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When Donald Ross died in 1948, at age 75,
… many suggested that two golf tournaments scheduled at the Pinehurst Country Club be cancelled. Others said the clubhouse should be closed. But the local newspaper, The Pinehurst Outlook, noted, “others felt that as Mr. Ross had lived by and for golf all his life that he would have wished for the tournaments to go on; for the golfers to continue to play the game. The flag at the club was lowered to half staff. The tournaments were completed.”
Donald Ross is perhaps the most prolific golf architect, credited with the design or revision of approximately 400 courses, including Pinehurst No. 2. Ron Whitten, in his introduction to commentaries written by Donald Ross, said, “Ross transformed golf design into an art form and the profession into one for an artist.” Ross was born in 1872, in Dornoch, Scotland, in a two room stone cottage. He grew up with golf, playing the game, learning the club making trade and then apprenticing at St. Andrews. He was offered a chance to come to the Boston area in 1899, to teach and promote the new game that was catching on in America. In 1900, James W. Tufts, the founder of Pinehurst, hired Ross to manage golf at the Pinehurst Country Club. There, in the Sandhills of North Carolina, Ross became instrumental in the construction of the country’s first major golf resort. Ross wrote in his book, Golf Has Never Failed Me, that “Pinehurst was absolutely the pioneer in American golf….
… Men came here, took lessons, bought a few clubs and went away determined to organize clubs…
… Their influence gave golf the sort of start it needed in many communities.”
Ross quickly became the country’s pre-eminent and most prolific golf architect traveling widely promoting golf. His architecture practice grew to include several designers and offices but he did much of his work at his home in Pinehurst where he lived until his death.