Hole #1: In the Style of Old Tom Morris (1821-1908)
Four-time British Open champion Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, Scotland was a legendary player, club maker, teaching professional and greens-keeper, but we honor him here as one of the games’ first golf course designers. His work was rudimentary by today’s standards, but he was far advanced in his day. He worked in concert with the natural contours of the land, located greens in natural settings, carved sand pits from existing depressions for bunkers and devised stacked-sod walls to stabilize bunker faces. He was among the first to route courses with returning 9s in order to intersect wind at many angles. Old Tom did well over 100 layouts throughout the British Isles. He staked out the early versions of such famed links as Cruden Bay, Prestwick, Carnoustie and Muirfield in Scotland, Royal North Devon in England, and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. He designed and constructed both the New Course and Jubilee Course at St. Andrews, and greatly modified its Old Course. His masterpiece was perhaps Machrihanish Golf Club in the northern reaches of Scotland.
The opening hole at The Architects Golf Club reflects the essence of Old Tom’s architecture. A straight-as-an-arrow par-5 across the existing landscape, it is bunkered off to the sides. The stone wall is the type of existing feature Old Tom often retained as a hazard. The green is also typical of his work, perched on a high point, offering a beautiful panorama.