Jack,’ as he preferred to be called,” said Richardson, “it marked the beginning of a friendship and mentorship that lasted 32 years. That first meeting (in 1972, when Forrest was 13) fueled my growing passion for golf course architecture.”

Richardson and his mentor collaborated for 20 years. Together, their work includes more than 70 completed projects that range from multi-course facilities to short and intimate par-3 layouts. Perhaps this is a case of a career coming full circle. By welcoming Jeff Danner into the fold, Richardson is sensing that same feeling of anticipation and discovery that washed over him as a kid. 

“’Golf was meant to be fun’—Jack repeated this to clients, colleagues and me,” said Richardson. “It was his mission statement and trademark, and I’ve held onto it.”

“My specific design philosophy has always been to work with the land to create a memorable golf experience that is a fun, fair test,” Danner said. 

 

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