Late Course Architect Jay Morrish: From Spyglass Hill to Tehama
March 3, 2015
Late architect Jay Morrish, who died Tuesday at the age of 78, didn’t have to look far for any inspiration to be a golf course designer.
Not long after receiving a Landscaping and Turf Management Degree from Colorado State University, Morrish landed his first gig in golf. He was the construction superintendent for Robert Trent Jones during the building of what would become what some call Jones’ masterpiece—Spyglass Hill.
From there, Morrish continued to work as construction superintendent on Jones’ courses until 1967, when he joined Desmond Muirhead as a designer.
When Jack Nicklaus and Muirhead dissolved their relationship in 1973, Morrish accepted Nicklaus’s offer to work as a designer in his new firm.
Ten years later in 1983, Morrish left Nicklaus to start his own design firm.
While working solo, much of Morrish’s work, including Loch Lomond in Scotland, would be collaboration efforts between him and Tom Weiskopf.
In returning to his Northern California roots, among the duo’s designs would be the 9-hole executive Cliffs Course at The Olympic Club, which opened in 1994.
Later, in 1999, Morrish was called to Carmel Valley by Clint Eastwood to design the private Tehama Golf Club.
Said Morrish of Tehama, which sits on rolling hills above Monterey: “It is one of the most distinctive courses ever created.”
In 2012, Morrish retired, citing that he was tired of trying to keep up with the advancements in golf equipment.
“I dont have a clue where to put a fairway bunker anymore,” said Morrish in an interview with GolfWorld. “I hate the fact that we have to build courses longer everyday just to keep pace with equipment. I’m tired of fighting it”