Donald J. Ross

Donald James Ross, regarded as the father of golf course architecture, was born in Dornoch, Scotland, in 1872. As a young man, he learned the crafts of club-making and green-keeping, and he studied golf with Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews. He became a professional golfer and recorded several victories, including a top-ten finish in the British Open, and four top-ten finishes in the U.S. Open.

Ross created three design principles as the foundation of his golf course philosophy:

“Make each hole present a different problem.

So arrange it that every stroke must be made with a full concentration and attention necessary to good golf.

Build each hole in such a manner that it waste none of the ground at my disposal and takes advantage of every possibility I can see.”

Ross designed over 400 golf courses in his career. Among his masterpieces are Pinehurst #2 in North Carolina; Oakland Hills in Birmingham, Michigan; and Oak Hill in Rochester, NY. Some of Ross’ Ohio courses are Inverness in Toledo, Scioto in Columbus, Manakiki in Willoughby Hills, and Mill Creek MetroParks’ North and South Courses, which he designed in 1928. Donald Ross was a charter member and first president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He died in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in 1948 and was elected to the Golf Hall of Fame in 1977. Gary Player says “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to visit and play his golf courses—a proud legacy he left behind for us to enjoy.” Jack Nicklaus adds “Donald Ross has had a great impact on golf course architecture. He seems to be the standard by which we are all measured today.”