Willie Park, Jr., (1864-1925), will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on May 6 in Saint Augustine, Florida, in ceremonies prior to the PGA Tour’s Players Championship a few miles north in Ponte Vedra at TPC Sawgrass.
Park won British Opens in 1887 and 1889. His father, Willie, Sr., won the 1860 Open Championship and Willie, Jr.’s brother Mungo won the 1874 British Open. The Parks are a rare family with three different major championship winners. Willie, Jr., and Mungo, from Musselboro, Scotland, played regularly in matches against Old Tom and Young Tom Morris. Willie was known for his outstanding short game and the following observation, “A man who can putt is a match for anyone.” The Park family competed on and off the course with the Morris family, in equipment and course architecture.
Willie Park, Jr. designed Chartiers (1924), Indiana (1920), Penn State (1922) and Youghiogheny (1911). Penn State’s White Course, holes 6-14, have what’s left of Park’s original design. Most importantly, these holes are being retained with many of Park’s original features as Penn State has upgraded the Worth Course with work led by Golf Course Superintendent Rick Pagett.
Park’s overall resume in architecture totals nearly 170 courses in England, Scotland, and America. His top courses feature Sunningdale, outside London, considered one of England’s greatest. His most famous American works include Maidstone Club, East Hampton, New York, on Long Island, and Olympia Fields, near Chicago, site of the 2003 US Open, won by Jim Furyk. He did much work from Western Pennsylvania to Chicago, including well respected courses in Michigan; Battle Creek CC, Flint GC, and Red Run GC in Royal Oak, just north of Detroit. All three have hosted the Michigan Amateur Championship in the past fifteen years.