Donald Ross – Founder of the
American Society of Golf Course Architects
The ASGCA held its first annual meeting at Pinehurst, North Carolina on December 5, 1947. The meeting was called by Donald Ross, fourth from the left. The founding architect members: left to right: Billy Bell, Robert White, Bill Langford, Donald Ross, Robert Bruce Harris, Stanley Thompson, Bill Gordon, Robert Trent Jones, Bill Diddel and J.B. McGovern. At the time Ross was asked to be the first ASGCA president, “but the legendary architect didn’t believe he was physically up to taking on any additional responsibilities. So, Ross, whose health was deteriorating was elected Honorary Chairman by acclimation” at that important first meeting. (Paul Fullmer, “Presidents I Have Known. ”American Society of Golf Course Architects, 2005.) Four of the original charter members were not able to attend: Perry Maxwell, Jack Daray, Wane Stiles and Robert F. “Red” Lawrence. Foreground: the famed Putter Boy statue at Pinehurst. A large framed copy of the above photo hangs in the Donald Ross Grill at the Pinehurst Country Club. The initial goals of the organization were to upgrade the profession, advance new design and construction concepts through collective discussion. Built on that solid premise the Society today has 180 members, with offices in Brookfield, WI. In Donald’s memory, the Society presents the Donald Ross Award annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to golf in general and golf course architecture specifically. Below, a group photo of the organization photographed at its 2013 Annual meeting held at Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Georgia with most members proudly sporting a Ross Clan tartan plaid jacket honoring Donald Ross.
In our original book, Great Donald Ross Golf Courses You Can Play, Derrydale Press, Lanham, MD 2001 we included these courses as designed by the master, Donald Ross: Kebo Valley Club, Bar Harbor, Maine, Northeast Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Maine and Immergrün Golf Club, Loretto, Pennsylvania. At the time each course had indicated their belief that Ross had designed some or all of the courses. Subsequent research by the clubs has convinced them that Ross was not the architect, and so we have removed those them from our latest volume, Great Donald Ross Golf Courses Everyone Can Play - Second Edition.
The Architects of Golf, by Ron Whitten and Geoffrey S. Cornish, Harpers Collins, New York listed Northeast Harbor and Kebo Valley as Ross courses. The book correctly listed Immergrün (Charles M. Schwab Estate Golf Course) as the work of Devereux Emmet and not of Ross. Whitten has since written that the Mayfair Course in Sanford, Florida was the work of Scottish golfer and course architect Cuthbert Butchart. Our research of this course has concluded that Butchart did indeed “lay off” a course in Sanford in 1921, but it was not Mayfair. It was a different one that was located on the shore of Crystal Lake, which is about one mile away from today’s Mayfair course. Butchart’s golf course was never built.
1947 Founding Meeting - Pinehurst, North Carolina
Photos: American Society of Golf Course Architects
2013 Annual meeting held at Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, Georgia