John Strawn followed an unusual path to his career in the golf industry. Trained as an historian, he taught at a liberal arts college before embarking on a writing career. A well-received book on the design and construction of an Arthur Hills-designed golf course in Florida, called “Driving the Green,” was published by HarperCollins in 1991. Soon after its publication, John joined Arthur Hills & Associates as a vice-president, focusing on business development in the western United States. He continued to write about the golf business, both in magazine articles for various publications and as an author of the USGA’s centennial history, “Golf, The Greatest Game,” published by HarperCollins in 1996.
In 2000, he joined the prominent California-based golf course design firm, Robert Trent Jones II, serving as CEO until 2008. Courses designed by RTJII during the years John led the firm won numerous best new course awards, and several, such as Sweden’s Bro Hof Slott and The Scandinavian Club in Copenhagen, earned a place among the world’s top one hundred courses. The crowning achievement for RTJII was the naming of a publicly-owned course designed on a reclaimed mining site near Tacoma, Washington, Chambers Bay, as the host of the 2010 US Amateur and the 2015 US Open. John enjoys a wide array of friendships and professional associations formed as he traveled the world on behalf of RTJ II.
A sought after speaker and advisor, John rejoined his previous firm, now operating under the name Hills & Forrest, in 2010, working closely with its founding partner, Steve Forrest, to expand the company’s reach into Asia and the Mediterranean region. Throughout his executive career, John has continued to write articles and commentary on the issues facing golf, from environmental topics to the problem of stimulating demand to the spread of golf into new markets. He has been a member of the Golf Writers Association of America for more than twenty-five years.
At GGA, John continues to provide insight and strategic guidance to clubs, resorts, tourist associations, developers and other members of the world-wide golf course community.