• Volume 18 Number 2
    Spring 2009

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37.
Lee Schmidt, BS ’70
 Scottsdale, Ariz.  •  Profiled: Spring ’04

Golf course designer

Lee Schmidt and his partner in the golf course design business, Brian Curley, made a critical decision several years ago. It was a decision that has made all the difference in the world. Emphasis on the word “world.”

“With the downturn in our economy, there has been a trend of more golf courses closing than opening each year in the U.S.,” Schmidt reports.

So when Schmidt-Curley Design looked west from Arizona and established itself as one of the top golf course designers in the Asian market, it kept theLee Schmidt company comfortably afloat in an otherwise drowning market.

Schmidt has over 35 years’ experience as a golf course superintendent, architect and builder. The Carmel, Ind., native learned under the two biggest names in golf course design — Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus — before joining with Curley to form their own company in 1997.

“I would never have imagined how my career path has evolved since graduating from Purdue in agronomy,” Schmidt says. “Working for two of the premier golf course architects of the modern era was something one could never plan.”

Schmidt helped design the 12-course Mission Hills complex in China, the largest golf resort in the world. With so much design work under way in China, Schmidt-Curley recently opened a satellite office there.

Schmidt-Curley Design has over 100 courses in two dozen countries, including the island of Palau (where he found an unexploded World War II bomb), Inner Mongolia, Egypt, China, Sweden, and Thailand, making Schmidt a true golfing globe-trotter.