Golf Course Architect and ASGCA Fellow Ron Kirby dies at 90

By |  August 21, 2023 0 Comments

Ron Kirby, American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) Fellow, died Aug. 17, 2023, in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the age of 90.

Ron Kirby

Ron Kirby

A native of Beverly, Mass., Kirby was a caddie, caddie master and maintenance crew member who later became one of the most widely traveled architects of his time. His golf course portfolio includes designs in the United States, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan and South Africa.

At the University of Massachusetts-Stockbridge, Kirby earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. Kirby became an ASGCA member in 1983 and earned Fellow status in 2003. He began working as a design associate for Dick Wilson, then served under ASGCA Founding Member Robert Trent Jones, Sr., designing courses in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.

Kirby founded his own design firm in 1970, with consulting partner Gary Player. Eventually, Kirby sold the firm to Golden Bear and joined Nicklaus Design Services and Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA Fellow, as overseer of all European projects.

“Ron Kirby was one of a kind, or perhaps I should say Ron and Sally Kirby were two of a kind,” said Brit Stenson, president of the ASGCA. “His positive impact on golf course architecture in countries around the world will serve as a professional legacy, but it was Ron’s enduring relationship with Sally that many of us will long remember.”

Throughout his career, he was accompanied by his wife, Sally. Their travels together set the tone for Kirby’s autobiography, We Spent Half Our Lives on the Wrong Side of the Road published in 2020. Sally died in 2021. He is survived by his children Faye, Ron Jr., and Beverly.

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