Brett Hochstein has loved golf ever since his dad first brought him out on the course at the age of 4. Specifically, it was the designs and different features of the courses that caught his attention—the greens, bunkers, water hazards, and other features that make golf the unique game that it is. After years of collecting scorecards, making routing sketches, and reading about design, Brett formalized his education through a landscape architecture degree at Cornell and later on an HNC in golf course management at Elmwood College near St Andrews in Scotland. While in Scotland, he was able to study many of the game’s greatest links while learning about design and turgrass maintenance, another passion of his that he believes to be intrinsic to architecture.
After dabbling with smaller items such as freelance research, photoshop, and construction labor, Brett got his first big break into the industry when Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf brought him on for their first project in China, Simapo Island. With over 330 days on site, this is where Brett got to hone in his skills on all machines, from the bulldozer to the excavator to the trap rake and to the hand tools of rake and shovel. While with Renaissance, Brett also worked the beginning and finish at Dismal River Red Course, allowing him to experience two polar opposite building approaches—a total creation from scratch like that at Simapo and a true minimalist “till it and seed it” approach like that at Dismal River
Brett has since worked with Arnold Palmer Design Company at Fazenda Boa Vista in Brazil, Michael McCartin (also formerly of Renaissance Golf Design) on an exciting par 3 course—The Schoolhouse 9—in rural Virginia, and most recently Frank Pont on the bunker renovation at Sallandsche Golf Club in Diepenveen, The Netherlands, where he was able to contribute both the shaping and the detail finish work. Brett really believes in the hands-on approach to design and doing as much as he can himself in the field, where not only do you ensure the designer’s vision is carried forward, discoveries are also made in the process that contribute to a better end product. He believes in environmentally friendly firm playing conditions that enhance a proper design, and it is no surprise that most of his favorite courses are among the linksland and heathland of Europe. A scenic and varied routing, well chosen angles of defense, contoured short grass, natural beauty, and variety are the keys to to a fun and enjoyable golf experience.
Going forward, Brett is looking to start finding work of his own, be it abroad or nearer his home area of San Francisco, while also continuing harmonious partnerships that encourage creative freedom like he had with Frank Pont. Those types of partnerships don’t just lead to a better result, they are also the most of what we all strive for at the end of the day: fun.