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Golf Course Architect Lee Schmidt

Interview With Lee Schmidt

A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview

By Brian Weis

Below is an interview with Lee Schmidt, Principal Schmidt Curley Design. In 2011, Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design, one of the world's most active and innovative golf-course design firms, were named GOLF Magazine's 'Architects of the Year.'

The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.

Brief Bio
Lee grew up in Indiana and began working on a golf course as a summer time job. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Agronomy, he worked for Pete Dye for over ten years and then transitioned to a position with Nicklaus Design where he worked for over seven years mainly designing courses in Southeast Asia. In 1998 Schmidt Curley Design was formed with his partner Brian Curley. Schmidt Curley Design is based in Scottsdale, Arizona with two satellite offices in China.

When did you start golfing and who introduced you do the game?
I started playing golf during high school when I had a summer time job on a golf maintenance crew at Woodland CC in Carmel, Indiana. As Pete Dye says; "Lee can't break 80"....but I do enjoy the game.

What is your current home course?
We have a second home in Chattanooga, TN and I am a member of Chattanooga CC. I try to play every time I am back there for a visit.

To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment on the course or in the industry?
As a golf course architect, I have had the opportunity to design courses in many parts of the world. I am extremely proud of the courses we have designed and how we have helped grow the game in countries like China and Japan.

What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
Slow play. If players would keep up to the group ahead of theirs, everyone would enjoy their time on the course more. I believe more people would also be attracted to golf if rounds did not take so long.

What is your favorite club in the bag and why?
The putter, even though putting is not a strong point of my game. I like green designs and enjoy the calculation part of trying to figure out how much a putt breaks.

What is your favorite golf destination?
The British Isles. I have visited the area four times to date and have thoroughly enjoyed each trip. A wide variety of courses to play, walking is encouraged, weather is unpredictable, the people are great...always a fun time.

What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
Augusta National. I have been fortunate enough to attend the Masters four times but have never played the course.

If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula. It is scenic, very playable, memorable holes, great variety in the terrain and vegetation...truly a special place.

If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
Tour players should play a different ball in events so many of our classic courses do not become obsolete with the added distance created with modern technology.

Dream foursome (living)?
My son , Pete Dye (my mentor), and Rory McIlroy

Dream foursome (living or dead)?
My son, Pete Dye and Bill Diddle. Mr. Diddle was a founding member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He was a pioneer in golf design, a great amateur player and a very generous person. I worked on a course he owned in my hometown and prior to me going to college he offered to pay my tuition to college. He did this for over ten students and I am forever grateful for his generosity .

18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions

1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
Sinking a long Putt

2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
Hole in so far, waiting for the next

3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?
Either both

4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
Power draw...I need all the length I can get

5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
Halfway house

6) Bathroom OR bushes?

7) Hot dog OR wrap?
Hot Dog

8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?
Thick rough as my sand game is my Achilles

9) Walking OR riding?

10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid?

11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
Neither........short par 3's and reachable 5's are more exciting!! If pushed for an answer.......a long par 5.

12) Pants OR Shorts?

13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
They both have been great for the game of golf. I worked for Jack as a designer for over seven years and have met Arnold a few times. I am honored to have known them both.

14) Beatles OR Elvis?

15) Play for fun OR play for money?

16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
Bump and run

17) Lay up OR gamble?
Lay up........a true conservative

18) 18 holes OR 36?
18......will be back tomorrow for the next 18

Revised: 02/12/2013 - Article Viewed 31,988 Times

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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