What People Are Saying…

We pride outselves on making clients into friends and treating each project as if it were our own golf course.  That’s why we’ve posted the following testimonials about our firm and about Nathan’s epxerience in the industry. 

“As the former Chief Operating Officer for Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with some of the game’s top architects and understand the importance of selecting the right person for the job. I have no reservations about recommending Nathan; he will exceed your expectations if given the opportunity…and I believe him to be one of the golf industry’s top [golf course] architects.

I have watched as his professional reputation and industry exploits continue to impress those of us who are knowledgeable about the golf industry and the role of the [golf course] architect in the course design business. The [golf course] architect’s overall influence is substantial, the golf course design and conditioning potential contributes greatly to the customers’ experience, which impacts a facility’s revenue potential and overall operating costs.

I have had the opportunity to observe first hand Nathan’s abilities in renovating an existing facility…he is excellent at working within the project’s overall objectives, has a history of bringing the finished product in or under budget, understands the real cost to maintain a golf course, and possesses a very unique ability to provide a balanced golf experience suitable for all golfer levels.”

Russell P. Redford, Jr.

Former COO (Retired), Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

“I am most impressed by the scope of Nathan’s background. He has expertise in [golf course] architecture, and above average knowledge of edaphic and hydrologic properties and turfgrass systems (something I have found lacking at many design firms), and is also an accomplished golfer as well. I feel he delivers the ‘complete package’ in terms of what an accomplished golf course architect can provide.

Nathan is the ultimate professional, exhibiting a calm demeanor and an outstanding work ethic. He exudes integrity and dedication to his work. I believe that his personal qualities are every bit as outstanding as his professional qualifications.

Nathan and I first met years ago when he was a student in the Professional Golf Management [PGM] program at Mississippi State University. I was a faculty member in the Plant and Soil Sciences department and had the opportunity to instruct Nathan in two senior level classes [Turfgrass Management and Golf Course Operations]…Nathan was simply one of the top PGM students during my tenure at Mississippi State, exhibiting both the desire and the ability to maximize his educational opportunity while at MSU.

Nathan was assigned an ‘A’ in both of my classes, which is quite a feat given his curriculum had essentially no science background, something that comes in very handy with these particular classes. Nathan had well-defined goals then in terms of his career path and his desire to design golf courses, and I have taken great satisfaction watching his career in golf course design grow leaps and bounds.”

Dr. Michael Goatley, Jr., PhD

Associate Professor & Turfgrass Specialist, Virginia Tech

“On both a personal and professional note, I have known Nathan for more than twenty years and have worked with him for a number of projects with the Mississippi Golf Association as well as with renovation projects for courses hosting our events. His background as a former club professional is a refreshing change when working with course set up and I have seen firsthand what his work as an architect has done for our member clubs. Some of our best events are hosted on courses where Nathan has either done renovation work or on a new course that he designed. One of our favorite courses to host events at is Hattiesburg Country Club, a former PGA Tour location that Nathan renovated in 1999 and is still highly regarded among our members as a favorite to this day.

I recently toured his renovation of The Refuge, an upscale public course near Jackson, and I was amazed at what he has done with the property! The course has been transformed from a tight tree-lined course that was at times unfair to the average golfer to a fair and fun to play course for average players while offering a stern test of golf for low handicappers. It has the look of a championship resort course; but with so many options from the tee, ranging from 4,000 to over 7,000 yards, it can be played by anyone.

Additionally, Nathan’s commitment to junior golf is unparalleled in his industry. Not only did he design a three hole short course at The Refuge when it first opened in the late 1990’s and installed the Longleaf Tee System as part of the full course renovation there now, but he has also been a volunteer head coach for a local high school for over a decade. He has had a number of players from that small school graduate and play at some of the top Junior College golf programs in the country and even one Division I program.

I look forward to working with Nathan on future projects.”

Margo Coleman

Former Executive Director - Mississippi Golf Assoc. / Exec. Dir. - First Tee of Central MS

“I have known Nathan for years both personally and professionally and would recommend him to any club—especially a club of higher stature looking for an energetic architect with fresh ideas that are grounded in the history and character of a game he loves. I have been involved with the game of golf my entire life, including many years with the PGA Tour as a Rules Official. I have had the opportunity to work with a number of architects during that time and can say that Nathan was an easy selection for the work at our club.

When you meet Nathan, you will quickly realize he is the genuine article—what you see is what you get. He is a straight shooter and dedicated to the project you put before him. We could have selected a “big name” architect for our work, but as Nathan likes to say, he “prefers to let the work speak for itself.” Having first-hand knowledge of his work at both our club and other clubs, I can tell you that the quality of his work speaks volumes for his work ethic, creativity, and ability to see opportunities that others cannot.

Additionally, Nathan is a very proud member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and has worked his entire career toward achieving membership in that organization. You need look no further than the fact that his three sponsors for membership were two past ASGCA presidents (Bob Cupp and John LaFoy) and the then current president (Steve Smyers) to know the quality of Nathan’s work.”

Ben Nelson

Former PGA Tour Rules Official, Project Committee Chair - Annandale Golf Club

Hattiesburg CC was originally a Press and Perry Maxwell design and when we decided in 1998 to renovate the course, we wanted to protect the history of the club while updating the feel and playability for today’s golfer. After studying the course and meeting with several key decision makers in the club, Nathan created a master plan for the course that helped all members be able to understand his vision for the renovations and improvements to the course—including increasing par from 71 to 72. After presenting the idea and the master plan to the club (renovating all green complexes, tees, bunkers, irrigation, and re-shaping a number of fairways and building new lakes), a vote of the membership was nearly unanimous with only one dissenting vote!

The renovation itself was flawless and was completed in less than 10 months. Shortly after the course re-opened, the club re-entered the Top 10 in the state at the #4 spot! Since then, Nathan has been brought back to the club to add bunkers and add some tees to accommodate large amateur events and collegiate events and in 2013 was hired to design an outstanding short game facility at HCC for the University of Southern Mississippi’s D-I golf teams—winning a “Design Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship.” Over the years, I have served as the Director of Golf at HCC and then the men’s golf coach as USM, but I’m still a member at the club and served on the green committee. As a D-I golf coach, I can tell you that Nathan’s short game facility has had an immediate impact on the improvement of our golf teams. In fact, shortly after the facility opened, we won our first tournament in some time!

Nathan continues to help the club and is currently working with the new owners on the removal of some trees on the course and the possible lengthening of a few holes. You will not find a golf course architect more committed to his clients. He has never been more than a phone call away and has never hesitated to help when called upon. I have had the opportunity to work with other architects in the course of my career, but none have been as enjoyable and enlightening as the time I have been able to spend with Nathan over the years.

Jerry Week, PGA Life Member

Former Dir of Golf - Hattiesburg CC / Former Men's Golf Coach (Retired) - Univ of Southern MS

“Nathan and I first met in 1995 during the construction of Caroline Golf Club near Jackson, Mississippi when I traveled there to discuss my dream of building a championship eighteen-hole golf course north of Baton Rouge in the bedroom community of Zachary. After changing sites once and developers more than three times, we were finally able to realize my dream when Copper Mill Golf Club opened two years ago to widespread acclaim. Then in January [of 2005], we received the ultimate honor a public course can receive when Golf Digest named our course the ‘Best New Affordable Public Course in America for 2004!’

Needless to say, we have seen our play skyrocket in the wake of the award as golfers from across the country and around the globe have made the trip to Zachary to experience what Nathan created. In May [of 2005], Golf Digest once again honored our facility by naming it the “#2 Overall Course in the State of Louisiana” in its bi-annual listing of the top courses in America by state. This placed Copper Mill ahead of other upscale private clubs designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye! In fact, by the numbers, Copper Mill outscored Dye’s TPC of New Orleans (a course which was on the 2004 ‘Best New Upscale Public Courses’ list, hosts a PGA Tour event, and cost considerably more to build) by a relatively wide margin in each of the critical areas used by Golf Digest to rate a golf course!

He handled the design from top to bottom, made the site visits, and resolved any problems that arose. In fact, his choice to maximize our property’s potential by routing the course with six par 3’s, six par 4’s and six par 5’s to utilize a flood plain on the property while still maximizing home sites on the golf course was a stroke of genius that not only made the course unique and fun to play, but also caught the eye of the Golf Digest panelists.

I am perhaps most impressed by his ability to blend dramatic green complexes seamlessly into the surrounding settings while providing multiple pin placements on each hole in a method that our grounds crew can easily and inexpensively maintain. His greens look like the holes we are used to seeing on TV each weekend. However, his design of the faux mill ruins on the 17th hole still draws comments on a daily basis from new golfers who do not realize they were built to Nathan’s designs during construction.

You will not find a golf course architect more committed to his craft than Nathan and I know that he will do whatever it takes to make your project the best it can possibly be if you select him as your [golf course] architect.”

Mark Simoneaux

Former Owner and GM, Copper Mill Golf Club

“Nathan sees the course not only from the players’ side, but also from the superintendent’s side and the golf pro’s side. The club first hired Nathan to help me identify parts of the course to convert to naturalized areas. After the first year, we realized a savings of approximately $1,000 per acre per year—a savings of nearly $30,000 per year for the nearly 30 acres we converted!

Soon after, Nathan was retained to create a full-course long range master plan for the club. The plan was completed and Phase I began shortly after. Phase I was a full renovation of our practice facilities including expanding the driving range tee to 100’ x 300’, building a new putting green close to the first tee, building a short game area for chipping and bunker practice, and—my favorite—a six acre short course! The course is unique because is features two double greens and a triple green and can be played in any order, in any direction, or just set up by one of the greens and practice short game shots. Members love the short course and use it daily for practice, clinics, or just for fun.

Phase II of the master plan was the total re-design of the par 3 #8 hole including new tees, new irrigation, new green complex and bunker re-design, and repairing and re-shaping the small lake in front of the green. The work for #8 was funded entirely by the Men’s Golf Association to demonstrate to the membership what the rest of the course will look like when the master plan work is complete. The members loved the new hole and with record numbers of members, we hope to begin the work on the rest of the course in the near future.”

Jim Kwasinski, GCSAA

Former Golf & Grounds Superintedent, Tupelo CC

“Not only had Nathan proved himself capable the previous year with his design of the team practice facility project, but he also had the expertise and the resume we felt necessary to accomplish the tasks we had set out to achieve [on the course itself]. On a personal note, I also liked the fact that Nathan’s personality is much more personable and professional….Nathan is willing to lead the project in a team sense—with all parties providing input that he takes to heart while administering the project.

Since construction of the renovation project began, I have never ceased to be amazed with the progress of the work and the look of the new green complexes. Nathan developed ideas in the design of the golf course that have taken full advantage of our site that—before now—had been underutilized. In addition to a new irrigation system and irrigation lake that captures storm water runoff and completely redesigned green complexes and bunkers, Nathan also added additional back tees and forward tees to make the course more enjoyable for players of all skill levels. It re-opened to rave reviews!

I would not hesitate to recommend Nathan Crace. His expertise and skill in his work is, in my opinion, unmatched in his field.”

Jeff McManus

Dir of Golf & Campus Landscape, The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)

“In the aftermath of Katrina Hurricane, the Bay Breeze Golf Course was totally devastated in almost every aspect: from the greens, fairways, landscaping, and clubhouse to the maintenance equipment and irrigation system and more. Having Nathan as the golf course architect and consultant from start to finish for the Bay Breeze Restoration Project was the best thing that ever happened to this very challenging undertaking. His vision and insight in redesigning all the green complexes, fairway layouts, and landscaping have undoubtedly elevated our golf course to a whole new level. Without compromising his unique vision and architectural concept he was very receptive and accommodating to our concerns and recommendations–and restrictions of a military project. The new look (design) of the Bay Breeze Golf Course is far beyond anything that I could have imagined and golfers at Keesler Air Force Base as well as from the local communities now have a new course that they will enjoy playing for many years to come.

It really has been a joyful experience working with Nathan and I could not see anyone better for this restoration project considering all the factors and governmental bureaucracies and restrictions. His broad experience and expertise also played a major role in determining the proper remedy for a permanent fix of our damaged water supply source (lake) and irrigation system. Nathan’s hands-on involvement and on-site inspections on a weekly basis throughout the entire process clearly has had a huge impact on the quality and remarkable progress of this project. Without any reservation, I am very confident and proud to recommend Nathan as the [golf course] architect or consultant for any golf course project (huge or small) either in the Armed Forces or in the civilian sector.”

Throughout construction of the renovation project, I never ceased to be amazed with the progress of the work and the look of the new green complexes. Nathan developed ideas in the design of the golf course that have taken full advantage of our site that—before now—had been underutilized. In addition to a new irrigation system and irrigation lake that captures storm water runoff and completely redesigned green complexes and bunkers, Nathan also added additional back tees and forward tees to make the course more enjoyable for players of all skill levels. It re-opened to rave reviews!

I would not hesitate to recommend Nathan Crace. His expertise and skill in his work is, in my opinion, unmatched in his field.”

Tama Manu

Former Dir of Golf (Retired) - USMC Ret., Bay Breeze GC (at Keelser AFB)

“Military projects are a different animal altogether. Here at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, construction projects are laden with additional restrictions, processes, and design guidelines. Our construction project to renovate 18 greens on the West course at Cypress Tree golf course was no exception. However, Nathan Crace’s professionalism and can-do attitude helped us tremendously getting through these barriers. Nathan engaged the process and helped us work through a myriad of issues that took extreme calm and professionalism on his part.

At the end of the day, I can say that Nathan was the driving force in resolving many of these issues and was crucial to helping keep our project on time and within budget. Nathan was diligent, steadfast, and determined in working in all of our design goals, budget constraints, and customer concerns. Nathan’s experience and knowledge produced a phenomenal result that pleased everyone in the process. Nathan is particularly dedicated and displays exceptional integrity. We definitely chose the right person for the job. We would highly recommend Nathan Crace and would make him our first choice on future projects.”

Derek Turner, PGA

Former Dir of Golf, Cypress Tree GC (at Maxwell AFB)

“I’m giving Copper Mill an A+ on the scales of playability and fun! This wonderfully designed layout begs you to let the driver rip, but also demands precise club selection and your best efforts on approach shots and its unique collection of six testing par three holes.

Treat yourself and play at least one of the awesome 600+ yard par fives from the tips! Copper Mill is what golf is supposed to be. It’s challenging and adventurous, but straightforward and fair.”

Steven J. Austin

Member, Golf Writers Assoc of America, Professional golf, travel, and entertainment writer since 1982

“I have known Nathan since the 1999-2000 renovation of Brookhaven Country Club when I was serving as the club’s president. Nathan took our existing nine-hole course and some additional property and created what many now consider to be one of the most exciting and fun-to-play 18-hole courses in Mississippi!
From the onset, he knew that we were limited on land availability and selected to utilize a par 70 routing—but rather than eliminating two par 5’s (because he felt that golfers enjoy par 5’s more than par 4’s), he elected to create four par 5’s, 8 par 4’s, and six par 3’s! I can recall some members originally questioning this routing, but since re-opening for play, we have heard nothing but accolades for our course from members and non-member golfers alike.

Although Brookhaven Country Club is the second oldest course in Mississippi, we are not a large or wealthy club by anyone’s standards. Knowing this, Nathan created green complexes that—while they are exciting to play and pleasing to look at—are able to be maintained with riding equipment almost exclusively with little or no hand work. This was a high priority for us since we do not have a large maintenance budget or maintenance staff and controlling costs after construction during routine maintenance was a big concern for the club. He also utilized large areas of native grasses in out of play areas to eliminate unnecessary mowing and help to beautify the course with a unique look.

Given my experience with Nathan’s work ethic and quality of work, I would recommend that anyone looking for a [golf course] architect to renovate their golf course eliminate their risk of being disappointed with the finished product and hire Nathan’s firm to handle the project. He will spend more time and energy making sure that the smallest details are cared for (more so than anyone else you will find with his experience) and his accolades continue to grow.”

Mike E. Smith

Past President, Brookhaven CC


Let’s Build Something!

Reach out to learn how our team can assist you with creative problem solving, maximizing investment, and helping you turn your dream into a reality!

p:  (601) 849-0461
e: mail@watermarkgolf.com

Post Office Box 1250
Magee, MS | 39111 | USA

100 Lakeview Drive, Suite 210
Magee, MS | 39111 | USA

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