In 1931 at the age of 19, William %u201CBill%u201D Mitchell started his work in golf by working as a greenkeeper. He spent his next few years working as a superintendent while managing a turf farm. Through these experiences, he gained firsthand knowledge of golf course construction, while creating connections in the industry, such as Orrin Smith, who he helped assist in several layouts throughout New England.
He served as a Navy pilot during World War II.
In the late 1940%u2019s, Mitchell and his two brothers, Samuel and Henry, created a golf course architecture firm known as Mitchell Brothers. It lasted until 1954, and while the other brothers left the field of architecture, Mitchell stayed committed to the profession full-time.
Mitchell%u2019s design characteristics included greens with back to front slope and sizes based on the length of shot being played into them. For example, Mitchell%u2019s long par fours would typically have large green with bunkers to the side, allowing golfers to run shots onto the green, while his short par threes would have smaller, well-protected putting surfaces. He is also credited with coming up with the term Executive Course, which are shorter, less challenging golf courses designed to be played quickly and introduce beginners to the game.