Interview With David Whelchel Golf Course Architect Whelchel Golf Course Design
A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview
By Brian Weis
Below is an interview with David Whelchel, the Golf Course Architect at Whelchel Golf Course Design. The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.
Can you provide our readers a brief biography?
Have been in golf course design and construction for almost 30 years, and prior to that was the men's golf coach at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
When did you start golfing and who introduced you to the game?
My major professor at the Univ. of Arkansas got me started playing when I was 20, and have been hooked since, kind of like love at first sight. My first round of golf was at a local public course, and I shot 121! After a few years, a local teaching pro kind of took me under his wing, taught me how to play, and I have been a single digit handicap now for nearly 30 yrs.
What is your current home course?
I currently live in Bella Vista, Arkansas where we have 8 golf courses, but I play most of my golf at Paradise Valley Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is not quite 50 years old, about 6900 from the tips and has a good variety of dogleg left and right holes, tiny very fast greens. One of the best courses in Arkansas.
To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment?
I am most proud of having worked with Dr. Mike Hurdzan as a golf course designer for 20 years, and second would be becoming a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
Like a lot of other golfers, my biggest gripe is slow play. At our club, we can play 18 holes as a 5-some in 3 and 1/2 hours. There is no excuse for slow play, doesn't matter if you are a 24 handicapper or a touring pro.
What is your favorite club in your bag and why?
My favorite club is an old Ping sand wedge. I use it for almost every shot from about 100 yards in, can hit it high, low, use it for bump and run, lots of different shots.
What is your favorite golf destination?
This is a tough one as I have 3 places and I love all of them. There is no place in the world like Scotland and to an architect it is awesome to see and play places where Old Tom Morris, James Braid, and many others played and plied their trade. Australia is also great with courses like New South Wales, Royal Melbourne and many others and the people are great too. In the States, it is probably Pinehurst, great place to stay and play.
What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
There are not many. I am not really a fan of all the new courses as I really like the ones that have been around 75 years or more. If I had to pick one, maybe Highland Links in Nova Scotia by Stanley Thompson. He did some great courses and I am sure that one is also. Just last year I did scratch one course off my list and that was Brora Golf Club north of Dornoch is Scotland, great course by James Braid.
If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
I always tell people when I travel to Australia, I play New South Wales the day before I fly back to the states. That is in case the plane goes down in the Pacific, the last round I played was on one of the great courses in the world, by Mackenzie and Souter.
If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one but it would be a perception in that longer and harder courses are better. We have become enamored with length. Sure it's fun to hit the ball long and I am as guilty as the next golfer, but I have played great courses that are only 5800 yards long that brought meet to my knees.
Dream foursome (living)?
My dream foursome living are the same guys I play golf with every day and have played with off and on for over 30 years. We have fun, drink a little single malt whiskey and smoke the occasional cigar, great friends, great times.
Dream foursome (living or dead)?
It would probably be a blast to play golf with Old Tom Morris, James Braid and Harry Vardon and see how well they play with the old hickories.
18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions
1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
I like making a long putt for birdie when your opponent is close and thinks you don't have a chance!
2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
I have had only one hole-in-one, lots of luck there, but to shoot 65 or 66 is a lot more fun.
3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?
I am not an early riser, so late in the day is better.
4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
Don't care as I hit both.
5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
Depends on who is driving the beverage cart...
6) Bathroom OR bushes?
Whichever is most convenient when the need arises.
7) Hot dog OR wrap?
A hot dog for sure, a wrap may be un-American.
8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?
Much prefer the sand, as long as the ball is not plugged!
9) Walking OR riding?
Walking and carrying the bag.
10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid?
Neither, largest iron in the bag is a 5 iron, then I go to a 7 wood.
11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
I don't like long par 5's that are unreachable, takes the fun out of it, so I guess a long par 3 like 16 at Cypress Point.
12) Pants OR Shorts?
Depends on the weather.
13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
14) Beatles OR Elvis?
Either one, I grew up with the Beatles but Elvis was awesome too.
15) Play for fun OR play for money?
You have to play for something, it makes those 3-footers mean more.
16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
I was playing the flop shot before Tiger was on Johnny Carson, it's fun to try, and great when you pull it off.
17) Lay up OR gamble?
Depends on how the match stands.
18) 18 holes OR 36?
As I get older, a good 18 and a nice chat in the bar or on the patio after the round with a good glass of Scotch!
Revised: 02/21/2013 - Article Viewed 89,049 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler