For a professional golfer, 2006 US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy is regarded as a fairly astute thinker on design and the game of golf in general. Friends with Australian golf course designer Mike Clayton for more than a decade, in mid-2010 Ogilvy announced that he was partnering with Clayton to form the Ogilvy Clayton design team. The company later changed its name to OCCM, named after Ogilvy, Clayton and partners Michael Cocking and Ashley Mead.
Ogilvy has said in the past that his views on golf course design have been heavily influenced by Clayton, so it was somewhat surprising, in late 2019, that the company parted ways with its founder and carried on without Mike Clayton.
Though Clayton has moved on, partnering with leading Amateur golfer Michael Cocking has given Ogilvy’s company an edge when it comes to what elite players are thinking and how they play. Their most recent work is particularly appealing to Professionals and scratch golfers. Peninsula Kingswood North Course, for example, plays at least 4-5 shots harder than it did before the recent redesign, and is less popular with shorter hitters and poorer golfers but probably more popular than ever with scratch players.
Now that Geoff Ogilvy’s full-time playing career appears to be slowing down, he is expected to take a more active role in design than most of his contemporaries and perhaps it was this hands-on involvement that led to the departure of company founder Mike Clayton. Clayton is a polarizing figure in Australia and having three professional standard golfers in one design business does seem excessive.
Regardless of the reasons, it was an interesting move and we wait to see whether Clayton’s new company CDP Golf (Clayton, DeVries & Pont) competes against his former team for projects in Australia, or chooses instead to focus on work outside the country.
For lead designer Michael Cocking, working with a US Champion has already opened up opportunities in places like Texas, where they restored Shady Oaks, and in China for the Lanhai International (Yangtze Dunes) project. They have also been commissioned by the Medinah Country Club in Chicago to produce a Masterplan for their famous but maligned No. 3 course. The pair will be hoping that the dramatic, and expensive, transformation of Peninsula Kingswood will lead to further such work, where clubs overhaul their golf course and invest in modernization and superior turf conditioning. While Peninsula Kingswood North was, as expected, able to shoot into the Australian Top 10 on 2020 ranking lists, it remains to be seen whether this is an affordable, sustainable model for other clubs to follow.
For an independent assessment of the Ogilvy, Cocking design team, OCM Golf, and their suitability for your project, please contact Global Golf Group.