American Society of Golf Course Architects

The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) held its first annual meeting in Pinehurst on Dec. 5, 1947. Shown at that meeting (left to right) are: William P. Bell, Robert White, W.B. Langford, Donald Ross, Robert Bruce Harris, Stanley Thompson, William F. Gordon, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., William Diddel, and J.B. McGovern. Of the original founders of the ASGCA unable to attend the first meeting: Perry Maxwell, Jack Daray and Robert "Red" Lawrence.
ASGCA In the Beginning

This excerpt from the 1947 ASGCA minutes confirms ASGCA and the golf industry have faced some of the same issues for decades. In the following, Mr. Richard Tufts of Pinehurst addresses the 10 assembled charter members regarding the work of the "Implements and Balls Committee" of the USGA:

"This problem primarily concerns the flight of the golf ball, of course, which is why I thought you as golf course architects would be interested in it essentially. It is something the USGA has been working on for a good many years. Mr. Fownes, who is President here (Pinehurst), was very active as chairman of this committee when he held that position prior to his service as President of the USGA, and he did a great deal of work on this whole problem of the golf ball. I've been very much interested in it since I've been Chairman of the committee. We feel that a golf course is designed for a certain type of shot to the green, and that as you increase the length of the tee shot, you throw the golf course all out of scale. Therefore it spoils the pleasure of the play to have this continual increase in the flight of the ball. We feel that the question involves not only the ball but also the equipment of the game; that possibly the shaft had something to do with the increased length of the ball. We've done a lot of work in Chicago with our machine there in testing the ball. Since our tests first started back in 1942 we haven't observed much increase in the flight of the ball, it's been pretty constant. The manufacturers say pretty much the same thing: that they haven't changed the ball very much, and in their opinions it hasn't increased.

"However, that doesn't mean that it might not increase in the future. It's quite possible that improvements to the present ball have just about reached 100 percent efficiency under the present method of manufacture, but it's quite possible that there might be improvements in plastics, or other material, that would greatly increase the flight of the present ball. We feel that it would be a very serious thing for the game, and we'd like the support of your association in maintaining the present ball; helping us with this...

"At the conclusion of Mr. Tuft's speech, Mr. Thompson made a motion that the Society send a resolution to the USGA to the effect that as a body the members pledge their support to the rules and regulations adopted by the USGA, and that the Society recognizes the USGA as the ruling body of golf in the United States. Mr. Bell seconded the motion and it passed unanimously...

"The Society then appointed a committee of two to work on this resolution: Mr. Donald J. Ross and Mr. Robert Trent Jones. Mr. Jones was appointed delegate to the USGA's annual meeting."

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Trent Jones, Secretary
December, 1947