James Wilcher was once a design associate with Greg Norman Golf Course Design in Australia, where he was the principal designer on the Laguna Bintan course in Indonesia. In 1999 Wilcher left Norman’s company and established his own design firm Golf by Design, subsequent projects have included Pacific Dunes (NSW) and The Cut at Port Bouvard in Western Australia as well as the redesign of Elanora Country Club.
Wilcher’s track record is a little mixed with Laguna Bintan clearly troubled by funding and client issues, but nonetheless a notch below the Asian courses that head-designer Bob Harrison was working on at the same time. Pacific Dunes is equally unremarkable, but The Cut at Port Bouvard does have its strong points, most notably the tremendously undulating sand dunes that part of the course occupies. Wilcher’s use of these dunes is good without being great, some decent holes were discovered in the sand but there are a number of awkward areas and the flatter holes around the housing estate are pretty disappointing. Elanora Country Club is another mixed result, with the grass condition improving but the adjusted routing and new greens and bunkers doing little to inspire great architectural confidence.