Courses Architect Tom Bendelow

Tom Bendelow - 125 Courses

Golf architect Photo, Tom Bendelow

(1872 - 1936)

Born: Sept. 2, 1868, Aberdeen, Scotland

Died: River Forest, Illinois, at age 68

Bendelow began golfing when he was 9 years old, with his dad at the Balgownie Links, which is now named Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. Founded in 1780, Royal Aberdeen Golf Club is the world's sixth-oldest, and it's clear that Bendelow had rich inspiration to draw on back in Scotland.

Bendelow was one of the more prolific architects in the first third of the twentieth century. Designing in a time when earth moving was largely impossible, Bendelow's designs incorporated what the land gave him.

Arriving in America in September, 1892 at age 24, Bendelow first worked for the New York Herald having written for the Aberdeen Press and Journal newspaper in Scotland. It wasn't long before his Scottish heritage and knowledge of golf were noticed. Certainly his friendship with well-known Scottish golfers of his day contributed to his influence in the States. Bendelow was raised in the very heart of golf and his arrival in America coincided with great interest in the game in the States.

As a testament to his skill he played with Harry Vardon on a tour of the United States and was Vardon's caddie when he won the U.S. Open at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois in 1900.

He designed several holes on Barnegat Bay and later answered an ad from the Pratt family that likely never made it to print. The Pratts, owners of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, were looking for someone to teach them the game and they became Bendelow's students. He designed six holes at their large estate in Glen Cove, NY, a plot of land that would eventually become the Nassau Country Club.

He produced a large body of work. He came to be called "The Johnny Appleseed of Golf." He is best known for his design of Medinah CC # 2, which he built in 1926. This course has been the site of U.S. Opens as well as PGA Championships.

As a testament to Bendelow's true skill, he designed the East Lake course at the Atlanta Athletic Club - the place where Bobby Jones learned to play. Jones said "It was extraordinary in that it gave a golfer the opportunity to use every wood and iron in his bag." American golf owes Bendelow a debt of gratitude for having a hand in developing a golfing legend.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Off the Fringe, “Golf’s best short read.” The award winning newsletter, sent twice monthly, that provides an unconventional perspective on the golf world.