Interview With Mike DeVries President DeVries Designs, Inc
A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview
By Brian Weis
Below is an interview with Mike DeVries, the President at DeVries Designs, Inc. The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.
Can you provide our readers a brief biography?
Golf architect Mike DeVries is a craftsman who insists on being personally involved with all aspects of golf course development, including feature shaping of the putting greens and bunkers.
By being on-site consistently throughout the construction process, DeVries also enables himself to continually study the land, reacting to newly revealed opportunities and improving upon his original design concepts. This evolutionary process inevitably results in a unique golf course of enduring quality.
A 1987 graduate of Lake Forest College in suburban Chicago (Business Administration), DeVries apprenticed with golf architect Tom Doak before going on to the University of Michigan where he earned his Masters degree in Landscape Architecture in 1994. Following a stint as an on-site design coordinator with golf architect Tom Fazio, DeVries has designed and constructed six new golf courses, as well as consulted with numerous established clubs about course renovations.
DeVries' grandfather introduced Mike to golf at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Michigan, where he developed a deep respect and admiration for the work of legendary golf architects Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Perry Maxwell. DeVries continues to study the works and writings of the master golf architects of yesteryear in an effort to apply those design principles to his own work.
When did you start golfing and who introduced you to the game?
My grandfather got me into the game. When I was really little, I would whack balls with an old, sawed down club in the front yard. When I was about eight, I started visiting the golf course with my grandparents, hitting chips and puts. I remember going to my grandmother's golf lessons and the pro would let me hit and give me some pointers.
What is your current home course?
I'm a member at Crystal Downs (Frankfort, MI). I am also lucky that I can always go back and play the courses that I have built or redesigned.
To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment?
I don't know. I've had a couple hole in ones but those are sort of a fluke. You hit the ball close and you think it's supposed to go in, and then it happens and it's like, "Wow, I just hit a hole in one!" That's pretty cool. But, what I really love is when I run into golfers and they talk about a course I built or worked on and how much fun they had there.
I love it when I run into golfers and they talk about the course i built or worked on.
What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
The dependence on golf carts. There's a place for them, but, in a lot of ways, I think there's not. They destroy a lot of turf, visuals, and sightlines on a course. Number two on that list would be people more interested in talking on their cell phones than they are in playing the game. Talk to me, don't talk to your device. Maybe that's number one.
What is your favorite club in your bag and why?
That's a good question. In the Hickory set it's the Jigger, just cause it was really the first club that I had and you can play all kinds of different shots with it. It's sort of a sentimental thing with that. And then probably if you're talking about regular, modern sticks, it's probably got to be the putter because so much happens on greens. If you're on great greens and you make a long putt, that's just super fun.
What is your favorite golf destination?
What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia
If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
The Old Course (St Andrews)
If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
My biggest problem would be with the rules regarding the technology of the ball. I'd like to see the ball dialed back because the balls are manufactured so well that they're just too good now and go too far, making great, old courses obsolete. I'd like to see the Tour have to play a 1985 Tour Balata. I think the pro game would be a lot more interesting with that scenario.
Dream foursome (living)?
Ben Crenshaw, an unbelievably nice guy, great putter, and an awesome passion for the game. My buddy Kerry Kotila, who I've probably played more golf with than anybody and we always have fun. And Fred Muller, my dear friend and the pro at Crystal Downs.
Dream foursome (living or dead)?
My Grandfather, he taught me the game. Bob Hope cause he loved golf and he's probably one of the funniest humans who has ever lived and my Grandfather and I used to love watching him do his TV programs and his golf tournaments and everything. And then I could do a whole foursome of golf architects, but I gotta go with Alister MacKenzie because he's the guy that probably had the most influence in why I do what I do because of Crystal Downs.
Favorite 19th hole drink?
A local beer.
18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions
1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
Round of your life
3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?
Crack of Dawn
4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
I'm hitting a power fade now so I gonna stick with that cause that's what Nicklaus did.
5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
6) Bathroom OR bushes?
1 or 2? Bushes are fine for 1, otherwise the bathroom.
7) Hot dog OR wrap?
Oh hot dog definitely.
8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?
I would rather be in bunker
9) Walking OR riding?
10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid?
Well it's not a 3 iron anymore but it's not a hybrid, either. It a driving iron, so it's a hybrid I guess.
11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
Long par 3!
12) Pants OR Shorts?
13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
I love them both.
14) Beatles OR Elvis?
Beatles. Huge Fab 4 fan.
15) Play for fun OR play for money?
16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
Bump and run
17) Lay up OR gamble?
I'm not a big hitter so I layup most of the time. However if I'm playing for fun I might gamble. It's about 50/50
18) 18 holes OR 36?
Oh 36 is a great day if we can do that. Walking all of them too.
Revised: 10/10/2017 - Article Viewed 1,029 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, 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 GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. 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.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler