Jim Ryan, Jr., grew up on the Philadelphia Main Line attending the same primary school as George Thomas (architect of Riviera and others), the Episcopal Academy, and playing some of the world’s most architecturally relevant golf courses at a young age. Having been born at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA (the original site of the Donald Ross and William Flynn designed Overbrook Golf Club) and having played on a high school golf team who’s home courses were Merion, Aronimink and Gulph Mills, Jim has been exposed to Golden Age golf course design since day one.
His fascination with golf course architecture began in his childhood evenings when he played countless hours of Sim Golf, a golf video game that allowed you to design and play your own courses. He parlayed this fascination into a high school senior thesis project where he designed a golf course on the land of the Ardrossan Farm Estate, a site that was once a proposed location of Gulph Mills Golf Club.
Jim’s entrance into the professional field of golf architecture came in 2018 when started as a Project Manager with Mottin Golf Course Renovations in Philadelphia. Jim quickly rose in the ranks and, most notably, ran a tee renovation project at Spring Lake Golf Club in Spring Lake, NJ, which is the only course to have been touched by both George Thomas and A.W. Tillinghast.
While overseeing this project by day, Jim spent his nights developing a design portfolio that would ultimately catch the attention of Richard Mandell, ASGCA. Jim spent nearly 18 months in Pinehurst, North Carolina, learning from Richard, a noted Donald Ross restoration expert, and studying Ross’ most prominent work at the Pinehurst Resort, and other area courses.
Jim now serves as the Lead Design Associate and Shaper for Tyler Rae, and on select projects for Kyle Franz. Tyler, Kyle and Jim specialize in Golden Age Restoration, Renovation, and New Build efforts nationwide. Jim also leads his own firm, Jim Ryan Golf Course Design, which provides golf course design and 3D Rendering services to various clients.