Ron Kirby

Full Name
Ronald Kirby
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Year of Birth
Place Born
Beverly, Massachusetts, USA

“Ron Kirby knew from a young age he wanted to make a career in the golf world. As a caddie, caddie master, and maintenance crew member at a local country club growing up, Ron gained all the incentives he needed to stay involved with the sport of golf. With a five-decade career under his belt, Ron has garnered the reputation as one of the most respected and appreciated golf course designers in the industry.” ASGCA

Ron Kirby studied at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in the late 1940s before attending the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture on a Francis Ouimet Scholarship, graduating with an Associate degree in Agronomy in 1953.

He served as a golf course superintendent with a number of clubs before becoming a design associate with Dick Wilson in 1958. During the five years he was with Dick, he worked on projects in Paradise Island in the Bahamas and several South Florida courses.

In 1963, Ron became a design associate with Robert Trent Jones, assisting the old master with a number of assignments in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. After eight years with the company, he decided to branch out on his own.

From 1970 to 1986, his Atlanta-based firm worked closely with Gary Player as a consultant and their collaborative efforts spanned the world. Ron then sold his firm (which also included Denis Griffiths) to Golden Bear Inc. and joined Jack Nicklaus Design Services, where he oversaw the company’s European projects for the next decade.

Ron retired from the Nicklaus organization in the mid-1990s but he’s been retained by a number of firms as a special consultant. Currently he’s attached to the design practice of his son-in-law Gene Bates.

One of Ron’s more interesting one-off projects in recent times was the co-design of a one-hole course at a luxury 4-bedroomed chalet called San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Italian region of South Tyrol.

Located at an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level and overlooking three heavily wooded valleys, this spectacular “Hole in Heaven” course features nine p...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Ron Kirby


5th Barbados Ranking

Laid out in two returning 9-hole circuits that finish on either side of a lake in front of the clubhouse, the revamped course at Barbados Golf Club offers a slightly tougher challenge than its predecessor.


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Boyne Highlands (Heather)

30th Michigan - Best in Area

Opened in 1968 and designed by Robert Trent Jones and Ron Kirby, the Heather course is the oldest – and many still say the best – layout at Boyne Highlands Golf Club’s 72-hole golf complex.


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4th Cork - Best in Area 73rd Ireland Ranking

The 6,790-yard golf course at the Castlemartyr Resort forms the main recreational option at a 5-star County Cork facility that also offers more sedate recreational facilities like archery and clay pigeon shooting.


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31st North East France - Best in Area 71st France Ranking

One of more than a dozen facilities operated around the country by NGF Golf, the beautiful parkland course at Exclusiv Golf Cély-en-Bière lies within the magnificent 140-acre Domaine du Château de Cély, on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest.

Corballis Links

12th Dublin - Best in Area 97th Ireland Ranking

First opened for public play in 1971, the Corballis Links Golf Club at Donabate lies along the east coast of Ireland, next to a more well-known golfing neighbour, The Island.


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Dromoland Castle

3rd Clare - Best in Area 49th Ireland Ranking

The course at Dromoland Castle Golf Club has been around for over forty years but in the last two years, dramatic changes have elevated it to new levels.


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El Paraiso

22nd Southern Spain - Best in Area 68th Spain Ranking

El Paraiso was laid out in the early 1970s by “Black Knight” Gary Player and renowned architect Ron Kirby, back in the days when they were involved in a course design partnership.


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Escorpion (Azul)

14th South East Spain - Best in Area 75th Spain Ranking

Host to the 1980 Spanish Open (won by Irishman Eddie Polland), Escorpion Golf Club comprises of three 9-hole courses, all designed by Alfonso Vidaor & Ron Kirby in 1975. The Azul 18-hole layout comprises of the Masía and Lagos loops which form the premier configuration.


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Gary Player

1st North West - Best in Area 5th South Africa Ranking

The Gary Player Country Club is perhaps South Africa’s most famous course thanks to the “Million Dollar Golf Challenge”. Naturally the “Black Knight” designed it and it’s one of the longest courses in the country...


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Ron Kirby Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Bob McCoy Courses Played 7
= Helmut Baeck Courses Played 7
3 Andy Newmarch Courses Played 6
= Tim Elliott Courses Played 6
= Paul Rudovsky Courses Played 6
6 Dirk Schaeffer Courses Played 5
= Mark Barry Courses Played 5
= Shane Kelly Courses Played 5
= Steven O' Sullivan Courses Played 5
= stuart mcclymont Courses Played 5