By Design - Winter 2019

REMEMBRANCE Pride and professionalism By Design reflects on the life and designs of Texan golf course architect David Bennett. D avid Bennett, ASGCA Fellow, died on October 1, 2019 at his home in Texas. He was 84. “I am so grateful to have known David,” says ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan. “He was a modern-day gentleman—courteous to all, refined by his desire for excellence and knowledge and honorable to clients, professional colleagues, political contacts and personal friends.” Bennett’s career began in the Texas Highway Department, having graduated from Texas Tech University with degrees in landscape architecture and park administration. But by the mid-1960s, his passion for golf (he was a good amateur player) led him to course design, initially working for Leon and Charles Howard in Austin, Texas. Bennett established his own business in the 1970s and in its early years he worked alongside pro golfers; first Terry Dill and then six- time major champion Lee Trevino. Most of those projects were in nearby states but ultimately, he would complete more than 100 projects across 14 states, and further afield in Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. Bennett became an ASGCA member in 1976 and achieved Fellow status in 2006. “Because Dave was foresighted enough to understand the needs of the golfer and the home buyer, his clients engaged Dave to master plan their golf courses and the surrounding developments and then to manage the construction,” says Bel Jan. “His visionary approach to golf communities has been enjoyed by thousands of golfers and residents. I am saddened at his loss, but I am gladdened that his work lives on.” In an article for Golf Digest , Ron Whitten says that Bennett was “one of the Old School golf course architects who drew volumes of blueprints and took pride in sticking to a construction budget, no matter how small.” Whitten describes Bennett’s big break at what is now The Clubs at Prestonwood in Dallas: “Given a healthy budget, he was instructed to produce a championship venue (this was the beginning of the slope-rating era, remember, when tougher was considered better), and he delivered with The Hills Course, featuring 13 water carries, big, rolling greens and a long par four that required an approach shot over a ravine dubbed ‘The Pit of Doom.’” Eric Kaspar is the director of golf at one of Bennett’s most celebrated layouts, Cypress Bend Resort in Many, Louisiana, and he has also worked at two others: Crystal Falls in Leander, Texas, Photo: Cypress Bend Resort 24 | By Design