NLU Podcast, Episode 117: David McLay Kidd


Opening this up for questions and comments on the David McLay Kidd podcast.

A couple of things from my view:

  1. Sorry for the audio. I’m an idiot and didn’t have my mic set as the recording device for FaceTime. Like an idiot, I spoke directly into my non-functioning mic for an hour.

  2. Also an idiot for saying he’s the first architect we had on, one month after Michael Clayton was on. I view Michael as more of a Swiss Army Knife in golf than a straight architect, but regardless, that was not accurate.

  3. I had heard parts of the Bandon story, but was enthralled to hear it in his words. Finding people in bars to shape the course blew my mind! It’s amazing to think of the downstream effect that golf course has had on the game.

  4. I hated asking the Doak question that he’s heard a million times, but had known they had spent some time together at Streaming, and was curious how their relationship stood. I found his answer fantastic and was glad he spoke on it. Hopefully for his sake, it can get put to rest.

Anything else that stuck out to you?


Really enjoyed this pod. The deep architecture dives don’t always hold my attention, but this one definitely did. Part of it may have been that I just enjoyed the sound of Kidd’s voice – amazing dialect/accent.

The stuff about Mac Dunes and the surrounding protected areas was very interesting. I like hearing about (and playing) courses that are “built” without moving much land. Cool story about his Dad mentioning decades ago that the area could house a course or two.

I don’t think you crossed the line asking about the Doak issue. It’s clearly part of Kidd’s story, and, given the way he responded to your question, it also showcases his class.

Enjoyed the Bandon talk as well. Definitely interesting to hear about how they walked into local bars to find labor. His comment that “going first” at Bandon made his job tougher than those who followed was also thought-provoking and well-reasoned.

Lastly, as a Chicagoan, Mammoth Dunes sounds extremely enticing. His description of how par is very attainable with a conservative game plan, but that aggressive play presents the risk of big numbers was great. Playable/enjoyable for the average player and major risk/reward golf for the gamers. All courses should strive for this dichotomy, in my opinion.

Nice work, @Soly. Good pod all around.


Enjoyed it, but did think the bit about Doak and the castle course at St. Andrews still stings for David, despite what he said. Which is a shame if it still is a hang up for him because he’s clearly capable of producing courses that are fantastic. Really looking forward to seeing how Mammoth Dunes turns out, photos look unbelievable so far.


Fabulous pod as usual, @soly.

I’ll say one of your gifts is tackling touchy subjects with a guest in a non-offensive way. The Doak rating question was well clarified and asked more about how David receives and uses feedback generally than the 0 rating itself. And, David’s response was extremely classy. It left me with a very favorable impression of him.

I really enjoyed his story about Bandon and Mike Keiser. “I thought this rich guy didn’t appreciate what he has…and maybe I can sneak in here”. Then he sees the pile of business cards for all the famous architects that have visited. Very interesting how much that spurred David into giving his very direct opinions on the course…

Excited to play Mammoth.


Great listen. It would be really cool if future interviews with designers/architects could be coupled with a write up on the website that included photos of some of the courses and holes referenced to be able to visualize what you guys are discussing. Not to take too much thunder from @thefriedegg. I find myself listening to pods like this and staring blankly into space trying to picture holes and land in my head until I get home to research on my own.


@Soly I second @TrajMahal’s suggestion on getting designers/architects to maybe include a write up on the course or include some pics.

SUPER interesting stuff. Keep em coming.


@soly is the NLU crew considering a trip to Sand Valley this year?

Four of us went over there for the first time back in October of 2016 when Sand Valley was only open for preview play. My brother took some drone shots and they liked what they saw so they had him go back a few more times to take some shots of the course. I got to be the “actor”, sweet gig. It’s only about a two and a half hour drive for me, so I’ve been there a few times now. I’ve played sand valley 5 or 6 times, but my last time there i was able to play the 9 hole preview of Mammoth Dunes (1-5 & 15-18). Sand Valley is a really fun, well thought out course for every handicap level. Mammoth Dunes is on a whole different level. The size is mind boggling. I don’t think there was a single hole in which i didn’t say “Holy Shit” on the tee box. For example, the 3rd hole has a “bunker” running down the entire left side of the hole. The 3rd hole is a par 5. It is an absolute blast of an experience. I would guess by 2020, Mammoth is a top 20 public in the US.