Former professional golfer and course designer John Jacobs dies age 91


Former professional golfer and course designer John Jacobs dies age 91
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Former professional golfer John Jacobs, who founded of the European Tour and has various golf course designs to his name, has passed away aged 91.

Born in Yorkshire in 1925, Jacobs was the son of the golf professional at Lindrick Golf Club, and grew up around the game. He became a professional himself shortly after the Second World War.

Major tournament wins came at the 1957 Dunlop South African Professional Match Play Masters and the 1957 Dutch Open. He also represented Europe at the 1955 Ryder Cup as a player, and in 1979 and 1981 as a non-playing captain.

Jacobs is perhaps best known as a teacher of golf, and is credited with having transformed how the game is taught through a series of philosophies based on ball flight, club face alignment and swing path.

He helped develop a series of coaching schools, and worked on a number of books, videos and television programmes. Jacobs also worked with the PGA and wrote the association’s first training manual.

John Jacobs Golf Associates worked on multiple golf course designs in the UK, including Wentworth’s Edinburgh course, the Buckinghamshire, Sandown Park GC and Hoebridge. Jacobs is also credited with the design of Aprèmont in France and Playa De Las Américas in Tenerife.

Tributes to Jacobs have come in from across the industry.

“John Jacobs will be fondly remembered by those of us who were privileged to know him,” said PGA chief executive Sandy Jones. “Quite simply he was a legend of the game and his name will sit at the top table with all the golfing greats.”

Paul Lawrie posted on Twitter: “Very sad news with the passing of John Jacobs, met him a few times was always ahead of his time and a gentleman RIP.”

Architect Tim Lobb, who is currently working on a project at the Buckinghamshire, posted on Facebook: “With great sadness we hear of the passing of John Jacobs, European Tour Founder, Ryder Cup Captain and designer of The Buckinghamshire Golf Club. Jon O'Leary, Andy Ewence and myself had a great meeting with John Jacobs at his home while we were progressing with the design works in 2012. John was excited by our proposals and the continued investment at his beloved Buckinghamshire Golf Club. We dedicate our works to you John Jacobs and may you rest in peace.”