Don the golfer
Don the Golfer

Bavarian Master Architects

Almost one in five golf courses in Bavaria bears the signature of Donald Harradine and his son Peter. With their incredible architectural feats, they defined the style of an entire era and shaped a considerable portion of Bavaria's golf landscape.

Not too many golfers here are familiar with the name Donald Leslie Harradine, although almost everyone, who has played golf at some point in Bavaria, has done so on a Harradine course. Don was born in Enfield near London in 1911 and grew up with his step father, golf pro Albert Hockey. In the Swiss spa town of Bad Ragaz, Hockey was commissioned with expanding the local golf course to 9 holes in 1929. His step son assisted him and took a liking to the work. After the end of the war, Donald was awarded his first contracts as a course architect and moved with his family to Caslano, near Lugano. He first owned a construction firm that filled contracts for a number of courses before later setting up his planning office at his home.

Harradine was a self-taught golf architect and drew on the tradition of old English parkland courses. His first designs were hotel courses in Switzerland's Davos and Arosa regions. In 1956, together with the already famous Fred Hawtree, he took on redesigning the 18-hole course in Bad Ragaz which he had already become acquainted with in his youth. During this project, he learned how to construct the landscape, as well as keeping grassy areas at high alpine altitudes. This led Donald Harradine to become a specialist for alpine terrain, capable of designing excellent courses even in challenging locations. Though he drew on conventional design styles, he soon developed his very own signature approach, characterised by the sparing use of bunkers on the fairways, as well as strategically situated trees. His guiding principle was: “It is better to have a good par 69 course than a poor par 72”.

Historic picture of the Sonnalp golf course
Donald Harradine developed his passion for golf course design in the alps at early stages.
GC Tegernsee Bad Wiessee
The front nine at GC Tegernsee Bad Wiessee have been Don Harradines first design in Bavaria. His son Peter was part of the planning.

His first course in Bavaria comprised the first six holes of the Tegernsee Golf Club in Bad Wiessee, which he designed in 1958 with three more holes following in 1961. In 1968, he designed the first nine holes of the Regensburg Golf Club, which he expanded to 18 holes in 1981. In 1975, he designed the 18-hole Sonnenalp course in the Allgäu and, in 1980, expanded the Augsburg golf course to 18 holes and, in 1984, also expanded the Oberfranken Golf Course in 1984. From 1986 on, Harradine received assistance from German landscape architect Götz Mecklenburg, who also collaborated with Donald’s son Peter from 1992 on. Harradine Golf GmbH was founded in 1988. The book “Donald Harradine & Golf – Biographie eines Pioniers der Golfarchitektur” (Donald Harradine & Golf - biography of a golf architecture pioneer) was written by Mecklenburg.

Beginning from the end of the sixties, Donald’s son Peter gradually began to follow in his father’s footsteps and helped him complete numerous projects - in Bavaria’s Erding-Grünbach, St.Eurach and Garmisch to name but a few. Donald Harradine passed away on 26 September 1996 at his home on Lake Lugano. His son Peter and grandson Michael (29 and a plus-handicap player) represent the third and fourth generation of the family to work in golf course architecture. With more than 100 golf courses in Europe, the Harradines have defined the style of an entire era. Around the world, the Harradines have been involved and continue to have a hand in the design of over 200 courses - over 160 are attributed to Peter Harradine, who, together with Götz Mecklenburg, has designed over a dozen courses in Bavaria. His father had a hand in the design of 18 golf courses, including the famous St. Eurach, Beuerberg and Palace Klingenburg courses. The contributions of Donald and Peter Harradine to Bavarian golf course architecture date back almost 50 years. A Harradine course can be found in almost every corner of the free state of Bavaria.