Donald Ross

Full Name
Donald James Ross
Website:
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Year of Birth
1872
Year of Death
1948, aged 76
Place Born
Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland
Place Died
Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA

World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 1977: In the words of Jack Nicklaus, Donald Ross designed golf courses led to positive thinking: “His stamp as an architect was naturalness.” Ross was, and still is, considered the Michelangelo of golf.

Donald James Ross was born in 1872 to Murdoch Ross, a stone mason by trade, and his wife Lillian. Their first child had died soon after birth that same year so Donald became the eldest in the family, followed in subsequent years by three brothers and two sisters.

At the age of fourteen, he completed his formal studies and took up an apprenticeship with carpenter Peter Murray, who had an arrangement with the local Dornoch Golf Club to build the wooden boxes for holding sand on every tee.

Ross worked with Old Tom Morris at St Andrews in 1893 then spent part of the following season at Carnoustie before returning to serve under the Dornoch club secretary John Sutherland for six years as head professional, club maker and green keeper.

In 1899, Ross took a steamship to New York then a train to Boston to join up with an American professor he’d spoken to the year before about starting a new life in the New World. Within a year of his employment at Oakley Country Club, Ross had reworked the club’s original Willie Campbell-designed course.

Shortly after taking up his position at Oakley, James Walker Tufts, the owner of the newly opened Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, engaged Ross to serve there during the winter months as golf professional, caddie master and club maker but he was soon helping superintendent Frank Maples with maintenance and construction duties.

Ross remained at Oakley for eleven years before moving thirty miles northeast to Essex Country Club. Of course, he immediately set about redesigning the club’s course, retaining only two holes, but the project wasn’t completed until 1917, four years after he’d left the club.

As Ross’s architectural work...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Donald Ross

Agawam Hunt

15th Rhode Island - Best in Area

Agawam Hunt Club's first comprehensive 18-hole course was laid out by Donald Ross in 1920 over the top of Metacomet's original Rumford layout. Geoff Cornish carried out a renovation in the 1960s and Gil Hanse was involved in a recent restoration project.

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Algonquin

1st New Brunswick - Best in Area 84th Canada Ranking

A round of golf at the Algonquin Resort begins with an easy opener then holes 2 to 4 follow the fairways of the original course along the edge of town before turning back toward the Atlantic coast...

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Allegheny

23rd Pennsylvania - Best in Area

First set out by Tom Bendelow on a 150-acre site in 1902, the old course at Allegheny Country Club was subsequently redesigned by Donald Ross in 1923 and more recently renovated by Ed Seay and then restored by Gil Hanse.

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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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Augusta Country Club

8th Georgia - Best in Area

The club will always be overshadowed by its famous neighbour, but Silva’s work is undoubtedly artful and we’re sure Augusta Country Club will only rise higher in future rankings.

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Bald Peak Colony

3rd New Hampshire - Best in Area

Founded in 1920, Bald Peak Colony Club engaged Donald Ross to build its course. An exhibition match with Francis Ouimet, Jessie Giuldford, J. H. Taylor and Sandy Herd marked the layout’s debut.

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Barton Hills

16th Michigan - Best in Area

After remodelling work down the years, there wasn’t much left of the original Donald Ross course at Barton Hills Country Club until Ron Prichard restored the layout to its former glory in 2012.

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Bedford Springs (Old)

35th Pennsylvania - Best in Area

The course at the Bedford Springs Hotel dates back to 1895. Altered on separate occasions by A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross, it was renovated by Ron Forse in 2007. Today's layout is quite short (under 6,450 yards) with half the holes laid out alongside the waters of Shobers Run.

Belle Meade

17th Tennessee - Best in Area

Richland Creek comes into play at seven holes on the Belle Meade Country Club golf course. It's a Donald Ross design from 1921 that has been significantly modified down the years, most notably by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in the early 1950s and Gary Roger Baird in 1981.

Beverly Country Club

7th Illinois - Best in Area

Beverly Country Club is bounded on all sides by Windy City suburbs and is routed in two rectangular parcels, with the front nine holes lying to the north of 87th Street and the back nine laid out on the other side...

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