To thrive in the golf course design and construction business, Albanese & Lutzke principals Paul Albanese and Chris Lutzke have played to their collective strengths to evolve with an ever-changing industry. In an era when more golf courses are closing than opening, the duo remains busy and considers themselves fortunate to be doing some of their more creative and impactful work around the world.
They both started as associates under Jerry Matthews, who designed more than 400 golf courses around the state of Michigan. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Albanese and Lutzke would spend hours together on sites and in pubs discussing golf course architecture. Albanese earned his B.S in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell University and his Masters of landscape architecture from Harvard University, while Lutzke earned turf science and landscape architecture degrees from Michigan State University while also working as a lead associate with legendary course architect Pete Dye for 20 years.
In 2004, Albanese and Lutzke, both currently members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, recognized the value of bringing their architecture skills and knowledge under one roof and formed Albanese & Lutzke. Below are some highlights of their recent and current projects:
Albanese, and Lutzke open first project in Vietnam
Yen Dung Golf Resort in Bac Giang, Vietnam is one of the leading golf resort destinations in Asia. The 36-hole facility has been divided into two phases. The 18-hole Hillside course was opened in 2018 and Albanese and Lutzke are currently working on the second 18 holes, with the Rock Valley course scheduled to open in 2019.
Albanese continues Native American projects
Albanese has developed a niche, designing and building quality golf course projects with Native American-owned resorts. His first was the award-winning Sweetgrass Golf Club at Island Resort & Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. That was followed by Tatanka Golf Club in Nebraska. His next project, Sage Run, also at Island Resort & Casino, opened this summer.
“It is a pretty prominent landform on this site,” Albanese said. “The holes go around, over and through the drumlin. Golfers will experience great holes through the trees, some in open areas and just a lot of variety in terms of landscape and feel.”
Lutzke applies Dye expertise with Kohler and other Dye Renovations
When it comes to performing renovation work designs by the great Pete Dye, no one knows the Dye landscapes and maintaining the design philosophy better than Lutzke, who spent more than 30 years in the dirt with Pete, developing many of his award-winning projects.
Originally hired in the late 1980s to pick up sticks for Dye while he was building Blackwolf Run, Lutzke has come full circle with Dye and the Kohler Company, working today on the Straits Course in preparation for the upcoming Ryder Cup in 2020. He is also coordinating closely with the Kohler Company on proposed projects.
In addition to the Kohler projects, Lutzke has applied his Dye experience with a renovation at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Lutzke has renovated Old Marsh’s fairways, greens, tees, and added irrigation. In Indiana, Lutzke has worked on the Dye-designed Ackerman-Allen Course at Purdue University and is developing some new projects at French Lick Resort.
Renovations, construction projects keep Albanese & Lutzke in dirt
In addition to their design projects, Albanese and Lutzke have created their own in-house golf course construction management firm, enabling them to provide a strong value proposition to clients on both renovations and new projects. This will allow the firm to pass along savings to facilities like Dayton Country Club, where they brought back many of Donald Ross’ design philosophies, and closer to home in Michigan, where they performed a hybrid restoration at Lochmoor Club in Gross Pointe Woods, restoring much of the design philosophies of Walter Travis.