Larry Packard (Edward Lawrence Packard)


Born: Nov 15, 1912 (Northampton, Mass) - Died: Jan 28, 2014

For a guy who didn't even take up golf until he was 30 years old Larry Packard made a pretty good career for himself, building more than 250 courses before he retired in 1986.

Packard graduated from Massachusetts' School of Landscape Architecture in 1935 but it wasn't until 1994 when he landed a job with Robert Bruce Harris that he began designing golf courses. That wasn't his only gig with Harris; he also constructed part of Chicago's O'Hare airfield.

Packard had a few distinctive elements in his designs. His bunkers were fit into mounds and slightly elevated so rain water couldn't seep into them. As a bonus, it was extraordinarily difficult to roll a ball into Packard's bunkers; to get in, your ball had to fly in.

Also, his greens were relatively small, a departure from Harris' vast surfaces.

"Harris used to make his greens 12,000 square feet," Packard once said. "You could get on the green all right, but you were a mile from the hole. He used to have a lot of three-putts."

But it was two traits that define a Packard golf course. The first five holes of his designs were easy to play, allowing average golfers to ease into their rounds. He also, most famously, loved double doglegs on a par 5. Probably his most famous hole was the double-dogleg par-5 14th on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, Fla., which is still a regular stop on the PGA Tour.

"I don't want you to play my courses once," Packard told Golfweek in 2013. "I want you to come back. ... I want you to have fun."

Packard built golf courses that wound up on national top-10 lists (the Copperhead and Island Courses at Innisbrook), private layouts (like Echo Valley in Des Moines, Iowa), and public courses (such as Lick Creek in Pekin, Ill., Benson Park in Omaha, Neb., and Sunflower Hills in Bonner Springs, Kansas).


Average Overall Rating

4.1 stars from 5

based on 1434 reviews.

4-5 stars:
41.7%
3-4 stars:
14.3%
2-3 stars:
1.2%
1-2 stars:
0.0%
n/a:
42.9%
Avg. Course Layout: 4.2 stars from 5
Avg. Off-Course Amenities: 3.9 stars from 5
Avg. Value for the Money: 4.3 stars from 5
Avg. Pace of Play: 4.3 stars from 5
Avg. Staff Friendliness: 4.4 stars from 5
Avg. Course Conditions: 4.1 stars from 5

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