Leading figures throughout golf pay tribute to Bob Cupp

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    Bob Cupp (left) onsite as part of his work on the Bobby Jones Golfhouse project

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    Cupp led a renovation project at the Creekside and Lakeside courses at the Golf Club of Georgia

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    A notable design of Cupp's was the Founders Course at Greystone CC in Alabama

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    Cupp also led a renovation project at the Horseshoe Bend CC

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Leading figures from the golf industry have paid tribute to golf course architect Bob Cupp, who died on August 19, aged 76.

President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) Greg Martin said: “Bob was a famed golf course architect, mentor to many and friend to all. As a member and as ASGCA President, he provided lyrical perspective during some deeply challenging years. On behalf of the ASGCA, we offer our deepest condolences to Bob’s family – know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Bob was an important part of this organisation, and more importantly, he was a cherished member of the ASGCA family.”

Cupp enjoyed a brief career as a professional golfer before moving into the design field. He joined Jack Nicklaus’ firm in 1970 as a senior designer – a post he held for 15 years before setting up his own firm.

Nicklaus said: “Bob was terrific at what he did and added so much pleasure to the game not only through his designs, but also with his fun-loving personality and charm. We hope that Bob will be remembered for all the great things he did, and how he lived his life, which in my opinion was very special.”

Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten said: “He could make every person, even someone he’d just met, feel like a special friend. That’s why so many of us will miss him so much.”

Gary Player said via Twitter: “The golf course design industry just lost a true pioneer and visionary. Bob Cupp will be missed but never forgotten. RIP.”

The architect’s design list includes a number of highly-regarded courses throughout North America, including Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey, Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, Hawks Ridge in Ball Ground, Georgia, and Beacon Hall in Ontario, Canada.

Having joined the ASGCA in 1990, he served as the association’s president in 2012-13. Many ASGCA members have paid tribute to Cupp.

Former superintendent of Augusta National and golf designer Billy Fuller worked alongside Bob for many years: “Bob has been that special friend in my life for nearly 38 years. He was my guiding light as I ventured from golf course maintenance to golf course design. He alone allowed me to realise that dream. He taught me one masterpiece at a time. I never tired of listening to and learning from his wisdom about golf and about life. As we travelled millions of miles together we covered every nook and cranny of our lives. We laughed and cried together through life’s ups and downs.”

Bill Bergin said: “Bob Cupp was not only a leader within our world, but he brought so much more to our industry than beautiful golf courses. To say that he was my mentor is accurate, but it is also too limited. The lessons learned from Bob Cupp have fermented and ripened over the years in ways I never could have imagined. Bob Cupp lived a big full life, and my life is fuller for having been guided by such a talented, generous man.”

David Johnson said: “I had the fortune to work for Bob from 1989-97. He was the ideal mentor, brilliant in his approach to golf course design. He was a tireless worker and seemed to excel at everything – athletically, artistically, musically, storytelling, woodworking, and, of course, golf course design.”

Cupp was also an established writer, publishing The Edict; a novel from the beginnings of golf with Random House and co-authoring Golf’s Grand Design, which covered the history and evolution of golf course architecture, with Ron Whitten.

Golf writer Brad Klein said Cupp “was one of those rare people who stayed busy, productive, creative and curious and did it all at a high level of craftsmanship.”