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Meet the team! Here is an introduction and biographies of the golf course design team at Gary Player Design.
Gary Player, Chairman
In 2003 Gary Player celebrated his 50th anniversary as a professional golfer. Over the last half century, the man who became known as “The Black Knight of the Fairways” has compiled an exceptional record of 165 worldwide victories, including the coveted Grand Slam. During his playing career, Player consulted on dozens of golf course design projects as a “Player consultant” before establishing his own company in the early 80’s, Gary Player Design. His vast experience traveling the world coupled with an unparalleled international career as a touring professional have afforded Gary Player a unique understanding of the needs of the average golfer, the objectives of the developer and the concerns of the environment.
To date the organization lays claim to over 300 projects in 35 countries, many of which have received multiple awards & rankings, as well as served as host venues for several PGA Tour sanctioned events. Player has also received multiple personal recognitions as a designer on several continents.
With nine PGA Tour major championships, nine Champions Tour majors and almost 15 million air miles under his belt, Player has been trademarked The World’s Most Traveled Athlete™ and also represents the World Golf Hall of Fame as the “International Ambassador of Golf.” As a leader in the golf course design industry worldwide, his success as an entrepreneur has undoubtedly mirrored his playing career.
The fundamental philosophy behind Gary Player’s approach to golf course design is to create courses playable by all levels, with unwavering sensitivity to the environment. From a young age, Player was (and still is) influenced by his older brother Dr Ian Player, a renowned conservationist credited with saving the White Rhino from extinction. Gary Player has approached every project with utmost regard for the natural vegetation, wetlands and habitats, in each case striving to create “a gift to nature.” The result is a list of Gary Player-designed golf courses that have been certified by the National Audubon Society, a USA-based organization whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems.
As he plays less competitive golf each year, Gary Player’s schedule is as busy as ever with golf course design & real estate business. He prides himself on taking his design experience to emerging markets to help develop the game of golf globally and enjoys undertaking diverse conditions, sites and cultures. Player works closely with a technical team to implement his design philosophies and directs his staff to be selective about the projects they accept.
Marc Player, CEO and President
Marc was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. He received his education at King Edward VII School and Weston Agricultural College in Natal. He read for a B.Proc degree at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg before taking up an appointment with IMG (Mark McCormack’s sports marketing organization), spending time in their New York, Cleveland and London offices. He subsequently completed executive education programs at Wits Graduate School of Business in Johannesburg and Harvard University in Boston.
In 1980, Marc underwent his two year military service and attended an officer’s course at Oudtshoorn in the Cape Province of South Africa, where he graduated with the rank of lieutenant. Shortly after his discharge, Marc undertook the task of the complete refurbishment of his family’s estate, Blair Atholl Farm, being responsible for both the design and construction in addition to the day-to-day running of the property.
During this time he became actively involved in the management of his father, Gary Player’s affairs in South Africa through a new company he founded, namely Sports International. Sports International was an independent, results-focused company involved in sports marketing. As Chief Executive of Sports International, Marc spent much of his time traveling, engaged both in developing his many business interests as well as keeping Southern Africa on the sporting map during the politically difficult times of the apartheid era.
In 1986 he approached Mark McCormack, Chairman and founder IMG, to take over and manage their South African office. Sports International became the exclusive Southern Africa representative of IMG. With a reputation for being the foremost firm in the business of sport, IMG activities include the representation of sport celebrities, television production and distribution, event management, modeling and a licensing agency. Today IMG operates from 60 offices in 36 different countries and is owned by William Morris Endeavor. In 1991 the company was subsequently sold to IMG when the political climate changed and South Africa was invited back into the world sports arena and IMG wished to operate individually once again. Marc then founded and acted as Chief Executive Officer of Black Knight International exclusively representing Gary Player worldwide including Gary Player Design.
The Player Group is a multinational force in the leisure industry with an emphasis on golf. In pursuit of its mission, the company strives to achieve long-term mutually rewarding relationships with its clients through the provision of services and products of superior quality, while upholding the integrity of the individual and the environment. Black Knight International, the holding company for The Player Group has offices on five continents in Palm Beach, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Johannesburg and Buenos Aires.
Jeff Lawrence, Senior Designer
Jeff Lawrence’s design experience is based on a well founded design career, producing numerous award winning projects both domestically and internationally. Twenty years in the design business has offered him the unique opportunity to work along side some of the greatest golf course architects of our time; Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio.
Jeff is currently working with Mr. Player on projects in Bulgaria, Abu Dhabi, Tenerife, Canada and Costa Rica. His in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of golf course design combined with his creative flair helps support Mr. Player’s vision around the world, providing unique, sustainable and quality golf experiences.
Jeff is a graduate of Arizona State University (1986), where he was a member of the golf team, and is currently a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA).
Steven McFarlane, Senior Designer
Steven McFarlane is senior designer with Gary Player Design and has been a member of the European Institute of Golf course Architects since 1990.
He originates from Troon, Scotland, and has over twenty two years of design experience working on award-winning projects throughout the world. He was also contributing author for the American Urban Landscape Institutes publication “Golf Course Development in Residential Communities”
Steven is currently working on Signature designs with Mr. Player in Asia, The Middle East, Europe and Central America.
Steven is a graduate of Glasgow University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering.
Tom Nasworthy, Technical Services
Tom Nasworthy’s responsibilities include the production of construction documents and presentation graphics representing the design work of the staff architects and Gary Player. Utilizing state of the art computer hardware and specialized software programs, Tom’s capabilities allow Gary Player Design to assemble highly accurate and flexible plan documents.
Prior to joining Gary Player Design, Tom was the Director of CAD/GIS Services and Graphic Design for Poinsett Homes, LLC, and as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager for fourteen years at WCI Communities, Inc., a Fortune 500 homebuilding company. He has degrees from the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, as well as the American Institute for Computer Sciences.