Apocalypse Now: Ames and Johnny Form Design Dream Team!

Lorne Rubenstein's latest Globe and Mail column reveals the dream design pairing between Stephen Ames and Johnny Miller

The background here is intriguing. Calgary-based Windmill Golf Group hired Miller's design firm to do a course as part of a new community at Harmony, on the northwest corner of Springbank Airport, in the city's western suburbs. Windmill has done a few well-received courses in the province.

"We pride ourselves on doing master-plan communities," Miller's son, Scott, who works in his father's firm, said during a telephone interview this week. "We feel it's fairly unique, our ability to take a project from raw land to the end."

Unique is certainly way of putting it. 
The Millers have visited the site twice.

The devotion these player architects have to their craft...

They weren't considering a course that could stage the Canadian Open until Ames suggested the idea. He was aware of Windmill's other projects in Alberta, including the Elbow Springs course near his home. He got wind of the project, contacted Miller and offered to get involved.

"We heard about it through the grapevine," Ames said the other day while having breakfast at a restaurant in Calgary. "My guy [Kim Koss] looked into it and approached Johnny. He just wanted to build a course, but I asked about a course that could hold the Canadian Open."

Miller liked the idea, and Ames came aboard. Ames said, "It's been a treat working with Johnny and Scott. Johnny's been very obliging. For me, I want to learn to build courses. When I mentioned the idea of a Canadian Open, their eyes opened up."

So you'd put them to sleep prior to that?

Ames said plans are to build a course that can stretch to 8,100 yards. Calgary's altitude, along with how far players are hitting the ball today, means that's not a ludicrous length. It doesn't mean the course will play that long should the Canadian Open come there. But it doesn't hurt to have the yards available.

No, at 8,100 it's already a lost cause, so what's another few hundred unnecessary yards?