Snyder earned his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Penn State University in 1939. He was then trained as a golf course superintendent by his father, greenkeeper Arthur A. Snyder, who began caddying at Oakmont Country Club in 1907. Born in Pennsylvania in 1917, Snyder was one of three brothers who became golf course superintendents. During World War II, he served as a land surveyor and was involved in defense design. Snyder was among only a handful of professionals to be a member of ASGCA while also a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the American Society of Landscape Architects.
"Jack," as he was known, eventually became grounds superintendent at Oakmont before embarking on his career in golf architecture. In 1958, Snyder turned his attention to golf course architecture and worked primarily in New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii and his home state of Arizona. His hallmark was designing courses fun to play, but also challenging. Snyder was a champion of the common golfer, opting for larger greens that could be set up with difficult hole locations yet were far easier to reach by the average player. He never over-bunkered courses, relying on strategic green contours and whenever possible, natural hazards offered by the site. At his Hawaiian projects he often incorporated natural lava formations into the design, leaving outcrops at the edges of greens and within fairways.
He served as ASGCA President in 1982-83 and became an ASGCA Fellow in 1987. “Jack Snyder was a true gentleman who contributed much to golf and the professions of golf course architecture and golf course management,” said ASGCA Past President Bill Love. In 2006, Snyder was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the ASGCA just a year after his passing.