Ken , a scratch golfer, received his degree in landscape architecture from the University of Arizona in 1976
He secured his first solo project in 1985, working with a $35,000 budget, he designed and built a nine hole course for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans at the Happy Trails Resort (now known as Great Eagle Golf Club), in Surprise, Arizona.
His next major design was a new nine at Gold Canyon Golf Club in Gold Canyon, Arizona where his product gained national recognition. His Southwyck Golf Club in suburban Houston, Tex., opened to tremendous praise in 1989. Several golf publications have ranked Southwyck in the Top 10 for best public courses in the state of Texas.
The early 90s saw design collaboration with touring professional Peter Jacobsen at The Oregon Golf Club outside Portland, former home of the PGA Tour's "The Fred Meyer Challenge", as well as the spectacular Orchard Valley Golf Course outside of Chicago, which opened in July of 1993. A variety of publications have ranked Orchard Valley in the Top 5 of Chicago's public golf courses every year since its inception.
Ken also designed the Homestead at Murphy Creek in Aurora, Colorado. In 2000, after being open only three months, Colorado Golfer voted Murphy Creek the #2 "Public Daily Fee Course in Colorado", and ranked it as #1 "Toughest Public Course" in the state. On the national level, Golf Digest ranked Murphy Creek in the Top 10 "Best New Affordable Courses" in the country.
Kavanaugh projects are concentrated in the Western United States, including Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.