Industry News

New golf design partnership formed

Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design has announced the formation of a new partnership with Jim Wagner, a former Senior Design Associate with Nicklaus Design.

The new company, Curley-Wagner Golf Design, LLC., will remain based in Paradise Valley, Arizona with additional offices in Vietnam and the Philippines, and will continue to offer golf course design services throughout the world.

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“With the retirement of Lee Schmidt a few years ago, I have been able to continue to explore new markets and have increased our workload substantially necessitating added help.  Rather than just add staff, I am looking at a long-term solution to not only best serve existing projects but continue well into the future with Jim’s vast experience” Curley said.  “I spent a great amount of time looking for the perfect partner and have undoubtedly found just that with Jim”.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts School of Landscape Architecture, Wagner joins Curley after more than 20 years at Nicklaus Design, where he was responsible for a substantial international portfolio.   Many of his projects were in Asia, where Curley has worked for more than 30 years, designing dozens of acclaimed courses, including 20 at Mission Hills Golf Club the largest golf facility in the world.

“Having Jim based in the Philippines will enable us to both accommodate our existing and future Asian clients but also free my time up to attend to the substantial and prominent workload I have recently acquired in the Middle East.  While I will continue to be based in Arizona, I can now focus more on domestic work as well” Curley said.

The Schmidt-Curley brand has been synonymous with outstanding and critically celebrated courses throughout the world, especially in the Asian market, where the duo began working in 1997.  Many of those projects were in China, but since that country’s clampdown on golf in 2008, Curley has turned his attention to new markets.  Nowhere has he been more active than in Vietnam, where he has completed six courses and is set to break ground in numerous others.  Other areas of recent and current work include Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and a newly constructed course in Indonesia.  “No doubt I needed help with the workload”, Curley said, “and adding Jim is a great coup for me as he is a very accomplished designer with a passion for excellence”.

“I am very thankful for my years spent with Nicklaus Design and all the great courses I was able to work on with a great team” Wagner said.  “I am also very enthusiastic about the new venture and what that means for me in the years to come, working alongside a great new team with an incredible reputation for world-class courses”.

The new partnership will be busy from the get-go, with on-going projects in eight countries, many of which are multiple-course facilities.

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Initially founded in 1997 as Schmidt-Curley Golf Design, Curley-Wagner Golf Design is a U.S. based, full-service golf course and master-planning design firm with a world-wide portfolio of critically acclaimed and award-winning courses spanning 25 countries.  Included in this list are the 20 courses at the massive Mission Hills Golf Club in China as well as projects throughout the U.S., Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mexico, Sweden, and many more.  The firm has been named GOLF magazine’s "Architect of the Year", and Asian Golfer’s “Best Golf Course Architect” seven straight years.  Golf Inc. magazine has named them "the fourth most influential designer in the world”.  Their courses have hosted the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, PGA Champions Tour, World Cup of Golf, The Skins Game, Korn Ferry Tour and many more. 

The firm specializes in creating challenging, beautiful and enjoyable courses, often on difficult sites.  By balancing classic golf course architecture with ever-changing technology, they strive for courses that still the soul and elevate a golfer’s appreciation for the land and the game and always design for cost-efficient maintenance and operations.