"Tom Fazio was my primary influence - making courses visual, visually pleasing, and very player-friendly."
Carton became a senior design associate with Hurdzan Golf, and then he began associations with Gary Player, Sam Snead and Raymond Floyd.
"The second part of my career, working with some of the greatest professional golfers in the world, gave me their point of view."
The result of his collaboration with Sam Snead was the universally praised Poplar Grove, in Amherst.
"We spent time driving back and forth from the Masters, and I'd ask him, 'What do you think of these bunkers?' or 'What do you think of this green?' One of the things Sam liked was creating a green which he thought of as a catcher's mitt - where, if you hit the green, the ball doesn't just trickle off, but instead, you're rewarded with hitting the green. Another thing I took from him was a sense of shot values coming into the green - and, for example, how to make hazards very visible."
As a result of his background, Ed Carton feels that he's been able to design a course that is playable for higher-handicap golfers, and can be challenging for tournament professionals.
"What I've tried to do - and I feel like I've pulled it off - is to create a golf course which incorporates both those aspects, so that it's very playable but yet has the capability to being pushed to where you could have a tournament on it and can be as difficult as you want to make it.
"Here's an example relating to playability and reward: we try to keep the fairway at least 40 yards wide at the landing areas, but typically we'll start to narrow down to 30 when we get out to around 300 yards. That requires long hitters to be accurate, too - you don't want them to be able to bomb the ball out there anywhere and expect to be in the fairway.
"At the same time, you also like to see a really good drive rewarded. So some fairways - such as No. 15 at Spring Creek - are designed to add extra run to a drive if you reach certain spots. I call them 'Speed Slots' - where your ball will actually carry a little bit extra yardage and reward you for carrying the hazard. We've incorporated that into quite a few of the holes at Spring Creek."
The result at Spring Creek - a championship golf course offering enjoyment for a lifetime - speaks for itself.