Q&A – ASGCA Drew Rogers

By Jason Bruno

Drew Rogers fell in love with the game in Robinson, Illinois, where a neighbor invited him to play his first rounds of golf at the local club. He attended the University of Kentucky earning a degree in Landscape Architecture in 1991. The following year, Drew began working for Arthur Hills, and over his time with Hills, he collaborated on 30 new designs and 20 renovations. Rogers talent as an architect has been influenced by his affinity for Harry Colt, Donald Ross, and Willie Park, Jr. designs. In 2010, Rogers created his own design firm JDR (https://www.jdrewrogers.com/). Drew has an extensive and diverse portfolio of work, and recently we caught up with him to discuss his renovation project at Seagate Golf Club in Delray Beach.

LinksNation – How did you get your start in the game of golf? 

Drew Rogers – I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old.  I grew up in a small Midwest town that happened to have a very nice country club… was always intrigued with the game, wanted to play and ultimately became inspired by the courses I was playing.

LinksNation – Was golf architecture always in your plans?  

Drew Rogers – Playing golf was more the focus when I was younger, but as I slowly matured it was evident I wasn’t going to make a career playing… but I did head off to college with the expressed intention of becoming a golf course architect.

LinksNation – Who were your mentors and course architects that inspired you? 

Drew Rogers – Hard to single just one person out… so many have played a part in shaping my work.  I’ve been blessed to receive a lot of support and inspiration… travels, historical research, work colleagues, superintendents, builders, clients… the list is long.  I’m always looking to continue my education and get better…. so everyone I come in contact with has the potential to be an inspiration in that sense.

LinksNation – How has your design philosophy evolved over time? 

Drew Rogers – I think, like is the case with many, you want to fearlessly express yourself when you’re younger… and with time and experience you temper those tendencies a bit more and become more objective about the bigger picture… really understanding your clients and their objectives… trying to help them be successful.  But I’m always trying to build something that will be enduring and enjoyable… something that I’m just as proud of as our clients hopefully are.

LinksNation – Had you seen or played Seagate before you were involved in the renovation?  

Drew Rogers – I really didn’t know much about Seagate until I received the inquiry from ownership, but I have enjoyed becoming familiar with the history and evolution there.

LinksNation – Were there any unusual challenges you faced in planning the project, and then after you got started? 

Drew Rogers – As these kind of projects go, Seagate proved to be rather normal in terms of scope.  Working with city planning is always a challenge – we speak different languages 😉  But we endured and completed the work, albeit a bit delayed.

LinksNation – You have two of the finest in the industry with Alan Fike (Director of Agronomy) and Frank Lostaglio II (Director of Golf), can you talk us through their roles in making this project happen?  

Drew Rogers – Many hands make light work.  Our team at Seagate is exceptional… and along with Alan and Frank that also includes the superintendent Jack Jurich, ownership at both Seagate and Turnberry, the management and entire development team at Seagate as well as the golf course builder, Total Turf – GT and Mike Kuhn on the irrigation – Jim Hengel, agronomist, Buzz Jaskela with the landscape, and of course staff members with each of those entities.  These massive endeavors require a village or support, collaboration!

LinksNation – What was the overall mission of the renovation project ?  

Drew Rogers – Our priorities were developed early on: Design to endure the test of time, Be adaptable to all player skill levels, Strive to be mindful of maintenance measures, Be true to vision – a better version of itself, Design to reflect an ever-evolving identity of understated elegance

LinksNation – What turf varieties did you use?  

Drew Rogers – Greens are TifEagle Ultra-Dwarf Bermuda, Fairways, tees and rough are Bimini Bermuda and some of the extended rough areas are Pro Vista St. Augustine.

LinksNation – What projects are coming up for you?  

Drew Rogers – We’re certainly busy… We have 4 projects under construction in ’24 (1 in Florida and 3 in Illinois). We’re working on planning for several others, in Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin.  We’re preparing plans for construction for some great projects in South Carolina, Florida and Illinois.  There’s a lot going on in our industry right now and we’re fortunate to be partnered with some great clients and some really exciting visions – the future is bright.

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