Orlando, Florida-based Edward Beidel graduated from Pennsylvania University with a BS in landscape architecture. He has designed such Pennsylvania courses as Turtle Creek Golf Course in Limerick; Groff’s Farm Golf Club in Mt. Joy; Five Ponds Golf Club in Warminster; and Ebensburg Country Club in Ebensburg. Beidel also remodeled Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club in Bermuda; Pinecrest Country Club in Lansdale, Pennsylvania; and the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Club in Annapolis, Maryland.
Who could have ever guessed that opening a phone book would end up changing my life?
It was 1976, and I, with my degree in landscape architecture from Penn State University, was unable to find a job. Times were lean for landscape design jobs and I had interviewed, unsuccessfully, at nearly every landscape architecture firm in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia. There were simply no job to be had. I had been advised by the firms to head to Arizona, where recent college graduates could find work.
But I was born and raised a Pittsburgh boy. After my numerous interviews, all resulting in fingers pointing West, I was still hesitant to take their advice. I decided to check the yellow pages.
I found something in the phone book that was both surprising and exciting to me: three listings of people who were “golf course architects” in the Pittsburgh area. Golf course architects! I was shocked. I never knew golf course architecture was a full-time profession. I had to learn more. After all, I had been playing golf since I was nine years old.Caddying in Pittsburgh over the summers had paid for my college education.
I had no car, so I walked three miles from my house to Mr. Denison Hassenplug’s office in Pittsburgh the very next day. I knocked on his door and explained that I had found him in the yellow pages.
“I would like to know what it’s like to be a golf course architect, and I’d like to become one as well,” I pronounced.
Mr. Hassenplug saw my enthusiasm, and even though I was just a kid walking in off the street, he graciously invited me to lunch, where he spent two hours telling me everything about his profession.
I walked back to his office every day for the next week, bring technical projects I had worked on during college, and spending three hours each day discussing different facets of golf course architecture.
I also told him repeatedly I wanted to work with him and have him teach me the craft. His firm did not have the workload to support hiring another architect, but Mr. Hassenplug saw how passionate I was about the profession. He hired me the next week, and I worked with him for the next fifteen years.