Dick Wilson

Full Name
Louis Sibbett ‘Dick’ Wilson
Year of Birth
1904
Year of Death
1965 (aged 61)
Place Born
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Place Died
Boynton Beach, Florida, USA

“Sadly, Wilson’s legacy became more about his addiction than the excellence of his golf designs. Some have short changed his contribution to the industry, associating him with alcohol dependence and what, otherwise, could have been accomplished. However, he should be remembered for what he did accomplish.” Keith Cutten, author of The Evolution of Golf Course Design.

Dick Wilson was literally born into construction as the son of a golf course contractor, helping his father as a young man during the building of the West course at Merion Golf Club.

He enrolled in the University of Vermont on a football scholarship but dropped out in 1924 to join the design partnership of Howard Toomey, where he then worked on the revision of the East course at Merion.

While he was at Toomey and Flynn, Wilson graduated from construction superintendent to design associate, remaining with his employer until 1942, when he contributed to the war effort by constructing and camouflaging airfields in Florida.

After serving in World War II, Wilson started out on his own as an architect. Originally working out of Delray Beach Country Club as the golf course manager, he designed a string of well-regarded Florida layouts, starting with West Palm Beach Country Club in 1947.

He then moved further north, where his two 18-hole layouts for the National Cash Register company in Ohio gained a lot of attention in the early 1950s. Keith Cutten, in his excellent book The Evolution of Golf Course Design, takes up the story:

“A six-year period, from 1956 to 1962, saw Wilson at the peak of his architectural powers. His new-build projects included the following: three courses at Royal Montreal (1959); two courses at Doral Country Club (1962); and Pine Trees Country Club (1962).

He also completed some excellent renovations to the following classic layouts: Colonial Country Club (1956); Winged Foot West course (1958); Aronimink (1961); Bel-Air Country Club (1962); and Cog Hill Country Club courses 3 and 4 (1963).

In 1964, Wilson completed a renova...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Dick Wilson

Aronimink

3rd Pennsylvania - Best in Area 85th USA Ranking 98th North America Ranking

The course in play today at Aronimink Golf Club opened in 1928 and Dornoch’s most famous son, Donald Ross, originally designed it. Gil Hanse restored the old classic ahead of the 2018 BMW Championship.

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Average Reviewers Score:
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BallenIsles (East)

91st Florida - Best in Area

Extending to over 1,300 acres, the beautifully landscaped BallenIsles housing complex is laid out around the three top drawer golf courses named North, South and East.

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Bidermann

1st Delaware - Best in Area

The Bidermann golf course is a Dick Wilson design from the mid 1960s that is now shared by members of Bidermann and Vicmead Hunt Club after they merged to form one sporting club in 1977.

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Cog Hill (No.4)

15th Illinois - Best in Area

There are four courses at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club but the one most golfers want to play is the world-renowned No.4 course, otherwise known as "Dubsdread".

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Coldstream

25th Ohio - Best in Area

A typical Dick Wilson track from the late 1950s, the 18-hole layout at Coldstream Country Club ends with three long, demanding, heavily bunkered par fours.

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Deepdale

25th New York - Best in Area

When Deepdale Golf Club’s original course was lost due to the construction of the Long Island Expressway in the mid-1950s, the committee called in Dick Wilson to lay out the present course...

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Greenbrier (Meadows)

7th West Virginia - Best in Area

Greenbrier's rejuvenated Meadows course re-opened for play in 2017 with a new design and routing, using six holes from the Greenbrier course.

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Hole In The Wall

61st Florida - Best in Area

Dick Wilson originally laid out the course for the Hole In The Wall Golf Club in 1957 and it opened in 1958. According to folklore Gene Sarazen said: “If I only had one golf course to play, it would be Hole-in-the-Wall.”

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade