Tom Bendelow

Full Name
Thomas Bendelow
Year of Birth
1868
Year of Death
1936 (aged 67)
Place Born
Aberdeen, Scotland
Place Died
River Forest, Illinois, USA

Principally a functional architect, Bendelow refined his procedures in Chicago, producing elaborate detailed plans and molding plaster cast models to demonstrate proposed green contours. He lectured about golf architecture at the University of Illinois and wrote about it for national publications. The Golf Course by Geoff Cornish and Ron Whitten

Tom Bendelow was raised in Aberdeen, one of nine children born to John Bendelow and Mary Edwards, and he learned how to play the game with his father on the old Kings Links near the city centre. He trained as a typesetter and worked on the Aberdeen Free Press before marrying the daughter of a local farmer, Mary Ann Nicol, then emigrating to America in 1892, with his wife and daughter following a year later.

He worked at the New York Herald and replied to an advertisement in the newspaper looking for a golf instructor to teach the game to a local family. It turned out the advert had been placed by members of the Pratt family. Charles Pratt had been a pioneer in the petroleum industry and Tom gave lessons on his estate in Glen Cove, Long Island. He eventually set out a short 6-hole practice course on the property around 1894.

This was probably Tom’s first course design, though it’s thought he also laid out a few other courses for wealthy and sports-minded businessmen in the New Jersey area around that time. Stuart Bendlelow, Tom’s grandson, gave an interview to the Michigan Golfer Magazine in 2004, detailing how his grandfather got started on the design front:

“Tom Bendelow’s most notable early efforts, and the ones that really propelled him into national prominence, were at Van Cortlandt Park, in the Bronx. Here he re-designed the existing nine holes, added a second nine, supervised the construction and maintenance of the course, directed play, organized tournaments and offered instruction. This was the country’s first 18-hole municipal golf course and something of a model for what Tom felt should to be replicated across the United Stat...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Tom Bendelow

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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Baton Rouge

17th Louisiana - Best in Area

Baton Rouge Country Club was formed in 1916 and Rees Jones has extensively upgraded the course in recent years. Much of the work involved replacing tees, bunkers and green complexes.

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Calgary

3rd Alberta - Best in Area 24th Canada Ranking

Calgary Golf & Country Club was formed way back in 1897, moving to its present location in 1908 when it enlisted Tom Bendelow to lay out the original course.

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Dallas Country Club

69th Texas - Best in Area

Established in 1896, Dallas Country Club engaged Tom Bendelow to lay out the original course for the membership in 1910. Much has changed since then, including a late 1990s upgrade by Jay Morrish.

East Lake

4th Georgia - Best in Area

All profits from East Lake Golf Club go to support the local community. East Lake now stands for hope in Atlanta as well as tradition.

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Lakewood Country Club

37th Texas - Best in Area

Lakewood Country Club was originally fashioned by Tom Bendelow in 1912 and so it remained until Texan Ralph Plummer redesigned the course in 1948. Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore have since twice revitalised the course.

Lambton (Championship)

53rd Ontario - Best in Area 100th Canada Ranking

In its formative years, Lambton Golf & Country Club hosted four Canadian Amateur Championships and also four Canadian Opens, the last of which was won by Sam Snead in 1941.

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Maketewah

38th Ohio - Best in Area

Maketewah Country Club was formed in 1910 and its original Tom Bendelow-designed course was refashioned within a decade of it opening by Donald Ross.

Medinah (No.1)

12th Illinois - Best in Area

Meacham Creek comes into play at a number of holes on the No.1 course at Medinah Country Club, most notably at the long par five 9th, once the closing hole before the nines were switched.

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Medinah (No.2)

28th Illinois - Best in Area

The No.2 course at Medinah Country Club reopened in 2017 after a Rees Jones restoration which focused on greens and bunkers, using aerial photographs from 1938 to establish their original size, shape and location.

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