Died: May 24, 2012, Los Angeles, California, at age 53
Harbottle, played golf at Seattle University. Recognizing his love for golf-course layouts, he transferred to the University of Washington, and earned a degree in landscape architecture.
In 1984, he went to work for Pete Dye's golf design firm. Eight years later, he established his own firm, John Harbottle Design, which has been based out of Tacoma.
John built nearly 20 new courses, and almost 50 renovations of existing layouts, mostly on the West Coast.
One of his best-known designs - the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain - opened in 1996. It was his third solo project, and was named one of the best municipal courses in the country by a number of golf writers.
Not only had Harbottle established himself as an in-demand designer of nearly 20 new courses, he also was as expert renovator of existing layouts, known as a man with an eye for how to blend a golf course's past and pair it with the modern game.
His ability to restore classic golf courses to their original integrity, while also upgrading outdated infrastructure and adapting the tracks to suit the realities of modern golf, made him a highly sought after designer for old-style courses looking to modernize without losing their intrinsic charm.
Harbottle lent his renovation talents to some of the finest private clubs in California, including the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club, Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles and Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. Three other venerable Southern California private tracks Harbottle has renovated include San Gabriel Country Club, which opened in 1919, La Habra's Hacienda Golf Club, which opened in 1920, and Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, which opened in 1909.