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Ron Garl

Distinguished Alumni May 2011

ronEarning an AA in 1966, Ron Garl is a member of the first graduating class of Polk State College. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in
turf grass science from the University of Florida in 1967.

He is a golf course architect and owner of Ron Garl Golf Design, in operation since 1973 in Lakeland. An avid golfer at an early age, at
sixteen Ron also earned a pilot’s license. He earned the first full-ride collegiate scholarship from the Florida State Golf Association, later serving as the association’s youngest president in 1979.

After graduation, Ron worked as an apprentice with national golf design firms, including three years in the Bahamas. Five years later, he opened his own firm. One of his first course designs was Cypresswood
Golf Course in Winter Haven. Ron has designed more than 250 courses worldwide,
including more than 100 in Florida. He has also directed remodels of numerous

Ron owns golf courses in several countries, and is currently building golf courses in fifteen countries, including course designs for the kings of Thailand and Morocco. While most firms never have the opportunity to design an oceanfront golf course, Ron is currently designing five oceanfront courses. Many of his designs have been selected as sites for the PGA, Senior PGA, and Canadian and European tours.

Golf course design is the focal point of Garl’s life. He is extremely active in the golf community as the president of the Florida Golf Alliance and as one of the founding board members of the International Network of Golf. Garl also co-authored the Urban Land Institute’s book Golf Course Development in Residential Communities.

Garl gained acclaim for his environmental work at the Indian River Club in Vero Beach, Florida, the first course to be awarded Audubon International’s highest award: the Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary Status.

In 2003, Ron received the University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and in 2009, Ron was inducted into the Polk County Schools Hall of Fame.