Ron Kirby, based in Palm Beach Gardens, designed the scenic Old Head Golf Links, in County Cork, Ireland – one of the most photographed golf courses in the world. He also created London Golf Club International Course in London, England; Dolphin Head Golf Course in Hilton Head, South Carolina; Sun City Golf Course in Bophutatswana, South Africa; and La Moraleja Golf Club, in Madrid, Spain.
I was in Wadesborough, North Carolina, in June, and Ron Kirby was giving the normal field instructions and input to the Wadsworth construction guys for the club’s nine-hole addition. An assistant professional from the golf shop came out to find Ron.
“Mr. Kirby, there is an important phone call for you at the shop.”
Ron went back with the assistant professional to take a call from Denis Griffiths, Kirby’s associate, asking Kirby to wait right there for an overseas call. Within a few minutes, the overseas call came through. The discussion went like this:
Lady: Ron, my husband will be sixty years old this September.
Ron: Very nice.
Lady: To mark the occasion, we are renovating the church we were married in, and his old school, a park in the town center, and the jail he was held in for murder and successfully defended himself in.
Ron: Very nice.
Lady: As you know, my husband is a golf fanatic.
Ron: Yes, ma’am.
Lady: We want to give him a golf course for his birthday. Can you create it for us?
Ron: Well, yes, I would be very honored to have this assignment. But golf courses take a lot of time and effort to accomplish and it would not be possible to complete by September.
Lady: So an eighteen-hole course is not possible?
Ron: That’s correct.
Lady: How about nine holes?
Ron: That’s still not possible in the time frame you have.
Lady: How about 1 hole?
Ron: Oh…That would be no problem!
Lady: Well, perfect. We will have nine contractors build one hole each.
The lady on the phone was Imelda Marcos; and on a late afternoon in mid-September, President Ferdinand Marcos and his foursome played the first nine holes of the Lake Poway Golf Club in Ilocose North, Philippines.”