Golf course architect
Posted January 2013
Stephen Kay, previously known as Stephen Kachmarchyk, a 1974 graduate of ESF's landscape architecture program, is an award-winning golf course architect with his own firm. Kay has designed 20 new golf courses and renovated more than 300. He is also an adjunct professor of turf-grass management at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Kay began to dabble in landscape architecture by sketching golf course designs in his notebook during classes in high school. He said he had an epiphany after reading an article about golf course architecture and he set out to make his dream a reality.
"I said a prayer," Kay said. "I said, 'God, I want to be a golf course architect.'"
After graduating from ESF, Kay attended Michigan State University and earned a degree in turf-grass management. He then worked as a golf course superintendent and later collaborated with Bill Newcomb, the first golf course architect to work with renowned designer Pete Dye.
One of Kay's favorite design projects was The Architects Golf Club in Lopatcong, N.J. When it was finished in 2001, Sports Illustrated ranked the course as one of the "Top 10 of 524 New Courses." Links Magazine ranked it "One of the 10 Best New Courses" and Golf Digest gave it four and a half stars out of five.
The Lopatcong course is like a museum of golf course design, Kay said. Each of the 18 holes is modeled in the style of a legendary golf course architect. He was inspired after hearing about an exhibit showcasing the work of contemporary architects at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He originally wanted to see a similar exhibit with golf course architects, but then realized that a museum could not do the designs justice.
"You can't really show a golf course in photos," Kay said. "There are two parts. It's the design and architectural beauty and then it's the person playing it."
Even though he's gone on to a successful professional career, Kay maintains his fondness for ESF.
He recalls going to Marshall Hall after graduation, still in his cap and gown, to get his toolbox from the landscape architecture office. And he remembers that on the way out of the building, he began to cry, overwhelmed by the realization of how much fun he had there and how much he would miss it when he left.
This story was adapted from an article in the Daily Orange, Syracuse University's student newspaper, by ESF student Jessica Lynn Siart.
ESF Alumni Have an Impact
- Catholic Charities of Onondaga County: Staff Spotlight: Shewa Shwani and Food Connections
- 2019 Commencement: 'You Are My Family,' Student Speaker SaysESF celebrates 118th class of spring graduates
- ESF Alumna Leads Cannabis Team for Law FirmSara Payne answers call for cannabis-focused counsel
- Alumni Association Recognizes Outstanding Alumni2017 Graduates of Distinction Award Recipients
- Mortarboards Fly and Students Become AlumniClass of 2018 celebrates achievements
- Syracuse.com: Paul Tremont on leadership: Know your strengths and weaknesses to build a stronger team
- ESF Alumna Named Schwarzman ScholarElizabeth Maio to study in Beijing in one-year masterís program
- ESF Celebrates December CommencementJournalist Frank Sesno, three alumni to be honored during ceremony
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Renowned Alumnus to Deliver Chemistry Centennial LectureRonald Eby helped develop life-saving Prevnar vaccine
- ESF Alum Honored by White House Science teacher lauded for excellence
- ESF Alumnus Wins Award for Sustainable Dog TreatsFull Circle Feed honored with People & Planet Award
- Verostek to present on Fletcher Steele Famed landscape architect designed over 700 gardens in U.S.
- ESF Education Helps Alumnus Launch Agritourism SuccessCritz Farms expands into craft beverage movement
- Alumna's Career Changes But Environmental Focus RemainsWildlife ecology class earns credit for her mindset
- Alumna Launches Career with Saws and LlamasForest service job takes graduate deep into the Rocky Mountains
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Michael AmadoriEntrepreneur makes, sells sustainable dog treats
- Dr. Nancy MathewsEducational leader
- Holly AndersenReshaping a campus through sustainable construction
- Wendy AndringaLandscape architect thinks vertical with Green Walls
- Robert W. HargroveDirector EPA's NEPA Compliance Division
- Zachary WentworthLawyer
- Howard "Bud" RisRetired president of Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) MLA, 1975
- Matt RayoSyracuse Common Councilor
- Ana Maria MenezesUnited Nations Consultant
- Stephen KayGolf course architect
- Delfin Ganapin Jr. Global Manager of the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program
- Douglas G. DellmoreRetired business entrepreneur supports ESF student research
- Scott FonteDirector of aquaculture for Aqua Vita Farms
- Mary GiffordInternational Experience
- Anne PapageorgeVice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services, University of Pennsylvania
- Matthew Thornton Peace Corps Volunteer
- Marc ZeppetelloLawyer receives state honor
- Joe MartensCommissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- Don MooreSmithsonian National Zoo
- Nicole FormosoLandscape Architecture
- Andrea VanBeusichemMontezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Cariann QuickDirector of Government Relations, SUNY Student Assembly
- Scott KasprowiczBroke circumnavigation record - One stock helicopter, two guys, 15 countries, 24 time zones, 23,000 miles, in less than two weeks.
- James "Jake" McKennaOwner of Parsons-McKenna Construction Co.
- Jeff LyngColorado Governor's Energy Office
- Ronald J. Eby, Ph.D.Renowned researcher
- Robert R. PageFoundation director for the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation
- Col. Richard P. WagenaarCommander and District Engineer, New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Peter J. GabrielsenChief hydrologic services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service
- Stacey L. DoddProgram director, Habitat for Humanity Ireland
- Bruce BrownellOwner of Adirondack Alternate Energy (AAE) in Northville, N.Y.