Three books included are: The Course Beautiful, Reminiscences of the Links and Gleanings From the Wayside. All signed by the editors and numbered.
In celebration of the genius of Albert Warren (A.W.) Tillinghast, commonly known as "Tilly" and considered the "Dean of American Golf Course Architects," The Tillinghast Association published three volumes of original Tillinghast essays on golf and course design, loaded with vintage design sketches and antique photographs. These books are being offered for the first time as a complete set of three books numbered and signed by the editors – Richard C. Wolffe Jr., Robert S. Trebus and Stuart F. Wolffe. There are only 36 of these limited edition sets.
A native of Philadelphia, A.W. Tillinghast lived and breathed golf from the 1890’s through his death in 1942. He designed and remodeled more than 150 championship courses throughout the United States. Among them are some of the most famous ever produced including Baltusrol, Winged Foot, San Francisco, Quaker Ridge, Bethpage, Somerset Hills, Newport and Baltimore Five Farms.
Tilly was on hand for every major U.S. tournament of note; as a respected amateur he played in many of the early amateur and U.S. Open championships; he was a founder of the PGA of America; a staunch supporter of the United States Golf Association’s Green Section; a renown golf journalist; managing editor of Golf Illustrated; and an advocate for public golf. Tillinghast’s many articles were directed at the golfer rather than the architect to inform them on the basic principles of golf course design.
Over 100 of his essays on golf course architecture were compiled in The Course Beautiful, the first of the three volume set. This book, published in 1995, has become a collector’s item for many golf enthusiasts. In its 53 chapters, Tillinghast reveals his secrets on routing fairways, blind shots, contouring greens, water hazards, greenside bunkers, rough, tees, trees on the golf course, the par 3 and championship courses. The book is introduced with a foreword by Rees Jones and includes a special chapter written by Dr. Philip Brown, Tillinghast’s grandson, in which he discusses the colorful lifestyle of his grandfather.
The second volume, Reminiscences of the Links (published in 1998) is a collection of A.W. Tillinghast essays on Scottish and Early American golf. Tilly provides precious first hand accounts of American golf’s early history and linkage to St. Andrews, Scotland. Tilly’s recollections include: the colorful personalities of Old Tom Morris and Andra Kirkcaldy; the early American championships, the tragic fall of Willie Anderson, the founding of Modern Golf Course Architecture; the development of Pine Valley, Bethpage Black and other great American courses; and how the improved golf ball - "the bounding billie" - and matched irons changed the game and golf course design forever.
Tillinghast also provides us with his opinion on the top ten golfers of all time. "With the exception of Young Tom Morris, who died before I stalked the links, it has been my rare privilege not only to have observed the play of every man—Jack ... but to have played with half a dozen of the first nine." Tilly’s essays have been brought to life with over 300 antique photographs. The foreword is by Frank Hannigan and introductory remarks are penned by Ben Crenshaw and Rees Jones.
In this third volume of essays, Gleanings From the Wayside (published in 2001), Tilly recollects many of his travels and humorous tales, and details his design principals and opinions on modern golf course architecture. Tillinghast was an original road warrior -- he "lived to travel" and "traveled to live." From Jacksonville to San Antonio, California to Old Mexico, and from out Tulsa way and back to his stomping grounds in the East, Tillinghast provides his unique insights and fine points of good golf course design. As Tilly notes, "During forty years, I have probably trod as many golf holes as any man in the world, many of my own creation and many, many more designed by others. I know a good hole when I see one and I think I know a bad one, too."
The titles to Tilly’s essays themselves capture the Tillinghast flair — The Gimie Guys, The Ugly Duckling of the Course, A Hole is as Long as it Plays, An Exception to Rule, The Tiny Tims of Golf, Sans Sand Pits, Old Ananias Par and many more. The essays include Tilly’s analysis of some of his greatest designs, Winged Foot, Five Farms, Bethpage and others. Tilly also analyzes a couple of masterworks by his good friend Donald Ross — Pinehurst Number 2 and Oakland Hills.
The insight or genius of Tilly on golf course design can be seen in the following passage:
"Often there is the danger of trespassing into the freakish when the planning of a thoroughly original hole is attempted, but so long as the shots called for are sound, and fit well together, there need be no great reluctance to depart from the conventional types. Indeed, it is safe to assert that far more interesting golf would be the result if conventions were not followed so slavishly… Any course to be successful must be popular, and the architect, who might persist in sticking stubbornly to features of his own personal fancy, even though they had proved not popular by test, would be foolish indeed."
In this book, Geoffrey Cornish sets the stage with the foreword, and the editors have included a bonus — an informative afterword that recounts Tilly’s travels as a consultant for the P.G.A. of America in the days of the Great Depression, a period in his life that has hitherto proved elusive to scholars of course design.
(Also check out Classics of Golf’s "Tillinghast: Creator of Golf Courses" – the first biography on A.W. Tillinghast.)