Greg Norman | Top 100 Golf Courses

Norman was loved by many for his bold, aggressive style of play and he was regarded as one of the best drivers of the golf ball in his era. In the fourteen seasons between 1984 and 1997, Norman finished in the top 20 for driving distance on the PGA Tour twelve times and in the top 6 nine times. His long and straight driving off the tee with a persim…

In a playing career that lasted until 2009, he amassed an incredible total of 88 wins around the world: 18 on the PGA Tour (including the Players’ Championship in 1994); 14 on the European Tour (featuring two Open victories, in 1986 and 1993); 31 on the PGA of Australia Tour (with five Australian Open titles between 1980 and 1996); and 25 other tournaments (such as three Suntory Match Play Championships in 1980, 1983 and 1986).

After winning his first event, the West Lakes Classic, during his rookie season at The Grange, he decided to join the European Tour the following year, allowing him to compete at a higher level. He won his first event on that circuit – the Martini International – at Blairgowrie in 1977 so now he was off and running with the big boys.

In 1975, he served as an assistant professional at Beverley Park Golf Club in Sydney, New South Wales before quickly moving back to Brisbane and the Royal Queensland Golf Club, where he worked for six years before becoming a tournament player.

Greg Norman, nicknamed The Great White Shark, was born in Mount Isa, Queensland to parents Mervin and Toini Norman in 1955. His mother, the daughter of a Finnish carpenter, played off a single-figure handicap and it was her who introduced Norman to the game when the family moved to Brisbane.

Greg Norman, nicknamed The Great White Shark, was born in Mount Isa,
Queensland to parents Mervin and Toini Norman in 1955. His mother,
the daughter of a Finnish carpenter, played off a single-figure
handicap and it was her who introduced Norman to the game when the
family moved to Brisbane.

In 1975, he served as an assistant professional at Beverley Park Golf
Club in Sydney, New South Wales before quickly moving back to
Brisbane and the Royal Queensland Golf Club, where he worked for six
years before becoming a tournament player.

After winning his first event, the West Lakes Classic, during his
rookie season at The Grange, he decided to join the European Tour the
following year, allowing him to compete at a higher level. He won his
first event on that circuit – the Martini International – at
Blairgowrie in 1977 so now he was off and running with the big boys.

In a playing career that lasted until 2009, he amassed an incredible
total of 88 wins around the world: 18 on the PGA Tour (including the
Players’ Championship in 1994); 14 on the European Tour (featuring
two Open victories, in 1986 and 1993); 31 on the PGA of Australia
Tour (with five Australian Open titles between 1980 and 1996); and 25
other tournaments (such as three Suntory Match Play Championships in
1980, 1983 and 1986).

Norman was loved by many for his bold, aggressive style of play and
he was regarded as one of the best drivers of the golf ball in his
era. In the fourteen seasons between 1984 and 1997, Norman finished
in the top 20 for driving distance on the PGA Tour twelve times and
in the top 6 nine times. His long and straight driving off the tee
with a persimmon wood intimidated many of his fellow professionals,
with a high ball flight carrying the ball a very long way.

Greg spent 331 weeks as the number 1 player in the world, ending the
year on top of the rankings seven times between 1986 and 1997. He was
the first golf player to earn more than $10 million in career
earnings – topping the PGA Tour’s money list three times in 1986,
1990 and 1995 – and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of
Fame in 2001.

He established Greg Norman Golf Course Design in 1987 and in three
decades of operation since then, the company – described by one
commentator as “one of the most prominent ‘celebrity’ design firms
in the game” – has worked on more than a hundred projects across
thirty-four countries in six different continents.

Much of the firm’s design work has been carried out on the ground
by design associates such as
Bob Harrison and for a long time the
company had two offices working largely independently to each other.
The Australian premises closed in 2010, however, leaving just the
West Palm Beach headquarters in Florida to handle business throughout
the world.

Around a third of Norman’s courses are located in America, with a
dozen of these situated in the Sunshine State of Florida. One of his
earliest assignments in this state was at The Medalist in Hobe Sound,
which was originally co-designed with
Pete Dye in 1995, but was
subsequently reworked by Greg in the new millennium.

The Australian office’s best efforts were National Moonah in
Victoria, Ellerston in New South Wales and The Grand in Queensland,
with honourable mentions due to The Vintage, Pelican Waters and
Settlers Run. Norman’s most recent Victorian layouts at Eastern in
Yering and Cathedral Lodge in Thornton have both been well received.

Across Asia and the Middle East, the three Norman designs currently
operating in Vietnam are among his best offerings, as are his two
18-hole layouts in the United Arab Emirates and a recently opened
course in Jordan. The Allegria in Egypt and the Championship course
at Al Mouj in Oman are ranked as the number 1 tracks in their
respective countries.

In Europe, Norman’s portfolio is a little threadbare, with only
three Spanish courses to his name, along with Doonbeg in Ireland,
which has just been remodelled by
Martin Hawtree for its new owner.
Elsewhere, Greg has one-off designs in diverse countries such as
Canada (Wyndance), South Africa (Eye of Africa) and India (Jaypee
Greens).

Closer to Greg’s home base in Florida, the Norman design brand can
be found in four of the Caribbean nations and his architectural stamp
can be seen in several locations across Mexico, from Puerto Los Cabos
on the Baja California Peninsula to Playa Mujeres in Cancun, on the
opposite side of the country.

After parting company with his management company IMG back in 1993,
Greg founded Great White Shark Enterprises, which has since been
renamed the Greg Norman Company, and this umbrella organization
oversees his design work, vineyards, clothing, real estate projects
and more than half a dozen other golf-related ventures.


Extracts:

From the World Golf Hall of Fame: “Norman won 20 times on the PGA Tour
and was the first to surpass $10 million in career earnings. He won
three Arnold Palmer Awards as the tour’s leading money winner
(1986, 1990 and 1995) and three Vardon Trophies (1988, 1989 and
1994). He was PGA TOUR Player of the Year in 1995. But despite his
numerous wins, Norman is frequently remembered for his historic
losses. He is the only player to have lost all four majors in
playoffs.

Norman’s 1986 season most accurately
captures his exploits and crushing defeats. He led going into the
final round of all four majors. On Sunday at the Masters, he hit an
errant approach at 18 and couldn’t save par to lose to then
46-year-old Nicklaus, who closed with a memorable six-under-par 30 on
the back nine.

At the U.S. Open Norman ballooned to a
closing 78, but that paled when he had victory snatched from his
grasp at the PGA Championship when Bob Tway holed an improbable
bunker shot at the last hole to beat the Shark by a stroke.

Norman won only the British Open in ’86
when he authored a second-round 63 in windy conditions at Turnberry
to open a five-shot advantage and cruise to an eventual two-stroke
victory. The ovation he received as he walked to the 72nd green
remains one of golf’s most memorable scenes.

Norman
could have been defeated by his heartbreaking losses, but he wasn’t.
In his instructional book, Shark Attack, Norman wrote, “Sometimes I
think I have an almost perverse love of being down, even being
defeated, because I know it will spur me on to greater things.”

At
the 1993 British Open, Norman did add to his major tournament
victories when he fired a remarkable final-round 64 to beat Faldo by
two strokes at Royal St. George’s. Through his historic losses and
gallant victories, Norman played the game with an intensity second to
none.”

From Planetgolf.com: “The recent rebranding of the Greg Norman Company has coincided with a
new three-tier pricing structure for Greg Norman Golf Course Design –
along similar lines to the offerings of
Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player,
Tony Jacklin and others. Clients can choose from the curiously named
Eco Signature Design option or either a Signature Design or a GNGCD
Design.

One assumes that the involvement of Greg Norman himself, as well as
the seniority of the design associate involved in the project,
depends on the package selected. This is not a model for design that
our industry should support. Greg Norman Golf Course Design’s
commitment to a project should be complete, regardless of the size of
the signature fee paid.

Such a pricing structure reinforces a popular belief within the
industry that they are more interested in accumulating clients than
producing exceptional work.”


Bibliography:

Greg Norman: My Story by Greg Norman (1983)

Shark: The Biography of Greg Norman by Lauren St. John (1998)

The Way of the Shark: Lessons on Golf, Business and Life by
Greg Norman and Donald T. Phillips (2007)