Donald Ross


Donald Ross (1872-1948) was one of the most significant golf course designers in the history of the sport. He was born at Dornoch in Scotland, but spent most of his adult life in the United States.

Ross served an appreticeship with Old Tom Morris in St Andrews before investing his life savings in a trip to the U.S. in 1899 at the suggestion of a Harvard professor named Robert Wilson, who found him his first job in the America at Oakley Country Club in Watertown, Massachusetts. In 1900 he was appointed as the golf professional at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, where he began his course design career and eventually designed four courses. He had a moderately successful playing career, winning three North and South Opens and two Massachusetts Opens, and finishing fifth in the 1903 U.S. Open and eighth in the 1910 British Open. He later gave up playing and teaching to concentrate on course design, running a substantial practice with several assistants and summer offices in New England.

Ross was a founding member and first president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, which was formed at Pinehurst in 1947. He was admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977, a rare honour rarely awarded for anything other than playing success. His brother Alec won the U.S. Open in 1907.