John Strawn, the former CEO of Robert Trent Jones II and more recently the President of Hills & Forrest, International Golf Course Architects, has joined Global Golf Advisors (GGA), the worldleader in golf and private club strategic business planning, as a Director of the firm.
Serving more than 2,700 clients worldwide from offices in Toronto, Phoenix and Dublin, GGA provides an array of professional advisory services which match perfectly with Strawn’s unusual background as both a golf industry executive and a distinguished writer.
According to GGA Partner Henry DeLozier, “John brings a unique set of experiences and expertise to GGA, complementing our services with his skills in strategic planning, marketing and promotion. He is a natural connector, who enjoys bringing people and places together.”
Over the previous two decades, as CEO of eminent international golf course design firms, Strawn participated in the development of numerous award-winning courses around the globe, among them Bro Hof Slott in Sweden, The Scandinavian Club and Lubker Golf Resort in Denmark, Black Gold and Half Moon Bay in California, and Washington State’s Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 US Open. In addition to his work on these projects, Strawn has also managed new course developments in Italy, China, Russia, Hungary, Portugal, Puerto Rico, among other countries, as well as participating in the creation of numerous North American courses, from high-end resorts to residential communities to publicly-owned facilities, such as Chambers Bay.
Strawn has also written extensively about golf, in books such as his path-breaking account of the development of a golf course, “Driving the Green.” His magazine articles have focused on golf’s diffusion from its historic Scottish homeland, its economic contributions to local and regional economies, and the benefits it provides in preserving open green space, natural habitat and an arena for healthful exercise. He wrote a regular column for several years for Golf Magazine China, exploring issues of golf design and development.
Curt Sampson, the author of a shelf of best-selling golf books such as “The Eternal Summer,” “The Lost Masters,” and “Hogan,” commends Strawn for “expertise straddling two fields–writing and golf course architecture and development—when it’s hard enough to thrive in just one. John is personable as well as professional, and enjoys great respect as a writer and an expert in the golf business.”
Steve Forrest, the Chairman of Hills & Forrest, says that “GGA is a perfect fit for John’s unique skills. His knowledge of golf history and his keen understanding of the strategic principles of golf course architecture, combined with his impressive worldwide network of contacts, will provide valuable insight to GGA’s clients.”
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. calls Strawn “a scholar, a wonderful writer and a lover of the game of golf.” Jones’s illustrious firm, he notes, “has worked directly in the past with GGA, and we find GGA, like John, to be highly professional.”
Strawn has organized and moderated golf development workshops and conferences, inviting leaders in golf course design and construction, land planning, clubhouse architecture, and course management, among other areas of expertise, to provide guidance in countries such as Russia and Italy on devising long-term strategic plans for golf tourism.
At GGA, Strawn will work focus on business development, long-term strategic planning initiatives, and devising creative solutions to long-term challenges for clients. Jason Bangild, the GM at Gearhart Golf Links on the Oregon coast, worked with John over the last several years, both in the restoration of the oldest golf course in the western United States, which had suffered years of decline, and in repositioning Gearhart as a classic links through a variety of events and marketing initiatives.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing John Strawn since Gearhart Golf Links asked him advise us on our plans for tree removal and course improvements,” Bangild said. “As someone already familiar with Gearhart, John was an excellent resource, and we hope he will continue to provide assistance to us as we follow through on plans to make Gearhart an essential stop for golfers visiting Oregon.
Bangild also noted that Gearhart “will welcome a group of Irish golfers this fall, when a delegation from our sister course, Carne Golf Links in County Mayo, comes to visit. This sister-course relationship was suggested and nourished by John, who was the only one among us with contacts at both courses, and it has proven of great mutual benefit to Gearhart and Carne. Because this sort of association among courses is so rare, it has generated wonderful national and international publicity. So John has not only provided innovative professional advice, he’s been a friend to all of us at Gearhart and Carne.”