The Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture in America

 The "Golden Age" of golf course architecture in America is a loosely defined period during the early part of the twentieth century that saw the design and construction of some of the best known and most influential golf courses in the United States. Many of America's greatest course architects worked during this period and the number of courses grew from fewer than 750 in 1916 to nearly 6,000 by 1930. body_learnmore_goldenage_Golf_1.jpg

It is generally accepted that the peak of the Golden Age occurred between the end of World War I and the beginning of the Great Depression. During this time period, both quality and quantity of golf courses in America took a major leap forward. Many famous course architects contributed to this development including British born designers: Willie Park, Jr., Donald Ross, Alister MacKenzie, and Harry Colt. North American natives such as Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor, A.W. Tillinghast, Stanley Thompson, and William Flynn also blossomed during this time frame.

Architects of the Golden Age produced some of the most innovative, bold course designs ever built in America. Many of these beautiful and strategic courses have stood the test of time and are still frequently listed among the best courses in the United States more than 80 years after they were fashioned. They include:

Lido Golf Club
Lido Beach, New York
Architects: C.B.Macdonald & Seth Raynor, 1915

Engineers Country Club
Roslyn, New York
Architect: Herbert Strong, 1917

Oakland Hills Country Club
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Architect: Donald Ross, 1918

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, California
Architects: Douglas Grant & Jack Neville, 1918

Pine Valley Golf Club
Pine Valley, New Jersey
Architect: George Crump, 1918

San Francisco Golf Club
San Francisco, California
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast. 1918

Los Angeles Country Club
Los Angeles, California
Architect: George C. Thomas, Jr., 1921

Winged Foot Golf Glub
Mamaroneck, New York
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast, 1923

Oak Hill Country Club
Rochester, New York
Architect: Donald Ross, 1926

Yale University Golf Club
New Haven, Connecticut
Architects: C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor, 1926

Riviera Country Club
Palisades, California
Architect: George C. Thomas, Jr., 1927

Aronimink Golf Club
Newton Square, Pennsylvania
Architect: Donald Ross

Cypress Point Club
Pebble Beach, California
Architect: Alister MacKenzie, 1930

Seminole Golf Club
June Beach, Florida
Architect: Donald Ross, 1929

University of Michigan Golf Club
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Architects: Alister MacKenzie & Perry Maxwell, 1930

Pocantico Hills Golf Club
Tarrytown, New York
Architect: William Flynn, 1932

Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta, Georgia
Architects: Bobby Jones & Alister MacKenzie, 1933

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(CourtesyThe Tufts Archives)
Donald Ross Teeing off at Pinehurst


(Courtesy USGA Museum) 
Golf course architects at play—Mr. Max Behr (left), America's foremost golf course architect, and Dr. Alister Mackenzie,
the famous British course architect, out for a round of golf at St. Andrews in 1929


(Courtesy George Bahto) 
Charles Blair Macdonald