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Former Ilkley professional designed US Open course
12:02pm Thursday 14th June 2012 in Sport
Ilkley Golf Club members will have an additional interest in this year’s US Open Golf Championship, because one of their former professionals helped design the course.
Sam Whiting, who was the professional at Ilkley from 1911 to 1921, left the club to take up a post at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, which plays host to the famous tournament that starts today.
The Olympic Club is America’s oldest athletic club having been established in 1860.
However it was in 1922, when the club acquired enough land to replace the original golf course with two 18-hole courses, that Sam made his mark.
Working with renowned golf course architect, Willie Watson, Sam was the course superintendent who designed the first Lake and Ocean courses in 1924.
Unfortunately, severe storm damage led to Sam redesigning both courses again in 1927.
Lake course, on which this year’s championship is being played, remains true to the 1927 design.
There have been minimal renovations in the inter- vening years, apart from a little toughening up of the course by Robert Trent Jones Senior prior to the 1955 US Open.
Part of Sam's legacy is the fact he supervised the planting of 40,000 trees, which has helped to create the narrow tree-lined fairways. Another aspect that is likely to strike a chord with Ilkley members.