It’s taken more than 750 starts, but Davis Love III has started thinking about life after the PGA Tour.
While the St. Simons Island pro, and former Glynn Academy standout, is set to make the 769th start of his career in a PGA Tour event — the fourth most all-time — when he tees off from hole No. 1 of the Seaside Course of the Sea Island Golf Club at 10:45 a.m. today at the 10th annual RSM Classic, Love shared some of his plans for the future following his round in the Yamaha Pro-Am on Wednesday.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus announced Oct. 29 that Love will join the network as a golf analyst next year, and although the two-time Ryder Cup captain would love to play on the PGA Tour for a few more years and potentially catch Mark Brooks (803) for the most starts all-time, he believes the time is right to head to the booth.
“Well, my body would tell you that it’s been coming the last two or three years, that I need to slow down playing, I need to play a little less,” Love said. “Timing is right. Just again, 25 years of dinners with the CBS crew, watching where they’re going and what they’re doing. They’re obviously making a lot of changes right now, so it was just good timing.
“I took the opportunity when the opportunity was presented to me.”
It’s an opportunity that CBS is surely glad the World Golf Hall of Famer jumped at.
Before last year’s RSM Classic, Love spoke about his desire to test his ability as he decides whether to direct his focus to the PGA Tour or the Champions Tour, and Wednesday, he said he’s been weighing his options between CBS versus NBC.
Now, Love believes competing primarily in the Champions Tour offers him the best combination of broadcast availability and opportunity to play competitive golf.
“I have three granddaughters at home that will be the only thing that keeps me from playing like every week. Family and stuff going on at home,” Love said. “But I’m going to play a lot of Champions Tour events and some PGA Tour events. Like Wai’alae I played well there last year, I think that kind of golf course where the ball will run and you have to hit it in the fairway and you have to be in a — being a veteran is an advantage.”
“A PGA Championship at 7,800 yards and deep rough, having experience might not help. Power really helps and Brooks Koepka’s going to beat me pretty much every time at a PGA Championship. Some of those places that I’ve played well at in the past and I have experience, Hilton Heads and Greensboro and Wai’alaes I’ll still try to play a little bit.”
But Love has also discovered another avenue to staying around the sport once his playing days are over: designing the courses.
The Plantation Course underwent a total re-design and renovation led by Love and his brother Mark this summer before re-opening Oct. 11, turning it into a 7,060-yard, par 72 course with 32 acres of fairway, 50 acres of rough, 81 sand bunkers and 10 water hazards.
“Well, I love the creative side of it,” Love said. “Obviously I can’t draw, so I’m not technically an architect, but I know what I like and I know what suits — I just played with all levels of players out there today in the pro-am. I know how my mom played the game and how amateurs play the game. “We built the Plantation course not for the PGA Tour players, we built it for the membership here, the resort guests and the members here.”
The new Plantation Course pays homage to Walter Travis’ original nine-hole design at Sea Island in 1928, including mounds inspired by the architect and a Principal’s Nose bunker, a legendary feature on hole No. 16 on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Love isn’t just overseeing the project either. He’s getting his hands dirty.
“I enjoy the process, I enjoy the creativity,” Love said. “You’ll hear a lot of stories this week that I also enjoy big tractors and bulldozers, so I like getting out there and building it. (Golf course designer) Pete Dye gave me a great piece of advice and an excuse to get on them. He said, ‘You’re not a golf course architect until you learn how to build it yourself.’ So I throw that at my brother; “No, Pete told me I have to do that.’
“My caddie, Jeff Weber, his brother, Tom Weber, who walked the back nine with us, actually built this golf course and he has taught me to run the equipment. So I see me down the road, to answer the question before, down the road I’m going to spend more time hopefully building golf courses, but literally building golf courses. I got to the point where they actually left me alone with a bulldozer and said, ‘Build a green by yourself, now it’s time.’ So I really enjoy that part of it.”
Love’s design work hasn’t been limited to the Golden Isles though.
Love Golf Design has partnered with Boar’s Head Resort in Charlottesville, Va., to create the reimagined Birdwood Golf Course, a putting course, short course, and team building and practice facility for the University of Virginia’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
Currently scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, the par 71 course will feature zoysia grass on the fairways, bentgrass the greens, and Bermuda on the tee boxes, in addition to three signature holes on 16, 17, and 18, surrounding the historic Birdwood Mansion.
“People are going to love the new Birdwood Golf Course because it is actually a new course,” Love said in a release. “There are holes on all-new land, holes going in different directions than people remembered.”