A. W. Tillinghast (Albert Warren "Tillie" Tillinghast)



Born: May 7, 1876 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - Died: May 19, 1942

Albert Warren "Tillie" Tillinghast died in 1942 at the age of 66 but his legacy lives on more than 70 years later. Simply put, Tillinghast was one of the most prolific course designers in the game's history. He worked on at least 265 courses, the volume and quality of the work so impressive that he was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2014.

Among Tillinghast's most notable works: Bethpage Black in New York, Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey and Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. In New York alone, Tillinghast designed 16 courses.

A book on Tillinghast referred to him as a "rudderless youth until his father took him to St. Andrews in 1896 and introduced him to 'Old Tom Morris.'" From there, Tillinghast's interest in golf took off. He became a renowned amateur player but was as well known for his fiery and sometimes volatile behavior, two characteristics not normally associated with great golf course designers.

But in 1909, at the age of 34, he received an invitation from a wealthy friend to design Shawnee-on-the-Delaware. It was an instant hit and Tillinghast had found his calling.

Tillinghast was a hands-on architect who, despite always being impeccably dressed and groomed, liked to get his hands in the dirt. He'd sit in the shade of a tree and call out directions to his workmen as they shaped the course with mule-pulled scoops.

Tillinghast's approach to golf design is perhaps best summed up by an essay he wrote: "It must be remembered that the great majority of golfers are aiming to reduce their previous best performance by five strokes if possible, first, last and all the time, and if any one of them arrives at the home teeing ground with this possibility in reach, he is not caring two hoots whether he is driving off from nearby an ancient oak of majestic size and form or a dead sassafras. If his round ends happily it is one beautiful course. Such is human nature."


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Avg. Course Layout: 4.3 stars from 5
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Avg. Pace of Play: 4.3 stars from 5
Avg. Staff Friendliness: 4.4 stars from 5
Avg. Course Conditions: 4.3 stars from 5

A. W. Tillinghast-designed golf courses map


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