Meet the team! Here is an introduction and biographies of the golf course design team at Gary Player Design.
GARY PLAYER, Chairman
During his playing career, Gary Player consulted on dozens of golf course design projects as a player consultant before establishing his own company in the early 1980s, 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 many of which have received multiple awards & rankings, as well as served as host venues for several PGA Tour, European Tour and other professionally sanctioned events. Player has also received multiple personal recognitions and honors as a designer around the world.
Many Gary Player-designed golf courses 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 and 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. The Black Knight 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
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.
PHIL JACOBS, SeniorDesigner
As Senior Design Associate for Gary Player Design, Phil Jacob’s design experience is based on a well-founded design career, producing numerous award-winning projects around the world. Thirty-four years in the design business has offered him a unique opportunity to work alongside some of the greatest designers of our time. Jacobs has been responsible for the design and implementation of more than 60 golf courses, 42 of which working with The Player Design Studio. Some of the countries in which these courses are located are: Belgium, France, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Singapore, China, Thailand, Burma and Egypt. Jacobs original qualification was in land surveying followed by golf course construction and golf course maintenance experience. Phil is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
TOM NASWORTHY, TechnicalServices
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, Nasworthy’s capabilities allow Gary Player Design to assemble highly accurate and flexible plan documents.
Prior to joining Gary Player Design, he was the Director of CAD/GIS Services and Graphic Design for Poinsett Homes, LLC, and as the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager for 14 years at WCI Communities, Inc., a Fortune 500 home building company. He has degrees from the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, as well as the American Institute for Computer Sciences.
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jabu Mabuza. He was a man that I admired deeply and was a person who contributed a great deal to South Africa. I will miss him terribly and my love goes out to his family at this difficult time.
Seeing @garrick_higgo win his first PGA Tour event in only his second start has been one of the most enjoyable things for me to witness in my career. He is without a doubt the most humble, well mannered young man that you could wish to meet. Watch this space, big things to come!
As we await the #USOpen, I was reminded of when @b_dechambeau was practicing at night well after his round. His win is what’s remembered, but we should also remember that night before. I have much respect for that kind of hunger and I can’t wait to see who's victorious next week.
Jack, Arnie, Phil Rogers and myself at the 1963 @TheOpen Championship. Apparently the more time we spent together, the more we started to dress alike! Bob Charles defeated Phil in the playoff that year, with Jack finishing third. #TBT