Arnold Palmer Design Company


Unmatched in innovation, responsibility, quality & beauty
With a storied history of creating hundreds of successful golf courses and award winning projects in over 37 states and 25 countries, Arnold Palmer Design Company brings an unparalleled depth of knowledge and expertise to every project.

Senior Architects Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson have a combined 20+ years of experience working closely with Mr. Palmer to implement his legendary design philosophies on some of the greatest golf courses around the world.
APDC seeks to amaze golfers with handcrafted golf environments unmatched in innovation, responsibility, quality, and beauty on which the game's many benefits can be fully realized.
Legendary golfer, golf course designer, businessman, record-setting aviator and noted philanthropist, Arnold Palmer's visionary drive and character made him one of the most successful, popular and approachable men in history, a friend to Presidents and to "everymen" alike.

Awarded both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal (in addition to numerous other awards and achievements), Mr. Palmer's strategic and responsible approach to golf course design has made APDC one of the most successful course architecture firms in the world, with more than 300
courses around the globe.

We at APDC today continue to work to Mr. Palmer's example and strict standards of excellence in performance, character, and responsibility, with the utmost respect and regard for our clients and for their countries' traditions and laws.

Arnie wouldn't have it any other way.
They exceeded Arnold Palmer's standards

They'll blow yours away.

The reasons why Arnold Palmer picked architects Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson to head his design company include their technical design abilities, their agility in working across a wide variety of global settings, their concern for the environment and their dedication to their clients' financial and operational well being—but they were also chosen for their creativity and vision.

Like Palmer, both architects have a deep love for pure, natural golf, but they also have their eyes focused forward, ahead of what's next. That means the work they do isn't just future-proof, it's future-defining.

Palmer gave them his approach to course design and a lifetime's worth of privileged inside knowledge. Their good character and solid work ethic? That's all their own, and just another reason why Palmer trusted them to take his company—and the game—forward.

Everyday we work hard to uphold the design tenets that Arnold Palmer mentored us with.
By the Numbers
Here are some facts about us.
The year we officially began designing golf courses
The number of golf courses and remodels we've completed
Designed the first golf course in mainland China
Number of countries we've designed a golf course in
Professional, talented, and passionate
Thad Layton
Senior Golf Course Architect & Vice President
Thad launched his design career with Arnold Palmer Design Company in 2000 upon graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture. Working side by side with Arnold Palmer, Thad was directly involved in the design and development of over 50 projects domestically and abroad. Layton is a student of golf course architecture and a former collegiate golfer, studying and playing scores of courses old and new in search of the inspiring and unexpected.

While there are many ingredients that go into a great course, Thad's overriding goal is to create natural landscapes that inspire golfers to play their best. He believes the best golf courses are a result of an intimate knowledge of the property and the seamless connection between design and construction process.

Thad is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and serves on its education committee, a Registered Landscape Architect (CLARB/ASLA), has served on the Urban Land Institute's Recreation Development Council, and is the 2003 winner of the Alister Mackenzie Lido Prize for Golf Course Architecture.

Residing in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two sons, Thad is an avid outdoorsman, counting among his pursuits mountain biking, fly-fishing, and snowboarding.
Brandon Johnson
Senior Golf Course Architect & Vice President
Brandon Johnson brings expertise in large-scale master planning, a strong respect for the environment, and a proven belief in golf course routings that lie softly on the land while revealing natural features in a unique way.

A designer with strong international experience, particularly in China, Johnson received his master's degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard after earning his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture as a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina State University, from which he also earned a minor in Music.

Formerly Manager of Design for The First Tee, where he was key to helping the organization reach its important 250 Phase 1 facility goals, Johnson is an avid golfer whose passion for the game is complemented by his passion for architecture, art, travel, and the outdoors. A student of the methods of Donald Ross, Pete Dye, and others who employ classic design principles, Johnson's designs express his golfer's soul while presenting world-class intriguing courses that engage the mind and intellect of players across all skill levels.

A husband and father of two, Johnson's commitment to his family drives his strong work ethic: he has served on TFT Central Florida's Board and has presented talks on golf course design, construction and environmental reclamation at venues around the world. When not playing golf, Johnson can be found playing music or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.