Graham Marsh could be excused if he had less than complimentary things to say about Alister MacKenzie, who conceived many of the subtleties of the Titirangi course.
After all, the West Australian fell foul of the master designer's wiles when he blew a two-shot lead to finish second to Bob Charles in the Air New Zealand-Shell tournament at Titirangi in 1978.
Marsh, now aged 59, combines a playing career on the United States seniors tour with a worldwide course-design business, which has just won a premier award for an American course.
He has been in New Zealand for a busman's holiday to look at some recent New Zealand course designs, including Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers.
"They are great sites and I want to play them and see how the margins of golf have been preserved and how playable they are," he said. "We've seen calendar golf where the hole's up there on the peak and the guy's hitting up through a gorge or something.
"There are many opportunities to do that but the trick is to balance it out so that you get those spectacular sites but true golf still exists. Therein lies the challenge for the golf course architect.
"I've always said it's not that difficult to design the toughest course in the world and it's not difficult to design the easiest. The real skill of design is to produce a golf course which is spectacular visually and that allows all and sundry to have a game of golf.
"I think MacKenzie got it right. In his day he would have been considered a tough designer and some of his courses would have been considered difficult.
"But he kept everybody in mind. He didn't just think about the scratch player. He believed golf was a game that offered a sporting chance. He always gave the opportunity to go round a hazard or take a line of less risk.
"He also had this wonderful eye for creating a visual experience, particularly in his bunkering."
Marsh, who won more than 60 tournaments all over the world including the world matchplay and the 1983 NZPGA, has designed courses in many countries. He has just won the Golf Digest Best Private Golf Course award for 2004 for his work on Sutton Bay. Located on majestic plains and perched high above the Missouri River in South Dakota, Sutton Bay has been developed on a historic cattle ranch that has grazed herds, including the buffalo used in the film Dances with Wolves.
The 6500m championship course features spectacular elevation changes, natural green sites and fairways carved amongst the magnificent landforms - and Marsh insists every hole offers the golfer a sporting chance. "A penal design which punishes all but the best golfers is not a part of our thinking."
Marsh rates the Golf Digest award as like winning an Oscar. He has courses under development in Europe, Australia and China.
So far his only design work in this country was the redevelopment of the Miramar course when the club had to swap land for the extension of Wellington airport. That was a very particular challenge because of the narrowness of the site and the force of the prevailing wind.
But he has design views which he believes are universal:
Marsh notes that many trees that are causing problems were planted at the whim of club committees and have no design purpose. He believes no hole should rely wholly on a tree as its signature because when the tree goes, the hole is featureless.
Seventy years ago, when many of today's courses were designed, the intersection point was between 160m and 180m. Nowadays, to counter improved equipment, the TPC courses in the US have the intersection at 270m.
"There's nothing wrong with a tiered green if it fits the natural land form. Making tiered greens just for the sake of having them is pointless. We use every form of contouring to test the golfer. I try to match the greens to the brief. Flat greens are fine on a public course but you can't give them to modern pros. They're too good."
Marsh believes that many good courses have been rendered obsolete by the failure of the USGA and the Royal and Ancient to take an early stand on depowering the golf ball.
"Maybe there's something in the wind from them now," he said. "But the damage is done."