American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) leaders and members are paying tribute this year to ASGCA Past President E. Lawrence (Larry) Packard, who celebrated his 100th birthday in November 2012. They are taking note of both his design work across the globe and his legacy of service to ASGCA and the profession of golf course architecture.
Packard began his golf architecture career in Illinois in the 1940s with one of the founders of ASGCA, Robert Bruce Harris. Packard started his own firm in 1954 with Brent Wadsworth. Wadsworth would go on to a successful career as a golf course builder, receiving the ASGCA Donald Ross Award in 1993.
Packard’s work has included the Innisbrook Golf and Country Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., where he designed three 18-hole courses in addition to a nine-hole layout. Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course continues to host the PGA Tour’s Tampa Bay Championship.
“Since the game of golf is so ancient, we don’t look upon ourselves as ‘pioneers,’ but in Larry Packard’s case, it is appropriate,” said ASGCA President Bob Cupp. “Larry was at the forefront of the post World War II golf explosion, and his courses still stand. He should wear the ‘pioneer’ title proudly.”
Not limiting his work on more than 600 golf courses to North America, Packard has also designed and renovated many courses internationally, working in countries such as Egypt, Guatemala, South Korea and Venezuela.
The moniker “Father of the Modern ASGCA” was given Packard by former ASGCA Executive Director Paul Fullmer due to Packard’s service to ASGCA and its members. Packard was ASGCA president in 1970-71, one of the first architects to vocally address environmental concerns, an early advocate for using effluent for course irrigation and sought to invite other qualified golf course architects to ASGCA membership. He also encouraged regular meetings among leaders of other golf organizations, including the PGA, USGA, and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
Packard was recognized by his fellow ASGCA members when he became the first of just four men to receive the ASGCA Distinguished Service Award in 2005. The award is given to an ASGCA member who has contributed exceptional time and effort to benefit both ASGCA members and the organization. In Fall 2012, the ASCGA Board of Governors approved renaming the award to “The Larry Packard Distinguished Service Award.”
Today, Packard resides in Palm Harbor, Fla.