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Course Architect Profile: A.W. Tillinghast

Course Architect Profile: A.W. Tillinghast

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    A.W. Tillinghast (“Tillie the Terror”) was born in 1874 in Philadelphia, PA. He was arguably the first great American born golf course architect. In total Tillie worked on no fewer than 265 different courses and designed 14 of the top 100 US golf courses. Perhaps most unique to Tillinghast was his total immersion in the game of golf. In addition to his work as a course architect, “Tillie” was a nationally ranked amateur, a noted golf photographer, a writer (serving as an editor for one of the top golf magazines), a tournament organizer and a course superintendant. Tillinghast is also credited with coining the term “birdie”.

    Top Rated US Courses (Golfweek Top 100 Classic):
    San Francisco Golf Club (#12)
    Winged Foot Golf Club West (#16)
    Bethpage State Park - Black Course (#18)*
    Somerset Hills Country Club (#30)
    Winged Foot Golf Club East (#34)
    Quaker Ridge (#37)
    Baltusrol Golf Club – Lower (#39)
    Baltimore Country Club (#42)
    Newport Country Club (#45)
    Fenway Golf Club (#62)
    Baltusrol Golf Club – Upper (#68)
    Ridgewood CC – East/West (#83)
    Brook Hollow Country Club (#93)
    Sunnehanna Country Club (#100)



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    Here is a snippet from Course Aerchitect Preview: AW Tillinghast

    Tillinghast Fun Fact:
    Tillie’s highest ranked course, San Francisco Golf Club is perhaps the best example of the superior bunkering ability of Tillinghast. The most noted hole is the drop-shot par-3 7th (Tillie's favorite of all the holes he ever designed). Nicknamed the "Duel Hole," it was the site of the last legal duel in United States history, when State Supreme Court Justice David Terry shot and killed U.S. Senator David Broderick in an attempt to settle the debate over legal slavery in California.

    Essential Design Features:
    Tillinghast designed courses have hosted multiple major championships, most recently including the 2002, 2006, 2009 US Opens, the 2005 PGA Championship. Tillie worked hard to create unique features on each course he designed, as such it can be a challenge to identify characteristics that define his style of architecture; however, has picked some qualities that can help you to successfully navigate a Tillinghast course. deep.

    How Tillinghast beats you and how you can beat Tillinghast:
    Tillinghast, like his contemporary counterparts, Mackenzie and Ross designed courses in the era before large scale earth moving became the standard in golf course construction and his use of the natural landscape is evidence of this fact. Perhaps his greatest design characteristic is his artistic, strategically placed bunkers. Unlike MacKenzie, who camouflaged his bunkers, Tillinghast used bunkers to shape a hole and consequently add both strategy and aesthetics to his designs.