As World War II ended and America continued its recovery from the previous decade of depression, golf course architects in the U.S. sensed a real opportunity for a golf boom as people sought more recreational opportunities. Having spent most of the war years short of work and wondering if course architecture had become a lost art, these early visionaries wanted to be in position to respond to the coming demands by creating a professional organization of golf architects. The new group aspired to be the influential, collective voice in the industry, similar in makeup to the long-standing American Society of Landscape Architects.
Spearheaded by Robert Bruce Harris and Robert Trent Jones, the first meeting of this new association, dubbed the “American Society of Golf Course Architects” (by William Langford), was held with several architects from around the nation on Feb. 13, 1947, at the Hotel New Yorker.
The missions of the ASGCA are much the same today as when the original members outlined the Articles of Incorporation:
Foster the game of golf, its growth and advancement.
Foster professionalism of ASGCA members through education, promotion and fellowship of the world’s leading golf course architects.
Support design excellence by creating golf courses that are technically, strategically and aesthetically excellent while meeting the economic, environmental and other needs of golf course owners, developers and communities.
Expand the opportunities of ASGCA members to better serve their clients and the game of golf.
The 14 Charter Members who originally made up ASGCA were a diversified group of professionals, including five landscape architects/agronomists, four contractors, three golf professionals, and two businessmen.
The Ross Tartan
The red plaid jackets ASGCA members wear are made from a material known as the Ross tartan. This tartan was adopted by ASGCA in 1973 as a tribute to the group’s honorary first president, golf course architect Donald Ross. Scottish clans are typically identified by one or more distinctive tartan patterns; Ross hailed from Dornoch, Scotland. The distinctive tartan is known throughout the golf industry as belonging only to ASGCA architects.