MANTON — Despite forging a successful career and life in New Jersey over the last 30 years, John Harvey still feels most at home in Michigan.
Harvey recently moved to Manton, where he now runs his golf course design and consultation business.
A native of Haslett, which is northeast of Lansing, Harvey graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in landscape architecture.
During his school days, Haslett said he assisted in adding a nine-hole course to a local golf establishment and he remembers having a lot of questions about why designers were adding features in certain places.
Even before he was officially in the business, he had a lot of ideas about course design.
After completing his studies, Harvey met influential golf course designer Robert Trent Jones Sr. and began working for him as a junior design associate in New Jersey.
In 1995, he joined the Roger Rulewich Group as a design associate and in 2002, he joined forces with the RBA Group to lead the golf course design division. In March 2011, he formed his own firm.
Over the last 30 years, Harvey said he’s designed, renovated and restored golf courses throughout the U.S. and international locations, including the Dominican Republican and Ireland, among others.
Harvey said while he’s proud of what he was able to accomplish in New Jersey, he was always looking for an opportunity to move back to his home state.
“Michigan is where I’m most comfortable,‘ Harvey said.
That opportunity presented itself when two of Harvey’s children decided to attend college in Michigan, one at his Alma Mater.
When deciding where to relocate, Harvey said there were a number of factors that drew him to Manton, including the availability of land and the price point.
“North Wexford seemed to offer everything we wanted,‘ Harvey said. “And there are really good people here.‘
Now that he’s back in Michigan, Harvey said he’s been hard at work reestablishing his business and building new connections in the Midwest.
He said about 60% of the time, he works as a consultant for Porous Pave, which designs products that golf courses use underneath sandy areas to prevent contamination of soils and erosion.
The other 40% of the time he spends designing and restoring golf courses, including upcoming projects in New York and New Jersey.
Over the years, Harvey said trends in recreation have changed, with many people more inclined to prefer a nine-hole course to an 18-hole course.
“It used to be, anything less than 18 holes was less than acceptable,‘ Harvey said. “We’re trying to cater more and more to a variety of players. It’s the key to keeping the game lively.‘