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John Reitman

By John Reitman

After 25 years, Nagle starts own golf course design firm

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Jim Nagle, here in a bunker at Philadelphia Country Club, has recently started his own golf course design firm known as Nagle Design Works. Below right, Nagle during the restoration of Lancaster Country Club. Photos courtesy of Nagle Design Works

After a quarter-century working side by side with Ron Forse, golf course architect Jim Nagle has launched his own design firm, Nagle Design Works, fulfilling what he calls a lifelong goal.

"I, like many designers, entered the field with hopes of running my own shop," Nagle said. "During my 25 years with Forse Design, Ron and I have completed numerous great projects for many wonderful clients, and I have learned a tremendous amount about the sort of courses I want to design and work on in the rest of my career. I want to build courses that are steeped in risk and reward, and heroic design, intrigue and joy. Forse Design enabled me to make a name as a restoration specialist, and the great designers of the past will always inform my work. I am excited to forge this opportunity to create new designs from scratch."

030724 nagle 2.jpgAmong Nagle's work is the recent restoration of Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, site of this year's U.S. Women's Open.

Nagle will hit the ground running with a handful of ongoing and upcoming projects on his schedule.

He is currently finishing up rebuilding the back nine on Philadelphia Country Club's Spring Mill Course, and soon will begin work on a renovation of Westwood Country Club in the Cleveland area.

Other upcoming projects include working on a master plan for Eagles Mere, a William Flynn design tucked into rural northeastern Pennsylvania.

"Eagles Mere is a step back in time, the course is routed through a wooded landscape, with greens played as intended with tricky swells and knobs still being used for hole locations because of the slower speeds," Nagle said. "Rock debris piles from the original construction remain untouched sitting between holes. Fairways are pockmarked with small humps and kettles from the cuts and clearing of the forest to build the holes. A few holes provide mountain and peak vistas as far as the eye can see."

He also will begin work next yeare on the restoration of the North Course at NCR Country Club. The course in Moraine, Ohio, was designed by Dick Wilson 70 years ago. 

"The North has really not been touched very much since Wilson built it in 1954," Nagle said. "We will focus on peeling back seventy years of growth to revive the original shapes and strategies."

Nagle is a graduate of West Virginia University, where he earned a degree in landscape architecture. He has been designing and restoring golf courses as an architect for more than 25 years. He will continue to work on projects with his mentor.

"The next few years are going to be very exciting," Nagle said. "Ron Forse and I will continue to collaborate on projects. I am enthused and I look forward to taking on interesting new original design, renovation, and restoration projects. These are good times."

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