Park Jr, Willie

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Biography

Born into a golfing royalty, Willie Park Jr was the son of 4-time Open Champion Willie Park Sr. His uncle, Mungo Park Sr. was also an Open champion. In time, Willie Park Jr would win the Open twice. Willie's acquired skillset also included caddying, manufacturing balls and clubs and keeping the green.

Transition to Design

At just 22 in 1886, Willie Park Jr undertook his first golf course design project, Innerleithen in Scotland. Without a fee, the nine-hole course was completed in exchange for the supply contract to the club for his families clubs and balls. A few years later he penned a book called "The Game of Golf". The first chapter was dedicated to course design and is called: "Laying Out and Keeping Golf Links".

From Scotland to England

As the game continued to grow, so did the demand for courses inland. In the Surrey heathlands West of London, Willie was able to construct Sunningdale and Huntercombe around the turn of the century. A marked contrast in design ethos was observed: rolling contours, large greens and bold hazards. The designs were well received and marked the beginning of the transition from more traditional penal golf to the strategic school of design. A marked difference in Park's designs is the absence of the naturalness later seen in MacKenzie and Colt's work.

From the UK to North America

After successful projects in the British Isles, Willie made his way across the Atlantic and began work in both Canada and USA. Esteemed by his peers, Sir Guy Campbell referred to him as the doyen of course architects. High praise, indeed considering his contemporaries.

 


Architectural Hallmarks

Willie Park Jr boldy constructed hazards.

Large severely sloped greens usually from back to front falling off on both sides with a hazard for being long.

Firm, fast, rolling contours which reward distance control in conjunction rewarding a deft ground game.

Evidence of design more pronounced in later work as opposed to a natural aesthetic in his early work.


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