Golf Course Architects
Advising clients in 14 countries on 5 continents.
Global reach with a local presence. Clayton, DeVries & Pont is the partnership of three of the world’s most experienced golf course architects.
For over a century, the best architects have worked within partnerships. From Colt, Alison & Morrison to Fowler & Simpson to MacKenzie & Maxwell, the sum of the parts was always greater than the individual no matter how talented the individuals in question. Clayton, DeVries & Pont has been founded on the same principles.
Clayton, DeVries & Pont is a collaboration between three of the world’s foremost regional architecture practices.
Mike Clayton Partner
After a very successful amateur career which included victory in the 1978 Australian Amateur and the 1977 and 1981 Victorian Amateurs, Mike turned professional in 1981 and played on the Australasian Tour until 2007, winning seven times. He was also a regular participant on the European Tour from 1982 to 2000. He formed Michael Clayton Golf Design in 1995 in partnership with John Sloan and the late Bruce Grant. In 2010, that business morphed into Ogilvy Clayton, which later became OCCM. Mike is a renowned writer, speaker and broadcaster. His views on the relevance of period architecture in the modern era are required reading and listening for anyone who is a student of golf and golf design. He is one of the southern hemisphere’s most highly rated architects, whose work has received critical acclaim on a worldwide basis.
Mike DeVries Partner
With over 40 years of experience in the golf industry, Mike remains a true craftsman. He is personally involved in all design and construction aspects of golf course development. His grandfather introduced him to golf at an early age at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Michigan, and he grew up working on the Downs, developing a deep respect and admiration for the work of Alister MacKenzie and Perry Maxwell.
After graduating from Lake Forest College, Illinois, he worked with Tom Doak before attending the University of Michigan, where he earned his Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture in 1994. There then followed a stint working as on-site design coordinator for Tom Fazio. Mike is one of the leading exponents of the modern minimalist movement. Over the past twenty years, he has also become a renowned contributor to books and magazines. In 2015, he was nominated as the industry’s “most underrated golf architect” when he appeared on Golf Channel’s annual Golf Architecture Week.
Frank Pont Partner
After qualifying as a civil engineer from Delft Technical University, Frank worked for Shell before earning an MBA from the University of Chicago. This was followed by a career in the consulting sector and investment banking, culminating in him overseeing Deutsche Bank’s global telecoms team in London. In 2001, he left London to study golf course architecture at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. There, his specialist stidies were in the works of Harry Colt and Tom Simpson.
Thereafter, he undertook apprenticeships with David McLay Kidd in Ireland and Hawaii. In 2003, he founded his own practice, which has steadily grown in stature ever since. At present, he is working with over thirty Colt, Simpson and Pennink designed courses across Europe in order to help restore their original strategies and styles. Additionally, he has built seven new courses, one of which, De Swinkelsche, was named best modern course in The Netherlands by renowned golf journalist Darius Oliver.
Hendrik Hilgert Head of Continental Europe
Hendrik has led many large projects including the renovation of two of Germany’s best courses - Hamburg Falkenstein (ongoing) and Köln-Refrath - and the construction of 18 new holes at Patting near Lake Chiemsee. In addition to his significant activities in Germany, he is currently working on projects in Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland and Vietnam.
Based in Germany, he is responsible for our operations in Continental Europe.
Sam Cooper Associate, GB&I
To our knowledge, Sam is the only person to have played and studied every links course in Great Britain. Over two years, Sam played 225 courses as part of his well documented ‘Links from the Road’ tour.
He left a background in real estate development to pursue his passion for course architecture, and is our associate in Great Britain and Ireland. Naturally, he has a particular interest in links golf.
Sam writes extensively for a number of golfing magazines and publications on the subject, and co-hosts the ‘Golf Badgers’ podcast on architecture and greenkeeping.
Lukas Michel Associate, Australia
After completing a Masters degree in Engineering from the University of Melbourne, which included a semester at the University of St Andrews, in 2019, Lukas became the first international participant to win the US Mid-Amateur leading to invitations to the 2020 US Masters and US Opens.
He continues to play competitively and contributes to GOLF Magazine’s World Top 100 rankings as its youngest panellist. He assists with our projects in Australia and has also been involved with our activities elsewhere in the world. To that end, he was part of our team that restored Bloomfield Hills CC in Michigan.
Jurrian Van Der Vaart Associate, The Netherlands
Jurrian has played on professional tours in Europe and the United States. Through his studies in environmental science and agronomy, he has become an ambassador for sustainable golf to the Netherlands Golf Federation and has obtained his GEO Certificate. He is also The Netherlands’ leading expert in the design of practice facilities. He has a deep knowledge of agronomical matters and is highly proficient in the technological aspects of modern course design. Although his main role is to support our projects in Europe, he has recently been a member of the team overseeing the build of Seven Mile Beach in Tasmania.
Joe McDonnell Head of Images
After 13 years spent as a creative content specialist in the software industry, Joe followed his heart and his passion for golf history - in particularly, the evolution of Golden Age courses - by focusing on the delivery of high-quality imaging for the golf industry. His specific areas of expertise are in terrain modelling, and the creation of 3D animation and art. Joe is as our Head of Imaging, supporting our projects on a worldwide basis.
Bill Longmuir United Kingdom
Bill turned professional in 1968 and was a member of the European Tour from 1973 to 1993 playing in 10 Open Championships. He was part of the generation of golfers who also competed on the Safari, Sunshine, Australian, Asian and South American Tours.
He joined the European Seniors Tour in 2003, qualified for the US Champions Tour in 2006, and remains a playing member of the former. From 2015 to 2020, he was Head Professional at Royal Westmoreland, Barbados, and currently holds a consultancy position at Les Bordes Golf Club in France. He is heavily involved with our activities in the UK.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano Spain
Having completed his MBA, Gonzalo turned professional in 2004. Since then he has played on both the PGA and European Tour, where he is a seven-time winner. He has played over 450 courses on five continents and has long had a keen interest in golf course architecture since he grew up playing courses designed by Colt and Simpson. He joined the our team at the end of last year and is our representative for the Iberian Peninsula.
We have clients in fourteen countries. At present, our teams are collaborating on projects in America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Our reach is truly global.