Michael Benkusky – Golf Course Architect
As Senior Project Architect for Lohmann Golf Designs, Michael Benkusky was the lead designer for Canyata Golf Club. In 2005 Benkusky founded his own golf course design company, Michael J. Benkusky, Inc., based in Crystal Lake, Ill.
A member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects since 1997, Benkusky was raised in suburban Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he began his study of golf course architecture at an early age by working and playing on the Donald Ross-designed Cedar Rapids Country Club. In 1983, Benkusky entered Iowa State University to study Landscape Architecture with an emphasis in golf design.
Benkusky was a member of the Cyclones’ golf team, which played its home matches at the Perry Maxwell-designed Veenker Memorial Golf Club. Upon graduation from ISU, Benkusky joined Lohmann Golf Designs, where he quickly rose to Senior Project Architect. He created more than 15 original designs and directed dozens of renovations, including courses originally laid out by such legends as Ross, Maxwell, Seth Raynor, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye.
Canyata Golf Club is the most significant achievement of Benkuskyï ½s young career, a perfect example of his philosophy to conceive beautiful and challenging golf courses while preserving and enhancing their environment.
“I like to create wide fairways and wide landing areas so the average golfer can get the ball out there and into play,” Benkusky said. “And it allows the better players a chance to set up the strategy as to what side of the fairway they want to hit in order to have the best approach to the green.”
Canyata’s fairways average more than 50 yards across. Its greens average more than 7,000 square feet, with contours and rolls that carry through the back.