The Life and Times Of Donald BGCS Full Review

Through The Green March 2017

In the same way that Old Tom Morris presided over the development of St. Andrews as the Home of Golf in the latter half of the nineteenth century, so also was Donald Ross a central figure in the establishment of Pinehurst as the pre-eminent American golfing resort in the first half of the twentieth.  Chris Buie’s new biography explores how the Ross mystique has developed into a heritage brand that still has relevance in the modern era.

It gives excellent detail of his early life in Dornoch; his apprenticeship in the workshops of Tom Morris and Robert Simpson; early mentoring from John Sutherland, the legendary Secretary at Dornoch; opportunities grasped in New England and North Carolina;  and good early experience in course design that provided the foundation for a prolific output in the post- World War I period.

The book points out that in the 1920s, Ross offered a varied design package – the most prestigious and expensive with hands-on input from the great man; a bargain-basement option also provided working plans based only on a detailed contour map of the site, without the need for a site visit from Ross or his extensive team.  His successful business at the time of great expansion of the American game means a large number of modern clubs keen to claim a little of his stardust, and a thriving Donald Ross Society, who published timeline must have been a great starting point in the extensive research for this volume.

Buie’s account covers unfamiliar (to me) aspects of Ross’s life and career, including a respectable tournament record;  an extensive set of business associates;  his relationship with the Pinehurst resort;  and friends and family.  Sources are extensive and there are some wonderful photographs illustrating all stages of his life and career.
The book is beautifully- designed and produced in 293 A4 pages, profusely illustrated in black-and-white, sepia and colour, in hard boards with illustrated dust-wrapper.  It is published by Classics of Golf at $75 plus what will be a significant p&p for such a substantial volume.  Worth it.  An important account.
John Pearson

Scroll down to read the full review from The British Golf Collectors Society as transcribed by Classics of Golf.

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CLICK HERE to read the full review from Richard Mandell Golf Architecture. Click here to visit his website.

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