Many architects claim to be specialists in restoring Donald Ross courses. However, modern design influences often seep into their work, spoiling the final outcome. Many times this leaves the client with a course lacking the authentic look, feel and playability of a true classic design.
Kris Spence takes great pride in renovating and restoring courses as closely as possible to their original specifications. Kris works diligently to avoid leaving his mark on the layout, and he does not wish to be considered the course architect when a restoration is complete. Kris is a devout student of the classic era architecture, and holds in the highest regard the many great men who went before him. His is inspired by Donald Ross, Seth Raynor, A. W. Tillinghast, Ellis Maples and William Flynn, to name a few. Except for adding length to offset the advancements in modern technology, Kris Spence strives to restore classic layouts to their truest form.
How does Spence accomplish this? First and foremost, he works straight from design sketches when available. He is also adept at identifying remaining land forms and features from original designs. Although legend has it that Ross ordered the destruction of architectural renderings upon his death, that was not always case. The Tufts Archive, located in the Givens Memorial Library in Pinehurst, N.C., holds hundreds of Ross plans that provide guidance in each and every restorative effort. When course plans aren’t available, Kris pours over aerial photographs, ground level photos, club histories and his personal stockpile of information to “get into the head” of the classic architect and recreate the course as it once was. Kris will also engage in long chats with a golfer who played the course in its early days, and has even been known to look skyward and ask Mr. Ross himself for a bit of divine intervention.
Ultimately, Kris Spence restores and reclaims classic golf courses in their purest form. He understands the shot-making strategies and dramatic land-form usage that were embraced by architects of the classic era. Most importantly, he is unabashed in recapturing those characteristics. Kris W. Spence is highly respected for his classic architecture and routinely on the short list of candidates when a quality restoration is desired.
Jim Harbin, Project Manager/Shaper/Design Associate
Jim Harbin brings over 25 years of experience to the Spence Golf Team having shaped over 30 golf course domestically and internationally, project managed the construction and renovation of many others and is considered one of the premier shapers in the business.