By Mike Jiggens
A.W. Tillinghast, architect of the Scarboro Golf & Country Club, is among four new inductees to be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in 2015.
“Tillie’s induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is ridiculously long overdue," said Canadian golf course architect Ian Andrew of Brantford, Ont. "He should have been in there from when the hall first opened."
Andrew, along with noted American golf course architect Gil Hanse, completed a sympathetic restoration of all known Tillinghast features and the removal of all recent changes to the course to return it to its original character in the fall of 2007.
“You could argue that he is the greatest American golf course architect of all time," Andrew said. "I certainly put him ahead of Stanley Thompson."
Tillinghast’s layouts are still considered among the world’s best and used frequently for golf’s major championships. Bethpage State Park, Winged Foot, Baltusrol GC, San Francisco GC, Quaker Ridge, Fenway GC, Somerset Hills and Baltimore Country Club at Five Farms in Maryland, where London, Ont., golfer Sandy Somerville won the 1932 U.S. Amateur, are all Tillinghast designs.
Born in 1874, Albert Warren (A.W.) Tillinghast took golf lessons from old Tom Morris, was an admirer of St Andrews, and used that knowledge to become a true pioneer of American golf. He was a prolific architect, having worked on 265-plus courses, including more than 100 original designs in the U.S. courses to his credit. He was also an original member of the PGA of America and authored several books about the game. He died in 1942 in Toledo, Ohio.
Scarboro is the lone Tillinghast design in Canada. The club hired him in 1924 to rebuild the initial George Cumming layout at a cost of $40,000 and Tillinghast`s layout opened for play in 1926. Since that time Scarboro has hosted four Canada Open Championships and numerous other international and national events within the amateur and professional ranks.
“We are thrilled that Tillinghast is finally being recognized by the World Golf Hall of Fame," said Neil Rooney, Scarboro's chief operating officer. "His significant talent and genius are evident on every hole when playing this great golf course. We are proud to have his name connected to Scarboro, and the club will continue to preserve and enhance the legacy of his classic design in the decades to come.”
Andrew believes Tillinghast was a genius when it came to creating par three holes. You only need to play Scarboro’s second, fourth, 11th and 14th holes to experience that brilliance.
“Of all of the architects of his time, Tillinghast was the one who manufactured greens sites. He was a creator and a constructor. He would bring material together to make things more dramatic than they would have been. He was not afraid to go really big and that set him apart."
Andrew said Scarboro is worthy of study when it comes to understanding golf course architecture. In his books, the course is home to some of the greatest green sites to be found anywhere, and its strategic grass-faced bunkers that now hang on the edge of putting surfaces make them all the more interesting.
“In my mind, Scarboro doesn’t get its due as a great place to play golf,” he said. “Strategically it’s a lot of fun to play and one of the best courses in Canada.”
Joining Tillinghast in the class of 2015 inductees are Laura Davies, David Graham and Mark O'Meara.