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Jeff McManus 
Director of Golf/Landscape Services/Airport Operations
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       "Not only had Nathan proved himself capable the previous year with his design of the team practice facility project, but he also had the expertise and the resume we felt necessary to accomplish the tasks we had set out to achieve [on the course itself].  On a personal note, I also liked the fact that Nathan’s personality is much more personable and professional....Nathan is willing to lead the project in a team sense—with all parties providing input that he takes to heart while administering the project. 
         Since construction of the renovation project began, I have never ceased to be amazed with the progress of the work and the look of the new green complexes.  Nathan developed ideas in the design of the golf course that have taken full advantage of our site that—before now—had been underutilized.  In addition to a new irrigation system and irrigation lake that captures storm water runoff and completely redesigned green complexes and bunkers, Nathan also added additional back tees and forward tees to make the course more enjoyable for players of all skill levels.  Seeing what we have seen thus far, we cannot wait until the course re-opens this fall [of 2008]. 
          I would not hesitate to recommend Nathan Crace.  His expertise and skill in his work is, in my opinion, unmatched in his field."

 

 

Tama Manu 
Director of Golf/Golf Professional, Bay Breeze GC (Keesler AFB)
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          "In the aftermath of Katrina Hurricane, the Bay Breeze Golf Course was totally devastated in almost every aspect: from the greens, fairways, landscaping, and clubhouse to the maintenance equipment and irrigation system and more.  Having Nathan as the golf course architect and consultant from start to finish for the Bay Breeze Restoration Project was the best thing that ever happened to this very challenging undertaking.  His vision and insight in redesigning all the green complexes, fairway layouts, and landscaping have undoubtedly elevated our golf course to a whole new level.  Without compromising his unique vision and architectural concept he was very receptive and accommodating to our concerns and recommendations--and restrictions of a military project.  The new look (design) of the Bay Breeze Golf Course is far beyond anything that I could have imagined and golfers at Keesler Air Force Base as well as from the local communities now have a new course that they will enjoy playing for many years to come.
           It really has been a joyful experience working with Nathan and I could not see anyone better for this restoration project considering all the factors and governmental bureaucracies and restrictions.  His broad experience and expertise also played a major role in determining the proper remedy for a permanent fix of our damaged water supply source (lake) and irrigation system.  Nathan’s hands-on involvement and on-site inspections on a weekly basis throughout the entire process clearly has had a huge impact on the quality and remarkable progress of this project.  Without any reservation, I am very confident and proud to recommend Nathan as the [golf course] architect or consultant for any golf course project (huge or small) either in the Armed Forces or in the civilian sector."

 

 

Derek Turner 
General Manager, Cypress Tree GC (Maxwell AFB)
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          "Military projects are a different animal altogether.  Here at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, construction projects are laden with additional restrictions, processes, and design guidelines.  Our construction project to renovate 18 greens on the West course at Cypress Tree golf course was no exception.  However, Nathan Crace’s professionalism and can-do attitude helped us tremendously getting through these barriers.  Nathan engaged the process and helped us work through a myriad of issues that took extreme calm and professionalism on his part.

At the end of the day, I can say that Nathan was the driving force in resolving many of these issues and was crucial to helping keep our project on time and within budget.  Nathan was diligent, steadfast, and determined in working in all of our design goals, budget constraints, and customer concerns.  Nathan’s experience and knowledge produced a phenomenal result that pleased everyone in the process.  Nathan is particularly dedicated and displays exceptional integrity.  We definitely chose the right person for the job.  We would highly recommend Nathan Crace and would make him our first choice on future projects."  

 

 

Dr. Michael Goatley, Jr. 
Associate Professor and Turfgrass Specialist
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          "I am most impressed by the scope of Nathan's background.  He has expertise in [golf course] architecture, and above average knowledge of edaphic and hydrologic properties and turfgrass systems (something I have found lacking at many design firms), and is also an accomplished golfer as well.  I feel he delivers the 'complete package' in terms of what an accomplished golf course architect can provide.  
          Nathan is the ultimate professional, exhibiting a calm demeanor and an outstanding work ethic.  He exudes integrity and dedication to his work.  I believe that his personal qualities are every bit as outstanding as his professional qualifications.
          Nathan and I first met years ago when he was a student in the Professional Golf Management [PGM] program at Mississippi State University.  I was a faculty member in the Plant and Soil Sciences department and had the opportunity to instruct Nathan in two senior level classes [Turfgrass Management and Golf Course Operations]...Nathan was simply one of the top PGM students during my tenure at Mississippi State, exhibiting both the desire and the ability to maximize his educational opportunity while at MSU.  
          Nathan was assigned an 'A' in both of my classes, which is quite a feat given his curriculum had essentially no science background, something that comes in very handy with these particular classes.  Nathan had well-defined goals then in terms of his career path and his desire to design golf courses, and I have taken great satisfaction watching his career in golf course design grow leaps and bounds."  

Personal note added April 18, 2007:  Although Dr. Goatley was not physically injured during the shootings on campus on April 16, 2007, I spoke with him on Tuesday to find that two of his fellow professors/friends were killed that day.  Dr. Goatley had a tremendous positive impact on my career path when I was in college at Mississippi State and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as the families of the victims and the students, faculty, and others impacted by the senseless violence in Blacksburg that day.     
--- Nathan Crace

 

 

Russell P. Redford, Jr. 
President/CEO
(Former COO of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail)

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          "As the former Chief Operating Officer for Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with some of the game's top architects and understand the importance of selecting the right person for the job.  I have no reservations about recommending Nathan; he will exceed your expectations if given the opportunity...and I believe him to be one of the golf industry's top young [golf course] architects.  
          I have watched as his professional reputation and industry exploits continue to impress those of us who are knowledgeable about the golf industry and the role of the [golf course] architect in the course design business.  The [golf course] architect's overall influence is substantial, the golf course design and conditioning potential contributes greatly to the customers' experience, which impacts a facility's revenue potential and overall operating costs.
          I have had the opportunity to observe first hand Nathan's abilities in renovating an existing facility...he is excellent at working within the project's overall objectives, has a history of bringing the finished product in or under budget, understands the real cost to maintain a golf course, and possesses a very unique ability to provide a balanced golf experience suitable for all golfer levels."

 

 

Mark Simoneaux 
Owner and Former General Manager
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          "Nathan and I first met in 1995 during the construction of Caroline Golf Club near Jackson, Mississippi when I traveled there to discuss my dream of building a championship eighteen-hole golf course north of Baton Rouge in the bedroom community of Zachary.  After changing sites once and developers more than three times, we were finally able to realize my dream when Copper Mill Golf Club opened two years ago to widespread acclaim.  Then in January [of 2005], we received the ultimate honor a public course can receive when Golf Digest named our course the 'Best New Affordable Public Course in America for 2004!'
          Needless to say, we have seen our play skyrocket in the wake of the award as golfers from across the country and around the globe have made the trip to Zachary to experience what Nathan created.  In May [of 2005], Golf Digest once again honored our facility by naming it the “#2 Overall Course in the State of Louisiana” in its bi-annual listing of the top courses in America by state.  This placed Copper Mill ahead of other upscale private clubs designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye!  In fact, by the numbers, Copper Mill outscored Dye’s TPC of New Orleans (a course which was on the 2004 'Best New Upscale Public Courses' list, hosts a PGA Tour event, and cost considerably more to build) by a relatively wide margin in each of the critical areas used by Golf Digest to rate a golf course!
          He handled the design from top to bottom, made the site visits, and resolved any problems that arose.  In fact, his choice to maximize our property’s potential by routing the course with six par 3’s, six par 4’s and six par 5’s to utilize a flood plain on the property while still maximizing home sites on the golf course was a stroke of genius that not only made the course unique and fun to play, but also caught the eye of the Golf Digest panelists. 
          I am perhaps most impressed by his ability to blend dramatic green complexes seamlessly into the surrounding settings while providing multiple pin placements on each hole in a method that our grounds crew can easily and inexpensively maintain.  His greens look like the holes we are used to seeing on TV each weekend.  However, his design of the faux mill ruins on the 17th hole still draws comments on a daily basis from new golfers who do not realize they were built to Nathan’s designs during construction.  
          You will not find a golf course architect more committed to his craft than Nathan and I know that he will do whatever it takes to make your project the best it can possibly be if you select him as your [golf course] architect." 

 

 

Steven J. Austin 
Member, Golf Writers' Association of America
(Writer for travel, golf, and entertainment publications worldwide since 1982)
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          "I'm giving Copper Mill an A+ on the scales of playability and fun! This wonderfully designed layout begs you to let the driver rip, but also demands precise club selection and your best efforts on approach shots and its unique collection of six testing par three holes.  Treat yourself and play at least one of the awesome 600+ yard par fives from the tips! Copper Mill is what golf is supposed to be. It's challenging and adventurous, but straightforward and fair."

 

 

Randy Hampton 
Chairman, Golf Course Renovation Committee
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          "I first met Nathan Crace in the summer of 2006 when our country club decided to undertake some much-needed golf course improvements.  Our course renovation committee spent several weeks prioritizing our needs and interviewing a number of golf course architects.  Since we had minimal knowledge of course design and construction and were going to be heavily dependant upon our [golf course] architect, we selected Nathan and his firm--boy were we lucky!  He immediately outlined a course of action to lead us through the process, prioritized our “wants” and helped us decide how much we could do within our budget. 
          As the Club’s Representative and with over 25 years of industrial construction experience, I soon learned that golf course construction is first and foremost an artistic undertaking.  Nathan’s artistic eye took in our fixed layout, created new larger, more playable greens and relocated bunkers in a manner that will lead the golfers’ attention toward the target.  All this was accomplished while keeping the ongoing maintenance costs in mind.  Nathan’s technical knowledge of course management allowed him to design around many high maintenance features found in other courses. 
          Nathan has demonstrated an interest in our club’s success that goes far beyond merely creating a superior golf course.  He attended several member meetings where his enthusiasm quickly spread to the attendees.  When we deviated from the proper course, he gently lead us back to methods with proven success.  Even before the course re-opened to play, the members' excitement from what they could see taking place created a buzz throughout the area.  Because of Nathan's hard work, we are confident our facility will soon rank with the best in southeast Louisiana."

 

 

Landon Petty 
Director of Golf Operations
(Former Publisher, Tee to Green Magazine)
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          "I spent the past eight years as the Editor and later Publisher of Tee To Green Magazine—a monthly periodical covering golf in Louisiana, Mississippi, the Alabama Coast, and the Panhandle of Florida.  During my time with Tee To Green, I had the pleasure of playing a number of courses Nathan either designed as a new course or renovated and I can honestly say that I never get tired of playing his courses, regardless of the setting or style of the course. 
           When I was still writing for the magazine, I once referred to Nathan as the “best golf course architect you have never heard of…yet.”  I expect that more people will be hearing about him soon.  In the spring of 2005, I assumed the position of Director of Golf at The Bluffs—the former #1 course in Louisiana and an annual top 5 in the state on most lists.  We have already called Nathan in to handle some renovation work on the 17th hole and to get his ideas on helping us re-work other parts of the course too. 
          I have come to know Nathan over the past few years as a friend, a [golf course] architect, and a writer when Tee To Green began carrying his 'Lipouts' column each month and I have seen first-hand his work ethic and dedication to his clients.  You will not be disappointed in the service you receive from Nathan and his firm and I can guarantee you that you will be thrilled with the results of his work."

 

 

Michael E. Smith 
Past President (served during renovation project)
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          "I have known Nathan since the 1999-2000 renovation of Brookhaven Country Club in Brookhaven, Mississippi when I was serving as the club’s president.  Nathan took our existing nine-hole course and some additional property and created what many now consider to be one of the most exciting and fun-to-play 18-hole courses in Mississippi!  
          From the onset, he knew that we were limited on land availability and selected to utilize a par 70 routing—but rather than eliminating two par 5’s (because he felt that golfers enjoy par 5’s more than par 4’s), he elected to create four par 5’s, 8 par 4’s, and six par 3’s!  I can recall some members originally questioning this routing, but since re-opening for play, we have heard nothing but accolades for our course from members and non-member golfers alike.
         
Although Brookhaven Country Club is one of the oldest courses in Mississippi, we are not a large or wealthy club by anyone’s standards.  Knowing this, Nathan created green complexes that—while they are exciting to play and pleasing to look at—are able to be maintained with riding equipment almost exclusively with little or no hand work.  This was a high priority for us since we do not have a large maintenance budget or maintenance staff and controlling costs after construction during routine maintenance was a big concern for the club.  He also utilized large areas of native grasses in out of play areas to eliminate unnecessary mowing and help to beautify the course with a unique look.
          Given my experience with Nathan’s work ethic and quality of work, I would recommend that anyone looking for a [golf course] architect to renovate their golf course eliminate their risk of being disappointed with the finished product and hire Nathan’s firm to handle the project.  He will spend more time and energy making sure that the smallest details are cared for (more so than anyone else you will find with his experience) and his accolades continue to grow."

 

 

Jack Hamilton 
Jackson County Director of Parks & Rec.
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          "In 2001, Nathan completed the re-design of the front nine holes at Whispering Pines Golf Course in Hurley, Mississippi for the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.  Since re-opening the following year, our course has come be known as the 'best kept secret on the Mississippi Gulf Coast' and more and more 'Snowbirds' play our course each year as the word continues to spread.  Our course is out of the way compared to some of the other courses on the Coast, but we have seen our numbers among snowbirds and resident play continue to rise each year since the renovations, reversing a steady decline prior to Nathan’s renovation work. 
            Our course has now become profitable enough that in the spring of 2005, we issued an RFP in search of a golf course architect to renovate the back nine, where we still have the same old “push-up” greens and ongoing drainage problems.  Nathan’s firm was selected over a number of other firms not only because of his past experience with our course, but also because of his dedication to his clients and the quality of his work.  I am sure all of his past clients will tell you similar stories, but Nathan exemplifies what a golf course architect should be:  selfless, professional, and able to get the job done for what he says he can.  We don’t have a huge budget for our renovations, but Nathan has found creative ways to produce the look golfers want within our construction budget and—just as importantly—within our maintenance budget.
            If you want a [golf course] architect with extensive experience in public bids and one who will exceed your expectations, you need look no further than Nathan Crace and his firm.  The golfers at our course cannot wait until we begin construction after having seen Nathan’s drawings for his renovations to the back nine.  You will find that with Nathan and you can count on getting every dollar’s worth out of your construction budget!" 

 
More quotes to be posted soon...

 

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