Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player form course design alliance as Black Knight seeks to start building again

The course design firms of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player announced Wednesday they have formed a strategic alliance to help Player relaunch his business building golf courses.

Player has designed more than 135 courses worldwide since starting in the 1980s, but his design business was on hold for several years during a legal dispute with his son Marc Player that was resolved in 2020. Now his marketing firm, Gary Player Enterprises, is ready to start building again.

A page announcing the two Hall of Fame players’ partnership on said the alliance will allow Player to draw on the talents and infrastructure developed by Nicklaus Design, which has built more than 425 course in 46 countries.

“When I approached Jack, my goal was to create a relationship that would elevate my design business, and I am thrilled to have my design work supported by the most talented and thorough design firm in the world,” Player said in the release on the Nicklaus site. “… I love working with the land to develop a truly memorable, challenging and enjoyable golf experience, and working with the support of Nicklaus Design will allow me to concentrate on the unique, creative opportunities that each site presents to me.”

Nicklaus and Player were rivals on the course for decades starting in the 1960s. Nicklaus went on to win 18 professional majors among his 73 PGA tour titles, while Player won nine majors among 24 titles on the PGA Tour and more than a hundred more around the world. The Golden Bear and the Black Knight have been friends for decades, with this design alliance further example.

“When I partnered with Howard Milstein (executive chairman of the Nicklaus Companies) in June 2007, one of the goals was to institutionalize and strengthen the Nicklaus Companies to continue my personal legacy in the golf business and ensure the expertise and resources needed to develop and support the people who will design the golf courses of the future,” Nicklaus said in the announcement on his site. “Now, we’re happy to be in a position to facilitate the next phase of my dear friend Gary’s career.”


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