Mike Kraker, Associate Golf Course Architect
Mike has a very different background than most golf course architects. He received his Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota and is a licensed attorney. Early on in his career as a criminal defense attorney, he began pursuing the intersection of law and golf. This investigation naturally led him to principles of golf course risk management, golf course architecture and a 25 year collaboration with Garrett Gill.
Problem Solver and Golf Futurist
Mike applies his legal background in problem solving and critical thought to issues plaguing golf courses. For the last decade, Mike has been focusing his energy on the current challenges facing the golf course industry ... that golf is too expensive, too difficult and too time-consuming.
Advantage Design Elements
Mike has developed a philosophy that puts the golfer in the center of the design process. Advantage Design Elements (ADE) help the golfer score better and have more fun on the golf course. Golf course facilities benefit from this "customer satisfaction" through higher retention of memberships and repeat business from daily fee golfers.
Golf is Changing at a Rapid Pace.
The previous decade saw the rise of TopGolf and the predicted demise of municipal golf facilities. As part of his research and business development responsibilities, Mike follows the golf course industry closely for trends and new ideas. Gill Design is extremely optimistic about the future of golf. 2020 has brought new challenges to the industry, but also a renewed enthusiasm.
Following in Their Footsteps
The combination of golf course architect and lawyer is unique, but not unprecedented. Harry Colt (Pine Valley, Eden Course - St. Andrews) and the great Bobby Jones were also practicing lawyers. Problem-solving skills and creative thinking are hallmarks of the legal profession. Mike brings these attributes to his golf course design work at Gill Design. It takes patience and perseverance to come up with the best solution for the client ... whether in a legal dispute or trying to figure out what the future holds for the game of golf.
Safety, Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance
Mike also pays very close attention to potential safety issues. He has provided legal counsel and risk / liability management services to golf courses and served as an expert witness on personal injury cases in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Colorado. Gill Design can provide your golf course facility with a safety audit and recommended solutions to eliminate or mitigate the danger. Mike is also familiar with state, federal and local regulatory requirements and can help your golf course with permit applications and compliance.