Mention the name Donald Ross to an educated golfer and it will surely bring good thoughts to mind. That is because Ross, in the words of Jack Nicklaus, designed golf courses that led to positive thinking. “His stamp as an architect was naturalness,” Nicklaus said. He was, and still is, considered the Michelangelo of golf.
The Ross name is on some of this nation’s most memorable, and playable, courses. His most famous designs are Pinehurst No. 2, Seminole, Oak Hill and Oakland Hills, but Ross was a man of both quality and quantity. He is credited with 600 designs and redesigns, although some were during his “mail order” era when the demand for his work was so high that he would route courses for property he never saw. Ross would take the topographical maps brought to him, lay out a course on the top, and the club’s greenkeeper or engineer would oversee the construction. Ross did oversee work on a good percentage of the courses which bear his name.