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Willard C. Byrd was born in North Carolina in 1919. After serving in World War II, he received a degree from North Carolina State University in Landscape Architecture in 1948 to pursue a career as a golf course architect.
Byrd started his own firm, Willard C. Byrd & Associates, in 1956. Byrd’s objective was to design solid and basic golf courses that were playable, fair, and easy to maintain. One of Byrd’s strengths was his ability to layout large scale residential communities with golf courses. He went on to design and redesign over 100 golf courses, primarily focused in the southeast region of the United States. He also played the role of mentor for individuals such as Lee Chang, ASGCA, and ASGCA Past President Clyde Johnston
Byrd was elected into the ASGCA as an Associate member 1979 and kept that position until 1984, when he was promoted to Regular membership. He became a Fellow of the Society in 1995 and remained an ASGCA member until his death in 2004.