Skip to main content

The Challengers King & Collins's

  • Two men are walking on a golf course.

    Man [off-screen]: Most golf clubs have too many "don'ts" that keep us from the core of what golf is supposed to be.

    Onscreen text: Charles Schwab Presents

    A man wearing a baseball cap, Rob Collins, is talking.

    Rob Collins: My name is Rob Collins. I'm a golf course architect, and I wanna change the way people think about the game.

    Rob and another man are walking on a golf course. Upbeat, percussive music plays.

    Onscreen text: The Challengers

    A series about people who question. Engage. Succeed.

    King & Collins

    Upbeat music plays. Aerial view moving over a golf course.

    Onscreen text: Sweetens Cove Golf Club

    South Pittsburg, Tennessee

    Established 2014

    Rob [off-screen]: Tad King and I got hired to design and build Sweetens Cove Golf Club in 2011. We were hired by a local concrete manufacturing company called Sequatchie Concrete.

    Rob drives a ball on a golf course.

    Rob: Our client was a man named Reese Thomas. And I told Reese very early on that our intention was to build the best nine-hole golf course in the world. And if they wanted that, they should hire us.

    On a golf course, Rob stretches in preparation for a shot.

    Rob: Any new course that we look at, we look backwards to the old course, and we try to apply those lessons to whatever site. And at Sweetens Cove we were applying those key lessons to dead-flat ground in a floodplain. All that matters is a fun and engaging environment for the golfer.

    As he walks on a golf course, Rob places a club in a bag.

    Rob [off-screen]: One of the things we ask ourselves is, "How do we create drama?" And "How do we create fun?"

    Onscreen text: How do we create drama? How do we create fun?

    Aerial shot looking straight down at a golf course.

    Rob [off-screen]: We wanted to build a golf course that changed from one day to the next and had so many different options built into it that it would never play the same. Ever. In order to do that, we have really wide fairways, big greens. And we tell people that they can play from whatever tee to whatever pin they want to. We don't ever want to be dictating how you're going to play. We want people to have that sense of discovery on their own.

    A black dog is trotting on a golf course.

    Rob [off-screen]: Does it matter if you have two pins? Does it matter if you have jeans on or an untucked shirt?

    The black dog runs faster on the golf course.

    Rob [off-screen]: We don't have any rules at Sweetens Cove. In fact, our first ever promotion was, "Come play golf at Sweetens Cove. Dogs welcome." The only rule that we ask is that you don't infringe upon other people's enjoyment of this place. Just keep up and be a good friend.

    Aerial view of undeveloped land.

    Onscreen text: Landmand Golf Club

    Homer, Nebraska

    Expected Completion 2021

    Rob and another man are in a truck, driving and then walking across an open dirt field.

    Rob [off-screen]: When Tad and I met 13 years ago, we said, "There's a better way." Design and build is the way to do it. We can control the artistry. We can control the cost. We can deliver the exact product that we want without having things getting lost in translation. And we set about doing things our way.

    Tad King, an older man with gray hair and a sun visor, is talking.

    Tad [onscreen]: I am Tad King of King-Collins Golf, and we design and build golf courses.

    A barn is shown, with an open field behind it.

    Tad [off-screen]: Landmand in Nebraska is the polar opposite of what we inherited at Sweetens. At Sweetens, we had 77 acres of flat floodplain, with one foot of fall from one corner to the other. So everything we did was manufactured.

    Tad gets into a bulldozer.

    Tad [off-screen]: We, approximately, generated 350,000 cubes of material by digging lakes to generate the land forms and the green complexes and everything.

    Aerial view of Sweetens Cove and then Landmand.

    Tad [off-screen]: In Landmand, it's 580 acres. From ridges to valleys, we've got 93 feet of elevations. King-Collins does not produce flat, boring golf courses. We like bold features. We like to utilize slopes and contours.

    Tad drives a bulldozer.

    Rob: We're building a green that's an homage to the famous Sitwell Park green that Alister MacKenzie built in England. It's sort of a white whale in golf architecture circles.

    An old black-and-white photo is taped to the inside of the windshield of a bulldozer; a color photo is on the control panel. In a panning close-up of the old photo, men stand on the green, wearing old-fashioned golf outfits.

    Rob [off-screen]: It's a green that's always fascinated us. It's got these huge cascading features.

    Tad King talking, with a golf course in the background.

    Tad: Rob first introduced the Sitwell Park green to me early on, and I fell in love with it.

    The old black-and-white photo appears again. As Tad talks, the men in old-fashioned clothing transform into people with modern clothes.

    Tad [off-screen]: It's my favorite photo I've ever seen of any golf course. And we have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to build it.

    The black-and-white photo of the golf course turns into a color image of a dirt field with the same people in modern clothes standing in it.

    Tad: To make sure that the boldness that we build is playable, it takes common sense, and it takes a trusty smart level.

    A bulldozer drives across the empty dirt field.

    Tad [off-screen]: A green this bold, it's gonna require a lot of finesse and finish work to make it playable. When it starts getting to the fine details, that's when Rob and I will both actively begin shaping. I'll take the greens, and Rob gets in the bunkers.

    Onscreen text: We'll both actively begin shaping

    Rob is walking on a golf course, carrying a golf bag.

    Rob [onscreen]: The only thing that matters is the golf. All the other stuff is fluff. It's extra . . . matters very little. You don't have to have a clubhouse. You don't have to have 18 holes.

    Relaxing music plays. As Tad talks, Rob drives a ball and then walks along the golf course, carrying his bag of clubs.

    Tad [onscreen]: There's no bells and whistles on our golf courses. You will never find a recirculating creek. You won't find bulkheads. All this fluff, eye candy. We build golf for the sake of golf, and that's helped us get where we are.

    Rob [off-screen]: The accolades are really important to me. I think that one thing they've done, particularly the Golf Week ranking, has helped legitimize this golf course in the eyes of a lot of people who may not be preconditioned to recognize nine-hole golf courses as a legitimate form of golf.

    Onscreen text: "Sweetens Cove ranked #49 in top 200 modern courses." –Golf Week

    Aerial view of people playing on a golf course.

    Onscreen text: Ask questions. Be engaged.

    [Charles Schwab logo] Own your tomorrow

    Tad [off-screen]: So in my mind there is no perfect golf hole. But we're still workin' on it.

    Onscreen text: [Charles Schwab logo] [PGA Tour logo] The Official Investment Firm

    Relaxing music.

    Onscreen text: Thanks to Sweetens Cove Golf Club

    The Andersen Family

    Onscreen text: ©2020 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC. (0420-05ZY)

How do we create drama?

View "Challengers" by season