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 Unit...

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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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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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Birmingham Country Club

23rd Michigan - Best in Area

Host venue for the PGA Championship in 1953 and the US Women’s Amateur in 1968, the course at Birmingham Country Club was laid out by the prolific Tom Bendelow in 1920, four years after the club’s formation.

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Bloomfield Hills

22nd Michigan - Best in Area

Formed in 1909, Bloomfield Hills Country Club appointed Tom Bendelow to lay out a course for its members. Both Harry Colt and Donald Ross are said to have carried out revisions on a layout that flies under the radar of many.

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Calgary

3rd Alberta - Best in Area 23rd 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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Cedar Rapids

2nd Iowa - Best in Area

Ron Prichard has been retained by members of Cedar Rapids Country Club to oversee the faithful restoration of a course that’s said to be the only Donald Ross-designed layout in the Hawkeye state.

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Columbus (Championship)

46th Ohio - Best in Area

Kevin Hargrave completed a large-scale renovation of Columbus Country Club's Championship course in 2018. The architect replaced bunkers with versions more akin to the style of Donald Ross as well as adding new tees and removing more than 1,500 trees.

Country Club of Indianapolis

13th Indiana - Best in Area

Founded in 1891, the Country Club of Indianapolis is one of the oldest clubs in the nation. The course in play on today's present site is a Tom Bendelow design from 1912 which was refashioned by Pete Dye in 1992.

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.