By Design – Issue 49, Summer 2020

12 | By Design P aul Fullmer—who served as Executive Secretary of the American Society of Golf Course Architects from 1970 to 2004—passed away in January 2020, aged 85. He spent his entire career with Chicago public relations firm Selz/ Seabolt Communications, becoming president in 1980—a position he held until communications giant Publicis bought the firm in 2000. “I think the word that best described Paul was ‘genuine,’” says his wife, Sandra. “He lived his faith and ethics to the letter. He listened— something a great many CEOs do not know how to do—and therefore had a wonderful relationship with the people who worked in his public relations office. “Clients remained loyal for years because of this. He had a keen, quick sense of humor and knew how to tell a story… especially about the time leading up to our first date.” That first date, set up by Fullmer’s then-boss Larry Selz, was also the first step to a relationship with ASGCA. Paul and Sandra would go on to marry and it was Sandra’s father, golf course architect Percy Clifford, ASGCA Fellow, who, with a little arm-twisting, persuaded Fullmer to take on the role of Executive Secretary. “When Paul was hired, he immediately took charge in getting the Society in order with our financial books, communications and distribution of information important to the golf course field about design,” says ASGCA Past President Bill Amick, a firm friend of Fullmer who exchanged emails with him on an almost daily basis for the past 30 years. “What had been done previously was handled, or more accurately, mishandled, by an annual revolving order of officers. Officers did what they could alongside their more essential individual practices, but when Paul began to handle these things, we realized how amateurish earlier efforts had been. “Paul, with his training and skills, knew how to inform the golf industry about the proper roles of golf course architects and their value in the creation of new, and improving existing, courses. And he did it effectively, favoring no individual member.” “Paul made an incredible contribution to golf course architecture through his professional organizational efforts and saintly demeanor,” said ASGCA Past President Mike Hurdzan. “Paul became affiliated with ASGCA when it was a collection of mavericks with strong personalities and biases, who really only had their profession in common. “There were a few professional guys who helped build some crude organizational structure, but they ran it with a fairly heavy hand. I don’t mean to disparage those early members because they did create an organization that, despite a few fragilities, had the potential to become well respected. And then in 1970, they hired Paul. “Soon it was clear that he could do things for the organization that they did not have time for themselves, or the capabilities to do, or the experience and resources that Paul Long-time ASGCA Executive Secretary Paul Fullmer passed away in January 2020. By Design hears how he shaped the society and the profession. The guiding hand of ASGCA REMEMBRANCE