Donald Ross Society

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The Society was founded in 1989 to promote the recognition of Donald J. Ross, the excellence of his architecture and the preservation and restoration of the golf courses he designed.

Sneak peek at 2019 events

There will be several other events but the Society has already firmed up two events in 2019.  The first is January 20-23 with a return to Clearwater Florida to beat the cold and play at Dunedin GC on Sunday, January 20. Then in succession, golf is at the two courses at Belleair CC, and a morning shotgun start on Wednesday January 23 at a fine non-Ross course, Feather Sound CC.

Another event is confirmed for June 10-13 with a schedule for the Boston area. The first day is at Whitinsville GC on Monday June 10. Tuesday is at Brae Burn CC and Wednesday is Essex County Club. The event ends at Concord CC on Thursday June 13. 

Additional details for these events were emailed to Society members on September 4. The entry form for Clearwater will soon be received by the membership while the entry form for Boston will be later in early 2019.

There will be other fine events in 2019 as well, stay tuned, but it is too early to announce those at this time.

DRS Foundation

The Society membership has again made it possible for the Foundation to donate to a few causes in line with the goals of the Society and the Society's charitable arm,  the DRS Foundation. Those goals are to commemorate the life and work of Donald Ross, educating the public as to his work, and promoting the preservation and restoration of the golf courses he designed.

The Foundation recently made a donation of $6,000 to help Elk Rapids Golf Club in their efforts to restore the course to the plans of Ross.  The course was and remains a 9 hole gem constructed in the early 20s near the city of Elk Rapids, just northeast of Traverse City Michigan.   The early 20's course work was immediately impacted by financial straits and the bunkers shown on their Ross plan were never built.  Surviving over 96 years now, the club has now constructed the bunkers and is also expanding and improving their tees. So drop by on your travels and check out the 9 hole gem open to the public.  You can view a short video of the story by clicking on Elk Rapids GC Just a short time ago, the club's Ross plans were "re-found" in the Tufts Archives and acted upon.

The Foundation also made a grant of $13,000 to the Tufts Archives in Pinehurst in November 2017.  The grant was the largest single annual donation yet to Tufts.  The membership is happy to continue its support of Tufts. The DRS and the Society's Foundation have proudly supported the Tufts Archives for over 25 years and look forward to supporting the Tufts Archives in the future.

Golf  Shop
The Society has a small golf shop for members only.  Leading the offering is Donald Ross Sportswear! A limited selection of their superb sportswear is now offered to Society members.  Rob Stein, owner of Donald Ross Sportswear and Society member, has been very gracious.  The items are of top quality material and styling and is found in the finer golf shops and retail stores. Golf attire is offered for men and woman with the Society crest on left chest or left sleeve.  Members can view their catalog of offerings and special pricing. Donald Ross Sportswear directly supports the Tufts Archives with generous donations and by their support of Tufts' fund raising. Members should first log into the Society web site,  select 'Donald Ross Sportswear' via the GOLF SHOP tab. 
Other items with the Society crest such as belts, pocket crests, and head covers are now offered at this GOLF SHOP page rather than only at events only. These are found via the 'Golf Shop' pick under the GOLF SHOP tab.
The GOLF SHOP tab also provides several books and a documentary about Ross, all with connections to fellow Society members.  The first is Chris Buie's book 'The Life and Times of Donald Ross'.  The book was produced by Classics of Golf, Mike Beckerich publisher and Society member.  A special discount is offered to members.  The second book is a revision to Society member Paul Dunn's book "Great Donald Ross Courses Everyone Can Play: Resort, Public, and Semi-Private." This is a welcome update to Mr. Dunn's first edition.  It is a great reference for touring the more accessible Ross courses. Paul updated the book using better quality and more photographs. The books and documentary are found via the 'Books' pick under the GOLF SHOP tab. 

 Annual Meeting - Hartford Connecticut - October 8-11, 2018

The annual meeting was held in the Hartford Connecticut area October 8-11, 2018.  Approximately 50 members played at Wampanoag CC on Monday afternoon October 8th, followed by The Hartford Golf Club, Longmeadow CC, and finally The Orchards Golf Club on Thursday morning October 11th.  

List of Donald Ross courses

The Society has completed and updated the directory of Donald Ross courses.  See the link below.  The list has been revised by Jan Ludwig, Board member, retired professor, and volunteer at Tufts Archives. The list has been updated with  with the certain expectation that Society members and others will review and provide comments and provenance for any revisions.  It is of the very nature of projects like this one that they are never really completed; therefore, comments and criticisms, corrections and additions, are always welcome.  This is especially true as the digitization of newspaper and magazine records has exploded in the last 5 years or more.  Contact information for Jan is available in the linked directory.  For a completed and updated listing :

Click Here for the Directory of Donald Ross Designed Courses

Indianapolis August 2018
The event was fantastic and enjoyed by over 20  members. 
Friday, August 24thBroadmoor County Club – Indianapolis - optional afternoon golf. Welcome Reception in evening
Saturday, August 25thBroadmoor Country Club - Lunch, afternoon golf followed by dinner at Broadmoor
Sunday, August 26thBrickyard Crossing Golf Club – Indianapolis - Early morning tee times with box lunch following play. Private sunset dinner at Dye Course Mansion
Monday, August 27thDonald Ross Course, French Lick Resort, French Lick  (optional)

'The Wright Stuff'  - Dayton-Columbus - June 2018
Members played the best courses in this part of Ohio. A special thanks is extended to Society members Tom Smith, Bill Case, and Mark Rymuza for all the arrangements. Everyone had a great time. You can read the Ohio summary report .  The Society group played:
Monday June 18 - Moraine Country Club   // Tuesday June 19 - Columbus Country Club 
Wednesday June 20  - Springfield County Club  // Thursday June 21Miami Valley Golf Club 

Daytona - March 2018

Members played two local Ross courses and had the treat to play at Hammock Dunes. Golf architect Ron Forse made a wonderful presentation as well. The schedule was:

Saturday, March 10  - New Smyrna Golf Club, one of Ross’s final designs. 

Sunday, March 11 - Afternoon times at Hammock Dunes Creek Course. This private Rees Jones gem was opened in 2003 and has hosted multiple US Open qualifiers. It will hold the 2019 Florida Open

Monday, March 12  - Morning times at Hammock Dunes Links Course. Tom Fazio designed this oceanfront layout in 1989 which was updated last year.

Tuesday, March 13 - After two days on modern courses, the final round was at a Ross design—Daytona Beach Golf Club’s South Course. 

Tufts Archives -  DRS Foundation

The DRS Foundation made a $13,000 donation in November 2017 to the Tufts Archives. A $10,000 donation was made in April 2016. The membership continues to support the Tufts Archives efforts to collect, preserve, and disseminate the records and drawings of Donald J. Ross. You can read more about the donations via this link DRS Foundation  

"Taking on the Giants" by Bill Case

Ross' famed Pinehurst no. 2 was the site of a number of famous matches raising money for the Red Cross after World War II. The matches pitted top amateurs against top professionals for a number of years.  You can read Society member Bill Case's excellent article via this LINK.  The article is a wonderful history of the matches and a nice reminder of the career of fine amateur Dick Chapman. Bill is a retired attorney, active golfer, and continues to write for the Pinehurst publication "PineStraw Magazine." The Society is thankful to both for the article. 

Three hundred fifty eight by Brad Becken

Society member Brad Becken has completed playing three-hundred-fifty-eight, yes 358, of Ross' courses.  The number is Brad's reckoning of those clearly known to have Ross heritage. Knocking them off at a good pace for a number of years,  Brad played quite a lot in the Carolinas and New England in the early period clipping off the clusters in "relatively" small areas.  There were also good spots from Florida to Georgia plus Pennsylvania to Ohio to southern Michigan to Illinois to find a number to play in a small area.   Then trips began to include 3 hour drives between courses on long summer days to get in a quick 36 holes. The last few years have included trips to Iowa, Wisconsin, and Manitoba to play just one or two on a long trip.  Fueled by an uncanny ability to find donut shops, and his own innate and determined grit, sometimes accompanied by younger Society members Mark Larson or Jim Caruso, Brad has reached his goal of playing every Ross. Congratulations Brad!  This was a subject in the December issue of the "Golf Collectors Society Bulletin”. Click on this  press release  to read a summary of Brad's accomplishment.

North Carolina - October 2017 - Annual meeting

The annual meeting event was held in North Carolina from October 18-22.  The event included Raleigh CC on Wednesday afternoon, Sedgefield CC on Thursday afternoon, Alamance CC on Friday morning, Duke University Golf Club on Saturday, and Hope Valley CC on Sunday October 22. The Society had a marvelous dinner at Sedgefield CC with Kris Spence discussing his work at this course. The event included a very strong group of Ross courses the Society had not visited before.

New Hampshire - August 2017

The Society had a great weekend in New Hampshire on Friday & Saturday, August 18 & 19th, 2017.  Society members Dudley Cotton and Dr. Bill Wilson arranged play at these two Ross gems. Mark Rymuza organized the event.

Friday - The Society played Manchester CC in a bit of rain. The course is an original Ross design opened in 1923 with ongoing restoration by Ron Forse. The course has served as a site for events such as the New England Amateur, NH Amateur and Woman’s Amateur, and the 2017 New Hampshire Open.

Saturday - Sunny skies made for a great day at Wentworth By The Sea CC in Rye New Hampshire.  The club is one of the oldest courses in the United States and opened for play in 1897.  The original nine holes were constructed on links land by George Wright and redone by Donald Ross and Walter Hatch in 1921.  Geoffrey Cornish added the second nine holes in 1964. There are wonderful seaside views along Witch Creek and Little Harbor. The day began with a par three contest on two original Ross greens, lunch, and an afternoon round capped by a club house dinner.

Cincinnati - July 2017 

Special thanks to Tom Smith for arranging play on these two fine courses. Saturday the 29th was golf at Maketewah Country Club in Cincinnati.  Originally a Tom Bendelow creation which opened in 1910 as a nine-hole course, Donald Ross renovated the club in 1929 to its present 18 holes.  The championship course has been a US Open qualifier course for over five decades and the site of many local and regional competitions.  Afternoon tee times followed by a club dinner after play.  Mark Rymuza organized a great event. Spectacular blue skies made for a wonderful weekend. 

Sunday was at Hyde Park Golf & Country Club.  Tom Bendelow laid out the original nine holes in 1902.  The club acquired additional property and in 1920 Donald Ross completely redesigned the course which has stayed true to its Ross roots with occasional upgrades and the most recent by Tim Liddy. Long time member and club historian Art Fischer provided an excellent club history during lunch.  Member LV Semona also guided the group around the golf course and club house.

May 2017 - New Jersey - Double Header!

May 19-May 25 – The Society went to New Jersey for a double-header! The event was a mix of many Ross gems, with Raynor flavoring, and a dash of a wonderful modern course. Board member Steve MacQuarrie put together a great event aided by Pam Allen and other Society members mentioned below. Weekend play started Friday, May 19 at Bayonne Golf Club thanks to Society Board member Mike Miller. Saturday was Crestmont Country Club, with thanks to Crestmont member Scott Riskin.  Sunday was Watchung Valley Golf Club – a Seth Raynor. The morning was a tour of USGA museum tour in Far Hills with play at the Pynes Putting Course (inspired by the Himalayas in St. Andrews) followed by the afternoon round.

Next was four delightful days of golf beginning Monday, May 22 at Essex County CC, the oldest club in New Jersey. Tuesday was an  afternoon round at Plainfield Country Club. The Society moved to Mountain Ridge Country Club with thanks to Society member Jamie Schachtel. The event ended Thursday, May 25 at Knickerbocker Country Club with thanks to Society member Mike Beckerich.

March 2017 - Jacksonville 

March 23-28 - The event was fantastic. The Society played San Jose Country Club on Thursday March 23, Timuquana Country Club on Friday afternoon with a club dinner, followed by Hyde Park Golf Club on Saturday, Mark Bostick Golf Club at the University of Florida on Sunday morning. Monday morning was a shotgun start at Sawgrass Country Club. We're indebted to Society members Fred Seely, Joe Pesek, and Jim Hoener.  Society Board member Derek Dobbs also provided invaluable assistance in arranging this event.  

Ross course - Warm Springs Georgia - DRS Foundation

Thanks to the generous Society membership, the DRS Foundation made a $5,000 donation to Operation Double Eagle (The Warrior Alliance, Inc.) in February 2016. The donation will support the work by this non-profit veterans organization at the Ross course in Warm Springs.

Annual event 2016 - October 4-7 - Chicago

The Society's annual meeting was well attended by over 50 Society members. The event included play at four of the wonderful courses created or remodeled by Ross in the Chicago area. The golf began at The Beverly Country Club on Tuesday October 4, then Exmoor Country Club, Skokie Country Club, and Evanston Golf Club on Friday. Society members enjoyed the event organized and well planned by fellow members Pam Allen and Dave Jongleux with the support of members and the fine staff at each club. Wednesday included an interesting presentation of the course history by Exmoor member Don Holton. Audrey Moriarty of Tufts Archives also attended to update everyone on their latest work at the archives.  Stop by Tufts Archives if ever in Pinehurst!
Society member Bill Case and PineStraw magazine

While Bill Case has retired from his legal career, he continues to write and has authored many fine golf articles for the Pinehurst magazine PineStraw. Courtesy of PineStraw and Bill, click on the link "Little Big Men"  for his latest which is about George Dunlap, Jr. winner of the 1933 US Amateur. Tufts Archives records were the backbone of Bill's well researched article and accompanying photographs.  You will probably meet Bill at a future Society event or two.

USGA notes the Ross documentary

As part of the fanfare for the 2016 USGA Senior Open,  the spotlight was again on the excellent Ross documentary by the Society member Cob Carlson.  Click on this  USGA article .   And you can click on the title  "Donald Ross: Discovering the Legend."  This link is to the film's web site for even more information and to order a copy. The Society membership supported Mr. Carlson's effort with a donation and are happy to see continued notice of his fine work.

The annual meeting was wonderful with four superb courses under Carolina blue skies in October.  Click on the Annual Report for a summary of the golf by Steve MacQuarrie.  You can see a few fall photographs by Dunlop White of the Roaring Gap Club via this linkGolf began in the mountains at the Roaring Gap Club, moved west to Mimosa Hills and then east to play Carolina GC and Charlotte CC.  Tufts has long been the primary benefactor of these events through the DRS Foundation.

Other notes of interest :

Ross and the Tufts in Pinehurst

Society member Bill Case has completed a second article about the relationship of Donald Ross to the Tufts.  As the first, this draws upon the correspondence between the men and  observations on the transition from Leonard to Richard Tufts assuming leadership at Pinehurst.  This second article was also published in the Pine Straw, a local magazine in Southern Pines.   Bill's second article is  " Dear Mr. Ross "    Bill's first installment is via this link Ross and Tufts from the Pine Straw magazine.   

What is the Donald Ross Society?

Founded in 1989 to recognize and safeguard the integrity of courses from the "Golden Era" of Golf Course Architecture, the Society's particular focus is the work by Donald J. Ross & Associates of Pinehurst, North Carolina before 1948. We believe that the golf courses designed by Ross are works-of-art that merit close care and meticulous preservation. When renovation work is needed, we believe that - wherever possible - the course should maintain its original look, shape, and playing character; and when accommodations are needed for the modern game, they should be consistent with the original design intent.

We, therefore urge clubs to seek out those architects, shapers, consultants and superintendents in the industry who endeavor to preserve these traditions, and that are comfortable with the basic strategies outlined in our Restoration Guidelines, wherein we distill the wisdom of countless restoration successes and provide a blueprint for clubs interested in recapturing their Donald Ross design integrity.

The Society also hosts three to five events per year which the Society membership can attend. The events are well attended and the membership is able to play many of Ross' classics and the many wonderful unknown Ross courses.  The events enable Society members to see new Ross courses, play old favorites, and meet other avid golfers and create new friendships.

Copyright© 2018 
 Donald Ross Society  501(c)(7)
Donald Ross Society Foundation  501(c)(3)
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