While high-profile golf course architects get most of the recognition for the courses we love to play, there’s no question that props should also be given to the other members of the architects’ teams who are responsible for actually making reality the visions that ultimately become our playgrounds.
In the spirit of giving voice to one such integral member of the fabled Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design team, co-hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch connect with Keith Rhebb, currently in the process of shaping what will be a magnificent new project in the Caribbean: Cabot Saint Lucia.
As much a treatise on the nature of collaboration and mentorship, the joy of creation and how to meet the daily challenges of an ever-changing, on-site landscape during the build-out process, Episode 165 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast reveals much about what makes Keith special — not only as an architect, heading his own Rhebb Golf Design company, but as a project manager and shaper for Coore-Crenshaw.
After sharing how he got his start in the golf world — as an employee of golf-course contractor Landscapes Unlimited in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska — Keith explains how that time opened his eyes to the possibilities of working in the golf industry, how one job lead to another, and ultimately how he was connected with Bill Coore.
That relationship has been ongoing ever since, with Keith contributing to the building of some of the game’s most popular and award-winning courses around the world. It’s a list that includes Barnbougle Lost Farm in Tasmania, Streamsong Red in Florida, Kapalua’s Plantation Course on Maui, Cabot Cliffs on Canada’s Cape Breton Island, Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes Resort and Missouri’s Ozarks National.
And now we can add Cabot Saint Lucia on a slice of Caribbean paradise to that collaboration list.
In addition to all those high-profile projects, Rhebb’s own co-creations (with Riley Johns of Integrative Golf) of Winter Park 9 in Florida and the recently-opened Short Course at Forest Dunes in Michgan are changing the narrative of what’s fun, challenging and most enjoyable in modern golf.
The episode is a free-flowing revelation of what makes Keith Rhebb such an unusual guest. No matter whether the conversation touches on life in Tasmania for two years, creating the awe-inspiring final stretch of holes at Cabot Cliffs, the joy of collaborating with Coore, Johns and others in pursuit of giving golfers the chance to create lifelong memories, detailing what it feels like to be in a “state of flow” on a bulldozer while shaping Cabot Saint Lucia, or connecting with “Talking GolfGetaways” Producer Kris McEwen in mid-podcast on the glory of Chicago House Music (for real!), Keith proves himself to be as articulate about human nature and growth on his own journey as he is talented and creative at work in his field of dreams.
Detailing the specific challenges and ultimate rewards of work he’s already done or his profound optimism and gratitude for the people and experiences he’s had, Keith shares a heartfelt philosophy of life that will inspire you while making you think and feel grateful that his chosen profession is an important part of the game we all love.
—Words by Mitch Laurance