Michigan golfers are familiar with the work of Chris Lutzke thanks to his award winning Eagle Eye design near East Lansing, Michigan. Built on a sod farm in the style of a coastal links, Eagle Eye regularly makes the list of best courses to play in Michigan.
Recently, the long-time protégé and associate of Pete Dye was accepted into the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). Lutzke, who works out of Plymouth, Michigan, currently is part of Albanese & Lutzke Design along with Paul Albanese.
The ASCGA is an exclusive club. The ASGCA is the premier organization of the golf architecture profession, and membership signifies the ultimate recognition of an architect’s work and a place in history among names like Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye.
“It was a long-term goal and it was important to Pete over the years that I apply,” Lutzke said. “But it was Alice Dye who kept on me and had me get the applications in, do interviews and go in front of the board. Pete and Alice were the driving force and it has been a great long journey.”
Prospective ASGCA members go through a two-year application process that tests their knowledge of golf course architecture, training, experience and architectural vision. The prospective member must also be sponsored by three ASGCA members. Lutzke’s sponsors were Dye, Lee Schmidt and Jerry Matthews, another familiar name to Michigan golfers.
Lutzke has degrees from Michigan State in Agronomy and Landscape Architecture. He began his work in golf course architecture in 1986 working on Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Lutzke started his career in golf course construction in 1986 working on Pete Dye’s masterpiece Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. His passion for design and building along with his creativity and work ethic caught the attention of Dye, who after a short time would offer him a long-term position to work on future projects like Old Marsh and Grand Harbor in Florida.
As a Dye protégé, Lutke was involved in many of his signature projects, including the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island prior to the 1991 Ryder Cup. Lutke also was largely involved with the renovation of Crooked Stick Golf Club in preparation for the 1991 PGA Championship.
Other projects that Lutzke worked on under Dye include the Whistling Straits courses, The Honors Course in Tennessee, Mystic Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands, and Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head, which are each ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the world by either Golf Digest or Golf Magazine. Other notable courses he worked on include Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo, Brickyard Crossing, Barefoot Landing, and he was the project architect at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.
“I just turned 50 and this is a really good time for me,” Lutke said. “My allegiance has always been with Pete, building and managing projects, but now it feels like a good time to begin showcasing what I have learned from Pete these past 30 plus years. Having been in the dirt for all of these years and working with him on drawings and routings actually transitions perfectly for me to begin creating my own designs and projects.”
Lutzke is currently involved in another upcoming Ryder Cup project. This time he is back at Whistling Straits in advance of hosting the 2020 matches.
“We are there overseeing and performing most of the construction to help create an exciting Ryder Cup venue. That’s as much as I can say at this point,” he said. “We are also working with French Lick Resort on a third golf course and doing renovation work at a few other places.”
For more information about Chris Lutzke and Albanese & Lutzke Design, visit http://golf-designs.com.
About Albanese & Lutzke Design
Chris Lutzke and Paul Albanese have known each other since 1993. Their partnership was formed in 2004. Together they bring an impressive background in architecture and landscape management with four degrees between them from Cornell, Harvard, and Michigan State, as well as Lutzke working for over 30-years as Pete Dye’s protégé. Today their combined decades of experience in creating over 50 successful golf course projects has evolved into an innovative golf course design firm that provides clients the strongest architectural presence on projects from the early stages of planning all the way through construction and grow in.