Willie Park Jr. – The Great Courses

William Park Jr. (4 February 1864 – 22 May 1925) was a Scottish professional golfer. He won The Open Championshiptwice. Park was also a successful golf equipment maker and golf writer. In his later years, Park built a significant career as one of the world’s best golf course architects, with a worldwide business. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.

Park caddied and played golf professionally, in stakes matches and tournaments, from his mid-teens. He developed his golf skills and played in his first Open Championship in 1880, at age 16, at which time he was already one of Scotland’s best players. He worked in the family golf equipment business. Park won the Open in 1887 and 1889. In the latter year he was taken to a playoff by Andrew Kirkaldy. During his competitive career, Park placed in the top ten 12 times at the Open, and was out of the top eight only twice between 1881 and 1892. He was notable for his excellent short game, which compensated for a sometimes unreliable long game. He is famous for the saying: “A man who can putt is a match for anyone.”

He also worked as a golf course designer, with 170 designs to his credit in the British Isles, Europe, the US and Canada. Park entered this profession, while winding down his competitive play, in his mid-30s, just as golf was beginning an enormous increase in popularity, in both the British Isles and especially North America. New golfers needed new courses to play, and Park took advantage of the opportunities. His services were much in demand, and he became one of the first people, along with fellow Scot Donald Ross, to become a full-time golf course architect.

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