Golf course architect Hamilton Stutt dies
20th October 2008
Hamilton Stutt (1924 - 2008), a founder member of the British Association of Golf Course Architects, has died peacefully at his home aged 83.
The European Institute of Golf Course Architects is saddened to announce that Honorary Member and EIGCA Fellow, J Hamilton Stutt, died peacefully at home aged 83 years on 7th October.
Pre 1971 Hamilton was one of founding members of the British Association of Golf Course Architects (BAGCA) – the others were C. K Cotton (1887-1974), and Fred W Hawtree (1916 - 2000). In March 1971 the first annual meeting of BAGCA took place and the three founder members were recognised for their pioneering work.
One of the first golf course architects to join was Donald Harradine (1911 - 1996), whose son, Peter Harradine, past president of EIGCA, says, “Hamilton Stutt was an unquestionable example of a sincere, authentic and genuine gentleman, a definite role model to all of us, especially in today’s shallow world which is governed by greed, selfishness and deceit.
“A respected early friend and colleague of my father, in 1971 Hamilton wrote that he was ‘very glad to welcome a European-based member’ to the former solely British association. He was a true European who greatly helped convince the Euro sceptics in the former British Institute to accept the amalgamation of the three separate golf architects institutes/associations to form today’s EIGCA, by unequivocally supporting and speaking on behalf of the merger.
“As a founder member of BAGCA his intervention on behalf of the merger was extremely important and was definitely a major contribution to the future success of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects.
“I thank him dearly for all his support during the early days of the BAGCA followed by the BIGCA and the EIGCA. We will ensure that his remarkable career and contribution will never be forgotten.”
Ken Moodie, the current President of EIGCA, said, “Hamilton was a very supportive and inspirational member of the Institute. We owe a great debt to him as one of the founding fathers of our organisation, and also for his tremendous and crucial support for the merger of our parent bodies (BIGCA, ESGA and AFAG) into one truly pan-European organisation in 2000.
“On a personal note, he was a very warm, generous and enthusiastic mentor to me during my studies as a young golf course architect, between 1989-1991, and he continued to show an interest in my career for many years after. He will be much missed.”
J Hamilton Stutt was educated at Glasgow Academy and St Andrews University, where he studied mathematics and botany. He represented the university at both golf and tennis.
He was the son of John R Stutt (1897 – 1990), the builder of many courses designed by James Braid, and as a boy accompanied his father to several golf construction sites.
After service with the RAF in World War II, he entered his father’s business and also began studying civil engineering and surveying at Strathclyde University. Over the next fifteen years he constructed golf courses with many clients. Several of them were designed by the golf course architects Mackenzie Ross (partner of Tom Simpson) and John Morrison (partner of Harry Colt).
There is no doubt that these outstanding architects informed Hamilton’s future work. Great emphasis in Hamilton Stutt’s designs is placed on making the best use of existing natural features. This preserves the landscape and also greatly reduces construction costs.
In the 1960s he gave up the family construction business so that he could devote all his time to golf course architecture. He spoke French, German, Spanish and Norwegian and worked on more than 120 projects in Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East. Among the favourites are Turnberry – Ailsa Course (with Mackenzie Ross), St Mellion Old, Meon Valley and Woodbury Park, Exeter.
Hamilton Stutt was Chairman of BAGCA in 1975 and President in 1980. By the 1990s BAGCA had become the British Institute of Golf Course Architects (BIGCA) and in 1996 awarded Hamilton Stutt a Silver Medal for his “outstanding services to golf architecture and golf”.
He was a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and president of Parkstone Golf Club. His publications include “Restoration of Derelict Land for Golf” for the Golf Development Council. He was for many years on the board of the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and is a past president of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).
Hamilton Stutt is survived by his wife, Berit, two sons, Ian and Colin, and five grandchildren.