Golf Course Designer Spotlight: Jack Nicklaus

Discover Jack Nicklaus, The Golden Bear of Golf

With well-kempt courses and proper etiquette characterizing the game, golf is arguably one of the most luxurious sports one can participate in. At The Cliffs, we aim to deliver an exceptional experience for golf enthusiasts –– one that accentuates the beauty of the Carolina mountains and celebrates how rewarding it is to be a golfer. We are honored to feature two Jack Nicklaus signature courses in our catalog of premier golf courses.

In this post, we will take a look at legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’ professional career and some of his works as a golf course architect over the years.


A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jack Nicklaus was born in 1940 to Helen and Charlie Nicklaus. His father was supportive of his athletic career, exposing him to a number of different sports. By the age of 10, Jack Nicklaus began playing golf and​​ quickly dominated the sport –– winning six Ohio State Junior titles. At 13, he was already competing at the national level. With more experience on the green, Nicklaus won his first national title, the National Jaycees Championship at age 17. 

However, Nicklaus was not just a magnificent golfer –– he was an all-around athlete, also playing tennis and football. In college, he played on the Ohio State University football team while studying pre-pharmacy. Over the course of his life, Nicklaus has become a well-known global ambassador, businessman, course designer, author, and philanthropist. By using his success to drive other initiatives, he has made a significant impact both on the sport and the lives of those he has come into contact with.

Professional Career

At the age of 21, Jack Nicklaus made the decision to focus his efforts on the sport of golf and become a professional golfer. Over the course of his years on tour, Nicklaus won 117 professional tournaments, with a record 18 major championships –– making for an impressive professional career. In 1974, Nicklaus was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Today, he is recognized in the golfing community as one of the greatest players of all time. 

Courses Designed By Jack Nicklaus

After years spent competing professionally, Nicklaus turned his attention to golf course design, founding Nicklaus Design. Drawing inspiration from the many courses he had the honor of competing on, Jack Nicklaus’ design company has experience designing and executing more than 300 golf courses in more than 35 countries around the world. Let’s take a look at a few of the magnificent designs he has created over the years. 

Gleneagles The PGA Centenary Course | Scotland

Nicknamed ‘The Glorious Playground’, Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course is regarded as a modern classic course. Given Scotland’s rich history with the sport, Nicklaus wanted to exceed expectations with his design –– and he did. With sweeping views of the lush Ochil hills that define the course and stunning views of the Scottish countryside, players are surrounded by green from all angles. Described by Nicklaus as the “finest parcel of land in the world I’ve been given to work with,” it’s no wonder this course has hosted both the 2014 Ryder Cup and 2019 Solheim Cup. 

Turtle Point | South Carolina 

For an oceanfront golf experience, look no further than the Turtle Point golf course on Kiawah Island. Located along the sandy dunes of the shoreline and adorned with palm trees and native grasses, this Jack Nicklaus Signature course is truly a sight to behold. This course’s challenging design stays true to his philosophy of “making players use his mind ahead of his muscles.” 

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove | North Carolina

With open fields of former farmlands framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains, and native woodlands where the light pours in through the trees, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove golf course is effortlessly a part of the land. Manicured to perfection, the course debuted with tournament quality conditions and hosted a PGA Tour event in its inaugural year. Players of all skill levels will enjoy every hole on the course, but the 16th is particularly memorable.

To learn more about Jack Nicklaus’ inspiration for this course’s design, read Golf Course Design: The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, our Cliffs Living Spotlight article.

The Cliffs at Keowee Falls | South Carolina 

Located near the shores of Lake Keowee, The Cliffs at Keowee Falls golf course is named after Falls Creek which weaves in and out of the design. Comprised of 160 acres of natural elevation changes, the tree-lined fairways and lengthy par 3s create a playing experience that challenges even the most experienced players. 

The design has been recognized as Best in State by Golf Digest, and among the top 50 Best New Courses by Golfweek. One of the most distinguishable awards is the Excellence in Golf Course Design by the jury at the South Carolina Golf Raters Panel. 

The Golf Experience at The Cliffs

One of the most exciting elements of the sport of golf is the variety of challenges each course provides. At The Cliffs, we are home to seven one-of-a-kind golf courses, each designed by some of the greatest golfers the sport has ever known. From Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson, and Ben Wright, our courses offer a wide range of styles and difficulty levels –– so you can find a course that you can appreciate no matter your skill level. 

To help you improve your game, our golf facilities include practice areas, driving ranges, and access to professional instruction. Not to mention our pro shops are stocked with the latest gear and equipment to guarantee you are ready to play your best round. Furthermore, our golf members also enjoy 14-day advance tee times and member golf events at their home course.

Apart from access to our golf facilities, our golf membership also includes access to each of our wellness centers, swimming pools, sports courts, clubhouses, and private social clubs. To learn more about our remarkable club membership opportunities at The Cliffs, click on the button to contact a member of our team. 

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